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August 29th, 2014

Kentucky Football Worst Case Scenario: Respect

The University of Kentucky football team snapped a 26 game losing streaking to Tennessee by beating the Volunteers 10-7 on Saturday, November 26, 2011, at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky.

Over the week on the show Matt has had fans calling in telling their best case and worst case scenarios for the upcoming football season. Cases range from an 8-4 season and a healthy team to a 0-12 season and the physical collapse of Commonwealth Stadium. While most people are looking at numbers when it comes to the cases, there is something else that would be much more valuable than what is in the Win or Loss column. Respect.

After going 4-20 with no conference wins in two seasons, Kentucky is looked at as the laughing stalk of the SEC, and some could even argue in college football as well. Constantly media and coaches alike vote Kentucky as the bottom of the pack, giving the team no respect, even if Kentucky fans disagree because we have personally seen the progress the team has made since Stoops took over.

Because of the progress we have seen as a fan base, It is annoying to hear people talk so negatively about the football program. It is annoying to hear people constantly say Kentucky is a basketball school. Stop. It is not wins or loses that determine what sport a school associates with, it’s the dedication of the fans. While there is obvious dedication to the basketball program, I believe that Kentucky Football fans show ‘a little’ bit of dedication to be so patient with the program and still buy, I believe, over 40K season tickets after back-to-back 2 win seasons. (sorry, I kind of went off on side rant there)

If all these things irritate the fan base, imagine what it does to the players and their self-esteem when playing on the field. This is why no matter what happens this season record wise, it is important for us to at least see a general improvement from the team as a whole. Being respected among peers would be the best thing to help this team. Respect builds confidence and confidence goes a long way.

This season, Respect is my worst case scenario. I believe whether the football world knows it like we do or not it is coming. Kentucky will shock the country.

@Sealey_KSR


Your Unofficial UT-Martin Scouting Report

"Come at me bro!"  (Drew Nash/Times-News)

“Come at me bro!” (Drew Nash/Times-News)

Offense

The UT-Martin offense wasn’t too bad last year, averaging just under 400 yards per game in a two quarterback system with Dylan Favre and Jarod Neal.  They get the job done, but anytime you consistently are using two QBs, they can’t be that great.  It’s because this offense LOVES to turn the ball over.  Neal threw almost as many touchdowns (9) as interceptions (7) last year for a team that had a -15 turnover margin.  The one thing the offense can hang their hat on: they return four starters on the offensive line.

Mark Stoops and DJ Eliot have made it a primary focus in the offseason to get more turnovers.  There isn’t a better chance to get the ball rolling than against the Skyhawks.  Even though they have four offensive linemen back, only two of them are over 300 pounds.  After fighting against Jordan Swindle and Darrian Miller during the preseason, Bud and Z are going to have fun teeing off on whichever poor quarterback is in the game.

Defense

Tony Bell is the bad boy for Tennessee-Martin.  The senior linebacker had 10.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss last season, earning attention from NFL scouts as a strong safety.  Bell received the praises from Mark Stoops earlier this week, but he’ll have to do most of the work by himself.  There are only four returning starters from a team that gives up a TON of points to Division-I opponents.  Last year they gave up 70 to Eastern Illinois, 63 to Boise State, and 45 to Murray State.

I think Kentucky’s better than Murray State, so it’s safe to assume the UK offense is going to put the Wildcat through one hell of a one-armed pushup workout.  With superior athleticism and conditioning, Neal Brown’s NASCAR offense is going to abuse the Skyhawks in the heat.  If the Cats play like the team I saw practice, they should surpass 50 points before the 4th quarter.

Score:  55-10, but most likely it will be the Cats by 90.


Sports Illustrated Explores the “Changed” Bobby Petrino

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Sports Illustrated decided to check in with the folks in Louisville and see to what extent Bobby Petrino has “changed” since he last left the Cards. The article was released a couple of weeks ago, but only went up online today. Since the last time I read Sports Illustrated’s hard copy was the Swimsuit issue in 1999, I didn’t get the details of the article until today…and they are funny.

According to Sports Illustrated (and you can read the entire article here), Bobby Petrino had quite the program going the last time he was there:

Players from that era (2003 – 2007) recall a Wild West atmosphere that included widespread gun use. “It was a bunch of tough guys,” says Craig James, a cornerback from Jacksonville who signed with Louisville in 2005, then left the program and finished at Northern Iowa. “Coach Petrino and his staff went to the slums. When you go to those bad neighborhoods and you bring kids from the streets to a university, sometimes you bring the streets in with them. Guns and fights-I mean we would have riots.”

