I spent a year working with the fine folks at the Lexington Herald-Leader, who do a wonderful job with their UK coverage. Heading into this week's matchup, I figured I'd check in with the Herald-Leader's UK football beat writer, Chip Cosby, to get his take on things.
Chip is one of the best beat writers in the SEC, and you can find more of his Kentucky coverage HERE. He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions below...
DH: The past few years, UK has had a lot of offensive playmakers, but this year, they have had to rely on their D. How prepared do you think Kentucky is to stop Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, AJ Green & Co.?
CC: The Kentucky defense has been good, not great, for most of the season. They have one of the nation's best cornerbacks in Trevard Lindley and a really good line led by tackle Myron Pryor and end Jeremy Jarmon. The defense has been somewhat banged up, but the good teams on the schedule have been able to move the ball when they needed to. Alabama's Glen Coffee ran for 218 yards on UK and Arkansas' Michael Smith racked up up 192, so you'd think the Bulldogs would be able to establish Moreno on the ground and set up their play-action game with Stafford and Green.
DH: Since UGA last played UK, the Cats have lost Woodson, Burton, Little, and others to the NFL and Lyons and Locke to injury. Who are the players on offense that Georgia fans should be watching at this point?
CC: The Kentucky offense has struggled to find playmakers all season. The running game hasn't been as consistent as they thought it would be, and the quarterback and receiver positions have been in a state of flux. True freshman Randall Cobb is the offense's most talented player and has taken over at quarterback, but he was also the only real playmaking threat at receiver.
DH: The last time Georgia came to Lexington, the Wildcats pulled the upset. How much has that game been talked about and do you think it will have any resonance with this year's team?
CC: Possibly, just from a confidence standpoint. Where as they have long losing streaks against Florida and Tennessee, there's not that cloud hanging over their heads with the Bulldogs.
DH: What one or two things do you think are the keys to a Kentucky win Saturday?CC: If Georgia comes out and is on top of their game, they win. I think Kentucky has to hope that Georgia's still a little down from the Florida loss and they might come out a little flat with the early kickoff. I don't see the offense winning the game for Kentucky, so the defense will have to force a couple of turnovers and change field position if Kentucky is to have a shot.