Like two pariahs sharing shelter in a storm, Kentucky and Vanderbilt have been quiet companions in →
By Nick Roush on ©8:00 pm
There are some things you see that you immediately wish to forget. Then there are some things that are such a train wreck, you’ll never forget them. The last time Vanderbilt visited Commonwealth Stadium, it was the latter.
Less than 10,000 fans were present for arguably the lowest point in the history of the Kentucky football program. I couldn’t tell you much of what happened during the 40-0 drubbing in the November rain, mostly because my attention was more focused on Team Patrick in Section 206. It was the final straw for Joker Phillips, fired the following day by Mitch Barnhart.
I will never forget Rob Bromley’s words to me after the game. “I’ve been doing this for many years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Hopefully you have many ahead of you, but I don’t think you’re ever going to see something like this again.”
Patrick Towles’ memory is still very clear from that cloudy day. Towles split reps with Jalen Whitlow, finishing 8-23 for 93 yards. I doubt he remembers the stat line, but what he does remember, “It SUCKED.”
After the game, Towles’ Mother tried to cheer him up by taking him to a Bruce Springsteen concert (take lessons, Moms of BBN). It actually did the opposite, “I remember being at a concert that night and somebody sitting to my left said, ‘Gosh man, Kentucky really didn’t play well today.’ He had the score, and was sitting right next to me and had no idea. It just wasn’t good.”
The fan next to Patrick wasn’t the only one saying it. Teachers and students alike would often take sarcastic shots at the team in class, with players present. It was ugly everywhere they went.
Fast forward nearly two years, and the environment around the program couldn’t be more different. “It wasn’t good. But we are WAY past that,” Towles said. “We are miles past that. And we’re going to do everything we can to win this football game on Saturday.”
All that’s left is a W in the SEC and a Packed Commonwealth.
By Drew Franklin on ©7:45 pm
A law firm in Louisville is using a popular rapper from the 90s to promote its services, and I’m a big fan of the strategy.
Winton & Hiestand, personal injury attorneys in Jefferson County, hired Master P to do a voiceover for their local television commercial. They’re also using P’s famous “Make Em Say Uhh!” on billboards and other ads around town:
Also known as Mr. Ice Cream Man amongst his peers and fans, Master P is a multi-platinum selling recording artist, founder of No Limit Records, and father of Lil’ Romeo. Forbes estimated his net worth to be around $350 million in 2013, making him the third richest hip-hop figure, but he’s not too big or too rich for Winton & Hiestand. Hoody hoo!!!!
Watch Master P’s TV spot below and then someone explain to me why I would trust anyone else when Winston & Hiestand Law Group is making them say “Uhhhh.”
Uhhh, na-nah na-nah...
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©7:00 pm
CJ Conrad is one of UK’s top 2015 commitments. Considered the 8th best tight end in the country by 247 Sports, Conrad was invited to The Opening, where he played alongside top target Damien Harris. Sports Stars of Tomorrow posted a profile of Conrad yesterday in which you can learn more about him and see some of his highlights. You can also see him wearing this great UK hat:
By Courtney Sealey on ©6:30 pm
The No. 14 University of Kentucky Volleyball team finished its nonconference slate 10-2 after winning its four final matches against VCU, Georgia Southern, Lipscomb and Xavier. Tomorrow the team opens Southeastern Conference play against LSU at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. Kentucky Volleyball is having a record setting season, starting with their highest ranking since Sept. 2012, when the Cats were ranked 10th in the nation. Here are a few players working to break the record books this season:
—Earlier this month head coach Craig Skinner became UK’s all-time winningest coach with his 210th victory.
—Senior Jackie Napper has 1,207 career digs, third in the UK record books in the rally scoring era and fifth in the all-time top 10, 35 digs away from moving up in both lists. The Libero also just repeated as SEC Defensive player of the Week after charting 10 or more digs in all 12 matches this season.
— Senior Lauren O’Conner leads all current SEC players with 943 kills. She is just 57 kills shy of becoming the 15th Wildcat to notch 1,000 career kills. O’Conner is also tied for fourth in the rally scoring era with 37 solo blocks, eighth with 209 total blocks and eighth with 172 block assists and third with 73 aces.
—Junior Morgan Bergren is third all-time in the rally scoring era in UK history with 1,838 career assists.
— Schwarzwalder is sixth in the rally scoring era with a .278 attacking percentage.