Riots in the locker room? Well that is nice. But I am sure that is exaggerated right? Let’s see what Tom Jurich said about those guys after Petrino left:

Petrino’s own program, meanwhile, was struggling with discipline problems that wouldn’t become fully apparent until he was gone, and his successor, Steve Kragthorpe, began dismissing Petrino’s recruits. (Some other players quit.) In a 2008 interview with Eric Crawford of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Jurich laid the blame at Petrino’s feet: “Bobby went to areas where he thought he was strong recruiting, and some of them panned out and some didn’t. … We cleared 21 kids out of here, and that’s a lot. That’s a big hit for anybody to take. … But we want to do things the right way.”

So they wanted to do things the right way? Well that’s good Tom…cleared 21 players from Petrino’s era out of the program because they were negative influences. So now that you have brought Bobby back, how does Tom explain it?

Today Jurich takes the hit for Petrino. “I should have given Bobby more oversight,” he says. “Not so much in recruiting, because I think Bobby took the same kind of players we’ve always taken. But we had issues once those players got here. I should have done a better job watching his players. And this time around I will be more helpful in that regard.”

Yes, Tom Jurich as the Athletic Director should have watched over Petrino’s kids. Yeah that makes sense to me. But how else to explain the decision to hire a guy who gave you so much grief? Well maybe UL Trustee Jonathan Blue can explain it in an honest manner:

Blue, the trustee and fan, says, “College sports are a business, first and foremost. People in the Louisville community look forward to attending games and seeing a strong product on the field. Bobby will produce that. This isn’t a governor or a mayor we’re talking about. This is a football coach.” According to a person who attended the meeting at which Petrino’s hiring was unanimously approved by the athletic board, “There was discussion, but there was nothing about marital infidelity. It was mostly Bobby’s flight risk. Is he going to leave again?”

Hey, at least Blue is honest. Character doesnt matter…this isn’t a governor or mayor, just a leader of 85 plus young college students. Apparently Petrino’s character never even came up, just worries about whether he would leave them in the dust again. UL decided, with no disagreement, to hire Petrino so the question becomes, what about now? The Cards have bitten the bullet and hired Petrino, how are things going now? The SI article explains it this way:

But consider this: As SI reported this story, a source with ties to members of the Cardinals’ football program provided information that was then presented to Petrino for confirmation or denial. Just hours after this exchange, Petrino called a staff meeting and, according to the source, who spoke anonymously because he is still employed in athletics, said, “Shut your f—— mouths about things that go on in my building. Things are getting out. Guys are talking. If you’re not happy, get the f— out and leave.”

Changed Bobby huh? Sure thing…


Trey Lyles is up in CoachCal.com’s “Meet the Wildcats” series

Photo via UKAthletics

CoachCal.com’s “Meet the Wildcats” series rolls on, and freshmen Trey Lyles is up. The BBN doesn’t know a lot about Lyles, who has been sidelined with a mysterious leg injury, but he opens up in Eric Lindsey’s piece, talking about how eager he is to get back on the court and the hobby he has that clears his head: puzzles. Lyles says he works puzzles all the time and once put together a 3,000-piece puzzle of Elvis. 

Lyles also talks about why he chose Kentucky over Louisville, and I think you’ll like his answer:

“Coach Cal just stuck out more to me for what he’s able to do and how much he cares for us,” Lyles said. “I came here quite a few more times than I went to Louisville, so I just felt more comfortable here. Just the family atmosphere. All the guys get along. Everybody’s always together. The fans really helped out a lot. Having great people that back you really helps out a lot.”

Check out CoachCal.com for more great quotes from Trey, who will be back on the court very soon.

[Meet the Wildcats: Lyles chomping at the bit to join teammates on the court]


UofL’s official DJ’s Tailgating Mix sounds nothing like mine

DJK Dogg, UofL’s official DJ (because of course Louisville has an official DJ), just released his Tailgate Mix for Game 1, and shockingly, it sounds nothing like mine. To be fair, I don’t think that’s what he was going for, but nothing says Cards like hardcore rap on a Monday afternoon at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.


