Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
October 20th, 2014

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Monday Morning Playcalling Breakdown (LSU)

Every Monday I will detail with little commentary how the offense generated yards after each game.  I will break it down into 1st down, 2nd and long, 2nd and short, 3rd and long, and 3rd and short situations and tell you how many passes and runs were called in each situation, along with the success or failure of those situations.  And then you have the opportunity to discuss how you thought the So without further ado, here were the stats for the LSU game:

1ST DOWN
Run: 12 rushes for 50 yards (4.2 ypc)
Pass: 6-11, 42 yards, 1 sack for -5 yards

Limited Analysis: The rushing stats don’t look bad but they are bolstered by a 20 yard run by Horton late in the game and a 16 yard scramble by Towles.  The other 10 rushing attempts went for 14 yards.  Those 2 rushes were the only 1st down plays of the 24 plays run that Kentucky gained more than 10 yards.  The passing attack was nonexistent for the Cats.

Season Totals
Run: 115 rushes for 608 yards (5.3 ypc), 5 TD
Pass: 60-95, 785 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 3 sacks for -16 yards

2ND AND LONG (6 yards or more)
Run: 7 rushes for 25 yards (3.6 ypc)
Pass: 4-10, 17 yards

Limited Analysis: Not that you will find many positives on offense from Saturday, but these plays were especially poor.  UK continued to put themselves in 3rd and long situations because they couldn’t generate any yards on these kinds of plays.

Season Totals
Run: 48 rushes for 293 yards (6.1 ypc), 1 TD
Pass: 32-62, 374 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for -18 yards

2ND AND SHORT (5 yards or less)
Run: 2 rushes for 4 yards (2.0 ypc)
Pass: No Passes Attempted

Limited Analysis: The fact that UK only ran 2 plays of 2nd down and 5 or shorter shows just how bad they were on 1st down.  But of course UK didn’t convert a first down on either of these plays.

Season Totals
Run: 35 rushes for 250 yards (7.1 ypc), 4 TD
Pass: 10-12, 123 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack for -12 yards

3RD AND LONG (6 yards or more)
Run: 1 rush for 0 yards (0.0 ypc)
Pass: 7-10, 64 yards, 1 sack for -1 yards

Limited Analysis: If you have to find one positive in the offensive game, it would be the passing attack on 3rd and long.  Towles was efficient here and hit a couple nice passes, including the 33 yarder to Robinson.

Season Totals
Run: 6 rushes for 30 yards (5.0 ypc)
Pass: 30-48, 360 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 7 sacks for -55 yards, 2 fumbles lost

3RD AND SHORT (5 yards or less)
Run: 2 rushes for 4 yards (2.0 ypc)
Pass: 1-3, 17 yards

Limited Analysis: Despite the lack of yards, UK converted first downs on 3 of 5 of these plays.

Season Totals
Run: 29 rushes for 120 yards (4.1 ypc), 2 TD
Pass: 8-14, 92 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks for -13 yards


KSR’s Top 10 Tweets of the Weekend

(Darrell Bird | Catpause)

(Darrell Bird | Catpause)

It’s time again for KSR’s Top Tweets of the Weekend. You can participate by using hashtags such as #BBN #KSR #KSRTop10 or just by simply tweeting @KYsportsradio. We will focus most of our attention on Kentucky sports-centric tweets but, as usual, there are no limits to our madness.

 

#10 Gregg Doyel

Great. Guy gets a half page ad and it all goes to his head. (ha)

 

 

 

#9 Ryan Lemond

Respect.

 

 

 

 

#8 Tad Long

How exactly do these classes work? Do basketball fans fight Football fans or what?

 

 

 

#7 Larry Wells

Please don’t. We really need you next year and can’t afford for you to be hunted.

 

 

 

#6 Jay Dean

Hey now, don’t insult Tubby like that. That’s low.

 

 

 

#5 MrBojangles

No. We don’t want any more. No one does. Ever.

 

 

 

 

#4 Jon Hood

Science is hard.

 

 

 

 

#3 CAMERON MILLS

Uh. That’s not lemonade.

 

 

 

 

#2 Robert Rogers

Please tell me you left it there.

