Does Butch Jones Know About UK’s Kryptonite?
Will the Cats take down Rocky Top for the 2nd time in 3 decades? They should, but after dreadfully missing my pick against Mississippi State, I am very careful with my words this week. I feel like the Quarterback issue with Tennessee is the sole decider on whether or not we will be able to take care of business.
Tennessee has two options at QB, and if you have followed UK football in the past, you’ll figure out quickly which one we’d rather see.
Quinten Dormady is a pro-style, pocket passer and started the first 5 games of the season for the Vols. He’s a good QB and does have the ability to break out of the pocket, but shoulder issues have been an obstacle for him in recent weeks. His backup is red-shirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano, a dual-threat QB who seems to enjoy breaking from the pocket and taking hits downfield. Despite the injury, Dormady remains on the depth chart and there is a good possibility he will start versus UK.
I don’t think one QB is a lot better than the other, but UK has a tendency of facing backup quarterbacks and making them look like Heisman candidates. (Occasionally Heisman winners.) The best case scenario for UK is for Butch Jones to place Dormady under center to start the game. A quarterback who likes to run is most definitely Kentucky defense’s kryptonite over the past several seasons. If Butch Jones gives the ball to Guarantano, we will need our big playmakers like Jordan Jones and Josh Allen to come up huge. The only reason Guarantano hasn’t been receiving more praise for his prowess outside of the pocket is because defenses have been stacking the box against Tennessee and keying in on running plays. I imagine the UK game plan is similar, and we will have another game of relying heavily on our secondary, which has made a few gut-wrenching mistakes this season. Chris Westry and Derrick Baity are both healthy and will be on the field, and after giving up so many big plays recently, they’ll surely be anxious to make some plays.
It’s hard to call Kentucky vs. Tennessee a rivalry game because of the lopsided won-loss differential. As a UK fan, I want this win so badly. I am not ready to see the fan base move indoors to the basketball court just yet. Though we’ve faced some disappointments, this UK team is sitting at 5-2 and has a swagger that few UK football teams have had during my lifetime. Nine wins can still happen. I am not giving up on this team. Go Cats!