UK announces “fan experience enhancements” for game day and they include FREE WATER!

waterglass

UK is doing their best to improve the gameday atmosphere at Commonwealth Stadium, and this morning, sent out a release detailing all of the “fan experience enhancements” in place for tomorrow’s game against UT-Martin. It’s a LONG list, but here are some of the highlights

  • Fans’ choice in music: UK is partnering with four local radio stations to allow fans to vote on songs from four genres–hip hop, pop, rock, and country. The vote’s been going on all week, and the winning songs will be played during timeouts. If you haven’t checked out the list yet, I encourage you to do so. Some of the options are…interesting. I’ll leave it at that.
  • Players’ choice in music: Earlier this summer, eight UK players chose songs they want to hear right before kickoff and fans voted for their favorites. Tomorrow, you’ll hear Braylon Heard’s choice of “Who Run It” before the the Cats run it back for a touchdown (hopefully).
  • They can play songs and videos between downs now: The SEC changed the rules to allow video, audio and music to be played between downs, which hopefully means we’ll see Za’Darius Smith leading the crowd in some chants on the jumbotrons.
  • The mysterious pre-fourth quarter tradition: UK will unveil a new tradition for the break between the third and fourth quarter tomorrow. What will it be? Randall Cobb leading the crowd in the CATS chant? Please???
  • In-game score updates – Game scores from across the country will be played on a continuous loop on the ribbon boards during the game so you won’t miss a thing.
  • FREE WATER! – Complimentary 10-ounce cups of water will be available to fans at stadium concession stands this season. That means you have no excuse not to rehydrate from your pregame tailgating festivities.

Go Cats. Go free water.


EJ Floreal has earned a Scholarship

AP Photo

AP Photo

A Congratulations is in order for Mr. EJ Floreal.  After one walk-on season, Floreal has been rewarded for his hard work by receiving a scholarship from John Calipari.  He didn’t have any numbers or miraculous plays to point out (except for the dunk in the Bahamas, that was awesome), but he did prove that he’s much more than the track coach’s son: he deserves to be on the court.

EJ brings the intensity to every practice, along with this:

 

That’s scholarship worthy if you ask me.


Calipari hopes half of the UK players in the NBA have the chance to make the 2016 Olympic Team

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True to form, John Calipari is doing a little work on his vacation. Yesterday, Cal spoke to USA Today’s Sam Amick about former Cats and current Team USA members Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, and how he believes the benefits of being on Team USA outweigh the risks. Cal spoke at length about how much he feels being on the national team has helped Derrick Rose and Davis, the latter of which he predicted could be “the best player in the NBA” in five years. Cal said he hopes the same will happen for Cousins, who he believes could be a “10-time All-Star” thanks in part to the maturity and experience he gains from being on Team USA.

Davis and Cousins make it two Cats on the roster, but by 2016, Cal says he hopes John Wall also makes the squad, along with “half of the guys we have in the league”:

“[Cousins] is going to have more of a desire to make that Olympic team in 2016, as is John Wall (who didn’t make the USA roster) and I’m hoping half of the (former Kentucky) guys we have in the league, 20-something, will have an opportunity to make that roster.”

Whoa. Let’s think about this. By 2016, the following Kentucky players will likely be in the league:

  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Keith Bogans
  • Chuck Hayes
  • Rajon Rondo
  • Jodie Meeks
  • John Wall
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • Patrick Patterson
  • Enes Kanter
  • Brandon Knight
  • Anthony Davis
  • Marquis Teague
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Terrence Jones
  • Darius Miller
  • Nerlens Noel
  • Archie Goodwin
  • James Young
  • Julius Randle
  • Andrew Harrison
  • Aaron Harrison
  • Willie Cauley-Stein
  • Dakari Johnson
  • Marcus Lee
  • Karl Towns
  • Alex Poythress

First of all, good grief, that’s a lot, and I didn’t even include Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, and Trey Lyles. Cal’s estimate that half of the UK alums in the league will have the chance to make the team is, in true Cal fashion, a bit much, but I could see Davis, Cousins, Wall, Noel, Randle, and maybe Karl getting a shot. Maybe with Calipari as coach? Thoughts? (UPDATE: As many of you pointed out, yes, Karl would probably play for the Dominican team. Forgive me for a brain fart as I was rushing out the door to drive up to Danville.)

[USA Today]


KSR’s predictions for the 2014 football season

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Matt, Drew, Ryan, Jared Lorenzen, BTI, Nick Roush and I have turned in our picks for UK’s 2014 football season. Let’s hear yours.


Kentucky opens as a 20-point favorite over UT-Martin

The line for tomorrow’s game is finally out, and the Cats opened as a 20-point favorite over UT-Martin.

