Five games in, UK is 4-1. Be truthful, raise your hand if you projected that →
By Nick Roush on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 6:47pm
An afternoon of breaking news surrounding the Louisville Sex Scandal was capped off with an interview between Rick Pitino and Terry Meiners on News Radio 840 WHAS.
Even though Terry and Rick are friends, it was not friendly conversation. Terry asked tough questions, and Pitino answered (most of) them firmly. Pitino doesn’t plan on stepping down, and he didn’t sound like he was planning on missing any games. It was a strange interview, but a MUST LISTEN. It’s one of those interviews that will be talked about for years to come.
I’m sure you have plenty of thoughts. Feel free to share them in the comments section before Matt shares his on Periscope tonight at 10:00.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 5:44pm
In an interview with Terry Meiners on 840 WHAS this evening, Rick Pitino said he has no plans to resign.
“I don’t know what resigning would accomplish,” he told Meiners. “I think that’s the cowardly way out.”
Pitino insists he knows nothing about what Katina Powell alleges and quitting now wouldn’t help. He wants to stay with his two fifth-year seniors and coach the Louisville Cardinals basketball team, not run away.
“I’m thinking of my 13 players and I’m thinking of my program.”
Pitino also said he doesn’t know why UofL’s President left his name out of today’s statement and that is beyond his control.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 5:30pm
Yum! Brands will celebrate its 18th anniversary with a Red vs. Blue Hunger “Drive-Thru” benefitting Dare to Care Food Bank tomorrow from 5 am to 5:30 pm.
Bring at least 18 canned goods and you will be entered into a drawing for either UK or UL basketball tickets. Kentucky Sports Radio will be there for tomorrow’s show and to announce the UK ticket winners at noon.
What: Red vs Blue Hunger “Drive-Thru” benefitting Dare to Care Food Bank
Where: Yum! Brands, 1441 Gardiner Lane Louisville, KY 40213
When: Friday, October 9th 5:00 AM – 5:30 PM
GOAL: 18,000 cans (18 cans = Eligible for UK & UL ticket drawing)
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 4:40pm
Commenter Dennis Reynolds over at the GYERO board on Rivals used the popular scene from A Few Good Men to mock the scandal going on at Louisville. I’m not a big message boarder, but I can’t imagine there are many submissions out there better than this:
Matt Jones: Coach Pitino, did you order the Whore Red?*
Pitino: You want answers?
Matt Jones: I think I’m entitled to.
Pitino: You want answers?!
Matt Jones: I want the truth!
Pitino: *You can’t handle the truth!*
Pitino: Son, we live in a world that has whores, and those whores have to be bought by coaches with Benjamins. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Drew Franklin? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Rod-Ni, and you curse the McGees. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Mega’s quick trigger, while tragic, probably won games. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, wins games. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that whore, you need me on that whore. We use words like sex, drugs, strippers. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very basketball that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a whore, and have a go. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
Matt Jones: Did you order the Whore Red?
Pitino: I did the job I…
Matt Jones: Did you order the Whore Red?!
Pitino: You’re Goddamn right I did!
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 4:12pm
Eric Crawford over at WDRB has more troublesome news for the Louisville basketball program.
You can go ahead and add an unnamed former Cardinal to the growing list of people spilling the beans, along with former recruit Jaquan Lyle. The former player told investigators there were strippers in Billy Minardi Hall on at least one occasion, according to a source. The player did not see any sex take place, but he did see money thrown at the dancers.
While this is only one player talking about a single event in an investigation expected to delve into four years of allegations, it does demonstrate a player acknowledging some of the claims in Powell’s book while taking issue with others. His voice, presumably, would be just one of many in the final report.
This particular player told a university investigator that no sex took place (that he knew of), and that the only money he saw changing hands came in the form of dollar bills thrown at the women in the room, according to the source, who spoke on the condition that the identities of player and source be anonymous. [WDRB]
The door is wide open for more people to come forward.
And they will.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 3:46pm
Kentucky football announced it will wear its blue unis in next week’s game against Auburn. Many fans wondered if this would be the game we see the all black look, but that will have to wait for another time. Let’s just go ahead and assume it’ll be the Tennessee game.
Big Blue Nation, the program asks you to wear your blue to the game, too. It’ll be a Thursday night Blue-Out on national TV.
“And we rock Kentucky blue…”
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) September 21, 2015
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 3:00pm
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Let’s take a break from watching the Louisville basketball program burn to go over some of the basketball and football recruiting news from the week…
Edrice “Bam” Adebayo will visit Lexington this weekend.
