We’re less than 48 hours from Football Time in the Bluegrass, which means you’re probably →
Big Blue Nation, it’s time to decide which popular musician wore UK blue the best this morning.
First, on your left, we have Chris Kael from Five Finger Death Punch sporting a “Kentucky ‘Til I Die” t-shirt at this morning’s KSR remote.
Then, on your right, we have the drummer from Florida Georgia Line wearing a cut-off “UK Kentucky Wildcats” tee on Good Morning America.
So who wore it better? You decide.
And as a bonus, check out Chris’ bass guitar for tonight’s concert in Rupp Arena. It’s a tribute to UK’s five National Championship basketball coaches.
A photo posted by Chris Kael (@5fdpchriskael) on
(Don’t let that sway your vote.)
By Drew Franklin on ©September 04th, 2015 @ 11:02am
DO NOT watch this if you are in an office setting and you value your job. It’s intense. It will jack you up. I almost put my fist through my coffee table 10 seconds into the video. Dead serious. Don’t tell my mom, but the title of this post originally had two f-bombs in it for no reason. No chill whatsoever after watching this. Where’s my John Legend playlist? I need to calm down.
Again, DO NOT watch this unless you’re prepared to break something. And if you’re ready to make that commitment, good luck to anyone and anything in your path.
I swear I’m good for 15 tackles and a forced fumble if I could throw on the pads right now.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 04th, 2015 @ 10:30am
By Drew Franklin on ©September 04th, 2015 @ 10:00am
ESPN released its final preseason bowl projections and UK football fans better get ready to spend Christmas in Louisiana if the predictions come true.
The masterminds behind the picks–Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy–predict Kentucky to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. That’s a December 26th, day-after-Christmas contest with North Carolina at 5:45 pm on ESPN.
Kentucky is one of 13 SEC teams projected to go bowling from the SEC, leaving only Vanderbilt behind from postseason play.
I can get down with Shreveport.
One problem: UK hosts Louisville in basketball that day.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 04th, 2015 @ 9:54am
Mornin’ everybody. Did you see Florida Georgia Line’s drummer on GMA? He was wearing a UK tanktop. Pretty cool I guess, although it doesn’t change my opinion of Florida Georgia Line. Still horrible.
What’s not horrible is Kentucky Sports Radio radio. It’s on the air one last time this morning before Kentucky’s football season begins tomorrow. The guys will be previewing the game from Jack Kain Ford in Lexington.
Someone in attendance might even win tickets from:
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
KSR Affiliate List
WCBL (1290am): Benton
WBGN (1340am): Bowling Green
WTCO (1450am): Campbellsville
WAIN (1270am): Columbia
WCYN (102.3fm) Cynthiana
WHIR (1230am): Danville
WTHX (101.5fm) Elizabethtown
WCLU (1490am): Glasgow
WGOH (1370am): Grayson
WTUK (105.1fm): Harlan
WHOP (95.3fm): Hopkinsville
WJKY (1060am): Jamestown
WLAP (630am): Lexington
WFTG (1400am): London
WKJK (1080am): Louisville
WFMW (730am): Madisonville
WWXL (1450am): Manchester
WFTM (1240am): Maysville
WKYM (101.7fm): Monticello
WMSK (1550am): Morganfield
WPAD (1560am): Paducah
WKYH (600am): Paintsville
WLSI (900am) Pikeville
WPRT (960am): Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240am): Somerset
WTCW (920am): Whitesburg
WHAY (98.3fm): Whitley City
WBTH (1400am): Williamson
PRTC TV Channels 209 & 409: Jackson & Owlsey Counties (Replayed at 1 and 6)
On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…
WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm
WWTF (1580am): Lexington, 4-6pm
By Drew Franklin on ©September 04th, 2015 @ 9:00am
This morning we’re celebrating the music career of one Eddy Futch, known professionally to the country music world as Eddy Raven.
Raven had six No. 1 hits in his day, beginning with the timeless “I Got Mexico” back in 1984. Sing along with me! You know the words!
