(Ed. Note: The Emmys were last night, and the Funkhouser crew was unhand to soak →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:15 am
One of the oddest stories to come out of last weekend was that Coach Cal’s Comedy Mania Benefit Concert. Cal is bringing Bill Engvall, Sinbad, Henry Cho, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Ted Dibiase, Patrick Dopson, and illusionist Curt Anderson to Rupp Arena on November 20 for a night of laughs for charity. Cal is hosting the event, which is hilarious in its own right. I have a feeling he’s working on a bit about tupperware as we speak.
A presale for tickets started this morning, and because we love you and the concept of Cal hosting a comedy show so much, we’re sharing it with you. To buy tickets, which range from $35 to $75, head on over to Ticketmaster and enter the offer code FUNNY. And enjoy this promo from Coach Cal:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:55 am
The guys are still in New York covering the US Open for Tennis Channel, and last night, got to attend the movie premiere for Tennis Channel’s documentary about Arthur Ashe. Because they didn’t pack properly, Drew may have showed up wearing something like that. Get ready to hear tales from the premiere, along with the latest basketball recruiting tidbits and Stoops’ comments leading up to Saturday’s opener against UT-Martin. Also, who is this John Ramsey guy?
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
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By Bryan the Intern on ©9:00 am
So, what will it take for Kentucky to avoid a complete meltdown loss to UT-Martin on Saturday? The obvious answer is scoring more points than their opponent. DUH. But if you want to break it down more than that, the simple answer to defeat a 1-AA opponent is on one side of the ball: OFFENSE. Look at the previous 6 times that UT-Martin has played a D-1A school over the last 4 years. What you will find is that the Skyhawks are unlikely to score many points on Saturday.
at Boise State: L 63-14
at Memphis: L 21-6
at Memphis: W 20-17
at Northern Illinois: L 35-7
at Mississippi State: L 55-17
at Tennessee: L 50-0
Only once did UT-Martin break 20 points in a game and they averaged 10.2 ppg overall in those 6 games. Add in to that those 6 opponents were not exactly world beaters and you understand that UK should be able to handle them this weekend. WITH THAT SAID, let’s not forget that just 2 years ago UT-Martin actually pulled off an upset over Memphis, winning 20-17. You might say that Memphis is an embarrassment but I would counter that we are 4-20 over the last 2 years, so right now we are more like Memphis than anybody else in the SEC.
I know I called UT-Martin a cupcake earlier this week but the reality is that UK CAN LOSE THIS GAME. And that Memphis result 2 years ago proves it. Kentucky must take care of the ball first and foremost. Memphis turned the ball over 3 times in that game, including a fumbled punt return with under a minute to go that led to the game winning field goal. They also did not control the ball, allowing the Skyhawks to win the time of possession. Add to that Memphis gave up 185 yards of rushing and you have the triumvirate to allow an upset to happen.
I fully expect Kentucky to win on Saturday. In fact, I would set the spread at -28 for the Cats. But be aware if UK has any kind of the same performance they had last year against WKU, UT-Martin could very well pull off the upset. For reference how UT-Martin pulled off the Memphis upset, here were the highlights from that game.
By Nick Roush on ©11:00 pm
Part of our job at KSR is introducing the BBN to the best of Kentucky culture. When hoping to find a song to trump “Teach me bout Kentucky” and “Big Blue Fan in the Morning” (Sorry Kentucky Joe), I found out that my young mind had much more to learn about the Blue Moon of Kentucky.
I first discovered the local music scene when I met a long-lost cousin at a family reunion that was a actually a pretty big deal. Justin Paul Lewis has toured around the region and recently recorded an album with Lexington cellist Ben Sollee. After watching one show, I was hooked. Last month at Waterfront Wednesday in Louisville, Sollee invited Lewis and Louisville band Houndmouth to the stage to perform “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”
Kentucky people making Kentucky music is a sight that will make you proud, but the song’s past has a prouder history. Originally written by Bill Monroe in 1946 with the Bluegrass Boys (who would later branch off to be the Soggy Mountain Boys, inspiration to O Brother Where Art Thou‘s Soggy Bottom Boys), “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was side B of Elvis Presley’s first recorded single. The song also touched pop culture in the 80s, with John Candy and Steve Martin singing a rendition in the iconic Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It is the official bluegrass song of Kentucky.
