TB Arliss Beach

2003 Statistics

Coach: Rich Brooks
4-8, 1 year
2003 Record: 4-8
at Alabama LOST 17-27
at Indiana WON 34-17
at South Carolina LOST 21-27
OHIO WON 35-14
at Vanderbilt LOST 17-28
at Georgia LOST 10-30

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

2004 Outlook

Kentucky played competitively in Rich Brooks' first season in the Commonwealth. But fans in Lexington are sick of only being "competitive" at best. Wins need to start coming, and fast! UK supporters can take some solace in the fact that four of the last five head coaches at UK had a losing first season, only to then follow up such with a winning campaign. Rich Brooks has won before and he'll win again - just give him time.

It's still a work in progress for the boys playing on blue grass. If changes are to occur this season, they have to start with attitude, plain and simple. These 'Cats need to start believing that they actually belong on the field with other teams in the SEC. UK held strong through three quarters in all eight losses, but in those losses, they were outscored 72-28 in the fourth quarter. Dedication and drive make a champion, while talent takes over along the way.

Offensively, they must run the ball more effectively. Boyd's mobility will help keep defenders in check, but any success will come from Bwenge (and company) running incessantly behind this untested (but capable) offensive line. He'll have a solid year, garner 1,000+ yards and give this offense a real boost. We're not sold, however, on Shane Boyd as a premier SEC QB. His unreliable decision-making will ultimately cost UK a game or two down the stretch.

Defensively, they'll be middle of the pack in the SEC. Nothing flashy, but solid enough to keep them in tight games against the toughest of conference foes (except Georgia), relying on their offense to get the job done and finish ballgames. In lies UK's fundamental dilemma - this offense may not be able to fill that role. Brooks has the talent here to allow him to redshirt some young faces, gearing up for later down the line.

The schedule sets up in Kentucky's favor. Four "should wins" come in Lexington, and they can steal a couple on the road. The season's tone-setter comes against Louisville on September 5th. If the underdog Wildcats can take one from their archrival, this season will be better than Cat fans (realistically) expected.

Projected 2004 record: 5-6
FS Muhammad Abdullah
QB - 3 DL - 3
RB - 2.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 4
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Shane Boyd, 43-15-2, 205 yds., 2 TD

Rushing: Arliss Beach, 103 att., 366 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: Tommy Cook, 21 rec., 222 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Taylor Begley, 6-10 FG, 40-40 PAT, 58 pts.

Punting: Anthony Thornton, 65 punts, 41.8 avg.

Kicking: Taylor Begley, 6-10 FG, 40-40 PAT

Tackles: Chad Anderson, 125 tot., 73 solo

Sacks: Chad Anderson, Mike Williams - 3.5 sacks each

Interceptions: Muhammad Abdullah, 4 for 6 yds.

Kickoff returns: Draak Davis, 9 ret., 24.4 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Tommy Cook, 2 ret., 8.0 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Jared Lorenzen-QB, Derek Abney-WR, Chris Bernard-WR, Nick Seitze-C, Sylvester Miller-OG, Antonio Hall-OT
DEFENSE: Jeremy Caudill-DE, Deion Holts-LB, Leonard Burress-CB

New starter, Shane Boyd, is in a better position to handle this job after more than a year of learning (Off. Coordinator) Ron Hudson's offensive scheme from behemoth Jared Lorenzen. Though equipped with a good set of feet, he'll need to rely more on his strong arm to throttle this offense. Doubling as a baseball player, Boyd missed some time this spring and must to use the summer to work on his long balls and deep throws. Backup Andre' Woodson has the physical provisions to excel, but must improve his game-time decision-making.

Running Back
UK's run game needs to better its 125 YPG (11th in SEC) average. Back are the top four runners from '04, but we feel it will really boil down to one man- Alex Bwenge. That's pronounced "buh-GEENG-gee", so get used to saying it. Combining power and vision, Bwenge will run behind a solid FB in Rock Johnson. Coaches love Bwenge's versatility, but especially his much-needed backfield leadership on offense. The depth at this position is a big plus, giving the 'Cats three or four quality backs in the lair. Arliss Beach, the team's leading rusher the past two seasons, returns with some added muscle to match his agility.

Wide Receiver
Veteran Tommy Cook is likely to miss the entire season with knee surgery, leaving a huge gap here. Keenan Burton is one of the nation's most explosive players and will enjoy a coming out party in '04. He'll be the go-to-guy for Boyd, attracting enough attention to give his cohorts chances to step up. The concern here is experience. The bench is loaded with green receivers, and while good things showed this spring, game familiarity is missing.

Tight End and Offensive Line
Drobney is the incumbent at TE, but the well is full for the 'Cats. Expect to see Eric Scott emerge - given his size, this makes him more fit in this offense. Some coaches feel he may have the best hands of the bunch.

The offensive line was an area of concern, but by spring's end, this group seems the most impressive, offensively. Two-year starter Matt Huff moves to right guard, teaming with fellow veteran Jason Rollins as trusted shields in the middle. They'll be sandwiching Navy-transfer Matt McCutchan, who takes over at center. This line will continue to mold and evolve while establishing the killer mentality needed in the SEC.

Last year's group finished 96th in the country in total offense, 11th in the SEC. Ron Hudson has drawn many skeptics after just one year, but his offense and personnel have worked before, and we see no reason why they shouldn't work again. Since the line really has progressed the way we think they needed to, the 'Cats should get back to being one of the SEC's better offenses. Boyd must realize that this is a team and he will not be counted on to do it all. His guidance will be key in assimilating the new receivers and empowering Bwenge to etch his name on the all-SEC ballots.


