Like two pariahs sharing shelter in a storm, Kentucky and Vanderbilt have been quiet companions in →
By Drew Franklin on ©10:10 pm
I think Coach Cal recently learned how to capture video on his phone and now he’s obsessed. Earlier this evening he filmed Andrew Harrison throwing down a simple dunk in the Joe Craft Center, asking viewers if the rim is too low. The video is a follow-up to Saturday’s clip of Tyler Ulis dunking on a lowered goal in Calipari’s backyard.
Maybe tomorrow he will show us Sam Malone jumping over a Kia for a two-handed slam.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:45 pm
Damien Harris and Madison Southern play South Laurel Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Berea, and KSR is going to pack the stands with UK blue to show our support for the talented running back. As you surely know by now, Harris is considered the top running back in the country, and has Kentucky in his final five, along with Ohio State, Florida, Alabama, and Texas A&M. Harris claims he doesn’t have a favorite, but he’s planning on taking an official visit to UK this weekend, and what better way to tug at his home state heart strings than a huge showing of UK fans at his game Friday night?
The guys will also be doing the radio show from Madison Southern on Friday morning, but it won’t be open to the public. But, come on out Friday afternoon and evening to party with the KSR crew and make a good impression on a very important recruit.
Friday night. Madison Southern High School. Wear blue.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:17 pm
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Cobb had a quiet game in the Packers 19-7 loss to division rivals, the Detroit Lions
Cobb has three receptions for 29 yards. His longest reception came in the second quarter on a 13-yard pass from Aaron Rogers.
Stevie Johnson, San Francisco 49ers
Despite the 49ers 23-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Stevie Johnson had his biggest game as a 49er since being traded.
Johnson had nine receptions for 103 yards. His longest reception was a 32-yarder in the third quarter.
Winston Guy, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguar’s struggle continues as they lose 44-17 to the Indianapolis Colts. Rookie quarterback, Blake Bortles out of UCF, got the start in the second half after being down 30-0.
Winston combined for three tackles; two solo and assisted on one.
Tim Masthay, Green Bay Packers
Masthay five punts totaled for 215 yards in the Packers loss to the Lions. His longest punt came in at 48-yards. Two of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Corey Peters, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 56-14 in the Thursday night game this week.
Peters was outstanding in his second game back from injury. He recorded four tackles for loss and one sack. Peters played 34 out of the 60 snaps in the game.
Peters told ESPN:
“I’m really enjoying the game much, much more than I have in the past. I think I was kind of taking it for granted. And when I got injured, I said that I would never do that again. I’m just enjoying it all, man.”
Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos
The rematch of last year’s Super Bowl was anything but a blowout this time around. The Seattle Seahawks prevailed once again defeating the Broncos 26-20 in OT.
Tamme played a huge role in the Broncos 17 point comeback in the fourth quarter. The Broncos tied the game at 20 with 18 seconds left when Peyton Manning thew 36-yard touchdown to Tamme.
Tamme had two receptions for a total 22 yards and one touchdown.
Avery Williamson, Tennessee Titans
Avery Williamson recorded his first NFL stats in the Titans 33-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Williamson combined for four tackles; two solo and two assists.
According to ESPN.com:
“I feel like I played pretty good,” Williamson said. “I had a few mistakes, but overall I feel like I was downhill and I made plays, that’s the main thing. I’m excited to watch the film and improve on it and get ready for next week.”
Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans
In the Titans crushing loss to the Bengals, Woodyard collected nine tackles for the game; five solo and assisted on four.
