KR/PR Derek Abney

2002 Statistics

Coach: Rich Brooks
1st year
2002 Record: 7-5
at Louisville WON 22-17
UTEP WON 77-17
at Florida LOST 34-41
at Arkansas WON 29-17
at Mississippi State WON 45-24
at Tennessee LOST 0-24

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

New coach Rich Brooks will be 62 when the 2003 season starts, but he could age 10 years in the next few months. Kentucky does have returning offensive arsenal, but will have trouble slowing opposing offenses. He'll need the sense of humor he displayed this spring upon walking in for his press conference after the Wildcats' final spring scrimmage, an intrasquad game, and said, "We won!"

Kentucky plays a goofy schedule, with two non-conference games, then Alabama. In the middle of the SEC conference slate, the Wildcats will welcome Ohio University. Breaking it down, Kentucky welcomes Louisville and Murray State to open the season. Both are winnable, but then the team goes to Bama and Indiana before welcoming Florida. Best-case scenario, the Wildcats start 2-0, lose at Bama, beat Big Ten bottom-feeder Indiana, and lose a tough one at home to Florida. That puts them at 3-2 with confidence (and a bye week) to rev up for their meat-of-the-season run. After a road trip to South Carolina, Kentucky welcomes Ohio, Mississippi State and Arkansas, then finishes with consecutive road trips to Vanderbilt, Georgia and Tennessee. It's hard for us to see Kentucky winning either of the last two games. If everything breaks right, Kentucky wins two of three against South Carolina, Mississippi State and Arkansas, and beats Ohio and Vandy, to finish 7-5. If the Wildcats start slow, worst-case scenario could be 4-8 and Brooks could be yearning for retirement.

Projected 2003 record: 7-5
Antonio Hall
QB Jared Lorenzen
DE Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns
NT Lamar Mills
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 2 LB - 1.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 2
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Jared Lorenzen, 327-183-5, 2267 yds., 24 TD

Rushing: Arliss Beach, 12 att., 124 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Derek Abney, 40 rec., 569 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Derek Abney, 10 TD, 60 pts.

Punting: Jared Lorenzen, 4 punts, 27.2 avg.

Kicking: Taylor Begley, 9-14 FG, 31-37 PAT, 58 pts.

Tackles: Vincent Burns, 66 tot., 48 solo

Sacks: Vincent Burns, 3 sacks; Ellery Moore, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Mike Williams, 2 for 18 yds.

Kickoff returns: Derek Abney, 30 ret., 26.8 avg.

Punt returns: Derek Abney, 36 ret., 15.1 avg.


OFFENSE: Keith Chatelain-OG, Chase Harp-TE, Artose Pinner-RB, Mike Kamphake-RB, Aaron Boone-WR
DEFENSE: Otis Grigsby-DE, Ronnie Riley-LB, Morris Lane-LB, Derrick Tatum-CB, David Johnson-S, Quentus Cumby-FS, Dewayne Robertson-DT, Glenn Pakulak-P

written by Ryan Hockensmith

Even with a starting quarterback that weighs 275 pounds and stands 6'4", Kentucky swears there's room in the backfield for two quarterbacks. Of course, begin with incumbent starter Jared Lorenzen, who's coming off a brilliant 2002. Lorenzen laid off the dangerous throws, stayed conservative and racked up 24 touchdowns against five interceptions. Now, in his fourth year of a turbulent career, Lorenzen looks like a terrific leader and has slimmed down (with more to go, he says). If he settles into new coach Rich Brooks' offense, look out. He has the weapons to be as good, maybe better, than a year ago.

One of those weapons might be his back up, Shane Boyd, who was all over the football field this spring. Kentucky coaches felt he was one of their top playmakers and decided not to leave a dynamic threat on the bench, especially with standout tailback Artose Pinner off to the NFL. So they began dreaming up ideas for Boyd to be in the game with Lorenzen. The scheming worked brilliantly, so far. Boyd lined up at tailback and wideout, then sometimes under center, as Lorenzen scooted to another position. Boyd's a fantastic athlete who will see plenty of playing time, but not much of it will be as quarterback. The Wildcat offense drops several levels when Boyd, more athletic than quarterback at this point, takes the snap and Lorenzen goes out for a pass. That will be an option, for sure, that'll keep defenses on their toes. But it better be a seldom-used option, or else Kentucky will be minimizing its optimum offensive situation. Lorenzen is no receiver, and overplaying this possibility will prove detrimental.