 

 

 

#1 Jason Stackhouse

He’s like a little kid at Disney. I love it.

@Sealey_KSR


October 19th, 2014

A UK Weekend of Highs and Lows

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For a period of time late Friday evening, Kentucky fans could have been forgiven for feeling that they were collectively on top of the world. Think about it, Big Blue Madness had just finished with one of the biggest musical artists in the country not only stopping by, but clearly wanting to be a part of the team. The rock concert portion of the event was great and on the court, the scrimmage showcased once again that this team is going to be crazy good in unprecedented ways. The UK Football team was taking the field the next day, with a legitimate shot to pull an upset in Death Valley (even Kirk Herbstreit was picking the Cats to win) and if that victory manifested itself, College Gameday would be rolling into town in one week. The dream of the two major sports programs, each competing at the highest levels in the country at the same time, was right on the precipice of occurring, at least a full year before any of us thought it possible. The city of Lexington was abuzz and excitement was definitely in the air.

Then came Saturday night. Like a giant smack across the face, we were given a stern dose of reality in Baton Rouge, as Kentucky was destroyed in every phase of the game, 41-3. The Cats were dominated, literally from the opening kick, as a bizarre formation started a series of events that left me wondering why college football games have to be so long. It was a good old fashioned SEC road butt whooping and as UK fans went to bed that evening (or called into my postgame show slightly inebriated), the unadulterated joy of the night before was long forgotten.

Still, all hope should not be lost. The game on Saturday was the worst game of the season, but not a predictor of what is to come for the rest of the year. Everything that could go wrong went wrong for Kentucky and all involved, from the offense to the defense to the special teams to the coaches, had one of their worst performances of their UK tenure. However Mark Stoops said afterwards that he intended to make certain that the game did not “define” the team and he expected a top-level effort versus #1 Mississippi State next week. I agree with Stoops and still think (in an opinion that seems to have me in the distinct minority) that Kentucky can win on Saturday. I don’t expect them to but I believe it will be a very competitive game with the nation watching along on CBS.

With that as a backdrop, here are the 5 biggest takeaways from both the football game and Big Blue Madness:

THE LSU GAME

The Cats are still one year away from being a factor in the SEC race: We went into the LSU game with two very different scenarios for Kentucky emerging. On the one hand, it was reasonable to say that the Cats controlled their own destiny in the SEC East. Split the games against the two SEC West schools and UK had three winnable games to finish the conference slate in order to gain a trip to Atlanta. On the other hand, UK would still be an underdog in all six of its final games, thus giving no obvious victory to ensure a Bowl berth and a six win season. So which of these two realities was Kentucky closest to? A trip to the SEC Championship game or needing an upset to make a Bowl game. It turns out that the latter of these two is a better indicator of this team’s level. There is no shame in that reality. Most of us coming into the season thought five wins was a realistic goal for the year and making a bowl game would be a HUGE success. The Cats already have those five wins and getting one more is definitely within the realm of possibility. But the notion of making the SEC Championship game was a pipe dream this year (although I think they will be in the hunt next year), and our expectations can now be reset a bit closer to reality.

B0RemcpIIAAg_02.jpg-large

The Special Teams were not very special: Kentucky was really bad on special teams Saturday…and probably had one of the worst special teams halves in the history of the program. From the bizarre opening kickoff formation (still not sure what they were doing), to the terrible coverage of punts, to the decision by a number of players to not even field the kickoff, it was a complete disaster that otherwise overshadowed a fairly even half. The score was 27-3, but at least 17 of those points were the direct cause of special teams errors. The mistakes became so depressing that the only thing left to do was collectively debate why our coach was wearing his hat backwards (probably slightly too old for that Coach Naivar…unless you are Samuel L Jackson or Dale Earnhardt Jr, wearing a hat backwards after the age of 40 may be a no-no). I assume these are errors that will be corrected as the special teams have generally been ok so far this year. But for one night, it was as bad a cluster as we have ever seen any time a kicker found his way onto the field.

