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    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Breaking Down The Kentucky Secondary

    Kentucky's secondary in 2007 has improved from 2006 which is a good thing. The Wildcats rank #5 in SEC in interceptions with 15 for the season and have returned 1 interception for a TD on the year. In 2006 the Wildcats were #7 in the SEC in interceptions. In pass defense, Kentucky ranks #6 in the SEC and is allowing a little over 200 yards a game and 23 TDs. That is an improvement from 2006 when they allowed 269 yards a game and they were dead last in the SEC.

    One analysis before the start of the 2007 season stated, "The Wildcats must improve its defense in 2007, which was ranked as one of the worst in the nation last season. The defense gave up 100 yards more per game than any other SEC team, ranking them last in the conference. Kentucky’s new defensive coordinator, Steve Brown, hopes to turn around the defense. The Wildcat’s leader in interceptions, 6'1" Junior Marcus McClinton, will also be returning." Seems as if the secondary has improved from that analysis. The total defense however has not made as large an improvement going from last in the SEC to #10 in the SEC in 2007.

    As stated, the secondary in 2007 was looking forward to Junior safety Marcus McClinton to be the playmaker for the Wildcats. One thing can be said for McClinton. He is not short on ego. "They better not look at us like a homecoming game, because they'll be in for a rude awakening," McClinton said. "They aren't going to look at us as just a pushover team as they've done in the past. We have SEC-caliber players and we have the best quarterback in the SEC. They know that we're a threat and we can beat them. They should not underestimate the University of Kentucky." I don't believe that I'm talking smack," McClinton said. "I just believe that with what we have accomplished, we can talk with a little more confidence."

    Unfortunately for the Wildcats, McClinton and his mouth has not done as well in 2007. McClinton has been out of the lineup since the Mississippi game on October 27 when he fractured his scapula or shoulder blade. Wildcat head coach Rich Brooks has said that Kentucky hopes to have him back for the bowl game. The junior this season has 27 tackles, an interception and two pass breakups.

    The leader in interceptions this season is Sophomore corner Trevard Lindley. The 6 ft. corner has 3 interceptions and is second in tackles with 62 for the Wildcats. The Wildcats other corner Paul Warford has 2 interceptions and 36 tackles in 2007. Sophomore strong safety Ashton Cobb also has two interceptions and 40 tackles for the Wildcats. Speed in the secondary is not a problem. Says defensive coordinator Steve Brown, "Everybody in our secondary can run in the 4.4s, the linebackers run good times and the defensive linemen run good times."

    Key Stats: The Wildcats rank #5 in SEC in interceptions. In pass defense, Kentucky ranks #6 in the SEC.

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