QB Shane Boyd


Returning Starters in bold
QB Shane Boyd-Sr (6-2, 233) Andre Woodson-Fr (6-5, 230)
FB Ronald Johnson-Jr (6-0, 245) Alexis Bwenge-Jr (6-1, 227)
TB Arliss Beach-Jr (6-0, 210) Draak Davis-Jr (5-7, 175)
WR Keenan Burton-So (6-2, 190) Scott Mitchell-Jr (6-3, 210)
WR Glenn Holt-Jr (6-2, 195) Gerad Parker-Sr (6-3, 209)
Tommy Cook-Sr (6-0, 190) inj.
TE Jeremiah Drobney-Jr (6-4, 245) Eric Scott-Fr (6-5, 265)
OT Michael Aitcheson-So (6-3, 285) Ernie Pelayo-Jr (6-5, 290)
OG Jason Rollins-Sr (6-5, 285) Trai Williams-So (6-4, 280)
C Matt McCutchan-Jr (6-3, 290) Travis Slaydon-So (6-3, 270)
OG Matt Huff-Sr (6-5, 300) Cody Morehead-Fr (6-5, 300)
OT Hayden Lane-So (6-6, 280) Eric Klope-Fr (6-8, 310)
K Taylor Begley-Jr (6-0, 200) Clint Ruth-Sr (6-1, 206)



Defensive Line
Under Mike Archer's 3-4 scheme, the defensive line is pivotal to the success in the pass rush. The ends must be quick while the nose must be strong, and the returning talent fits that impression. Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns gets the press, but line mate Ellery Moore is the MVP of the group. Moore is extremely strong and has improved his versatility, prompting coaches to mix him in at DE, too. Trey Mielsch has seen spots of action, but will need to step up his play in his new starting role.

In order for the defense to be successful, this group is going to need some performances that reflect each is reaching his potential. The strength comes from inside with Anderson and Williams, the top two tacklers on the team. Anderson's strength and Williams' speed compliment each other nicely, causing complications when often switched at the line of scrimmage. It's the outside that has fans a bit worried. Fontaine is slightly undersized, posing problems during run situations in which opposing offense's stack the line. He'll compete with Joe Schuler, while Durell White steadies the other outside post. Dennis Johnson was an intriguing development this spring, and LB coach Ron McBride vows to show him the field. He claims he has the ability to make plays other LBs can't. We'll see.

Defensive Back
Three starters are back from a unit that finished 26th in the country for pass defense, which was good for sixth in the conference. All are quick, as any DB should be, but they can, too, hit exceedingly well. Mike Williams, who was held out of contact in spring drills, is the leader of the entire defense. Archer loves to utilize his aggression and speed for play along the line of scrimmage at times, creating agitation in the blocking schemes. He also has the ability to read and react to the offense. Keep an eye out for true frosh Marcus McClinton at safety. The corners are going to be the question, reflecting again the weakness of last year's group.

This should be the 'Cats strength, but a mild performance in the Blue-White game leaves us to question their intensity. Linebackers are going to have to set the tone with physical play on all areas of the field. In the 3-4, if your LBs aren't the top performers, your defense isn't likely to succeed. The front seven has the tools to make the proper adjustments in defending the run. Last year's yield of 186 yards per game will not keep them above water in the RB-talented SEC. When they can get steady play from their OLBs and corners in run support, this will force teams to throw more against them, putting the advantage in UK's court.


DE Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns


Returning Starters in bold
DE Trey Mielsch-Jr (6-3, 280) Ellery Moore-Sr (6-3, 290)
NT Lamar Mills-So (6-1, 280) Ricky Abren-Fr (6-2, 270)
DE Vincent Burns-Sr (6-2, 268) B. Jay Parsons-Jr (6-5, 245)
OLB Durrell White-So (6-3, 250) Cedric Koger-Jr (6-4, 253)
ILB Dustin Williams-Jr (6-5, 244) Justin Haydock-Sr (6-3, 232)
ILB Chad Anderson-Jr (6-2, 230) Dennis Johnson-Jr (6-0, 233)
OLB Raymond Fontaine-Jr (6-4, 217) Joe Schuler-Fr (6-3, 245)
CB Bo Smith-Jr (6-0, 185) Warren Wilson-Jr (5-11, 176)
CB Earven Flowers-Sr (5-10, 193) Antoine Huffman-Jr (6-0, 170)
SS Mike Williams-Sr (5-11, 186) Claude Sagaille-Sr (5-10, 189)
FS Muhammad Abdullah-Jr (6-0, 205) Dallas Greer-Fr (6-1, 195)
P Anthony Thornton-Sr (6-1, 202) Sevin Sucurovic-Sr (6-2, 199)




Taylor Begley had an effective freshman season, but saw his numbers slip a little last year. He improved his accuracy from within 40 yards, but still struggles from beyond. His career long at any level is 49 yards, so any fourth downs outside the 32-yard line will require a punt or conversion, partially explaining the 'Cats 21 fourth-down "go-for-it" attempts of 2003. Clint Ruth's kickoffs will continue to give opposing offenses poor starting field position.

Scott Thornton averaged 41 yards a kick and pinned nine inside the 20. His hang time has gotten better and better, giving the defense a boost.

Return Game
You can't replace a Derek Abney- or can you? UK thinks they have the next best thing in Dicky Lyons Jr. Wildcat fans may remember his daddy, (Dicky Sr.), but after a couple of touches, they may soon put memories of ole dad on the backburner. Lyons is a speedster out of the same mold as Abney, and UK coaches are already mentioning this true frosh in the mix for returning punts. Beach will be the main kick return catalyst, but a bad ankle may hand that duty to Burton, John Logan, or even (if needed) Lyons.