No Rhythm could be found on offense: With the exception of two first half drives, which collectively only ended in three points, UK’s offense could find no consistency and the game plan seemed a bit inconsistent. It was unclear exactly how UK wanted to attack LSU’s defense, with understandably few attacks on the Tigers’ great secondary utilized and no ability to get a regular run game showcased. The most bizarre moment of the first half may have been the key 4th down with UK down 17-3 and beginning to get a little momentum, when the Cats called timeout after LSU brought nine in the box to defend the Wildcat formation. UK came out of the timeout still in the Wildcat, LSU again used nine in the box and the play predictably went nowhere. It wasn’t clear what the goal was or what happened during the timeout, but the play symbolized a night of frustration for an offense that simply couldn’t get its feet under itself at any point.

The Defense Had Some good Moments: By the time LSU scored early in the second half to go up 34-3, the rout was on and the game lost its competitiveness. But before that moment, the UK defense actually handled itself pretty well. The Cats made some big stops to halt LSU drives that began with good field position. LSU didn’t overpower the Defensive front until well into the third quarter and UK’s Linebackers had one of their best performances of the year. A lack of depth, fatigue and the overall score ultimately wore them down but the defense did its best to keep UK in the game despite the early errors throughout the first half. That is at least some positive for the staff to build upon on tape that might otherwise be best left in the garbage dump for the week.

The Attitude of the team is still good: One positive about such a young team is that they don’t let these losses keep them down. One player after another has gone to social media today to say that they are moving past this loss immediately and are ready to bounce back. With arguably the best team in the country coming into town next week, that is good to see. But such a good opponent and a nationally televised game may actually be helpful in making this team get over the humiliation in Baton Rouge. Pride will be tested and a chance to make a quick redemption on an even larger scale now exists. I firmly believe they will showcase a completely different mindset next week and the game will be very competitive, further proof that this is a different UK football program than we have been used to in recent years.

BIG BLUE MADNESS

This Team is Really, Really, Really Good: The show aspect of Big Blue Madness was good and we will talk about that in a minute, but the real highlight for me was the scrimmage. Look, I know it isn’t a secret after the Bahamas trip, but this team is crazy good. With Willie and Trey Lyles now on the floor, it is hard to imagine teams stopping this group. Watching a 6’10” Trey Lyles at the three was amazing, not just because of the size but because it works. On the offensive end, these guys are almost impossible to stop, with tons of scoring options and offensive sets available to John Calipari. The big guys are defensive nightmares, Andrew Harrison is about 20 times better than he was last year, Derrick Willis and Dominique Hawkins are probably the best 11th and 12th players in school history, the pace of play that can be accomplished with this roster on a platoon system is astounding to comprehend and the total athleticism on display is truly special. I know we thought the group last year would be historically good but they were saddled with many unknowns. Not this group…we know how good they are because we have seen it. One never knows if a title will occur because randomness and luck do matter. But over the course of the season, I am not sure how many teams in this school’s history will have been better than this one. It is going to be a heck of a ride.

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Drake was quite the show: While some aspects of Drake’s appearance at Big Blue Madness were understandably mocked on the internet (his attempts during the layup line were cringe worthy and the picture I took above of his shooting form became an internet meme within about an hour on Friday), the effect of his attendance cannot be understated. This is a college basketball event and Drake is one of the biggest music stars in the world…and he attended, wearing UK gear and calling our coach one of “the most important men in my life.” That matters…even to those that know or care little about his music. The star power it adds further cements the reputation of Kentucky as the “cool” program in college basketball and showcases that playing here is just on a different level than playing at even the other top schools in America. While he didn’t perform or do anything really except introduce Calipari, his presence further feeds into the marketing job that has been done over the years in the Calipari era. Kentucky is the “it” place to play college basketball and there isn’t really anywhere else close.

Calipari is so confident right now: He literally dropped the mic. While I thought he might use his current Vince McMahon state to give another “we are college basketball” speech, instead he took another, better approach. With all of us waiting for him to talk, he instead said “enough talking, let’s ball.” The mic drop caused even Calipari to smirk and the crowd was left screaming. At this point after five years, there isn’t much left for Calipari to say. It was a perfect start to the season and confirms once again just how confident Calipari is in this group I think he believes is as good as any he has ever coached.