With productive Pinner gone, an enormous hole sits in the backfield. Boyd's actually the top returning rusher, one reason why he should see a pile of carries. Top candidates for the full-time gig are Alexis Bwenge and Arliss Beach. Bwenge emerged as the front-runner for the job with a good spring. Neither will produce like Pinner, but together they could be effective, and they'll have to be. The coaching staff has mentioned incoming junior college transfer Draak Davis as a serious challenger, too, when he arrives this summer. The Kentucky passing game can't survive without some semblance of a backfield threat.

Lorenzen and Boyd will have four legitimate receivers at the top of the depth chart, so the Wildcats look strong again in the air. Lorenzen divvies up his throws pretty evenly, so don't expect 80 catches from anybody. But Abney, who had 40 catches for 569 yards, could reach 50 and 800. Junior Tommy Cook, senior Chris Bernard and sophomore Glenn Holt all should beef up their statistics considerably in 2003.

On the offensive line, Kentucky bodes well with old and new faces looking to prove their worth. Brooks has an influx of redshirts to compete with several veterans. Left guard and tackle Jason Rollins and Matt Huff, both juniors, have four letters between them. On the right side, tackle Antonio Hall and Sylvester Miller are steady seniors, and center Nick Seitze will hold it all together. Hall is a First Team All-American playing from his tackle position and should help keep roaming defensive ends away from the QB. There is better depth than in years past. This unit will be a strong suit of the team.

Tight ends Win Gaffron and Jeremiah Drobney combined for three 2002 catches. They probably won't total 15 catches for this campaign, so their blocking will be first and foremost. It is solid, and the line seems strong across all six positions.


QB Jared Lorenzen


Returning Starters in bold
QB Jared Lorenzen-Sr (6-4, 275) Shane Boyd-Jr (6-2, 239)
FB Ronald Johnson-So (6-0, 237) Anthony Stevenson-Jr (5-11, 242)
TB Alexis Bwenge-So (6-1, 208) Arliss Beach-So (6-0, 185)
WR Derek Abney-Sr (5-10, 175) Chris Bernard-Sr (6-1, 187)
WR Tommy Cook-Jr (6-0, 194) Gerad Parker-Jr (6-3, 205)
TE Jeremiah Drobney-So (6-4, 246) Win Gaffron-Sr (6-5, 245)
OT Matt Huff-Jr (6-5, 304) Michael Aitcheson-Fr (6-3, 270)
OG Jason Rollins-Jr (6-5, 292) Mike McDonald-So (6-5, 296)
C Nick Seitze-Sr (6-5, 292) Daniel Burnett-Jr (6-5, 279)
OG Sylvester Miller-Sr (6-5, 297) Joe Brady-Fr (6-3, 290)
OT Antonio Hall-Sr (6-5, 299) Hayden Lane-Fr (6-6, 270)
K Taylor Begley-So (6-0, 202) Clint Ruth-Jr (6-1, 198)



written by Ryan Hockensmith

Here's where Brooks and his staff will earn their salaries. For the second straight year, the Wildcats lose seven starters. Throw in new defensive coordinator Mike Archer's installation of a 3-4 scheme, and it's hard to believe Kentucky will be defensively improved.

Start with the linebackers - this was a focal point for the coaching staff this spring. All four starters are first-timers. Junior Justin Haydock and sophomore Dustin Williams probably will start inside. On the outside, sophomores Deion Holts and Raymond Fontaine, both converted defensive ends, are the early favorites to start. Both have the size to hold up against the run, but on the outside, they'll have to try to hang with backs on pass patterns and make plays off blitzes. Look for a slow start, with a trial-by-fire learning curve that will instill skills by mid-season. This pair of sophomores used to playing with their hand in the dirt will respond, but consistent, positive results may take time.

Up front, nose guard Ellery Moore's task will be to devour linemen and keep them away from the linebackers. He posted 28 tackles (five for loss) and three sacks. With Dewayne Robertson off to the NFL, Moore has to be even better. On his sides, defensive ends Jeremy Caudill and Vincent Burns are adequate players who will have to be great. Caudill put up 16 quarterback hurries. Burns was even better. The junior had 66 tackles, 14.5 TFLs and three sacks. They will be a needed factor with the LB inexperience.

In the secondary, 11 lettermen return, so experience isn't an issue. The cornerbacks will be crucial. If Kentucky struggles stopping the run (a pretty good bet), the Wildcats will have to put an eighth man in the box. That takes away from pass coverage and puts the corners on islands. Accordingly, they'll often have to perform under those circumstances. Senior cornerback Leonard Burress (10 passes defended) and sophomores Antoine Huffman and Bo Smith should see the majority of time at the spot. But Kentucky has plenty of DBs to run in and out. It's doubtful anybody, even at the top of the depth chart, will monopolize playing time. Up the middle, safeties Mike Williams and Earven Flowers should start. They'll be in charge of run support assistance first, covering tight ends and crossing wideouts second. OCs will know this and look to plan around any support schemes.


