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Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Posted on September 10, 2014 at 02:29 PM.
Kentucky Wildcats head coach Zack Kiesel has released his team's first depth chart of the season. Maxwell Smith has won the starting quarterback job, and seems to fit Kiesel's pro-style offense a bit better than the dual-threat Whitlow. Raymond Sanders will be the team's running back, but Kiesel expects to see the carries shared by Sanders, Clemons, and George this season.

The defense looks a lot different in the 3-4, and Donte Rumph will be a massive force at defensive end. Kiesel said that he just needs to work a bit better at setting the edge on running plays. He won't be counted on to rush the passer, as most of the pressure will come from the outside linebackers.

Kentucky Wildcats Depth Chart - 2013
Regular Offense
WRJavess BlueDaryl CollinsRyan TimmonsA.J. Legree
TEJordan AumillerAnthony KendrickTyler RobinsonSteven Borden
LTDarrian MillerJon Toth
LGZach WestTeven Eatmon-Nared
CZach MyersJon Toth
RGKevin MitchellJack Gruenschlaeger
RTJordan SwindleShaquille Love
WRDemarco RobinsonAlex Montgomery
QBMaxwell SmithJalen WhitlowPatrick Towles
FBD.J. Warren
HBRaymond SandersJosh ClemonsJonathan GeorgeDyshawn Mobley
Base 3-4 Defense
LDEAlvin DupreeFarrington Hugenin
NTMister CobbleChristian ColemanThomas Chapman
RDEDonte RumphTristian JohnsonMike Douglas
LOLBKory BrownMiles Simpson
LILBAvery WilliamsonTyler Brause
RILBKhalid HendersonJosh ForrestMalcolm McDuffen
ROLBZa'Darius SmithTraVaughn Pascal
CBCody QuinnNate Willis
SSAshely LoweryGlenn Faulkner
FSEric DixonDaron BlaylockZack Blaylock
CBFred TillerJaleel HytchyeJ.D. Harmon
Special Teams
KJoe Mansour
PLandon FosterJoe Mansour
HJalen Whitlow
PRDemarco RobinsonDaryl CollinsJavess BlueJonathan George
KRRaymond SandersDemarco RobinsonDyshawn MobleyDaryl Collins
LSTyler Robinson
Posted on September 10, 2014 at 02:13 PM.

Kiesel Brings Youth, Excitement to Kentucky

Everyone could see that the Kentucky Wildcats were going to fire Joker Phillips after the 2012 season. He had failed to record a winning season in any of his three years at the helm, and it all culminated with a 1-9 start to the 2012 season. What many people likely didn't see coming was who the Wildcats would tab as his replacement. The coaching search was branded as "outside-the-box", and the administrators seemed to want a more forward-thinking head coach who could attract top talent to Lexington.

Zack Kiesel is certainly young, and lacks the experience that most SEC head coaches possess. He has never been a head coach at the college level before, but has been regarded as one of the brightest minds in the game from both an offensive and a defensive standpoint. He was a top-level high school head coach in the state of Maryland, a state that boasts some of the best high school talent in the country. He then went on to become an offensive specialist for his alma mater, the Maryland Terrapins. Under the direction of offensive coordinators Gary Crowton and Mike Locksley, Kiesel attempted to streamline the offense and make sure the coordinators were being balanced with their play-calling. He also brought fresh ideas to their offensive play books.

Kiesel will bring with him to Lexington a very diverse schematic background. He ran a multiple, pro-style based offense in high school, a spread offense under Gary Crowton, and a multiple, spread-option based offense under Mike Locksley. He also has experience with both the 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes, but seems to prefer the 3-4.

In his introductory press conference, he stated that the Wildcats would run "a pro-style offense with many spread influences". He also compared the offense to what offensive coordinator Jim Chaney ran at Tennessee last season. However, he also said that his offense can be tweaked for almost any personnel, seeming to hint that he could accommodate a dual-threat quarterback as well as a traditional pocket passer.

He also stated that the Wildcats would make the transition to a 3-4 defense. He likes the advantages that the 3-4 gives a coaching staff, and believes that it is much easier to recruit for. "Instead of trying to find guys to fill certain positions, you can just recruit a bunch of athletes and figure out what they do best." He wants the defense to be very aggressive, and was proud of the defense that defensive coordinator Brian Stewart ran at Maryland last season. "We made the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 last season, and ended up with one of the best defenses in the country until we got hit with some bad injuries."

Coach Kiesel has already been bombarded with questions about the quarterback position, and he said that he will make a decision on that very early on. "I want our guy to know that he's the guy. I don't believe in playing multiple quarterbacks. We have some pocket passers and some dual-threat guys. The offense doesn't change much for either of them, but we have some option plays for the dual-threat guys to run. I'm looking forward to seeing more of what these guys have over the next few weeks."

The Wildcats open up the season on August 31st against Western Kentucky. The game is being played at LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.

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