It’s Been Such A Long Time
For the first time since 2019 Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats played a spring football game. In 2020 and again last year the game didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many in the Big Blue Nation the biggest drawing point was seeing new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello’s offense. Much like the classic show “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” the points really don’t matter. Howver if you care about such things the Blue beat the White 32-0. Let’s break down some of the high points (and a low point) with our 2022 Kentucky Spring Game Recap
The Weather Was Awful
You would think for the first spring game in three years Mother Nature would cooperate. However much like Lee Corso always says “not so fast my friends.” About an hour before the contest the skies opened and pretty much every type of frozen precipitaion fell from the heavens.
This is unbelievable pic.twitter.com/LwzUV7kzxm
— Mark Story (@markcstory) April 9, 2022
Thankfully whatever that was let up and several thousand Kentucky fans took their seats and watched a pretty good offensive output. Instead of splitting up the teams Stoops decided to have a traditional 11-on-11 scrimmage with the offense blue and the defense white. Heading into the contest there were several things we were paying special attention too. Let’s break those down as we continue our 2022 Kentucky Spring Game Recap.
Will Levis Looked Good
Throughout the off season one thing we kept hearing is how the UK signal had improved by leaps and bounds. In fact at UK’s recent Pro Day he caught the eye of many of the scouts who say he’s at least a second round pick. Levis marched the Cats 65 yards down the field in eight plays to get the Blue squad on the board. The last eight came on a screen pass to Chris Rodriguez.
For the game the former Penn State transfer completed seven of eight passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. His timing looked good and most importantly he had no interceptions.
Who Are The Back-Ups?
Kentucky’s set at quarterback with Levis and running back with Rodriguez. However it’s who ends up in that resever role that has most of the BBN’s attention. You only need to go back to 2019 when UK went through every quarterback possible before moving Lynn Bowden to that spot to know a good back up is critical. Three different players got some looks and each did positive things.
Beau Allen only completed four of 11 passes for 75 yards. However he did lead the Cats to a scoring drive capped by a Mike Drennan one yard run. Iowa transfer Deuce Hogan hit on seven of his 11 throws for 75 yards and a three yard touchdown to walk-on Cole Lanter. The local product from Boyle County did a back flip to celebrate.
— Ryan C. Hermens (@ryanhermens) April 9, 2022
The Cats’ other quarterback Kaiya Sheron also engineered a scoring drive with Drennan taking it the last six yards. Heading into the fall the back up quarterback spot is one to watch.
If you’ve followed our spring previews you know Kentucky is loaded at running back. On Saturday each of the backs did some good things. Kavosiey Smoke gained 54 yards on 10 carries while Drennan had 43 yards and two scores. In addition, he caught two passes for 26 yards out of the backfield. However, the guy who ran with the first team when C-Rod rested was JuThan McClain. Scangarello played him all over the field rushing six times for 24 yards and also lining up at receiver. Look for him to have a bigger role in the offense this fall.
A Big Time Debut
With Wan’Dale Robinson heading to the NFL Levis must find a new favorite target. While it’s expected Virginia Tech transfer Tayvion Robinson fills that role the Cats have several other options. Robinson caught three passes for 42 yards including a long of 24. Rahsann Lewis had the most receiving yards with 52 however it was a newcomer who attracted lots of attention.
Dane Key, the top-rated player in Kentucky this past season has reportedly been turning heads in practice. On Saturday he showed why hauling in two passes for 43 yards and a very impressive touchdown.
What up, @DaneKey12!
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 9, 2022
Javon Baker‘s expected to be the starter once he hits campus after transferring from Alabama, but it’s going to be tough keeping the Lexington native off the field.
As we wrap up our 2022 Kentucky Spring Game recap let’s look at a bright spot on defense.
Flashes Of Brilliance
Defensive coordinator Brad White had to get creative as he’s been without several key players. Those include Octavious Oxendine and Jordan Wright, who haven’t been available all spring. J.J. Weaver is the only scholarship outside linebacker available. Throw in the season-ending knee injury to Vito Tisdale and it’s no wonder the defense struggled.
With all the injuries that provide a chance for someone to step up. On Saturday that player was Jordan Lovett. The redshirt freshman from North Hardin led the defense with a team-high nine tackles. Furthermore, he had two pass breakups and a forced fumble. While UK’s looking for secondary help through the transfer portal Lovett looks like a future player.
Thanks for checking out our 2022 Kentucky Spring Game Recap here at Last Word On College Football. Next time out we’ll get back to our position previews with the offensive and defensive lines.
Main Image courtesy UK Athletics