The Recruits Loved It: We will hear more about this as the week goes on, but from all indications, the recruits were blown away by the experience. Malik Newman said the UK fans were even more passionate than he thought they would be, Stephen Zimmerman’s mother commented on how it was as exciting event as she has ever attended and Carlton Bragg spoke about how all the players talked about what it would be like if they played together. It was as good a group of talent as Kentucky has had at Big Blue Madness in many years and if they were to all come, or even if two of the group were to come, Kentucky would be loaded again next year. But as Evan Daniels pointed out on the radio with me on Friday, none of these guys are assured at this point…thus making the visit this weekend so very important. I still think Kentucky is in very good shape with Zimmerman, I like where they stand with Newman, Jaylen Brown is a complete mystery, I expect Brandon Ingram to stay in the Carolina area and I think Carlton Bragg picks Kansas (maybe soon). But no matter what happens, if Kentucky gets any of the five 2015 recruits that were here, the excitement of the Madness event itself will be a big reason why they pull the trigger and come to Lexington.

Matthew Mitchell kills it once again: I am still amazed by Matthew Mitchell. While I knew what he was going to do (we filmed that video about a week ago…and Ryan’s part still makes me laugh), seeing him get up and sing to the crowd as he did was quite impressive. The man can sing, he can dance and he is a great showman…but he does it while also knowing that at any point it could all blow up in his face. That is part of what makes these performances so good every year. I am not sure how he tops this one, but it will be very hard. The performance (and two minute KSR-included entrance video) are below if you missed them:

So there you have it…big week ahead, including a KSR appearance in Ashland on Wednesday at Mattress Warehouse for a remote. It all culminates in one of the biggest games in Commonwealth in a decade on Saturday as the #1 team in America comes to town. Should be fun….


Cats To The Liberty Bowl In Week 8 SEC Bowl Projections

liberty bowl

David Ching over at ESPN.com just released his bowl projections for this week, and the Cats are slated (again) to be walking in Memphis in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Ching had this to say about Kentucky in his projections:

“Kentucky (5-2) gets to stay in, but the Wildcats are coming off a 41-3 loss at LSU and will face a challenging second half of the schedule where earning another victory (and achieving bowl eligibility) might be tough.”

Below is the rest of his projections, which to no surprise has Mississippi State in the playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl:

College Football Playoff semifinal (Rose Bowl): Mississippi State
Capital One Orange Bowl: Ole Miss
Cotton Bowl: Alabama
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Georgia
Citrus Bowl: Auburn
TaxSlayer Bowl: LSU
Outback Bowl: Missouri
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Texas A&M
Belk Bowl: South Carolina
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Tennessee
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Kentucky

I say the team shakes this picture up on Saturday, don’t you?

[ESPN.com: SEC bowl projections: Week 8]

_________________________________________________________

My Goodbye To KSR:

With that, I have completed my final article as a writer here at KSR. After two great years of doing what I thought I never would be able to, it is time for me to move on to the next chapter.

I truly cannot thank Matt, Drew, and Tyler enough for giving me the chance to write for all of you here. It’s going to be weird to be leaving a place that I have identified with throughout the last two years, however all of things I’ve been able to do have been really mind-blowing.

The main sport that I had covered for both KSR College and the main site was baseball, and I had a hell of a crew in David Mulloy, Dean Bowling, Brooks Holton, and Derek Johnson to make our coverage pretty in-depth. The pinnacle of this baseball coverage to me was back in May, when myself, David, and Dean sat out in the pouring on and off again rain to watch A.J. Reed and the squad play in the NCAA Tournament. While the team lost that lone game I was at, I’ll never forget sprinting with laptop in hand to the press box as rain the size of Cadillac’s came pouring down. So for those memories, I thank those guys tremendously.

However everyone else at KSR has really helped to make this site like a big, online family. I could really spend the next 20 minutes telling you the reader about all the stories that have helped make this the best two years I could have asked for. From borderline impromptu dodgeball games against UK, to covering the Coach Cal Fantasy Camp, I could really go on for hours, but I’ll spare you the time.

Finally, I want to thank you the readers for all of the views and words (most kind, some not) that you have given me over my time here. You all really do make this site what it is, and for that I at least cannot thank you enough.