While watching the Cincinnati and Titans game, I was filled with much pride seeing Avery and Wesley make plays out there. Way to represent Kentucky and the #BBN Avery and Wesley. And, we are proud of Avery for recording his first NFL tackle.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©8:00 pm
Like two pariahs sharing shelter in a storm, Kentucky and Vanderbilt have been quiet companions in the SEC East cellar for the better part of the conference’s modern history, sustaining on the occasional upset and the relief of basketball season right around the corner. However, in the past four years, Vandy pulled a Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises” and climbed out of the well, leaving Kentucky all alone at the bottom. Watching Vandy storm to three straight bowls brought out some mixed feelings in the BBN: some of us were happy for our former fellow cellar dweller, some of us resentful of their success, and all of us just a little bit jealous. Now, with Vanderbilt once again rebuilding after James Franklin’s exit for Happy Valley and Mark Stoops making noise in his second season, Kentucky and Vanderbilt seem to be at a crossroads again, but this time, the Cats are the ones climbing.
To appreciate this critical juncture in the series, let’s examine the relationship between the two programs over the past five years…
2010: Robbie Caldwell
2011-2013: James Franklin
2014 – present: Derek Mason
2010-2012: Joker Phillips
2013 – present: Mark Stoops
In 2010, both programs had new head coaches, albeit under very different circumstances. Robbie Caldwell was named Vandy’s interim head coach after Bobby Johnson suddenly announced his retirement with two months until the season opener, while Joker Phillips took over for Rich Brooks two years after being named his successor. At the time, Kentucky was coming off a 7-6 season while Vandy was trying to recover from another disappointing year. The roles would soon reverse after Caldwell resigned and Vandy gambled on James Franklin, who did the unthinkable and brought immediate success to the Vandy program. Meanwhile, UK struggled under Joker Phillips, and after three seasons, cut ties and hired Mark Stoops. At the end of last year, Franklin left Vandy to Penn State, taking many of his players and recruits with him, and the ‘Dores hired Derek Mason, who has had a shaky start so far this season.
My, how quickly things changed once James Franklin entered the scene. UK’s 40-0 loss to Vandy in 2012 with a smattering of fans in the stands was the low point of the Joker Phillips Era, and sealed his fate. Stoops and the Cats were competitive in Nashville last season, but bettors in Vegas feel so confident the Cats will turn the tide this year they’ve made them a 16.5-point favorite.
It’s amazing how the two programs have mirrored each other in performance over the past five years. If the ESPN Football Power Index projections hold out and UK gets to 6 wins and Vandy 3 (I’ll be a friend and round up), this chart will practically be a mirror image.
Recruiting (Rivals Recruiting Class Rankings by year)
The cornerstone of any college football program is recruiting. Both Franklin and Stoops are strong recruiters, and put together comparable classes. Franklin’s 2012 & 2013 classes were ranked 29th and 19th in the country, similar to Stoops’ 2013 & 2014 classes, which were ranked 29th and 17th in the country by Rivals. Derek Mason didn’t have much of a chance once Franklin left, and it will be interesting to see what he does with the 2015 class. Currently, they’re ranked 67th in the country. UK is ranked 23rd.
Average Attendance (% of home stadium capacity)
Both Kentucky and Vanderbilt football fans have been through a lot, so much so that getting back on the football wagon has proved difficult at times. However, after Franklin showed Vandy fans that football success was a legit possibility and not just a fluke, they filled up little Vanderbilt Stadium each Saturday. At Kentucky, Joker Phillips inherited a happy fan base that quickly turned sour, and only started coming back once Mark Stoops reinvigorated the program. Hopefully, UK fans will #PackCommonwealth on Saturday to send that attendance average soaring and get those cautiously optimistic fans back in the stands.
Mark Stoops sees an improving Vanderbilt team ahead on Saturday. With a positive vibe on the recruiting trail following his team’s good start to the season, being prepared for Vandy’s creative offense and containing its star kick returner are two important aspects to continuing the momentum with a win over the Commodores. Listen to Stoops elaborate on all that, and more.
By Drew Franklin on ©7:00 pm
A study at the University of Arizona analyzed more than three million tweets about food from October 2013 to May 2014 to determine the most unusual food-related term in each state.
“A common misinterpretation is that these are the most popular terms per state, but they are not—they are the most distinctive terms,” Mihai Surdeanu, one of the study’s authors, told PEOPLE magazine. “For example, ‘cheese’ may be popular in many states, but not distinctive in any.”
