Redshirt freshman David Wohlabaugh Jr. earned his first career college start to begin the 2022 season. The Kentucky Wildcats’ offensive lineman took over the important role of left tackle, tasked with protecting QB Will Levis’ blindside.
However, his debut in the trenches didn’t play out as hoped. Levis was sacked four times in the opener against Miami (OH), which was a 37-13 win for the ‘Cats. Wohlabaugh was only a piece of a wider issue that surrounds the offensive line, but individually he looked the part of an inexperienced youngster.
He was then bumped off the starting line for the win over Florida and became the second-string right tackle behind Jeremy Flax. Wohlabaugh was once again listed as the backup ahead of Kentucky’s 31-0 shutout win over Youngstown State over the weekend but was able to find the field in the midst of the blowout after Flax went down with a minor injury.
Despite only playing 11 snaps, Wohlabaugh graded out with the second-highest Pro Football Focus (PFF) score among all Wildcats at 80.2. The Ohio native could have easily buried his head into the ground after a rough opener, but that hasn’t been his mindset by any means. The move back to right tackle was a big boost for his confidence.
“I have a lot of confidence in David and as I mentioned we threw David in at left (tackle) in the opener and he’s probably more comfortable at right,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said on Monday during his weekly call-in show. “He’s moving his way back up and practicing hard and playing hard and I would expect nothing less from David. In the opener, he did well but there’s things that I expect more out of him and our offensive line in general. Just the way they attack it and strain and play with pad level and all the things we’ve been known for, we gotta continue to improve on.”
The offensive line — and by extension a lack of blocking from wide receivers — has been critiqued plenty through the first three games, by both the fan base and Coach Stoops himself. Wohlabaugh is hardly the only member of the Big Blue Wall who has needed additional time to hit a groove. He appears to be finding it, though.