Kentucky’s Blue Moon has shined in American pop culture throughout the decades and Kentuckians will ensure that it will keep on shinin’ til the rooster crows.
The football team is feeling good
There’s a lot more jokes being cracked after practice this year. It helps when your team is starting to figure things out. The offense had a great 2-minute drill to get the game week momentum going. Wide receivers aren’t dropping passes like it’s hot, thanks to a tennis ball machine that pumps em out almost too fast. Most importantly, the excitement of the preseason has tempered into game week preparations.
Neal Brown sounded comfortable with his young offense, a completely different story than last season, “I think we’re in a good place. (It’s a) Simple game plan. Go out and try to play fast, execute. I’m excited to see how some of these guys — especially the guys that are going to make their first showing in Commonwealth — how they’re going to perform.”
Be thankful Bud is in Blue
In an interview with Larry Vaught, Bud revealed that he was VERY close to transferring after Joker Phillips asked Bud to switch from tight end to defense. A highly touted defensive prospect, Bud turned down big name SEC schools so he could play offense at Kentucky. When they asked him to switch, he called his mother and told her her was transferring. Luckily the staff was willing to negotiate with Bud, “‘Can I get No. 2?’ So they gave me No. 2 and I was okay with it. But it was getting the number that kept me here.”
Wildcats vs. Bearcats Coming Soon?
We had heard earlier in the summer of rumblings with a game against Cincinnati. It appears to be more than just rumblings with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tom Groeschen reporting that the two sides are officially meeting to discuss a home-and-home series.
Kentucky has already made Ohio a home for recruiting, why not call it home for one win?
If you haven’t had enough chances, you can help pick Commonwealth Stadium music
I think the people at UK heard our complaints about the music. First you got the chance to pick when “My Ole Kentucky Home” was played, then it was the song before kickoff, now it’s the music during the game. With options in rock, hip-hop, country and pop, there’s a choice for everyone. Click here to cast your vote.
Anthony Davis leads Team USA in another blowout victory
The last of the World Cup warmups was a breeze for the Red, White, and Blue, cruising to a 101-71 win. DeMarcus Cousins had a ferocious dunk, finishing with 6 points and 4 rebounds.
Anthony Davis once again played the role of Captain America, scoring a team-high 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. The Brow just makes basketball look easy.
Cal tells Seth Greenburg that fate kept him at Kentucky
In a series of interviews during the Fantasy Camp, Calipari was once again asked about the Cavaliers’ job. His response this time was better than any before:
“Fate intervened for me,” Calipari said. “Whatever happened after the season with any teams, at the end of the day, this is where I wanted to be. And you know a big part of it is we had four guys stay, and they didn’t have the chance to say ‘well if you leave, we’ll leave.’ No, you already made a decision to stay. So that weighed on me more than anything else.”
From the BBN, thank you “fate.”
By Andrew Cassady on ©10:00 pm
You can’t get a clean look at him but that guy knocking the ball out of the hands of Boise State’s quarterback is none other than Tony Bell. The UT-Martin Skyhawks player that our own Mark Stoops compared to Bud Dupree. Here’s what Stoops had to say yesterday about the linebacker that will be coming to Lexington this Saturday:
“They have a great defensive player, No. 40, the linebacker, an exceptional player. He’s a really good football player,” Stoops said of Bell. “He can play anywhere in the country. Really like the way he plays [...] he’s a great pass‑rusher as well. Like Bud in that area. Bud is an outside backer, obviously much bigger. But he’s like Bud in that he’s comfortable on his feet, got great instincts, he’s an extremely good pass‑rusher. He’s a mismatch for some people on the edge.”