Cats by 24.


Diamond Stone cuts the Cats from his list

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Last night, five-star center Diamond Stone trimmed his list to five, and Kentucky did not make the cut. Stone narrowed his list to Maryland, Duke, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, and UConn, dashing dreams of a Malik Newman/Diamond Stone package deal in Lexington.

UK being cut from an elite recruit’s list is a rarity these days, but don’t freak out. Stone and UK have been distancing themselves from each other for several months now, and UConn is considered to be his favorite. The Huskies have also offered Malik Newman, but as the days go by, the Newman/Stone deal seems increasingly less likely to happen. Stone will announce his decision on November 12th on ESPN, while Newman will wait until the spring.

With Stone out of the picture, I don’t expect UK’s strategy to change much, if at all. They’ll continue to pursue big men Doral Moore, Stephen Zimmerman, Skal Labisssiere, and Caleb Swanigan heavily. Moore was supposed to visit UK last weekend, but couldn’t make it. Many believe it’s only a matter of time before he commits, so stay tuned…


Jalen Whitlow punted the ball three yards last night

© Brad Rempel | Getty Images

© Brad Rempel | Getty Images

Last night was Jalen Whitlow’s debut for Eastern Illinois, and well, it was an up-and-down affair. The former UK quarterback did a little bit of everything in Eastern Illinois’ loss to Minnesota, passing for 14-for-23 for 110 yards and 1 interception and rushing on 19 carries for 77 yards. He even caught a pass for 25 yards and punted the ball. Yes, he punted! Unfortunately, the ball only went three yards:

First game jitters?


UK FOOTBALL TOMORROW! (Friday Show Thread)

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We’re almost there, folks. In 26 hours, we’ll finally be watching Kentucky football, which means the long offseason is finally over. Get ready for tomorrow’s game by tuning into Kentucky Sports Radio, which is coming to you live from a radio studio in Manhattan. The guys went out to celebrate Matt’s birthday last night, so hopefully we’ll hear some good stories, as well as all of the football previews you can dream of. For some of you at least.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

KSR Affiliate List

WBGN (1340am): Bowling Green
WAIN (93.9fm): Columbia
WHIR (1230am): Danville
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
WLME (102.7fm):Owensboro
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

On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…

WCBL (1290am): Benton, 12-2pm
WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Streak You’d Rather Break

When you go through the down times that Kentucky has over the last several years, you tend to develop some negative streaks that can be quite the embarrassment for the fans.  And certainly at UK, we have become accustomed to streaks.  The Tennessee losing streak hovered over this program for nearly a quarter century.  The current Florida losing streak is starting to do the same, where every year the game is played the first thing brought up is the length of the losing streak.

But right now, there are 2 streaks that are attached to this program that I think are the ones that we should struggle with the most.  I wonder which of these 2 you are most embarrassed about as a fan and would rather see broken this season, if only 1 of the 2 can be broken:

1. 16 STRAIGHT LOSSES IN THE SEC

-Currently it’s the 2nd longest conference losing streak in UK history.  But the record is 17, so if Kentucky doesn’t want to surpass that, they will have beat either Florida of Vanderbilt.  But whether they get past 17 straight losses or not, the number that we absolutely can not get to is 24.  A 3rd straight 0-8 conference season would be an utter disaster for this program.  We would turn into the Northwestern of the early 1990′s or Rutgers or Temple of more modern times.  Personally, I don’t really care where it comes from, there has to be an SEC win in there somewhere.  The schedule sets up to give Kentucky several shots at a win and I fully expect them to execute.  But the longer that number remains and gets bigger, the more pressure for each game.

2. 3 STRAIGHT LOSSES TO LOUISVILLE

-Kentucky lost 4 straight to Louisville at the end of the Bobby Petrino Era #1.  But it’s been especially tough recently as UL has gone to another BCS Bowl and now brought back Petrino.  UL fans believe they have a grip on this rivalry now and for the future long term.  Which is more reason that Kentucky breaks that losing streak sooner than later.  Not only are there actual ramifications on the recruiting trail if that streak continues, but the general misery of UK fans until basketball season begins having to hear crap from Cards fans needs to stop.

Now, I am not sure that both of these streaks can’t be broken this season, but if I told you that only one of them could happen in 2014, which one would you rather see happen?  Personally, give me an SEC win this year and a win over Louisville next year in Commonwealth.