Raven followed that up with five more No. 1 hits from 1987-89: “Shine, Shine, Shine,” “I’m Gonna Get You,” “Joe Knows Hows How To Live,” “In A Letter To You,” and “Bayou Boys.”
Of those five classics, I must say, “Shine, Shine, Shine” is the one I can’t go an entire day without hearing. Sing along with me! You know the words!
Raven went on to write songs for several well-known rock and country artists, including Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, Kenny Chesney, George Jones, Toby Keith, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lorrie Morgan, and the Oak Ridge Boys.
Oh, he also attended Louisiana-Lafayette.
Speaking of Louisiana-Lafayette, there’s a pretty big football game going on tomorrow and…
Mark Stoops greatly appreciates the support.
Yesterday, Stoops said, “Our people within the Big Blue Nation and certainly within the athletic department have been amazing. It’s important to a lot of people, and we recognize that. I think Mitch does a wonderful job. He’s very passionate and he cares greatly. From him on down to the other coaches and teams and support staff and administrators and all the people that have been in there trying to get the stadium ready, we can’t thank them enough. It’s very important to them; it’s very important for us to out there and play well.”
Now it’s time for him to hold up his end of the bargain and start putting some wins on the board. That starts tomorrow with the inaugural game in the New CWS.
South Carolina looked pretty average last night.
Not going to get carried away until I see Kentucky tomorrow, but after checking out the Gamecocks last night, I’m a little more confident in UK’s Week 2 chances. Spurrier’s quarterback didn’t show me anything — Would Barker be starting there? — and the secondary is weak. Again, still have to see what the Cats throw out there, but there’s some new optimism after watching last night’s game.
Vanderbilt lost to Western Kentucky.
Vandy fans really seemed to care about the season opener:
It’s going to be a long year for the ‘Dores.
Marques Bolden’s official visit to UK is going “sensational.”
That comes from a tweet from Hoop DFW, which describes itself as an “NCAA certified scouting service in Dallas/Ft. Worth.”
I guess we can trust them.
Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe are inseparable.
Somewhere, Devin Booker is jealous, probably.
Tons of UL-Lafayette stuff coming throughout the day…
But first, KSR radio in one hour.
By Bryan the Intern on ©September 04th, 2015 @ 8:00am
Thank you to everybody for submitting stories this summer. This will be our last edition of the KSR Fan Summer Stories until next April after basketball season. We finish with an interesting story involving Shane Boyd:
This past weekend I was able to take my 11 year old son to his first Arizona Rattlers football game. Our family is usually too busy to attend many sporting events in the Phoenix area because one kid is playing football and baseball and the other who is nine I have coached in baseball since he was four years old. Unlike growing up in Kentucky where there are different seasons for different sports, kids usually choose a sport and play it year round in Arizona. To say we are stretched pretty thin at times is an understatement. However, this past weekend was light one before we start ratcheting things up and get into the meat of the seasons for their sports.
We were invited to attend the final home game for the Arizona Rattlers by a business partner and with nothing to do, I told him we would attend. As we sat in our seats my son is looking over the roster and asking if there is a way to get the players autograph. He noticed Shane Boyd’s name on the roster and immediately locked in that he played at Kentucky. When we do go to events, he has to be early in hopes of meeting the players. He has been pretty successful–he has a John Wall signed jersey and we were able to hang with Darius Miller near the locker room at halftime of a Pelicans game as he sat out with an injury.
As the game neared an end they announced the players would be available for autographs after the game. So he started working on me. “I need a football. Can I get Shane’s autograph? Can we stay?” Needless to say, off I went to buy a football for him to get signed. As the final explosion went off to signal the end of the game, he was standing in line at the entrance to make his way down to the field. We waited patiently for them to open the gates and make our way to the tables to meet each player. He was anxious and wondering if he would have the chance to meet Shane. When the gates opened he ran around trying to find Shane and his eyes locked in on him so he was off to the races. As I approached the table my son handed Shane the ball and said, “Can you sign my ball and put Go Cats on it?” Shane replied, “Whaaat? What do you know about Big Blue Nation? We are everywhere little man, thanks for coming to the game.” As we turned to walk away my son realized he did not get a picture so he turned back around and asked if we could take one. I snapped the picture and my son Scout said, “Thank you so much and good luck in the playoffs next week.” Shane replied, “Thanks little man and here you go (as he handed him his wristband). Go Cats!” I thought back to the commercial of my youth where Joe Green tosses his jersey to the kid in the tunnel and had to smile.