With Darrin Miller now out the O-Line is going to have their hands full finding a way to keep Bell contained. Redshirt freshman Kyle Meadows will surely be tested early and often against a player that has skills beyond your average FCS competitor. Last season UT-Martin’s talented linebacker forced and recovered three fumbles, recorded 10.5 sacks, and tallied 80 total tackles en route to being named an all-American by the Associated Press, College Sports Madness, Beyond Sports Network and Phil Steele himself.
Against Boise State last season Bell racked up 5 tackles for loss and forced the fumble that is pictured above. Against Memphis he was a tackling machine. One of the major goals of this game is allowing Patrick Towles to get into rhythm with his receivers and build confidence for the rest of the year. He can’t do that if Bell is able to pester him and his newly sped-up release.
For 2014, Tony Bell has been named to the Buck Buchanan watch list which is awarded to the best defensive player in FCS. If he can have a big game against the Wildcats then he could launch himself to an early favorite for the award. Our young O-line needs to make sure that doesn’t happen. If Swindle and Meadows can’t keep Towles upright this Saturday then we could have some big problems when we get into SEC play.
Do you think the Cats will have any problems with UT-Martins star?
By Nick Roush on ©9:00 pm
The long wait for football season is almost here (finally!). After stockpiling prospects and hitting the weight room, the BBN is anxious to see the improvements firsthand. But how much improvement can you see when playing against an FCS opponent? The Cats are going to win Saturday. I don’t care how many returning offensive linemen they have (4) or how few sacks they gave up last year (best in their conference), the front seven will overpower UT-Martin and the secondary’s superior athleticism will make their job an easy one.
The only thing I care about how many points the Cats put on the board. With a new quarterback and tons of young talent at wide receiver, the biggest question marks for this team are on offense. Last year Boise State dropped 63 on the Skyhawks; Murray State wasn’t far off with 45 points scored.
If the Cats can’t break 50 I’ll be disappointed, but if they do this is what you’ll see (or at least what I hope you’ll see):
1. Towles gets the tempo going. Just like every other UK football fan, I’m ready to see Neal Brown’s Air Raid. Last year Brown was forced to play with the hand he was dealt. This year he has a quarterback that can make the tough throws and enough depth at receiver to keep legs fresh. With all of the tools in place, it’s Towles time to get the team moving. The first play of the drive is most critical, but once Towles finds some rhythm I expect to watch the Cats move down the field for at least three effortless, and very fast scoring drives. The uptempo drives can happen in as quick as two minutes. I’ve seen Towles get into the zone during uptempo drills in practice, now it’s time to do it in front of a crowd.
2. Manageable 3rd downs. Last year Kentucky was pretty bad on 3rd down. 31% doesn’t reflect the loss of hope from fans on every 3rd down play of 5 yards or more. For Brown, the 3rd down problem was more of a 1st down problem, setting the team up for failure because of poor execution or stupid penalties. With a plethora of running backs and the addition of speedy open-field playmakers at wide receiver, there shouldn’t be many negative plays early in possessions. 3rd downs will not be so heartwrenching this Saturday.
3. Winning the turnover battle. It’s hard to score 50 points if you’re turning the ball over. The best thing Pat Towles can do to secure his job is to play turnover free. Last year Kentucky had an even turnover margin, but Stoops’ defenses operate in the positive. After only 3 interceptions last year, I expect big plays from the secondary to give the offense some easy scoring opportunities. I can take away my focus on the offense for some defensive takeaways.
4. Execution. It’s a simple instruction that every coach preaches, but culminating everything learned in the offseason onto the field is much easier said than done. The new guys bring a playmaking punch that will get fans off their feet, but Neal Brown is more concerned about the routine plays. “A simple gameplan, we’re going to go out and try to play fast, execute,” Brown said today. Too many times last year was momentum stalled because of a dropped pass or a pre-snap gaffe that resulted in a busted play. Mistakes will happen, but for the Cats to make a lasting impression there needs to be consistent good football plays by all 11 on the field.
After watching four practices, there is no denying how much more talent is on the roster than year’s prior. You couldn’t watch a practice without seeing glimpses of awesomeness –Pat Towles rifling one home on a play-action pass, Blake Bone skying over a defender for a deep catch, Boom Williams toeing the sideline for an extra 10 yards. Neal Brown’s ultimate challenge is turning those glimpses into long-lasting images.