With 19 matches left before the end of the regular season, there is plenty of time for the girls to become the greatest players in UK Volleyball history, setting new standards for the Skinner era. And it all starts with LSU. The Cats lead all-time vs. LSU, 33-23. However, the series is tied in Baton Rouge at 10-10. LSU enters SEC play with a 5-4 record and is on a three-match winning streak. The Tigers have two wins over Baylor on back-to-back days last weekend. Against top-25 teams, LSU is 0-3, with losses to No. 14 San Diego, at No. 8 Purdue and at No. 7 Florida State.
UK is the real deal this year. Even Cal knows:
Went to @KentuckyVB practice. They're doing loose-ball drills the day before their first SEC game. And I love the chatter. They're for real.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) September 23, 2014
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©6:00 pm
With 24 days until Big Blue Madness, basketball is in the air. Accordingly, the Cats can now practice two hours per week until they move to 20 hours per week schedule on October 3rd. CoachCal.com tossed us a morsel today with a mini-practice report on Twitter. I’ll shut up and let you read it:
Few observations from practice today, which was mainly 3-on-3. One, the bodies of the Harrison twins and Dakari are completely different. Entire team looked good, but four guys stood out: Willie, Andrew, Alex, Aaron. Aaron’s team won the games. No surprise, he hit the big shots. 3-on-3 games were a different twist. Created another level of competitiveness.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:30 pm
The reseseating process for the 2015 season starts in two weeks, and to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, KyWildcatsTV put together this video with Ryan Lemond to guide you through the process. Let’s just call it “The New CWS Ticket Reseating Process for Dummies.” (Love you, Ryan!)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
I still feel like I don’t know a lot about Derek Mason other than he wears a bow tie very well and gives one hell of a pregame speech. Today, I learned the Mason really loves the word “tremendous,” especially when he’s describing Kentucky. When talking about the Cats during his press conference earlier this afternoon, Mason used the word “tremendous”/”tremendously” four times.
“They’re much improved, tremendously talented across the board, starting with their quarterback, Patrick Towles,” Mason said. “He’s a great player, a tremendous player, and they have as dynamic a skill group of running backs and receivers as we’ve seen so far. I mean, watching the Florida game, you had a chance to see what these guys could do. Tremendously explosive.”
Mason said he’s also looking forward to coaching against Mark Stoops, whom he said he respects–you guessed it–tremendously: “I get a chance to go up against Mark Stoops. Coach Stoops, I respect him tremendously, great coach, they’re a well coached team. He’s built this thing from the ground up, they’re starting to hit their stride.”
When asked how UK’s offense compares to those Vanderbilt has already faced, Mason compared them to Temple and Ole Miss, and said that while UK’s passing is excellent, not enough people respect their rushing attack. “They’re going to attack us down the seam, they’re going to attack us outside, they’re going to look to keep the run game balanced because they do a fairly good job–everyone talks about the pass game, but they do a good job running the ball,” Mason said. “Whether it’s fly sweeps or inside zone, they have enough speed where they can gash you with a quick hit.”
In fact, Mason compared trying to stop UK’s balanced attack to plugging holes in a dike, a reference to everyone’s favorite 19th century cautionary tale by Mary Mapes Dodge. “What we have to do is make sure structurally, all the way around, we stop the run and defend the pass because if you allow a team like this to be balanced, it’s a long day. You’re not stopping anything. All you’re doing is chasing a hole. And you’re trying to plug holes in the dike, man, with every finger that you have, and that’s not what we can do.” Yeah, man.
On defense, Mason said the Cats don’t make many mistakes, giving up an average of only 17 points per game, which is good enough for 22nd in the nation. “I mean, they’re a defense right now is not giving up any more than 17 points a game. So, when you have an offense averaging close to 36 and a defense not giving up any more than 17, that’s a pretty good formula for success.”
Here’s hoping for another tremendous effort on Saturday.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:30 pm
The men’s soccer team plays Louisville tonight, and as if you needed any more motivation to cheer against the Cards, the team is holding an “Abe-Out,” charging fans only a penny for admission (get it??). The first 500 fans get a free Abe shirt that looks like this:
— Kentucky Mens Soccer (@UKMensSoccer) September 22, 2014
Someone snag me one, please. Size smedium.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:00 pm
Lou Holtz, everyone’s favorite schports scheptuagenarian, recently did an interview with Dick Gabriel in which he praised Mark Stoops for the job he’s doing at Kentucky. “The improvement in (UK) this year is absolutely fantastic,” Holtz told Gabriel. “The thing he’s done best, besides recruit at Kentucky, he’s got those players believing in themselves.”