Adebayo, the third-ranked power forward in the 2016 class, will begin his official visit to Kentucky today. John Calipari looks to add one more big man to join Wenyen Gabriel, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Tai Wynyard, Isaac Humphries and potentially a senior Marcus Lee next season, and Adebayo is on the short list of names to take that spot. Harry Giles, Marques Bolden and Jarrett Allen are also options, with Giles being the dream addition.
Official Visit To Kentucky This Weekend 😼🔵⚪️
— Bam Adebayo✈️ (@Bloading0) October 8, 2015
Wendell Carter may attend Big Blue Madness.
The No. 1 overall player in the 2017 class is considering an appearance at Big Blue Madness next week, he told Cats Illustrated. Carter will definitely attend Duke’s Countdown To Craziness next Saturday, but may sneak into Lexington the night before to check out UK.
Big Blue Madness will be televised live.
In case you missed it earlier, Kentucky basketball’s biggest recruiting event of the year will air live in its entirety on the SEC Network. It will mark the first time Madness has been aired on a national network from start to finish.
Nothing’s changed with Kobi Simmons.
His father told Cleveland.com, “There’s no rush, you don’t have to tell anybody a date. If you wake up tomorrow and say this is it, or if you wake up Oct. 3 and say this is it. I don’t want him setting a date because that can make you make a decision that may not be natural.”
With De’Aaron Fox’s recruitment looking positive for Kentucky, Simmons will likely be a take as soon as Cal feels he is losing Malik Monk, if that ever happens. Until then, Simmons will stay in limbo until he gets the call from UK or gets tired of waiting for it.
UK extends scholarship offer to 2017 quarterback Walker Wood of Lexington.
— Walker Wood (@Wood7Walker) October 8, 2015
Lafayette High School’s Walker Wood picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky today. Wood is considered a dual-threat quarterback, ranked No. 23 in his class at that position in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Wood is a teammate of 2016 commit Landon Young, and Jedrick Willis, one of the top targets in 2017.
Did you buy that mattress yet? What are you waiting for???
By Freddie Maggard on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 2:00pm
Five games in, UK is 4-1. Be truthful, raise your hand if you projected that record. In this week’s ESPN SEC Power Rankings, Kentucky is listed at No. 8. I get it: polls and rankings are subjective, but 4-1 is concrete.
Below are UK Football position grades and various rankings:
For the season, Patrick Towles is 96-of-156 good for 61.5 percent, eight passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and six interceptions.
At times, Towles’ inconsistency has limited UK’s offensive production. 33 percent completion rate against Florida skews season totals, but the Gator defense has proven to be dominant. Other SEC quarterbacks aren’t faring well either.
Overall, the junior has been an offensive catalyst. Kentucky has scored 16 touchdowns. Patrick Towles has directly contributed for 11 of those. For some, this grade will be too high. But his 68 percent total touchdown contribution rate is too high for a C, and his sporadic play doesn’t warrant an A. Strip the name, read above stats and assign a grade. That may help.
Running Back: B-
Through three games, Boom Williams was a top-five SEC running back. His numbers have fallen due to missing the second half against Missouri and not playing against EKU; still, 47 rushes for 351 yards, one touchdown and a 7.3 yards per rush are credible.
JoJo Kemp’s 5.3 yards per rush and two touchdowns have provided situational spark. The power back, Mikel Horton has been effective in screen passes and moving the chains. UK averages 135 yards rushing per game. Take away the 155 lost yards due to sacks, and numbers would be better.
A stat that is not published is blocking efficiency. Blitz pick-up has been improved at times, but lacking at others.
Wide Receiver: A-
Dorian Baker separated himself at the go-to receiver. Other than his 24 catches for an 11.5 average yards per reception and three touchdowns, Baker has punished in downfield blocking.
Garrett Johnson, Blake Bone, and Jeff Badet have also had their flashes of grandeur. Explosion plays are now expected. Combined, the wide receiver corps is deep, fast, and talented. It did have one game (Florida) that it dropped passes at an alarming rate; however, this position’s productivity has only scratched the surface.
Given Mark Stoops’ first-year receiving corps status, talent upgrade alone warrants a passing grade.
Tight End/Fullback: B+ (Blocking); Incomplete (Receiving)
Taco Meat Collins has moved into my upper echelon of UK football player fandom. CJ Conrad has blocked at an SEC senior level and finally had a breakout game against Missouri. Collectively, blocking has been consistent and physical.