I want to see 50 points this Saturday, but regardless of the scoreboard the BBN will have a much clearer picture of what to expect from the offense in 2014.
By Matt Jones on ©8:00 pm
We are in New York City playing around with the tennis folks while back in Kentucky it seems as if virtually nothing is going on. That is good, as this week before the first football game tends to be the calm before the storm. Calipari and his team are taking a breather after the last few whirlwind weeks and even recruiting is on a bit of a lull. So for now, we go with the little news that has taken place:
— As I said the other night, I really think UK’s stance with Jaylen Brown has improved and they will have a very good shot in the long haul. Along with Brown, I expect you will see an increased pursuit of a couple of big men in the next two weeks, Caleb Swanigan and Skal Labissiare. Kentucky has wanted both guys for a long time, but the Cats believe these guys had a great summer and you may see a bit of a full court press on both players. Skal is the more polished and Kentucky is likely one of the top two with Memphis for his services. We all know it is hard to get a kid from there to pass up the Tigers, but Calipari has a lot to sell and I could see this heating up quickly for a player that some REALLY love. Swanigan was the best of the 2015 bigs this summer at the Peach Jam, if you talk about performance in that weekend only. He wasn’t that good before and he hasn’t been that good since, but a great weekend in the biggest event of the year turns heads. Kentucky liked him a lot (and fell for him while watching another big target Chieck Diallo) and would love to get in on his selection. Michigan State, Indiana and other schools have been involved for a while so we will likely find out in the next couple of weeks if Kentucky is making the necessary moves to get to the forefront of his recruitment.
— Hated to hear about the injury to Devante Parker. He is a kid who probably should have gone to the Draft and his decision to return was always dangerous. He will miss 6-8 weeks, causing some problems for the Cards early, but likely giving them a big weapon by the UK game. I always want the Cards to struggle, but I never root for injuries, so the Parker news was disappointing.
— Speaking of the Cards, I was told by some folks in Kentucky this week that UL is “grooming the UL version of Matt Jones” to take on Kentucky and Calipari. I find this notion laughable, but the name is apparently John Ramsey, a former tv and radio guy in Louisville. I know very little about John except he is remarkably tan and has muscles that are too large for a man his age. I haven’t listened to him yet, but I will almost guarantee failure at this endeavor. Being the “Matt Jones” of UL is a silly enterprise as the fan bases are not the same. Kentucky’s is bigger and more passionate and the statewide area makes creating this tide of momentum much easier. Plus, while it often looks like we don’t know what we are doing (and we sometimes don’t), there is a method to our madness and the idea that you can just recreate it, especially with a 20 year media veteran is silly. Going after Louisville is easy…you have Jurich, Pitino and Petrino giving us endless rounds of material on a daily basis. But trying to replicate what we do, especially with an individual who has neither the intelligence, fan standing or personality to be up to the task, will be a laughable failure and should be fun to watch on our end.
— There is so much to watch for in Kentucky’s first game on Saturday, but one of my main interests is seeing what WR Dorian Baker finally looks like on the field. Jared Lorenzen said on the radio with me today that he thought Baker was “The kind of receiver we have never had at Kentucky.” He is big, fast and has an athleticism that is of the highest elite status. While he won’t be starting, he will surely play and I expect him to make some plays early this season that we simply haven’t seen at Kentucky. He has the biggest chance to be a future WOW player of almost anyone on the team. I can’t wait to see him get started.
— We are in the process of trying to work out a KSR and BBN go to see Damien Harris day in October. On one of either two days (the ESPNU game versus Pulaski County or the Boyle County game at the end of the month), we will do our show live from Berea, have an afternoon in the town and then go to the game as a collective KSR fan base. We want all of you to mark your calendars (when we announce the day) and plan to come to the game. A collective showing will obviously be great and it will be a lot of fun to see the highest ranked recruit in Kentucky since Tim Couch in action.