With that said, it is time for this cowboy to ride away. Thank you friends, and Go Cats!


Malik Newman Had A Good Visit To Kentucky

malik

About an hour ago, top class of 2015 target Malik Newman tweeted this out about his visit to campus this past weekend:

 

As you probably already know, the five-star Newman is the #1 SG in the class of 2015. Currently Newman is projected by 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball as 55% likely to go to Kentucky, with a 29% prediction to end up at SEC West foe Mississippi State.

According to Jack LeGwin of ZagsBlog, Newman had some very nice comments to say about the program:

“It was really great because I didn’t realize how much Kentucky loved basketball,” Newman said. “It was good because I could go and see it for myself.”

Newman also told LeGwin that he could see himself playing with the rest of the big time recruits that were at madness with him.

Let’s Ball?


Randall Cobb Receives A Little Ketchup With His Lambeau Leap

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Earlier in today’s game, former wildcat Randall Cobb scored a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. That news is not out of the ordinary, however what is out of the ordinary was what happened to our boy Cobb once he performed the time-honored tradition of the Lambeau Leap.

As you could probably tell from the title, Randall got a little more than just pairs of eager Packers fans hands smacking his pads and helmet:

Next Impulse Sports

Next Impulse Sports

Despite smelling like a Heinz bottle, Cobb seemed to take it in stride:

 

When you have eight touchdown catches alongside 35 total catches for 452 yards through seven weeks of your NFL season, I think a little bit of condiment is no big deal.


Kentucky Drops To #10 In ESPN’s SEC Power Rankings

mad stoops

After climbing up to #9 in last week’s edition, the Kentucky football squad dropped one spot to #10 in this weeks SEC Power Rankings by the folks over at ESPN.com. Here’s what they had to say below in case you wanted to just get straight to the point:

“Kentucky Wildcats
Record: 5-2 overall, 2-2 SEC
Previous ranking: 9
OK, so maybe Kentucky is still a year away. And maybe the SEC West is that much better than the East. Either way, it got ugly in a hurry for the Wildcats in Baton Rouge on Saturday night. This team can’t let the wheels fall off just because of one loss, though. It still has a lot to play for, and it begins next week when No. 1 Mississippi State comes to town.”

If you want to check out the rest of the power rankings, I have the article linked at the end of this one. Ranked behind us (in order) are South Carolina (#11), Florida (#12), Tennessee (#13), and Vanderbilt (#14) leading up the caboose.

Now who would’ve honestly thought at the beginning of the season that UK would be better off than both Florida and more shockingly South Carolina?

[ESPN.com: SEC Power Rankings: Week 8]


Mississippi State Opens As 13 Point Favorite Over Kentucky

(Chet White / UK Athletics)

(Chet White / UK Athletics)

The line for the game this coming weekend was just released, and it would appear that Kentucky will be the 13 point underdog to Mississippi State.  Hopefully the Cats take the next couple days to get their minds ready for the best team in the land when they come in to Commonwealth on Saturday in front of a national television crowd on CBS.


Can Anyone Decipher What Lou Holtz Just Said?

lou holtz

If you were watching College Football Scoreboard yesterday on ESPN, you might have heard something from Lou Holtz that just didn’t make a whole ton of sense. It would seem from the video that is below that Rece Davis said something to get the former ball coach all excited and riled up on set. However, the look of confusion on Mark May’s face after Lou’s rant is absolutely priceless as you can see below:

(H/T to Deadspin)


Williamson, Woodyard Having a Great Day for the Titans

NFL.com

NFL.com

While the football mood around the Bluegrass might be a bit on the glum side of things this afternoon, two former Cats are putting together monster performances down in Nashville. Linebackers Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard have both forced turnovers for the Tennessee Titans in their game against the Redskins today. Williamson started things off by forcing and recovering a fumble and Woodyard grabbed a pick in the second quarter.

The Titans currently trail 13-10.

Cats.

