The 2022 Kentucky Football Season Will Go Down as the Season of ‘What Ifs’

Justin Ford/Getty Images

The 2022 Kentucky Football Season Will Go Down as the Season of ‘What Ifs’

Football

The 2022 Kentucky Football Season Will Go Down as the Season of ‘What Ifs’

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Justin Ford/Getty Images

The 2022 football season is over, and it is a time for reflection. The season was undoubtedly a major disappointment for the Kentucky Wildcats, as they finished 7-5, despite preseason expectations being drastically higher. There were countless “what if” moments throughout the season, and we will go through each one in this article. 

 

1. What if Liam Coen never left Lexington?

Liam Coen was Kentucky’s offensive coordinator throughout the 2021 season. Kentucky was one of the best offenses in the SEC, averaging 32.3 points per game, and 425.2 yards per game. Kentucky also averaged almost 200 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Will Levis was utilized to his fullest with both his arm and his legs, and wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson was one of the most productive players in Kentucky history. In February 2022, it was revealed that Coen would be taking his talents to Los Angeles to rejoin the Rams as their offensive coordinator. 

The decline in offensive production under new coordinator Rich Scangarello was immediately evident. Injuries and personnel changes aside, Kentucky’s offense in 2022 was unacceptable in a modern age of college football. The Wildcats would average an SEC worst 22.1 points per game. They would gain nearly 100 yards less overall than the year prior, and the iconic Kentucky running game would be reduced to just 120 yards per game, second to last in the conference. Had Kentucky scored just a measly 25 points in every game, they would’ve finished with a 10-1 record. That is the biggest referendum on the current coordinator. 

2. What if Will Levis waited two more seconds?

In Kentucky’s massive tilt against the Ole Miss Rebels, Kentucky would have multiple chances in the fourth quarter to win the game. With 58 seconds left to play, Will Levis would drop back and throw a goal line fade to receiver Dane Key. Key would come down with it and the Wildcats were seconds away from escaping their trip to Oxford, Mississippi with a victory. However, Levis snapped the ball before everyone was set and the referee’s called an illegal motion on the play. On the very next snap, Levis would get sacked and fumble the football, resulting in a Rebel win. 

Kentucky had multiple opportunities late in the game to win, but fumbled on their last two drives in the red zone. Kentucky fans can’t help but wonder what if Levis had waited for the team to be set and the illegal motion wasn’t called? 

3.What if Levis was healthy? 

Quarterback Will Levis was a warrior for the Wildcats in 2022. He put his body on the line and played through multiple injuries when he easily could’ve packed it in and prepared for the NFL Draft. He would wind up missing only the South Carolina game, a game in which Kentucky probably wins handily if he suits up. He was noticeably hobbled in every game since. 

 

It was most notable in the quarterback run game where in 2021, Levis thrived in designed quarterback runs and scrambles. He tallied 376 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground in 2021. He would take on linebackers and defensive backs in the second level and would often carry them to first downs and long gains. It was a significant part of the Kentucky offense that was missing in 2022.

Rich Scangarello had stated before the season that he was, albeit naively, going to limit the quarterback running game despite it being such a large chunk of the offense. It all but disappeared once Levis injured his foot and that was that. 

 

There were other significant injuries that took place throughout the season and other obstacles that prevented Kentucky from reaching their goals in 2022. Ultimately, the season could be boiled down to these major “what ifs”. 

Kentucky is currently awaiting their bowl location. When it is revealed, you can read all about it at TWSN.

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