As you know, Drew and I are up here doing our Tennis thing for Tennis Channel. It has been a lot of fun already, has led to some good stories (hopefully you heard our “bitch ass racket” story from this morning’s radio show) and will be good for KSR as we continue to make connections that help the show. If you get a chance, do us a favor and check out our work below at the “OUTER COURTS” blog. It has some classic KSR writing, you will find it funny even if you don’t care about tennis and you will be supporting the site. Thanks in advance.
See you folks tomorrow….
By Nick Roush on ©7:00 pm
- They call him Patty Ice for a reason. Patrick Towles has been waiting his whole life to be the starting quarterback for the Kentucky Wildcats, but his dreams and the distractions that come with it are being set aside to focus on UT-Martin. Neal Brown is trying to keep things as routine and normal as possible, but that is how Pat has always prepared, “It’s just about getting your mind right. (Before the game) some people will listen to really hardcore music. I’m just kind of relaxed, even-keeled. The more you get jacked up before the game, for me at least, the harder it is to think clearly.”
He was thinking very clearly today. During an intense two-minute drill, the coaches put the offense in a game situation where they needed a touchdown to win. For the first time all camp, the offense did exactly what the coaches needed to see by punching the ball into the end zone before time expired. A great sign to see four days before kickoff.
- No Darrian Miller? No Problem. Left tackle Darrian Miller has been an anchor on the offensive line for the past two years, but he’ll have to wait til Week 2 to see the field. The line shouldn’t skip a beat with Jordan Swindle moving to the left side to make room for Kyle Meadows. Swindle has been the #2 left tackle for awhile, so he’s very comfortable, and Patrick Towles said, “I fully trust Kyle Meadows.” Meadows will see his first time on the field after redshirting last season to bulk up, and boy did he bulk up. Meadows said today that he came to UK weighing 250, but now he’s close to 305 pounds. 50 pounds….that’s a lot.
- The tennis ball machine is Stoops’ worst enemy. What if I told you…a machine was sent to the UK practice facility destined to dismantle the Air Raid by taking out as many receivers as possible. Stoops is starting to believe that’s the case.
Jeff Badet took a tennis ball to the eye earlier in camp, forcing him out for the first two games. He had a helmet on but that wasn’t enough to stop this mad machine, who tried to prey on TV Williams earlier this week. Visors should finally put the demon to rest, but Stoops believes the demon is responsible for cutting back on dropped passes, “They’re working hard at it. We get those Jug machines out here with the tennis balls. Hit some guys in the eye, they start working on it.”
- Towles is happy to have Javess Blue back. The Cats have had to do much of their offseason work without Senior and returning receiving leader, Javess Blue. Because he’s missed a lot of conditioning he’ll only see 30-35 snaps instead of about 50, but his speed can’t keep him off the field. Speed on the outside is a tool that Towles loves to utilize, but he isn’t ready to pick a favorite target, “The one who catches the most balls. We’ll see on Saturday”
By Courtney Sealey on ©6:30 pm
The Annual Bluegrass Battle begins Friday at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington at 4 p.m featuring four squads from across the country: Butler, Virginia Tech, Wichita State and Kentucky.
The Bluegrass Battle will feature six matches Friday and Saturday, with Kentucky playing in three. The Wildcats will face Wichita State at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Butler at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The Wildcats will close out the tournament against Virginia Tech at 8 p.m.
The roster is heavy with upperclassmen this year. Kentucky returns three seniors (Lauren O’Conner, Jackie Napper and Alyssa Gergins) and four juniors (Shelby Workman, Kayla Tronick, Sara Schwarzwalder and Morgan Bergren). The rest of the roster is rounded out by two sophomores and a whooping five freshmen.
It might be the beginning of the NCAA season for the Cats, but it isn’t the first time the girls have seen action. Over the summer the team became the first SEC volleyball team to play in China while they faced off against Chinese teams. Last week, Kentucky Wildcats TV released a 20 minute video, UK Volleyball Goes to China, on the Cats trip which was full of volleyball, culture shock and excitement from the Volleyball team.
