The Mountain Eagle
Whitesburg KY

Cobb winning over teammates at UK


Braxton Kelley knew he was looking into the future.

Before the start of Kentucky’s season, the senior linebacker was watching the freshman class practice and saw something special in wide-eyed quarterback Randall Cobb.

On the practice field catching passes, making tackles or taking the occasional snap at quarterback, Kelley said Cobb went through every play with full intensity.

“I said, ‘Man, what I see from you out here now, you’ll be a real special player,'” Kelley said. “I told him, ‘When you have the ball in your hands you’re the guy to watch.'”

It certainly was difficult to take your eyes off Cobb during Kentucky’s 42-38 loss to Georgia last weekend.

In sparking what has been a lethargic Wildcat attack, the freshman brought the offense to life with 187 total yards and three touchdowns. In just his second start as quarterback, Cobb sliced through a Georgia rushing defense ranked second in the Southeastern Conference and helped the Wildcats roll up 226 total rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, the most scored by Kentucky in league play this season.

Cobb was also able to drive the offense to the most first downs it’s had in conference play this year.

“He’s been the leader out there,” said running back Alfonso Smith. “He’s been sparking play after play. If a play breaks down he just takes off running for a first down. That just gives everyone else confidence and takes pressure off everyone and makes us play more relaxed.”

Coach Rich Brooks said Cobb’s play has helped Kentucky overcome its offensive woes. Brooks retooled the offense while switching from Mike Hartline to Cobb and the freshman has repaid his coach’s confidence with the kind of exciting play the Wildcats lacked much of the year.

“If you’re not throwing and catching, you got to do something else to help win games, and that’s what we’re doing now,” Brooks said. “This offense has taken a little bit of a turn, and obviously Randall has provided us a different kind of way to move the football. We will continue to do that.”

Cobb will again take the reins for Kentucky (6-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) against Vanderbilt (5-4, 3-3) this Saturday.

Brooks said he expects the game against the Commodores to be like two starving dogs battling over scraps. Kentucky looks to cement its bowl status while Vanderbilt will try to snap a fourgame losing streak that has taken the steam out of a 5-0 start.

“I would call it a do-or-die game,” said defensive end Jeremy Jarmon. “They’re going to come out fired up. We have to match their intensity. This game is pretty much going to determine the future of our team.”

Kentucky has thwarted Vanderbilt’s postseason run the last two years, using wins against the Commodores to either become bowl eligible or improve their prospects.

Despite the tough loss to Georgia, Smith said Kentucky is ready to bounce back.

“I think the whole offense is very, very confident, even after that loss (to Georgia),” Smith said. “If we can get all the pieces of the puzzle together, with defense and special teams added to our new offense, I think we could be great.”

Cornerback Trevard Lindley is questionable for Saturday’s game with tendonitis. Junior receiver DeMoreo Ford has given up football after recently receiving his eighth concussion at Kentucky. Receiver Kyrus Lanxter (shoulder), defensive tackle Myron Pryor (ankle) and linebacker Micah Johnson (flu) are questionable.

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