So what are we talking about the most in Kentucky, compared to other states?
The answer: TACOS.
I’m so happy I could cry, Kentucky. I also believe I played a huge role in this because I tweet about tacos quite often. Tacos are awesome and I’ve never been more proud to be a Kentuckian than I am right now.
So who wants to go grab dinner? It’s #MexiMonday in Lexington and you’re invited. If not tonight, maybe tomorrow night for #TacoTuesday?
By Drew Franklin on ©6:00 pm
Chris Fisher over at 247Sports.com caught up with Gerald Hamilton, Skal Labissiere’s guardian, on Monday to see how Labissiere enjoyed his visit to Lexington over the weekend. Hamilton told Fisher, “It was nice. It was really impressive and the level of players he played with was impressive as well.”
Of the many things that stood out to the five-star power forward, Rock Oliver and UK’s strength and conditioning presentation was one of the most impactful. Hamilton said meeting with Rock and learning how he operates was one of the highlights of the visit.
Labissiere still has official visits scheduled for Tennessee and Baylor in early October, then an unofficial to Memphis around Halloween. He will make his decision some time shortly after that.
By Matt Jones on ©5:45 pm
Bloody noses, stupid helmets, security guards trying to maintain order, women flipping out….this had it all
By Kaan Solagan on ©5:30 pm
Damien Harris- Bye week.
Zy’Aire Hughes- Completed 9 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, and caught 9 passes for 67 yards in a 52-49 win over Southaven (MS).
Eli Brown- 7 rushes for 23 yards and 7 tackles in a 61-21 loss to Hopkinsville.
Jordan Jones- Helped Cardinal Mooney beat St. Vincent-St. Mary 35-10 on Friday.
CJ Conrad- Had two catches for 78 yards, a one-yard touchdown run, and a punt return for a touchdown in a 54-12 win over Clearview (OH).
Alex Stump- Had 11 receptions for 109 yards in a 21-14 loss to Elder (OH). He picked up an offer from his ‘dream school’ Ohio State over the weekend as well, so it should be interesting to watch and see if he ends up staying a Wildcat.
Keion Wakefield- Bye week.
Quinton Baker- 13 rushes for 77 yards in a 41-13 loss to Ironton (OH).
Jabari Greenwood- Plays against Good Counsel tonight (Olney, MD).
Darius Fullwood- Plays against Jabari Greenwood and Gonzaga tonight (Olney, MD).
Ryan Davis- Plays tonight at 7:30 pm at Gibbs (FL).
Drake Jackson- Bye week.
By Drew Franklin on ©5:00 pm
UK basketball fans, your attention please:
Tickets for this year’s Blue-White scrimmage go on sale Monday, September 29 at 9:00 am. Tickets will be available online through Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Fans can also purchase tickets via the Rupp Arena Box Office at 859-233-3535 between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet across the state.
The cost of the tickets will be $10 for lower level and $5 for upper level, all reserved seating.
For you students out there, you may claim up to two free Erupption Zone tickets while they last. Go to the Joe Craft Center ticket office with a valid student ID to get yours on Monday.
The Blue-White scrimmage is scheduled for Monday, October 27 in Rupp Arena at 7:00 pm. It will be carried online through the SEC Network and WatchESPN.
By Drew Franklin on ©4:30 pm
In a brief post on his website this afternoon, John Calipari recalled the “watershed moment” of 2010 when five of his UK players were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. “That stage changed me as a coach and changed the direction of the program,” Cal wrote.
Then he predicted another “watershed moment” ahead in his 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats:
If you wonder why everyone is panicked outside of the Big Blue Nation, why everyone is curious as to how we are going to make this work, why writers with agendas to another program or coach are pitting player against player, platoon vs. platoon, it’s because they are afraid of what could happen. They know that if this turns out the way they think it could, it becomes a watershed moment for college basketball. There will be no going back. No player will ever worry about who else is in the program or who may stay. They will know we have their best interests at heart.