I believe my son got 13 of the 16 autographs available and walking out of the arena he looked up at me holding his football and wristband and said, “This is the greatest thing in the world.” I chuckled and said, “You sure about that? I am sure there are better things but that is pretty cool.” He replied, “Oh yeah, what player has ever given you anything? This is sooo cool.” He had a point. I remember attending games at Commonwealth with my grandfather who had not missed a home game in 30 years. We were the first fans in the stadium and we would stay until the final horn sounded, regardless of the score. I would beg him to make our way to the team tunnel and would lean over the edge screaming at the players to toss me their wristband, towels, pads, etc. It took me back to a time when I was his age and how excited I would get about the football and basketball players. Something simple that, like many in BBN, is passed down from generation to generation.
On a night where I did not expect much other than spending a little quality time with one of my kids, Shane Boyd made a lasting impression on a kid that knew very little about him other than noticing that he was a Wildcat when looking over the names of the players–and that was good enough for him. Shane was part of BBN so he was one of us, enough said. When we got home he ran into his room and put the ball and wristband among all of the memorabilia handed down by me and his grandfather. I thought that would be end of it but Sunday evening at a cook out and swimming at my sister-in-law’s house my son comes running in screaming, “He replied!!! He replied!!!” I laughed and said, “Who replied? What are you talking about?” Out of breath and trying to compose himself he says “Shane!!! He replied to my Tweet. I can’t believe he replied.” Not sure if I have ever been that excited about an autograph, wristband, towel, pads etc. but believe I likely acted in the same manner at the time. However, I can say with 100% certainty, since I don’t do the twitter thing, that I have never had a player reply to me and for that I thank Shane for making an 11 year feel like he is special and having a connection with an athlete.
With football season fast approaching I am excited about the direction of our team but more importantly about what UK athletics means to us as fans, our families, our kids and for the memories we build from our experiences year after year. I am forever grateful for a free night out with my son where our paths crossed with someone he could relate with as a part of BBN and for Shane Boyd for taking the time to reply on Twitter. It is the little things that matter in life and this is one that I will not soon forget. I can not thank my grandparents and my mother enough for teaching me life lessons through sports, for teaching me something to be proud of as well as believe in when they showed me how to love our Wildcats and I am appreciative for the opportunity to pass the same love for UK on to my kids. Thank you Shane for the experience and Go Cats!
P.S. BTI Sucks
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 11:00pm
We’re less than 48 hours from Football Time in the Bluegrass, which means you’re probably making your plans for Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana Lafayette. To help you enjoy the day in the most ridiculous manner possible, I put together this handy little guide, which includes a schedule, maps, and some DOs and DON’Ts. Go Cats.
DO arrive early
The game’s not until 7 p.m., but the parking lots open at 8 a.m. and there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained throughout the day, all of which are much more fun than sitting in traffic. Speaking of, here’s the pregame traffic flow map:
Lexington Police will try their best to keep everything flowing smoothly, but I can guarantee you Nicholasville Road will still be a mess. That’s why you should arrive early, otherwise, by 5:30 p.m., you’re gonna be like this while all your friends are having fun:
DO pay attention to these parking maps
That’s right, there are three FREE PARKING GARAGES at the following locations:
- Parking Structure #2 – accessible from University Drive near the WT Young Library
- Parking Structure #3 – Kentucky Clinic parking off Virginia Avenue
- Parking Structure #6 – On the corner of Virginia Avenue and Press Avenue
Click on the map above for a better view.
DO pack a little extra money if you’re planning to take the shuttle
One of the best ways to get to the games the past few years was the LexTran shuttle from downtown. Unfortunately, LexTran no longer operates the shuttle, which used to cost $5. It’s now run by Miller Transportation, who is charging $15 for a roundtrip. For more information, visit millertransportation.com.
