Louisville Cardinals Preview 2006 - Cardinal Defense
Wide Receiver production will be key
The Cats lost team leader and strong possession receiver in Tommy Cook, as well as a super quick playmaker Glen Holt. All that remains that produced much of anything is Junior Keenan Burton, who was dominant the first two games until a broken foot slowed his production for most of the season. Kentucky must find someone to stretch the field and take the pressure off Mr. Everything Rafael Little if it wants to go bowling. If Burton can stay healthy, he should be one of the best in the SEC, but Brooks must find a few counterparts to go with him to keep the defense from game planning around one player. Here is a look at some candidates to emerge as top targets this season.
DeMoreo Ford 5'10 189 SO Lagrange, GA
Ford is a physical receiver who loves contact and is a very good blocker on the edge. He hails from the Lagrange, GA pipeline that UK has built recently and was a former team mate with stand out linebackers Braxton Kelley and Wesley Woodyard. After a very nice spring, Ford could be ready to be the playmaker UK is looking for. Consistency will be they key to Ford's future this season.
John Logan 6'0 189 JR Lexington, KY
Speaking of consistency, Logan has had none of it during his career at UK. A burner who has been timed at under 4.4 in the 40 yard dash numerous times, Logan has never been able to break through and become the eye opening receiver everyone thought he could be when he first signed with UK. A junior this season, it is now or never for Logan if he wants to break into the rotation.
Dicky Lyons Jr. 5'11 190 SO New Orleans, LA
Let's just get use to the word consistency, because as much as John Logan has strived to find it, Dicky Lyons is not far behind him. Lyons showed signs as a true freshman as a quality receiver and return specialist, however a shoulder injury ended his season early. Lyons was then redshirted last season after suffering another injury. Then Lyons was suspended, and has been up and down since returning to the team. Like Logan, his chances are running out, and must make a move soon if he wants to contribute.
Steve Johnson 6'3 198 JR San Francisco, CA
Brooks and staff went the juco route for Johnson seeking immediate help with the departing seniors exiting the WR position. Johnson is a big, physical target who can go up high to receive the ball as well as block extremely well in space. He will contribute right away if he can pick up the offensive scheme. Kentucky is due for a juco recruit to pan out much like the way Aaron Boone did during the Guy Morris era. What better time than now?
Terrance Jones 6'2 183 FR Atlanta, GA
My pick for the sleeper of the freshman class, Jones played in a run based offense yet still shined with 21 catches for 532 yards and three touchdowns. Another tall receiver added to the mix that can play right away, again, if he can pick up the offensive scheme. If Lyons and Logan don't show signs of improvement early on, look for Jones to burst onto the scene in a big way.
If the Cats can find two or three consistent targets other than Burton, and Little can find a way to have another magical season rushing, UK could find itself in the upper echelon of the league in offensive statistics.
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