In closing he wrote, “I am so excited to take on this challenge. I truly wake up every morning whistling and skipping for this season to begin.”
And spun around in his chair…
Never before has Cal been this excited to start a season, and that’s exciting for us, Big Blue Nation. He knows the talent he has on his roster and he’s ready to put them out there for everyone to see.
By Drew Franklin on ©3:45 pm
Former Kentucky guard Doron Lamb has a shot to stick around the league this upcoming season thanks to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs signed Lamb to a deal one week before training camp begins. There is no guaranteed money in the contract, but it is a contract nonetheless. Lamb will have to earn his spot in camp.
In related news, Doron Lamb’s Twitter account is still the best.
Beauty isn't about having a pretty face. It's about having a pretty mind, pretty hreat, and pretty soul.
— Doron Lamb (@DLamb20) September 22, 2014
By Nick Roush on ©3:15 pm
1. The Cats need to keep the momentum rolling. Despite another conference loss, the Florida game validated the players’ “we can beat anybody” belief. Unfortunately they didn’t have the chance to prove themselves during the Bye Week, but they did address fundamental areas in need of improvement.
“We’d like to continue to build on some of the good things we’ve been doing and try to clean up some of the mistakes,” Stoops said. This team’s mantra has been energy. Today’s practice will reflect how well the Cats managed their time off this weekend.
2. Somehow Kentucky is not the younger underdog. When was the last time anyone in the BBN said that? With 31 freshmen playing, Vanderbilt is the youngest team in the nation. The key to keeping the young guys down, is starting fast and stepping on the accelerator. Stoops’ quote was extremely long, but the gist is, “we need to do what teams did to us last year.”
When it comes to being favored, it doesn’t matter when you haven’t won a conference game since 2011. “Don’t pay much attention to it. We need to be hungry.”
3. Vandy is rebuilding, but getting better. After poo-pooing during their first three games, the Dores finally looked respectable against South Carolina. Their biggest threat is in the kicking game. Last week Darrius Sims had two return touchdowns, a facet of the game Stoops said the Cats needed to improve on following the Florida game.
Stoops is familiar with Vandy Coach Derek Mason’s Stanford background from his time at Arizona. “(They’re) very fundamentally sound, very tough at the core of who they are, and they do a lot of creative things with big sets,” Stoops said of their multiple tight end formations. “They create some real problems in the run and the pass from big sets. It’s really new now, not too many people are doing it.”
4. It wasn’t a win on the field, but it’s helping recruiting. Stoops’ staff spent the off weekend on the recruiting trail. It was only one weekend, but he can already tell a difference in the way UK is viewed in that specific atmosphere.
“I do think it’s important for us to show progress. I’ve never hid from that. I don’t define that all the time by wins and losses. I know how important wins are, but I think there was a positive vibe out there that recruits know we’re getting better. They can see it.”
5. “He’ll be fine.” There were a lot of mental hiccups in Gainseville. Jordan Swindle had three false start penalties, Ryan Timmons dropped a critical pass, and Fred Tiller had an interception hit him in the numbers. When asked if he had any serious concerns, Stoops never flinched, “He’ll be fine.”
In Tiller’s case, he knows what it feels like to drop six points. For defensive backs, it’s a moment that everyone has, and one they’ll never forget. “I remember one — I bobbled it about three times. I had an easy touchdown and I batted it to myself three or four times. Maybe I just wasn’t fast enough to run it in.”
6. Keeping the kids’ heads on straight. The sport of football has been filled with more off the field scandal than excitement on the field. Stoops’ staff has not been blind to the social situations. After numerous preseason meetings and refreshers last week, Stoops is pleased with how his players have conducted themselves on campus.
“We could have those kinds of meetings everyday,” Stoops said. “Knock on wood, our players have been very good. We’re not perfect, but I think they’ve been really trying to embrace the leadership and do the right things. I think you’re starting to see that carryover from off the field actions, to on the field.”