Midseason report: Kentucky


Record: 1-6 (0-4 SEC)

Not much has gone right for Joker Phillips and his Wildcats this season. The injury bug has hit this team hard, as major players on both sides of the ball have missed time this season. The biggest hit was starting quarterback Maxwell Smith, who had been playing very well until he suffered a shoulder injury. Right after he came back from his shoulder issue, Smith quickly injured his ankle and is out indefinitely. The Wildcats are missing a chunk of their starting secondary because of injury, lost starting running back CoShik Williams for the season, and Josh Clemons, who might be the most talented running back, has been out all season with a knee injury.

The injuries have crushed this team, and overall, things have just been ugly to watch in Lexington. A significantly younger defense has been gashed all season. Kentucky is 11th or worse in the SEC in four major defensive categories, including being last in scoring defense (32.9). And the offense hasn’t really helped out, as it’s last in rushing, 13th in scoring and total offense, and 11th in passing.

Phillips has had to use three quarterbacks this season, with two -- Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles -- being true freshmen. He’s now down to just Whitlow after Towles went down with an ankle injury.

These Cats really are black and blue, and seem sure to miss the postseason for the second straight year.

Offensive MVP: Receiver La'Rod King: Even with the injuries at quarterback, King has had a good start to the season. He has 31 receptions for 351 yards and four touchdowns. Phillips has been searching for other playmakers, but he’s been able to rely on King to step up in games.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Avery Williamson: The Wildcats have been looking for someone to replace Danny Trevathan and his production, and Williamson has done his best to do that. He’s second in the SEC in tackles (68) and has been able to make plays all over for the Wildcats. He also has an interception, has forced a fumble and recovered one.