But three catches for 55 yards is not what was expected. Simply, tight ends have not been targeted enough to receive a grade.
Offensive Line: C-
Offensive line rotation has been a revolving door of youth. Injuries have also reared their ugly heads. Steady center Jon Toth has anchored and is playing at an All-SEC level. But, the EKU game is too fresh in my mind to grade John Schlarman’s group high.
The Cats are averaging 365 total yards per game. An understandable struggle versus Florida seems more reasonable as the Gators continue to defensively control the conference. Red zone productivity has been excellent. UK is 15-15 inside the 20 and have scored 11 touchdowns in those 15 trips for 73 percent. Allowing 16 sacks for negative 116 yards is a hard statistic to overlook. This group will get better once it settles in on a rotation and heals up during the bye week.
Defensive Line: B
The insertion of CJ Johnson has proven to benefit. Even after missing the Louisiana game due to suspension, Johnson is the team’s second-leading tackler, totaling 37 stops, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks.
Farrington Huguennin has been solid with 22 tackles. Expected strength of the defensive line was nose tackle. Melvin Lewis has racked up 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Regie Meant was improving by the snap, but an early injury versus Missouri has hampered the group’s overall power. At times, UK has gone with only two down defensive linemen which has diminished Melvin Lewis and Matt Elam’s game snaps. Given its level of talent, other than the EKU game, Coach Jimmy Brumbaugh’s unit has overachieved.
Easily the best 2015 surprise. Josh Forrest is playing at an All-SEC level with 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and one interception. His weekly improvement is scary and profitable for his NFL future.
Khalid Henderson effectively filled in for the injured Ryan Flannigan and provided consistency along with 30 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
In only two games, Ryan Flannigan’s speed and ability to close on opposing ball carriers have enhanced defensive diversity. Denzil Ware’s development is a weekly highlight. Ware’s two-point conversion against South Carolina was a game-saver. This position has endured suspension and injury but remained reliable. Collectively, the linebacker corps has played above fan and media expectation.
Another expected liability, UK’s secondary is limiting opposing offenses to 197 passing yards per game. That number won’t lead conferences statistical categories, but it’s been good enough and much better than expected.
Headline story is the emergence of true freshman Chris Westry. The rookie has excelled. Senior Cody Quinn held onto his starting position after being pushed by several freshmen cornerbacks. JD Harmon has been the group’s playmaker with two interceptions and game-altering tackles.
Safeties have not intercepted a pass, but are leading the secondary in tackles: McWilson with 28, Stamps with 25. The safety pair is stable, which allows DJ Eliot the freedom to dial up creative blitz packages. Nickel backs Blake McClain and Kendall Randolph add an edge. Both are pound for pound two of the better football players on the team.
Special Teams: C
An improvement from 2014’s F. Prior to EKU, Wildcat kickoff coverage team ranked second in the SEC.
Landon Foster’s punting has not been as effective as expected. Mark Stoops inserted his backup against the Colonels.
All-SEC Austin MacGinnis uncharacteristically missed a field goal and PAT in the opener, but has rebounded before an injury kept him out against Eastern Kentucky.
Kick returner Sihiem King has been a spark, and been close to breaking a kickoff return for six. Overall, the Wildcat special teams have been okau, but could be better. MacGinnis’ return will help. In coverage teams, better players running down the field to make tackles increases the group’s status. Punt and punt return teams have not met expectation.
Inconsistency has haunted the Cats throughout its first five football games. However, in four out of five contests, Kentucky has resiliently found a way to win. For the first time in program history, UK’s first five games have been decided by eight points or less. More telling, total points scored for the year: Kentucky 130, opponents 109.
In SEC play, margin of winning is 18.6 to 16.3. In non-conference, 37 to 30. This post could have actually been divided into two segments: Grades vs. SEC opponents and Grades vs. Non-Conference Foes. In conference, much higher. Non-conference, could have seen some Ds and Fs. Ebb and Flow.
Top Five Opposing Player Performances
1. DE Noah Spence, EKU
2. DE Alex MaCalister, Florida
3. DE Charles Harris, Missouri
4. ATH Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
5. S Brian Poole, Florida
Five Most Difficult Games Remaining
1. @ Georgia
2. @ Mississippi State
SEC Top Five
2. Texas A&M
5. Ole Miss
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 1:21pm
University of Louisville President James Ramsey issued a statement on his basketball program’s scandal this afternoon. In it, he said he fully supports Tom Jurich because Jurich has served as Athletic Director of “an exemplary program” for the last 18 years. Ha!
