Coaches have said often how much a red-shirt season benefitted several Kentucky players who could be impact makers on both sides of the ball this season, players like projected starting right guard Ramsey Meyers or backup right tackle Kyle Meadows or backup left guard Nick Haynes.
Last week before one of his many meet and greets, UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown offered a look into his thinking on some of the newcomers that could help the Cats’ offense right away and others he hopes to give a little more time.
“We’d like to red-shirt all those O-linemen if we could,” Brown said of players like Jarrett LaRubbio, Josh Krok, Nick Richardson and Jervontius Stallings. “I think that’s important. We were able to do that last year and you were able to see Ramsey Meyers is a much better football player after red-shirting, sitting out and learning. Nick Hayes and a couple of those other guys also. So I think the freshmen really need that.”
“The running back and receiver on our side of the ball are the easiest to play right away,” Brown said, noting that he believes players like slot receiver Garrett Johnson could step in and help right away.
Expect one if not both of the long receivers Dorian Baker (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and Blake Bone (6-5, 198) to see playing time right away, too. “At least one of them needs to step up and play,” the offensive coordinator said.
But Brown and wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord both have said they like to play 10 or more wide receivers if possible and UK now has 11 scholarship wide outs on the roster along with a handful of walk-ons.
As for the running back spot, which appears to be well stocked this season with Jojo Kemp, transfer Braylon Heard, Josh Clemons, Brown said he expects one of the two freshmen (Mikel Horton, who enrolled early, or Stanley “Boom” Williams) to play this year as well.