DON’T have a tailgate? DO make a friend
Parking passes are worth their weight in gold at Commonwealth Stadium, so if you’re not one of the lucky few hosting a tailgate, make a friend who is. We’re all Cats fans, especially if you bring a nice bottle of bourbon with you.
DO pace yourself
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. With highs expected to be in the 90’s, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sneak some water in between all those light beers. Speaking of, if you love craft beer but don’t love the bloat/nap that comes with it after a few, try a session ale. My favorite is Founders All-Day IPA. As always, drink responsibly.
DO go to Matthew Mitchell/Sundy Best concert starting at 3 PM
Matthew Mitchell and the Go Big Blue Band will open for country duo Sundy Best at approximately 3 p.m. in the Glenn Infiniti of Lexington Green Lot adjacent to Gate 1. Sundy Best will take the stage at 4 p.m. and break for the Cat Walk at 4:45 p.m.
DO sing along to “Since U Been Gone”
I had the pleasure of meeting Matthew Mitchell at the KSR Party last Saturday, and after I got over my fangirling, I insisted he and his band play “Since U Been Gone.” Probably in an attempt to appease the pathetic fan girl in front of him, he agreed, so I’ll be on the front row singing along. You should be too.
DON’T storm the stage and tell everyone to go streaking
This goes along with pacing yourself.
DO listen to the KSR Pregame Show
Country music not your thing? Listen to the KSR Pregame Show starting at 3 p.m. on WLAP and all the UK Radio Network affiliates. Matt, Ryan, Jared, and Drew will be making the rounds at Commonwealth Stadium to bring you the sights and sounds from opening day.
DO invite the guys to your tailgate if you’re having one
Food and cold beverages are always appreciated.
DON’T invite Kentucky Joe
Although he’ll probably already be there anyways.
DO cheer for Auburn
Because they’re playing Louisville at 3:30 p.m. and a Cardinal loss would make a great day even better.
DON’T be late to the Cat Walk
It starts at 4:45 p.m. outside Gate 1. Here’s a map:
If you’re lost, just look for Boom Williams’ dad. He’ll get you there:
DO go to the Nutter Field House to watch Freddie Maggard and Christi Thomas on “Cat Talk to the Cat Walk”
Our own Freddie Maggard has a new 30-minute show with Christi Thomas entitled “Cat Talk to the Cat Walk” immediately following the KSR Pregame Show. The show, part of UK’s “Countdown to Kickoff,” will be broadcast outside of the Nutter Fieldhouse. Come check it out in person, or if you’re at home, listen on the radio or watch the live video stream on UKAthletics.com.
DO acquaint yourself with the new Stadium Map
Which gate should you go in? Check the back of your ticket.
DON’T bring that big bag
Guests are allowed one bag no larger than 13.5″ x 10″ x 7″ and they must fit within the sizing bins at each entrance. Here’s a handy guide from UK Athletics:
Leave the L.L. Bean backpack at home for this one.
DO expect slightly better cell service
There may not be free wifi at the stadium yet, but Mitch Barnhart said fans can expect better cell service if they have AT&T or Verizon.
DON’T nitpick over the stuff that may not be finished
Construction crews and volunteers have been working around the clock to make sure everything is finished or as closed to finished as it can be for Saturday. This morning, Mitch Barnhart said there will be a few things left to do, but odds are, you won’t even notice them unless you’re in the suite level. Besides, this is a football game, not HGTV. Chill.
DO marvel at the transformation
I love Commonwealth Stadium, but I think we can all agree it hasn’t exactly been the coolest stadium in the SEC, unless you’re really into plain concrete. Now, Kentucky football finally has a stadium fans can be proud of, and all season, TV commentators and visiting fans will be buzzing about it. Enjoy it.
DO pat Mitch Barnhart on the back if you see him
He deserves it.
By Courtney Hessler on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 10:30pm
You know you’re thinking of a Wendy’s ® Spicy Chicken Sandwich. The spicy goodness of the all white meat chicken lightly breaded with a unique blend of eight peppers and spices, topped with crisp lettuce, delicious fresh tomato and creamy mayonnaise, all on a soft toasted bun. The only way to get it out of your head is to get it in your hands.
