- Edward Aschoff, College Football
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The first year under Mark Stoops was a rough one for the Wildcats, who didn't have much to celebrate in 2013:
With quarterbacks Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow switching in and out for most of the year, there was never really much rhythm with Kentucky's offense. The Wildcats ranked in the bottom half of the SEC in total offense (341.3), scoring (20.5), passing (193.4) and rushing (147.9). Running backs Jojo Kemp and Raymond Sanders both rushed for more than 400 yards, but failed to rush for more than 42 yards per game. The Wildcats scored 30-plus points just twice in 2013.
Stoops prides himself on being a defensive mind, but like offense, the Wildcats ranked in the bottom half of the league in all major defensive categories, including ranking 13th in scoring (31.2) and total defense (427.2). Kentucky surrendered 36.4 points per game in conference play. Kentucky was also last in the league on third downs, allowing opponents to convert 44.7 percent of the time. Defensive linemen Alvin Dupree and Za’Darius Smith combined for 13 sacks, while linebacker Avery Williamson ranked sixth in the league with 102 tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
Kicker Joe Mansour was Kentucky's leading scoring, connecting on 12 of 14 (85.7) field goals and 28 of 30 extra points, while punter Landon Foster averaged 41.3 yards per punt, had a long of 59 yards, sent seven 50-plus yards and downed 15 inside the 20-yard line. Kentucky ranked within the top half of the league against punt and kick returns, while Demarco Robinson ranked third in the league on punt returns (12.7 yards per return).
Stoops certainly wasn't thrilled with the fact that he went 2-10 on the season and 0-8 in conference play, but his team didn't quit. At the end of the day, Stoops was working from behind in his first year in ever aspect. There were no true playmakers on offense, and the defense had holes at linebacker and in the secondary. It didn't help that there was so much inconsistency at quarterback, but the hope is that Stoops' current recruiting class helps both sides of the ball. Considering the circumstances, it's tough to give a first-year coach like Stoops a failing grade for all the adversity this program faced in his first year.
The first year under Mark Stoops was a rough one for the Wildcats, who didn't have much to celebrate in 2013:OFFENSE: FWith quarterbacks Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow switching in and out for most of the year, there was never really much rhythm with Kentucky's offense.