Three things to watch today when Kentucky meets Miami at Commonwealth Stadium:
1. Playmakers. When Randall Cobb took an early exit from the premises, Kentucky’s playmaking ability left with him. That was three seasons ago. The Cats have struggled to find consistent home-run hitters since. A few candidates appeared in last week’s losing cause in Nashville, however. Senior running back Raymond Sanders ripped off a 49-yard run. Junior wide out Demarco Robinson snatched a 34-yard touchdown pass from Maxwell Smith and contributed punt returns of 33 and 21 yards. True freshman Ryan Timmons covered 33 quick yards on a run. The hope is we see more fireworks today.
2. Defensive shuffling. TraVaughn Paschal has been switched from backup defensive end to starting outside linebacker. True freshman Blake McClain, whom defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot has identified as one of his best 11 players, is expected to find a home. Somewhere. Mark Stoops is tweaking a defense that gave up nearly 500 yards last week to Western. Will we see improvement?
3. Maxwell Smith, of course. Smith is Kentucky’s new starting quarterback. He’s not really new, of course. Smith will make his eighth career start. Four of those came last season. Smith provided a spark in the fourth quarter last week against the Hilltoppers. Can he carry that through four quarters against Miami?
Related link: UK looks to Maxwell Smith to breathe life into Air Raid