Vincent Burns


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jeremy Caudill-Sr (6-3, 297) Jacob Steuber-Jr (6-3, 239)
NT Lamar Mills-Fr (6-1, 275) Ellery Moore-Jr (6-3, 289)
DE Vincent Burns-Jr (6-2, 258) Trey Mielsch-So (6-3, 255)
OLB Deion Holts-So (6-2, 250) Travis Day-Fr (6-3, 251)
ILB Justin Haydock-Jr (6-3, 229) Kamaal Ahmad-Jr (6-2, 236)
ILB Dustin Williams-So (6-5, 250) Chad Anderson-So (6-2, 250)
OLB Durrell White-Fr (6-3, 247) Raymond Fontaine-So (6-4, 218)
CB Leonard Burress-Sr (5-11, 189) Warren Wilson-So (5-11, 175)
CB Antoine Huffman-So (6-0, 170) Claude Sagaille-Jr (5-10, 185)
SS Mike Williams-Jr (5-11, 185) Muhammad Abdullah-So (6-0, 200)
FS Earven Flowers-Jr (5-10, 185) Tim Funderburk-Sr (6-2, 192)
P Sevin Sucurovic-Jr (6-2, 199) Anthony Thornton-Jr (6-1, 202)




Good news is return specialist Abney is one of the best in the country. He scored six touchdowns, four on punts and two on kickoffs a year ago, and emerged as one of the few dominant return guys in I-A. If the defense gives up points as expected, he ought to see plenty of opportunity. Bad news is the kicking games. All-American punter Glenn Pakulak and both snappers are gone. This spring, the punting was awful. Kicker Taylor Begley was 9-of-14 on FGAs and he botched six extra point tries. He has to be better as a sophomore. Kentucky could lose a marginally close game if these areas do not solidify by the SEC portion of their schedule.


New offensive coordinator Ron Hudson is known for his offensive ingenuity, part of which includes unique formations and set-ups designed to confuse the defense. The Wildcats have employed some of these tactics, as backup QB Shane Boyd has lined up in the backfield and shifted to QB, with Jared Lorenzen shifting out wide to a receiver spot. J-Lo can run for a big boy and he's certainly no kitten when his large frame is running at you. You can expect to see Boyd on the field more than usual this fall, a la Michael Robinson. He is far too talented an athlete to keep masked on the sidelines. Look for him as a RB, WR, and QB… The running game appeared better than perceived, with Alexis Bwenge and Rock Johnson sufficiently carrying the load. Beach and Boyd had their moments too… Sophomore WR Ryan Partridge joined the team as a walk-on, after transferring from JUCO. He is a reliable target who will get his shots downfield… Watch for (another) JUCO transfer, RB Draak Davis. He possesses good speed and vision, which helped him average 8 yards a carry last season. Another newby to survey is frosh WR John Logan… Backup OG Jared McGowan has been granted his release from the team.

Brooks said his defense isn't where they need to be at this point in time, citing its youth and inexperience as contributing factors. This area will be a major focal point for fall practices in August… One of the brightest stars on defense this spring was redshirt freshman NT Lamar Mills. Mills swept his way past veteran Ellery Moore to earn the top spot heading into fall. Cooperatively, the D-line will be the best unit on this team… Brooks said he was pleased with where his corners are at, saying they have four who can play at any given moment… Backup FS Travis Atwell will likely be forced to give up football, after suffering a cracked bone in his lower back. There is a slim chance of recovery, but it doesn't look good… Freshman LB Brad Booker was an initial newcomer who enrolled early to participate in spring practice, and performed measurably. He could play early and well for this Wildcat defense if things go right. Another defensive newby to possibly add minutes is Keenan Burton. He's an all-around athlete who could be someone special for the Blue and White. Other newcomers to see are freshmen LBs Travis Day and Joe Schuler.

Brooks says punting was a major concern of his (snapping as well). Sevin Sucurovic has a slight edge, but hasn't shown anything that inspires confidence. Kicking was the exact opposite, as both kickers have performed well… Arliss Beach should have ample opportunity to return kicks this season, with teams kicking away from Abney. Abs will still find a way to take back a few, but Beach will likely be the opposition's target in 2003. Punting is a tougher option. It's either kick it out of bounds and lose yardage or take your chances with Abney. Vegas odds wouldn't give you much, going with the latter.