As the sports editor of the Miami Student, I’m really not an expert on anything, especially Kentucky Wildcats football. So I found one. Here’s what Kentucky Kernel sports editor Cole Parke had to say about the No. 20 Wildcats.
JS: What are a couple of storylines Wildcat fans are talking about coming into this year?
CP: Oh where to even start?
First, the football program was granted significant renovations to the indoor practice facility and Kroger Field video boards. In agreeing to these facility upgrades, Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart caught the ire of men's basketball coach John Calipari when his men's basketball facility was not quite up to the standards one would expect a program like University of Kentucky (UK) to have.
Press conferences were held, not-so-subtle jabs were thrown, it was a whole thing.
Besides just the drama it created, both programs now face immense pressure to succeed or else face the scorn and mockery of many of their own fans who picked one side or the other.
Beyond that, UK running back Chris Rodrigues Jr. is suspended for the first three games of the season after getting busted for DUI over the summer, as well as another legal issue that UK has not gone public with.
With Rodrigues gone it will be interesting to see how the run game does and if the claimed confidence (Kentucky head coach Mark) Stoops and Co. have in their backup RBs is warranted.
Those don't even touch on the pre-season hype surrounding starting quarterback Will Levis as a prospect and what he could accomplish, either. UK football has quite a few storylines ongoing at the moment.
JS: Are there any trap game whispers going through Lexington right now?
CP: Not really, truthfully.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
I would say most people on and around campus are feeling fairly confident about Miami, but most were confident before Chattanooga last season as well and that didn't quite go UK's way with the Cats barely escaping 28-23.
In fact, the fans and supporters themselves may be the ones falling into the trap more than any of the actual coaches or athletes, though how much of that is standard coach speak like 'we treat every game the same way' and how much of it is truthful is to be determined.
I have heard quite a few rumblings that Miami's MAC rival, or brethren depending on how much conference-ism you're feeling, Northern Illinois could be a trap game, but with a road game in The Swamp in week two, Miami could have just as much trap-game potential as the Huskies even if Wildcat fans don't see that, especially with Gabbert under center for the RedHawks.
JS: What can we expect from Penn State transfer Will Levis?
CP: Levis was a sight for sore eyes for Kentucky fans last season with the Cats struggling to find a real reliable passing and rushing quarterback in years prior. The only real concern many had with Levis last season was his turnover ratio, which he himself admitted was something he was determined to work on in the offseason.
He also puts mayonnaise in his coffee on social media, so I expect him to, once again, disappoint people on TikTok when he inevitably goes viral for doing it again.
JS: Which players should RedHawk fans keep an eye out for, whether it be because of NFL potential, a cool storyline or anything else?
CP: For me personally, one of the more interesting athletes to follow will be Tayvion Robinson, a transfer wide receiver from Virginia Tech. Having chosen UK in the portal, Robinson is expected by many to fill the role former Mr. Kentucky Football Wan'Dale Robinson had last season.
Wan'Dale's efforts were enough to see him be drafted in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, having made numerous highlight plays throughout a season that ended in a Vrbo Citrus Bowl victory over Iowa.
With both players having transferred to Kentucky from fellow power-five schools and having the last name Robinson, it will be interesting to see if Tayvion can fill Wan'Dale's shoes and help lead UK to another 10-win season.