The Cats open the season in the top-25 for the third consecutive year, at No. 19. Something that will be different for Kentucky Volleyball this season will be the number of people who see the team play. A total of 27 matches will be televised for the team this year including every home contest and all SEC road matches.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:45 pm
Mark Stoops wasn’t scheduled to talk to the media today, but must have been in a really good mood, because he came over and said a few things anyways. Stoops said that the team had a great practice today and he anticipates the offense will move faster on Saturday than it did all last season. “I think we’ll be much faster week one this year than we were at any point last year,” Stoops said. Neal Brown agreed, and said keeping things simple is key.
Nick will be by a bit later with a full recap.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©5:00 pm
#45 Josh Forrest
– Height: 6’3”
– Weight: 236 lbs.
– Class: Junior
– Experience: 2L
– Position: Linebacker
– Hometown: Paducah, KY
– High School: Tilghman
Class of 2011 Ranking
– ESPN Recruiting:
How He Got Here
Forrest was a recruit under Joker Phillips and came to Kentucky as a wide receiver/defensive back. Forrest’s high school coach, Randy Wyatt, played football for Kentucky in the 90s. The Paducah Tilghman star was named to the Lexington Herald-Leader’s all-state team after his Senior season.
Previous Seasons, 2011-13
Forrest redshirtted his freshman year, when Phillips’ staff realized his skill set was better utilized as a linebacker instead of a wide receiver. Primarily a special teams player until last season, he played in all 12 games as a reserve linebacker. He completed the season with 16 tackles and an interception against Florida, an interception that broke a streak of 34958734598374598 games without one. Forrest had a season best three tackles against South Carolina, Alabama and Vanderbilt. His quickness helped him block a field goal against Louisville and a punt against Alabama State. The blocked punt was a game changer, setting up a scoring drive against Alabama State.
Something You Didn’t Know About Him
Other than being a professional football player, his dream job would be an airline pilot.
Something We Made Up About Him
The night before every game, Josh goes into the woods to mediate. Forrest sits on the ground Indian-style, eyes closed, and hands in prayer position at the heart. Forrest says he feels a real connection with nature and it improves his game mentality.
Unfair NFL Comparison
Danny Trevathan, Denver Broncos
Outlook for 2014
As a former receiver, Forrest hopes his speed, athleticism, and length (he’s got arms like Tayshaun) will make him more of an threat on the defensive side of the ball. Still in the process of developing as a linebacker, Josh has proved to DJ Eliot that he has what it takes to replace Avery Williamson as the starting middle linebacker.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:30 pm
Reese Phillips’ great grandmother turns 91 today, and in her honor, he posted this adorable picture on Instagram. Hopefully Mrs. Phillips can get up to a few games this season to see her great grandson play. She’s game day ready with that #12 jersey.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:54 pm
Team USA is currently killing Slovenia in their final tune up before the FIBA World Cup begins on Saturday, and DeMarcus Cousins laid down this ridiculous dunk with the help of Kings teammate Rudy Gay.
Anthony Davis is also having a good game, with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 4 steals. He did that all in about 18 minutes. Good grief.
Here are two of those points:
The game’s still going on ESPN2 if you’re interested.
By Matt Jones on ©3:28 pm
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:00 pm
Life has a funny way of working out. Today, Larry Vaught has an interesting story about Bud Dupree in which UK’s star defensive end says that he almost transferred from UK when Joker Phillips asked him to move from tight end to defense. “I went home and I called my mother and told her I was going to transfer,” Dupree told Vaught.
Ultimately Dupree says he chose to stay, in part because he wanted to switch jersey numbers. “I stayed and said, ‘Can I get No. 2?’ So they gave me No. 2 and I was okay with it. But it was getting the number that kept me here.”
What’s so important about the number two? In the UK Media Guide, Dupree says he picked it because “I’m trying to be number one but I’m working like I am number two.” Well, it’s working. Dupree was given preseason All-SEC Second Team honors, and yesterday, Mark Stoops said he would be shocked if Dupree wasn’t a first-round draft pick in next year’s NFL Draft.