Arkansas-Kentucky: Q&A on the Wildcats

Razorback ExpatsSenior Analyst IOctober 16, 2008

After last week’s big win over Auburn, Hog fans are anxiously awaiting Saturday’s matchup against Kentucky in Lexington. We always look forward to games against the Wildcats because it gives us a chance to check in with one of our favorite bloggers, Truzenzuzex from the superb A Sea of Blue. Many thanks to him for his time.

Pull up a chair and read on to get Truzenzuzex’s take on the team’s quarterback controversy, fans’ expectations of Rich Brooks, and who is lower on his holiday shopping list—Bobby Petrino or Rick Pitino.

Update: Be sure to also check out our answers to Tru’s questions over at his site.

One of your recent blog postings had the headline, “Does Kentucky now officially have a quarterback controversy?” you? And if so, who would you like to see have the job—Mike Hartline or Randall Cobb?

As far as the Big Blue Nation is concerned, we definitely do have a quarterback controversy. It is said that the most popular guy on any football team is the backup quarterback, and that is certainly true in spades right now as far as UK fans are concerned.

I don’t think either Hartline or Cobb is SEC quarterback material right now, but I think a combination of the two might be. Hartline is struggling, as much with his receivers as with his passing, but his decision-making is generally pretty good.

I think the biggest problem with Hartline is his youth and inexperience, which also happens to be the biggest problem with Cobb. Hartline also has a marginal arm for a quarterback in the SEC, and that has given him some trouble.

But I think if they split snaps at QB, some good things will happen because it forces the defense to react. When Hartline has the ball, linebackers and corners can sit on the routes, giving the D-line time to come in and make a play, or force a bad throw.

But with Cobb, the linebackers have to always be thinking about him taking off and getting big chunks of yards, so they really have a lot to think about, because he can also throw it. That forces errors and creates offensive opportunities.

Unfortunately, Cobb is also our best receiver, and he can’t throw the ball to himself.

It doesn’t look like things are going to get any easier for your struggling offense: This week brought the sad news that wide receiver Dicky Lyon Jr.’s UK career is over after he tore knee ligaments in Saturday’s loss to South Carolina. How big of a blow is his injury, and which receiver is most likely to take up the slack?

Well, as I said above, Randall Cobb is our best receiver now that Lyons is injured. Obviously, that puts a lot more stress both on him and Hartline—it stinks for UK, but that’s just the way it is.

Couple that with the fact that Cobb will not be 100 percent for the rest of the year due to a high ankle sprain he suffered about three games ago, and it spells trouble.

Brooks has suggested he might bring in four-star wideout Aaron Boyd a bit, and Boyd has been the one receiver that hasn’t really dropped the football. But he had a bout of mononucleosis in the preseason that almost forced a redshirt, and he still hasn’t adjusted to the speed and power of the league yet.

Job security in the SEC, where fans are known for their patience and reasonable expectations, is a very fragile thing (see: Tuberville, Tommy). With your offense struggling and tough games on the horizon, is there any significant discontent with Rich Brooks?



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