Derrick Locke Must Stay Healthy for Kentucky Wildcats To Be Competitve

Corey TaylorCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2010

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 21:  Derrick Locke #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There is not just one word that describes how much Derrick Locke means to the Kentucky Wildcats. He is a very elusive back with great vision. Coming out of high school he was an amazing talent on the football field as well as on the track.

LSU passed on Locke because they 1) Thought he was too small and 2) He did not just want to play football—he wanted to run as well.

Rich Brooks and Kentucky allowed Locke to do both.  Ever since Locke has suited up for Kentucky he has been a delight to watch. His blazing speed in the backfield is something that every coach wishes they had.

In Derrick Locke's second game of his career he tallied 75 yards rushing on just five carries and scored a touchdown. Fast forward through the next three season's and you have a player that only has 1,731 career rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.

Those number would have been much better if Locke had not missed five games in 2008 due to injuries. Injuries have plagued this 5'9" tailback's career which has hurt the Wildcats in return.

This season the Wildcats and Locke will be hoping for a healthy season. They will need Locke to help take on the grueling SEC schedule. 

Last season Locke only missed one game and was a major contributor out of the backfield.  He rushed 195 times for 907 yards and six touchdowns.  This helped to take some of the pressure off then freshman quarterback Morgan Newton.

With Locke in the backfield it gives whatever quarterback Joker Phillips decides to go with a little more confidence and helps to relax them.

Locke's speed is a huge threat for most teams. He has breakaway capabilities and if he is able to shed a tackle or two and can get into the open field he will cause problems for any defense in the country.

What the Wildcats cannot afford is another season like the one in 2008.  If Locke misses games this season the Kentucky offense will take a tremendous hit because they are not as deep at the tailback position as they have been in the past. 

Without Locke it will likely create more problems for the quarterback and Kentucky cannot afford to have any more pressure than there already is on their quarterbacks.

Locke is a special talent and is very exciting to watch. He can dictate the flow of a game on his own and is essential to the Wildcats success heading into the 2010 season. 

Injuries are never a good thing for a team but the two players Kentucky cannot afford to lose for any games are Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb. Those two players are irreplaceable and with them playing anything is possible for the Wildcats in 2010.