You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:
#10 Shannon The Dude
— Shannon The Dude (@ShannonTheDude) September 3, 2015
This will make a great new ringtone.
— Beauknows2012 (@BeauKnows2012) September 3, 2015
— Jeauxsef (@thejosephcraven) September 4, 2015
I think he needs some Harry’s.
#7 Nick Carroll
— Nick Carroll (@NICK07WKU) September 3, 2015
I sure hope you’re wrong.
— Rob (@uncle_buzz_buzz) September 3, 2015
We told him that was too far.
#5 Mr. IBleedBlue
— Mr. IBleedBlue (@BigBlue_Boss) September 3, 2015
#4 Kentucky Josh
— Kentucky Josh (@joshnwhithayes) September 3, 2015
That explains a lot.
#3 Stephen Phillips
— Stephen Phillips (@steviep930) September 4, 2015
#2 Scott Darst
— Scott Darst (@MountaineerCat) September 3, 2015
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
#1 Bweet Da Dee™
— Bweet Da Dee™ (@TDigital) September 3, 2015
Bweet, I hate to break it to you…but I don’t think anyone will ever miss you doing that.
By Trey Huntsman on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 10:00pm
Each week, KSR Preps picks one game that will provide several key components to a great game. The atmosphere and aspect of a rivalry are key, as well as the importance of the game and talent on the field. This week, the KSR Preps Game of the Week will be Boyle County vs Danville.
Boyle County (2-0) vs Danville (2-0)
In the third edition of our Game of the Week, KSR is coming to Danville. This rivalry has a buzz around it once again this season as both teams are district contenders. Boyle County is led by quarterback Josiah Robbins. Last week against Bell County, Robbins’ four touchdowns and 281 yards led the Rebels to a 41-7 win. Danville has a gun-slinger of their own in QB Zach Dampier. The junior threw for 390 yards and five touchdowns in a blowout win over Rockcastle County.
Danville proved last season that they were back to their winning ways after finishing with a losing record in 2013. The Ads won the district title and finished with an 8-4 record. One of those four losses was a 24-7 defeat to Boyle. The Rebels went 11-2 and lost out to Lexington Catholic in the regional final. Robbins returns to lead Boyle County after proving he was one of the top QBs in central Kentucky last season. Danville will put up more of a fight against Boyle this year after totaling only 110 total yards in last year’s loss.
We’re looking forward to Danville showing out this Friday for our Game of the Week. Along with myself, keep an eye out for Danville’s finest, Tyler Thompson, and potentially a Ryan Lemond appearance.
Trey’s Pick- Boyle County’s defense will be too much for Danville. But this will be a true rivalry game with Danville giving all they’ve got against the Rebels.
Nick’s Pick- It’s been far too long since the Admirals took home a victory. Danville will come away with the upset.
Other Games to Watch
Bowling Green (2-0) vs St. Xavier (1-0)
This game has turned into quite the rivalry over the past few seasons. Bowling Green won 6-0 in overtime last year and has won the past four matchups. This year’s game will be very interesting as both team’s have new quarterbacks. Clark Payne (BG) was named the co-MVP of the Rafferty’s Bowl and Desmond Ridder (St. X) was the MVP of the Bluegrass Bowl. St. X shut down Henry Clay last week on the ground; it will be intriguing to see how they handle Jamale Carothers and the Purple rushing attack.
Trey’s Pick- Both of these teams have different outlooks than in year’s past. I like Carothers and Jacob Yates to lead the Purples to their fifth straight win over St. X.
Nick’s Pick- St. X has looked good so far this year, and they’ll continue to roll with a vengeance over the Purples.
Pikeville (2-0) vs Paintsville (2-0)
This will be one of the year’s biggest games in the mountains. Pikeville beat Paintsville 62-8 in the 2014 regular season, only to lose 30-6 in second round of the postseason. Daric Pugh has been phenomenal to this point in the season (478 yards, eight touchdowns), but he will face his toughest task against Kash Daniel. Paintsville will rely on Kent Phelps and Daniel to run the ball as well. Don’t expect there to be much passing in this game.
