The Kentucky Wildcats and the Big Blue Nation are very excited about the new coaching regime in Lexington. Mark Stoops took over for Joker Phillips in December and Stoops has done a tremendous job of firing up the Wildcats’ fan base.
To long-time Kentucky fans, there is another exciting element to Stoops coming to the Bluegrass. One of the first hires Stoops made was Neal Brown as offensive coordinator. Brown is an alumnus of UK, and he played for the Wildcats during one of the most exciting eras in recent memory in Lexington. Brown was a receiver for head coach Hal Mumme during the days of the “Air Raid” offense in Lexington. That offense, one of the most prolific in the nation, was once described by UK Athletic Director C.M. Newton as, “basketball on grass.”
Brown’s return to Lexington brings high expectations among the Kentucky fan base. Since Mumme’s departure, Kentucky has, with a few exceptions, struggled on offense. Brown should bring a more exciting brand of offense to Kentucky, with his version of the “Air Raid”.
The problem for Kentucky, at this point, is whether the talent on the roster can produce in Brown’s offense. Kentucky has no particular quarterback selected to run the offense at this point. There are three candidates for the job. Sophomores Maxwell Smith, Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow are all in the running to be the starting signal caller. Brown and Stoops must pick a starter to run the high-paced offensive attack.
Another problem for the Big Blue is at the receiver position. While there is some talent at the position, the receivers struggled with dropped passes in 2012. If Brown’s offense is to work, as it should, Kentucky’s receivers must catch the ball.
Among the breakout candidates at wide receiver are Daryl Collins, Demarco Robinson, DeMarcus Sweat, and true freshman Ryan Timmons.
Brown’s offense will also throw to the running back, and Josh Clemons, Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders are expected to be receivers out of the backfield.
These are the best players Kentucky has at this point, and they will all need to make great strides if the new version of the “Air Raid” offense is to resemble the old version.