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Vaught's Views: Answers to UK questions

August 17, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Everyone has questions about the upcoming University of Kentucky football season. The difference here is that you get answers - or at least educated guesses.

* What has to be new coach Rich Brooks' biggest concern going into the season opener in two weeks?

Easy. It's punting. While tight end and running back both are also question marks, at least they might have answers. Replacing Glenn Pakulak and the edge in field position his kicks gave UK last year is a big worry. It has been since Brooks' arrival and still will be against Louisville.

* Can Jared Lorenzen and Shane Boyd co-exist in the same backfield?

Certainly. Both understand new offensive coordinator Ron Hudson want to use them to maximize the team's offensive capabilities. Lorenzen will still get to showcase his potent throwing arm, but Boyd will be a playmaker whether he's at quarterback, running back or receiver.

* Who might be the emerging offensive stars?

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Try receiver Glenn Holt and guard Jason Rolllins. Holt is a speedy, gifted player who should help the Cats stretch the field. Rollins is not as well known as some other UK linemen, but he had a monster spring.

* Who could emerge as a defensive standout?

It better be linebackers Deion Holts, Durrell White and Raymond Fontaine. They are UK's top three outside linebackers, but none has played a snap at that position in college. For defensive coordinator Mike Archer's 3-4 scheme to work, they have to be playmakers.

* Where is Kentucky's best chance for an upset?

Either at Alabama Sept. 13 or home against Florida Sept. 27. Alabama will be coming off games against South Florida and Oklahoma. Throw in the confusion caused by two coaching changes since the end of last season and UK could pull a surprise. Florida will have already played Miami and Tennessee. If they lose both, they could be on a downer coming to UK.

* What is Kentucky's most important game?

As always, it's Louisville. Brooks needs a win in his first game to give legitimacy to everything from his hiring to his philosophy to his practice routine. Win this one and Kentucky can keep its bowl hopes alive. Lose this one and chaos could reign.

* Will UK go to a bowl?

Yes. Kentucky's 10 seniors have never played in a bowl game and the juniors better realize they have a much better chance to go this season than next year. Wins over Louisville, Murray State, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Vanderbilt will give UK a 7-5 mark and Music City Bowl berth.

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