Trey’s Pick- This a big statement game for Paintsville. After losing by 54 to Pikeville last year in the regular season, I think Paintsville will turn it around in this game. Paintsville is a top five team in 1A.
Nick’s Pick- The toughest matchup in 1A, the knock-down, drag ’em out will be Kash Daniel’s defining moment. He’ll win the stalemates, keep Pugh in check, and carry a couple of touchdowns in an important victory.
Mayfield (2-0) vs Paducah Tilghman (1-1)
With a 15-game winning streak, Mayfield travels to Paducah Tilghman to take on Jessie Dunigan and the Blue Tornado. Mayfield has not allowed a point in wins over Fort Campbell and Marshall County to open the season. Dunigan will look to change that stat from the quarterback position. With 378 yards passing and 90 yards rushing, Dunigan has been the center of the Blue Tornado offense. Mayfield will look towards QB Landon Arnette to have a big game and lead Mayfield to another win.
Trey’s Pick- This is the second oldest rivalry in the state. Paducah Tilghman leads the all-time record, but Mayfield will win for the 40th time over the Blue Tornado.
Nick’s Pick- This game will determine if Mayfield is worth the hype they’ve received since moving up to 2A. I think they will, but it will still be a close call against Tilghman.
Highlands (1-1) vs Scott County (2-0)
Highlands responded with 23-point win over Campbell County last week after getting blown out by Cooper in their opener. Nick Kendall ran for 118 yards and two scores while quarterback Austin Hergott tallied 208 total yards. Scott County put up 56 points last week on 5A contender Pulaski County in a huge win. The matchup of Highlands’ defense vs Scott County’s Keith Guy will be fun to watch. SCHS ran for 443 yards last week against Pulaski and had three players with 100 or more rushing yards.
Trey’s Pick- I like Keith Guy, Kendrick Hamilton, and Noah Hughes to run all over Highlands and lead Scott County to a 3-0 start.
Nick’s Pick- Scott County’s already proved themselves once, and they’ll do it again this week with another win.
– Trinity is ranked number one in the state after beating the top team in Tennessee last week. They take on Landon Young and Lafayette this week in Louisville.
– Keion Wakefield is still injured and there is still no word on if we will see him this week. Joquise Buford of Henry Clay is out against George Rogers Clark.
– South Warren and Greenwood square off in Bowling Green. A good portion (OK, most) of the students at South Warren moved from Greenwood’s school system when the school opened in 2010. Greenwood is 0-2 against SWHS and has been outscored 73-3 in those games. I’m sure the Gators would love to beat their new rival for the first time.
If you’re in or around Danville, stop by the game for some great football!
Want to talk or share news? Tweet me @TreyHuntsmanKSR.
By Bobby Reagan on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 9:30pm
There have been multiple posts about LSU basketball over on ESPN.com this week. All three posts had the same sort of story.
The writers are interested in seeing this young, talented LSU team and they think they can challenge Kentucky for the SEC title. Now, while I think LSU lacks the interior size and talent to truly challenge for the SEC title, there will be an uptick in talent this year not only in Baton Rouge, but across the conference as a whole.
Dick Vitale talked a lot about LSU’s trio of Ben Simmons, Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson, but did end his story with this:
The SEC has a lot of young talent coming in. When you look at Simmons, Blakeney and Sampson, and Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray of Kentucky, and Malik Newman of Mississippi State, there is excitement galore.
My question to you is simple. Are you excited for the uptick in talent across the conference?
By Nick Roush on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 9:00pm
There isn’t a more exciting position to watch in 2015 than the development of Kentucky’s deep group of wide receivers. Depleted upon Stoops’ arrival, the head coach and offensive coordinator believe they’re 2-deep at every spot, with 10-12 competent pass-catchers available. Which begs the question – who’s going to be the superstars?
Garrett “Juice” Johnson and #2, Dorian Baker.
The dynamic duo have created a buzz around camp entering the season, making big play after big play. When Patrick Towles delivers them a pass, he doesn’t have to be perfect, “just get it in their zip code.”
