When the Kentucky Wildcats hired Mark Stoops as head coach in December, Stoops promised to put an offense on the field that even former quarterback Tim Couch would be proud to watch. Stoops hired Neal Brown, a former Kentucky wide receiver who was offensive coordinator for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The hope was that Brown would bring the “Air Raid” offense back to Lexington. That was the nickname of the system that Couch (and Brown) played in under Hal Mumme. Big Blue fans remember it as an offense that racked up lots of yards and lots of points, and was very fun to watch.
Naturally, those around the program hoped that Brown’s return to Lexington would bring back the beloved offense from the late 1990s. And while the offense is basically the same, the results are vastly different.
Kentucky is currently 62nd in the nation in total offense, averaging 410.8 yards per game. However, that number is a little bit deceiving. In Kentucky’s win over Miami (Ohio), the Wildcats racked up 675 yards of offense against an inept team from the MAC. Take that game out of the mix, and Kentucky has averaged only 322.7 yards per game, including a season-low 173 yards in a 24-7 loss to the Florida Gators on Saturday. In fact, Kentucky’s leading rusher on Saturday night was kicker Joe Mansour, who had a 25-yard fake field goal run for a touchdown, Kentucky’s only score in the game.
Kentucky has suffered through poor play from not one, but two quarterbacks. Neither Maxwell Smith nor Jalen Whitlow has been effective behind center outside of the Miami game. And with upcoming games against the South Carolina Gamecocks and Alabama Crimson Tide, things don’t look to get better for the Wildcats’ offense any time soon.
Stoops and Brown must find a way to get more points on the board. The Kentucky defense has actually been decent this season, certainly good enough to keep the Wildcats in games. Now the offense must improve its production as the season nears the midway point.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.