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  • VAUGHT: Big expectations for Kentucky Offensive Line

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    How does Kentucky replace Bunchy Stallings and George Asafo-Adjei in the offensive line? Both were not only big and strong, but also experienced and durable/

    Offensive line coach John Schlarman told me before preseason practice starter that he really had big expectations for 6-6, 305-pound junior Luke Fortner who has been waiting for his chance to be a starter.

    "He has been around here and played, but he has not been thrust into that starting role. I think he is a guy competing as a guard to show what he can," Schlarman said.

    Who else?

    "Darrin Kinnard is a guy who can do a lot. Nassir Watkins is also," Schlarman said. "They have to step up and play more reps. Then at guard you have Luke and Mason Wolfe.

    "The great thing about all four is that they have all been here. You are not talking about a guy who is coming in as a freshman or junior college guy who has not played in games on Saturdays for us. The main thing about all four of those guys, I think everyone played at least 250 snaps in a 10-win season last year even though they didnít start."

    Let that soak in. Four backup offensive linemen from last year played more than 250 snaps each due to Schlarman's belief in rotating offensive linemen not only to build depth but also to keep starters fresh.

    "Thatís the benefit of playing guys and rotating guys and giving them an opportunity even if they are not a starter. Now when you lose a guy, itís not like you are putting a guy into action who has no game action under his belt," Schlarman said.

    "You are putting in guys who have helped us win games already. Those four guys all come to mind. Mason and Luke on the inside and Nassir and Darrin on the outside are four guys who have to amp up what they do and I think they all can."