By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky quarterback Dusty Bonner knows quarterback Will Levis will miss 2021 leading receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, especially in SEC games like the one Saturday night at Florida.
“Will has the arm strength so that if you just have one receiver that is a deep threat, you have to respect him,” Bonner said. “As long as you have got a guy who can stretch the field and the defense has to commit two men to cover that because Will can throw the ball 80 yards. Wan’Dale was electric and awesome but if you get two or three guys who can stretch the field, that’s even better.”
Kentucky showed it had two players – Tayvion Robinson and Barion Brown – who can stretch the field in the win over Miami of Ohio as Robinson had six catches for 136 yards and Brown four for 45 along with a 100-yard kickoff return.
Bonner mentioned how former UK quarterback Andre Woodson had Jacob Tamme, Keenan Burton, Dicky Lyons and Stevie Johnson all as big-time receiving threats and defenses had trouble stopping Kentucky’s offense.
“That’s kind of what we did in the Air Raid. Throw a bunch of great receivers out there. If you have a speed guy on the left and a speed guy on the right, it opens up a lot of things. Then use the tight ends we have and the defenses have to make some tough choices about how to cover.”
Burton thinks a diversified passing attack is key to beating Florida. He says Levis has a strong enough arm to throw deep off play-action, something not every quarterback has the arm strength to do.
“Part of it still is Will has got to make the right reads and throw to who is not covered,” Bonner said. “I do think having tight ends heavily involved makes everything so much easier for a quarterback because there is so much room in the middle of the field and I think to beat a team like Florida, Kentucky needs to take advantage of mismatches it can create with the tight ends.”
Kentucky tight ends had three catches – two by Jordan Dingle and a TD catch by Brenden Bates – against Miami.
Offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello admitted after the game he didn’t show everything the Cats can do offensively.
“We are going to be a physical running football team. I think we held back tonight. I am not going to lie. I want to be smart with what we put on tape (for Florida to see) as well,” Scangarello said.