A Quintessential Dichotomy
Juice is primarily a slot receiver, working the middle of the field, but also streaking along the sideline. A quiet intellectual, Juice has spent countless hours over the summer studying film to perfect his craft, “He spent a lot of time in the summer in meeting rooms. You’d walk by the meeting room and there’s Juice sitting there, eating lunch by himself watching something,” wide receiver coach Tommy Mainord said. “Countless hours he’s spent here, trying to educate himself, not only in what we’re doing, but different guys running routes.”
He was the breakout performer of the Florida game, catching 6 passes for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns in his home state. Unfortunately, it was only a fleeting flash of greatness. It was disheartening, but it’s provided motivation, “There’s really nothing I could do about it now,” Juice said. “That’s why I took it upon myself in the offseason to keep working to make sure that I don’t keep peaking, and just going up and down.”
Mainord sees a difference on the field, bringing established maturity to his play, “He’s a quick guy, he’s very quick, and he’s got a good imagination on running routes. He sticks his foot really well, and has good ball skills.”
Baker has taken a similar approach in mentality, but has completely different tangibles. The outside receiver is a physical specimen, remembered most for dismantling an LSU defender while his quarterback scrambled. Towles likes having that guy on his side, “I wouldn’t fight him. I think there’s some guys that are offensive linemen that wouldn’t.”
His physicality isn’t just a marvel while blocking, it also helps him create separation downfield to make big plays. In tough 3rd and long situations, he can open a window for a first down. “Well, he’s big, physical, fast, strong. I mean, what else you want?” Shannon Dawson said. “The kid’s a talented kid, no doubt.”
His mentality is also much more aggressive, so aggressive that some might call it cocky. “You come in with a mindset, ‘There’s money on the line. There’s jobs on the line and we’ve got a game in two weeks (now two days) to come out ready to roll.”
That mindset has him ready for Saturday, “(I’m) Anxious. Almost too anxious; can’t sleep at night, I don’t even eat as much. I’m just hungry. I’m going to do my eating on the field, that’s how I see it.”
Competition Doesn’t Create Riffs in Chemistry
Just like Baker and Johnson, we saw flashes from all of the returning receivers at some point last year, but consistency kept the young talents from truly exploding onto the scene. The problem has been remedied with depth, and tough competition everyday at practice.
Juice acknowledged that it can be tough during the dog days of camp, but there’s a voice in the back of his head that keeps pushing him. If the energy is lacking, somebody steps up to inject excitement.
Blake Bone and Jeff Badet go back-and-forth, Thaddeus Snodgrass pushes Baker, and Johnson has to fend off Ryan Timmons and T.V. Williams. They know that nothing will be given to them, “We’re not sitting here with a guy that had a hundred catches last year, and so to me, we have a bunch of players that are role players,” Dawson said. “People need to prove their worth.”
Despite the fights to prove their worth to the new offensive coordinator, Baker knows they are all in to win it as one, ““If he makes a play, it’s almost as if I made a play because we’re so close. We’re family. We kind of expect those things out of each other,” Baker said. “We don’t look at who did it or who done it, we look at it as a collective unit.”
The Swagger Comes with Awesome Alter-Egos
As a unit, this group exudes confidence like I’ve never seen before. It isn’t just on the field. While walking around campus, you’ll see a group of them on the corner near Whitehall with their chins held high. The students take notice.
On the field, their play has earned them nicknames. Juice isn’t reserved just for Johnson, with the entire unit donning themselves as “The Juice Boys,” breaking huddles with a call of “JUICE.” Individually, T.V is obviously “Television,” but Baker has been the most regarded. Drew Barker calls him American Pharoah, Patrick Towles referred to him as a “two-car garage,” but the best description is from Coach Mainord, “He can hardly walk in a door without knocking it down, that’s his nature.”
Freddie Maggard has remembered every person to play for UK since Curci’s Cats in the 70’s, and he cannot recall a deeper group of wideouts then what Kentucky brings in 2015. They’ve made plays during the preseason. All that’s left is seeing what they can do on Saturday.
