Oct 24, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Kentucky Wildcats helmet during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs win the game against Kentucky Wildcats 28-22. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

SEC East Previews: Q&A with Wildcat Blue Nation

Paul Jordan from our sister site on FanSided, Wildcat Blue Nation, was kind enough to answer some questions about the Kentucky football team…

1. The annual rivalry game with Louisville has been moved to the end of the year. What was the reasoning for that and are Kentucky fans happy about it?

Well this game used to be the first game of the year and a kickoff to the season but gradually got away from that. I think that it was moved to keep with the trend of all the big rivalry games being played around the Thanksgiving weekend.

I personally love it, but as with any move there will be fan grumbling. Kentucky has a lot of young talent and we should be at our best at the end of this year. Plus you throw in the prospect of possibly having to beat UL to make a bowl game and that makes it even more intense.

The only drawback is with the Kentucky and Tennessee scheduling. They are on the same “home and away” schedule so it is boom or bust every year at the end of the schedule. This year we are on the road for both games. Remember in basketball, we dropped UNC for one year to reverse that trend and put them on a different home and away schedule. Can’t really do that in football, but I’m still for the move.

2. MSU once only won 17 games in six seasons during the ’00s so we can more than sympathize with what y’all are going through. Do you believe Mark Stoops will get the program back on track?

Certainly. Stoops will bring in the three highest ranked recruiting classes in Kentucky history and all of that talent will pay off, more likely in 2015 rather than 2014, but Kentucky fans realize this. Along with the recruiting, the rest of the University has caught on to the buzz and Commonwealth Stadium is in the midst of renovation as are the training facilities.. I expect Stoops to not only return UK to the level that Rich Brooks had us in but to exceed that.

3. With 15 returning starters in offense and defense combined, what is the strength and weakness of this team?

On offense, the running game will be a strength. Jojo Kemp returns and has some solid talent joining him. Look for the WR corps to be upgraded as Javess Blue will improve on his numbers. The defensive line is solid with Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith poised for huge seasons and the secondary will be more solidified.

There are questions at the QB position as well as the LB corps. Those are probably the bigger questions as well as possibly the OL.

4. Is there anyone from UK’s top notch 2014 recruiting class expected to make an impact this fall?

Several. Let’s start with Drew Barker at QB, although I think Patrick Towles will win the job. If Towles falters, Barker should be ready. Staying on offense, transfer RB Braylon Heard (from Nebraska) will see a lot of carries and I think Dorian Baker or Blake Bone could be an impact at WR. Also I’m intrigued about Matt Elam. Remember Stoops beat Saban for him near NSD. Mike Edwards can shore up the DB corps and Ryan Flannigan will do likewise at LB. There is a lot of help with this class.

5. Dan Mullen has had the Wildcats number going 5-0, and UK has accounted for over 30% of his SEC wins. Most of the games have been close, however, so do you lean towards the streak ending this year or it being extended?

Most of the games have been one score or less and UK always seems to defeat itself more in these matchups. I like the timing this year as UK should be 3-3 in this game or possibly 4-2 if we can win at Vandy. Either way, Commonwealth will be rocking and a very tough place to play. Seeing that Mississippi State may be one of the best chances for a win the last half of the season, I like our chances. You will be facing a fired up team and it won’t be easy.

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