@WilderTreadKSR


Boom Williams Tweeting, Staying Positive

After last night’s scary collision in which Stanley “Boom” Williams laid motionless on the ground of Death Valley for what seemed like hours, to see the freshman running back tweeting this morning is definitely a sight for sore eyes. Stoops didn’t too concern about Williams’ head injury last night (possible concussion) so fingers crossed he’ll be healthy and ready to go next Saturday.


Stephen Zimmerman’s Mom Had a Great Weekend

 

H/T @VegasBBallMom

H/T @VegasBBallMom

As Kentucky hosted a ton of recruits this weekend for Big Blue Madness, none were bigger (literally) than 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman. As you probably know, Zimmerman is a 5-star recruit from the Class of 2015 also weighing offers from Arizona, UCLA, Kansas and Indiana. His mother, Lori, has publicly displayed her affection for the Cats many times over Twitter (painting her nails for the Cats) and with her son in Lexington, it seems clear via social media that Lori is firmly a member of Big Blue Nation…take a look…

 

If those tweets weren’t enough, Lori just recently followed @DrunkCoachCal and @JohnRobicsHair. I think in this case it’s safe to say: momma knows best.

@WilderTreadKSR


Jorts is a Dad!

@BigJorts55

@BigJorts55

This weekend former Kentucky favorite Josh Harrellson, better known as Jorts, welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. Congrats to Jorts and his fiancee. Can’t wait to see baby Arianna wearing her KY blue.

@WilderTreadKSR


Just How Bad Were Special Teams…

mad stoops

Well to put it simply, they were very bad. From the opening kickoff LSU dismantled the Wildcats and made them look utterly foolish on routine kickoff and punt returns. One could argue that special teams were the determining factor in last night’s loss, as they immediately took out all the wind in Kentucky’s sails and never even gave the Cats a fighting chance. Oh, and let’s not forget that LSU special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto was part of Stoops’ coaching staff just last year. The SEC Network sure didn’t. Let’s take a second to see just how much of a breakdown there really was.

-Game opening kickoff: Kentucky attempts a fake onside kick to confuse LSU’s return team but the Tigers don’t bite. LSU RB Terrence Magee said it himself: ““They came out and tried to trick us. We kind of expected it, and they expected us to switch to another look, which we didn’t. We were prepared for it.” Of course you were. Magee took that kickoff for 49 yards, and don’t forget an extra 15 was tacked on for face-mask penalty. So there ya go, LSU starts the game on the Kentucky 29 yard line before the first offensive snap.

-5:47 in the 1st Quarter: 67 yard punt return for a touchdown by Tre’Davious White. With the Cats punting out of nearly their own end-zone the Tigers capitalized on poor spacing and execution by Kentucky to take it to the house and make the score 17-0 in the blink of an eye.

-Near the end of the first half Kentucky was basically just trying to lick it’s wounds and get into the locker room as LSU had just scored another touchdown (although the SEC Network suffered from a power outage when that happened so I’m not sure it ever actually happened). The Tigers kicked the ball off with less an a minute remaining and instead of you know, returning the kickoff, the Wildcats watch the ball sail right by them as LSU storms down the field to fall on the ball. Seriously, in what world does that happen? Ever? The Tigers used the good field position to knock in an easy field goal cause, why not?

Add in a few field goals and Peveto’s bunch were the stars of the game for the Bayou Bengals. Oh, and to add insult to injury, this was just after LSU’s special teams squad had a horrendous game last week in Florida allowing a punt return for a touchdown, over 160 return yards and missing an extra point. Seems to me like they re-grouped pretty well.

Kentucky will hope to do the same as they can’t make things any easier for the top ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs than they already are. Coach Naivar, we’re looking at you.

@WilderTreadKSR


Rich Brooks Carried Off the Field in Oregon

H/T @BruceEly

H/T @BruceEly

Former Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks went back to his previous stomping grounds at the University of Oregon last night for homecoming and had a ball. Brooks and other members of the 1989 Independence Bowl winning Duck team celebrated the 25th anniversary of Oregon’s first post-season game in 26 years. After the present-day Ducks took care of Washington 45-20, Brooks was lifted up in the air on someone’s shoulders. Please tell me, is anyone in the entire world having a better retirement than Ole Papa Brooks?

@WilderTreadKSR