They were young last year, discovering the nuances necessary to be successful in the SEC. Baker described it as “an introduction year.” A year ago, they were a bunch of kids, achieving their dream to play in the SEC. Now they are living it everyday, transforming themselves into potential superstars, day by day.
“It’s almost unbelievable,” Baker said. “We feel untouchable now.”
By Nick Roush on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 7:00pm
– Jordan Jones will get plenty of reps in place of Ryan Flannigan. Even though he’s a true freshman. Even though he’s been sidelined for almost a month because of an undisclosed illness, Mark Stoops still REALLY likes what he sees. Jones reacts quickly, and he has what we in the biz like to call a nose for the ball, “He’s a different bird,” Stoops said.
Stoops hasn’t decided if Jones, Khalid Henderson or Eli Brown will start, but all will play. Flannigan isn’t being held out to be saved for the future. If Stoops could play him, he would, “That’s not even close to what I’m thinking.”
– Today’s practice was a light walk-thru; tomorrow will be more intense. Continuing a tradition from last year, the Cats went though their light walk-thru today, picking the tempo up tomorrow. Stoops believes it gives them a sense of urgency, and keeps them from being lethargic on game day, “I think it helps with timing, and getting the guys moving, because when you play those night games, you’re sitting around all day Friday and all day Saturday.”
– He feels good about his pass rushers. They aren’t Bud and Z, but Faro (Farrington Huguenin) and Denzil Ware have been exceptional, and Josh Allen has been a pleasant surprise. D.J. Eliot preached on the importance of pressuring the quarterbacks on Tuesday, giving them credit for causing more turnovers through the air.
– Courtney Love will NOT be eligible to play this Fall. Stoops heard the word earlier this week. Don’t take the news too harshly, it was a longshot from the start.
– Stoops believes his defense will be better this year than last year. It could just be coach talk, but I think he truly believes those words. His secondary has a lot more experience and Josh Forrest has learned how to stop the run by filling holes quicker. He knows there will be growing pains, but believes there is a much better comfort level overall.
– Stoops’ advice to Westry: keep your eyes on the prize. He’s never played in front of this many people before; there’s going to be a lot to look at. Stoops knows he’ll be fine once he gets settled in, but until then, he’s telling him to keep his eyes disciplined, “Young guys have a tendency to start looking at a lot of things, except the things they’re supposed to be looking at.”
You can watch all of Mark Stoops’ comments here, and while you’re watching football tonight, Tweet along with me @RoushKSR.
By Bobby Reagan on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 6:30pm
SI.com ranked the top 100 NBA players heading into the 2015-16 season. The biggest question for most is where would Anthony Davis end up. He’s often considered the best young talent in the NBA and the next big thing, expected to take over the torch once the LeBron James’ of the world get past their prime.
Well, they ranked him third. Kind of. Here’s what was said about Davis:
The tradeoff in giving Kevin Durant the benefit of the doubt as the No. 2 player in our rankings is that it underrates Davis. Fit this one with an asterisk for upward mobility; no other player in the NBA can quite match Davis’s plausible upside as a still-growing 22-year-old MVP candidate. It seems only a matter of time until Davis becomes the consensus choice for the best in the game—a reality that could come to fruition as soon as this season. For now, we prefer LeBron James and a healthy Durant. For tomorrow, we unquestionably prefer Davis. [SI.com]
Davis is up one spot from last year’s rankings. Also making the list was Nerlens Noel (No. 97), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 85), Brandon Knight (No. 79), Eric Bledsoe (No. 33), DeMarcus Cousins (No. 14) and John Wall (No. 13).
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 5:40pm
Stoops announced today that senior linebacker Ryan Flannigan is out Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette. Khalid Henderson and Jordan Jones, a true freshman, will have to fill his shoes against the Ragin’ Cajuns. A starter hasn’t been determined between those two.
When asked if there’s a mindset of holding Flannigan back to preserve him for later, Stoops said, “If he is ready to play, he would play. I don’t make those decisions and I don’t influence anybody. Doctors tell me if they can play. I don’t go anywhere near those decisions.”
So there ya go.