As we stated last week, when we learned of the allegations toward our men’s basketball team, we immediately hired Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group to undertake a complete and thorough investigation of the alleged misconduct. Chuck advised us that we should also report these allegations to the NCAA so they could join our investigation.
For the past 18 years, Tom Jurich has served as Athletic Director of an exemplary program at UofL. I fully support Tom as we work to identify the facts in this situation, and that is what we are doing. Tom and I are committed to the values that are fundamental to the success of Cardinal athletics.
As I stated in the recent State of the University address, it is important that the university–all of us–stay focused on our day-to-day work of providing our outstanding student with a world-class education. The investigation of the allegations may take time and we must, as one university, continue doing the work we do to move our university and our community forward.
I can’t take him seriously with that hair.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 1:14pm
Good news for fans who were unable to get tickets to Big Blue Madness, which is most of you, I assume.
The SEC Network will air the annual tipoff to the UK men’s and women’s basketball seasons in its entirety this year. It will be the first time Madness will air live from start to finish on a national network.
The two-hour spectacle will also stream live on the WatchESPN app on computers, tables and smartphones. ESPN’s Dave O’Brien, Sean Farnham and Kara Lawson will handle the broadcast for the network.
Big Blue Madness is set for 7 pm next Friday.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 12:31pm
The co-author of Breaking Cardinal Rules was a special guest on Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning to discuss the book, the allegations and why it should all be believed.
Dick Cady added to Louisville’s awful morning by telling the guys he has seen the actual phone and seen the actual text messages shared in the book. Until now, we had wondered if those screengrabs could’ve been forged, but Cady saying the actual messages exist confirms they are real.
He also said he doesn’t know if Rick Pitino was involved or was aware of anything going on. As Matt pointed out on the show, that suggests Cady is being completely honest and not trying to be sensational to create a story and sell books.
And the highlight of the interview: When asked about Louisville fans doubting his credibility and suggesting the whole thing is made up, Cady said, “That’s poppycock.”
Listen to the entire interview below:
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 12:00pm
Kentucky was the feature team on last night’s SEC Film Room on the SEC Network. UK’s head coach and quarterback reviewed the tape from Saturday’s overtime win against Eastern, explaining what went wrong and what changed to escape with a victory.
Watch the clips below:
The episode re-airs today at 2:30 and again at midnight.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 11:19am
Jaquan Lyle is one of the recruits named in Katina Powell’s book of allegations against the Louisville basketball program. Now a freshman at Ohio State, Lyle spoke to the NCAA yesterday and, according to CBSSports.com, confirmed the gist of allegations involving paid escorts during his trip to the school.
“He told the truth,” a source told Gary Parrish.
Lyle committed to Louisville in June of 2013, then decommitted two and a half months later. If he did indeed confirm what Powell wrote in her book, he could really hurt the Cardinals’ hopes of getting out of this alive.
The pieces are beginning to fall into place. Things aren’t looking good for Louisville.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 11:00am
Mel Kiper Jr. and his hair updated the top five underclassmen quarterbacks in college football yesterday and Kentucky’s own Patrick Towles made the list.
Towles ranks fifth among underclassmen, according to Kiper, behind Jared Goff (California), Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), Cardale Jones (Ohio State), and Gunner Kiel (Cincinnati), respectively.
Yet some of you still want him benched.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 08th, 2015 @ 10:25am
Jeff Goodman riled Kentucky basketball fans up yesterday when he released a report saying Skal Labissiere has still not been cleared by the NCAA. And because Kentucky basketball fans live for everything Kentucky basketball, everyone panicked. It’s natural around here.
But don’t read too much into Goodman’s report. Goodman’s gonna Goodman. There are players all over the country who haven’t been cleared by the NCAA. It happens every year and Labissiere just happens to be one of those guys. UK is completely confident he will be eligible and they are proceeding on with that mindset. Labissiere is in team photos, he is practicing with the team, and all expectations are he will be a member of the 2015-16 Wildcats when the ball is tipped this season.
So until we hear otherwise, we’re not going to worry about Labissiere’s eligibility. There is still plenty of time for him to get cleared. If you recall, John Wall wasn’t cleared until November 1 back in 2009. Nerlens Noel, October 17, 2012. Those guys turned out all right.
Don’t lose any sleep over this one.