Holtz, who is in his final year as an analyst for ESPN, said he watched “every single second” of the Kentucky/Florida game, and was pleased to see the Cats finally compete against the Gators. “It’s great to see (UK) competitive. I think you’re going to be able to be competitive with everybody they way you’re playing. I was very impressed.”
It is impossible to read his quotes without hearing the lisp.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:30 pm
It looks like Vanderbilt will be down two players when they make the trek to Lexington this weekend. Yesterday, Derek Mason announced that junior tailback Brian Kimbrow is suspended indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Kimbrow hasn’t been a factor for the ‘Dores this season, fumbling his only rushing attempt in Vandy’s opening loss to Temple, but he did burn the Cats with a 21-yard touchdown in last season’s game in Nashville.
This afternoon, Mason also announced that sophomore wide receiver Jordan Cunningham will be taking a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons. Cunningham had four catches for 27 yards this season, and 15 catches for 123 yards last season.
Every little bit helps, right?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:00 pm
It’s that time again. UK is partnering with 98.1 The Bull, 100.1 WKQQ, 104.5 The Cat and 103.9 WiLD to poll fans on which songs they’d like to hear during games, and the options for Saturday’s game against Vandy are now up.
There are four polls for each station’s genre (country, rock, pop, hip-hop) with five options each. You can sample the songs on WLAP’s website and vote for your favorite. Here are this week’s choices:
Go vote for your favorites here.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©2:28 pm
According to the UK Ticket Office, the $20 general admission tickets to the Vandy game are now SOLD OUT, but reserved seats still remain. A little birdie tells us that if you use the promo code BEATVU on Ticketmaster, you can get $20 reserved seats anywhere in the stadium, which is a $30 discount. Now you really don’t have an excuse. Go get them now before they’re all gone! #PackCommonwealth
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:30 pm
3-star weak-side defensive end Darius Fullwood committed to Kentucky back in June, but this past weekend, took a visit to Virginia Tech that has many worried he’ll flip and commit to the Hokies. Fullwood tolk 247 Sports’ Evan G. Watkins there’s a “strong possibility” Virginia Tech could pry him away from Kentucky, and he will make a final decision between Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and Maryland “in the next week.” If you read the tweet leaves, it doesn’t look good for the Cats, as Fullwood has removed all mention of UK from his profile.
Even if Fullwood decommits (which would be a shame), Kentucky has other options at defensive end, including Jason Stowbridge, who committed last weekend and Kengera Daniel, who has the Cats in his top five. Still, landing Fullwood and his friend Jabari Greenwood was a big deal, as both are high profile recruits in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area. Here’s hoping he comes to his senses in the next week.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:00 pm
There are a lot of terrible news stories in sports these days, so how about a good one? This morning, Mark Stoops surprised senior offensive lineman Max Godby with the 2014 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team trophy while Godby was speaking at a local homeless shelter. Godby is one of just 22 players in the country to be named to the 2014 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which honors student-athletes who have worked to positively impact the lives of others. He’s the 11th player in UK history to receive the honor in the award’s 23-year history.
Godby has accumulated more community service hours than any player on the Wildcat team roster through his volunteer work with the Catholic Action Center, a local homeless shelter, and several other on-campus organizations. Earlier this year, Godby partnered with the Catholic Action Center to create “Bucks for Backpacks,” a program that has provided more than 150 homeless men and women with necessities such as clothing, toiletries, food and water.
Godby was the first walk-on Mark Stoops offered a scholarship when he came to Kentucky, and Stoops said it “didn’t take long to realize how special he was.” When asked about the award, Godby simply told reporters, “I’m doing what Jesus called me to do.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©12:30 pm
It looks like we’re going to have to wait a little longer to see the “SEC Nation” crew in Lexington. The SEC Network announced today that “SEC Nation” will come to Lexington on October 25 for UK’s game against Mississippi State instead of the October 4 game against South Carolina as originally scheduled. On October 4, they’re now scheduled to be in Starkville for Mississippi State’s game against Texas A&M. When on campus, “SEC Nation” will set up in the purple lot at Commonwealth Stadium, at the corner of College Way and Alumni Drive.
It’s a bit of a bummer because October 4 was shaping up to be an epic day in Lexington, with “SEC Nation” in the morning, Keeneland in the afternoon, and UK/South Carolina at night. But, this just means more time for tailgating at Keeneland, which I’m sure no one will complain about. Hopefully the Mississippi State game will also get the 7:30 p.m. slot.