Part two in an eight part series previewing the 2014 Kentucky Football Wildcats. Cats hope →
By Matt Jones on ©11:06 pm
One of our two KSR editors, Tyler Thompson, is on vacation this week so being the good boss that I am, I volunteered to pick up a night post tonight to try and take some of the load off Drew Franklin. Tonight’s post was supposed to be a simple affair, in which I reviewed the state of Kentucky basketball recruiting, Mark Stoops’ comments today at the KSR Tour and the overall awesomeness of Slice Rohrssen. But then, like the evil dictator that he is, Coach K had to come out of nowhere and ruin my night. With one rumored decision, Coach K has once again topped my list of most disliked people in this great country. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported tonight that after Camp Team USA has been completed, it is expected that Coach K will pick Mason Plumlee to represent the team at the World Cup of Basketball over Demarcus Cousins. I want you to read that sentence again, this time with focus and if you are drinking, when you have become sober. Demarcus Cousins is reported to likely not make Team USA because Coach K prefers MASON FREAKING PLUMLEE!!!!
That sounds made up right? Like if you were going to create a “Coach K is the worst and favors mediocre white Duke players over talented skilled professionals,” Onion piece, you would probably title it “Coach K picks a Plumlee over Boogie,” wouldn’t you? It can’t be real. Coach K can’t favor a reserve averaging 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds a game over Demarcus’s 22 and 15, can he? Demarcus Cousins is legitimately one of the top 5-8 big men in the NBA. His numbers this season probably should have made him a third team All NBA center and most people who know the game say he is about to have a 2-3 year breakout that could put him (along with Anthony Davis) as a potential All Star starter. And Mason Plumlee…well he was a decent reserve on an underperforming Brooklyn Nets team. Yet Coach K would rather have that Plumlee, Mason..or maybe its Miles, who heck the knows the difference, instead of Demarcus “you can’t guard me” Cousins. Sure thing K.
Its a headline and story so baffling that it almost defies belief. Look at these statistics comparing the two big men:
So the numbers aren’t even in the same ballpark. Now some may say, “but Matt, Mason is a good team player and Demarcus is a trouble maker!” Says who? What has Demarcus done that has really “caused trouble?” Yes, he has had a temper in games and has a number of technicals. But if he is on Team USA and he is in that mode, guess what he will do…be on the bench? And whoever would come in and take his place would certainly be much better than Mason Plumlee. But what has Demarcus ever done off the court to be a team chemistry killer? What teammates has Demarcus had that are not fans of him as a player? And would he not be on the same team as guys who are friends of his and former Calipari players like Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose (and possibly John Wall). One of the things that we learned long ago at Kentucky is that Demarcus excels based in part on those around him. What could be better for him, and what role could he serve better in, than on a team of other top talents with a common goal, all the while actually winning games.
I could break down the International game and tell you why Demarcus would also play well in that style (he is tough, rebounds, is physical and can hit a mid range jumper). Give me a skill that Miles Plumlee has that Demarcus Cousins does not…you can’t. The reality is that there is no explanation for a Plumlee over Demarcus except the Duke connection. Plumlee is not one of the top 40 big men in the NBA and putting him on the team would be the utmost in Duke favoritism over skill. Over the years we have seen Coach K shun top talent to put floor slapper in the game that are often scrappy, but underachieve in big games (hello Lehigh and Mercer). But to have those same odd decisions while with Team USA, that seems bizarre at best.
The only good thing about this decision? It once again confirms to me that Coach K is the worst. Over the years, Coach K had slowly backed down from his sole perch atop my disliked list that he climbed up in 1992 (sharing it with Laettner). Between saying the occasional nice thing about UK, winning at a high level and leading the USA to a gold medal (all the while praising Anthony Davis as the next star of the NBA), had slowly made me forget that at Coach K’s core is a black hole. He is the coach of the least likable team in basketball history, full of players that are spoiled and snotty, and helped in their success by an adoring media and a constant badgering of officials that borders on psychological warfare. I had forgotten that K, the one who looks like a rat and makes your blood boil during home games in Cameron Indoor. He had been replaced by the humble Coach K who lost to Mercer and then looked noble entering their locker room and congratulating them after the embarrassing upset.
Not anymore…picking Plumlee over Boogie reminds us that all good Coach K moments are a facade for the real Coach K. The real Coach K favors Duke and the worst of humanity over Boogie, the Big Blue Nation and all that is good. I had forgotten that I hate Coach K, but leave it to the Brown eyed Blue Devil to remind me by replacing a great American on the team of the Red, White and Blue. You won’t fool me again K…you are the worst.
By Matt Jones on ©10:38 pm
Tonight a late report from Cats Illustrated cites sources as saying that Tony Barbee will become a new Administrative Assistant on the UK staff, likely in the position left open by Rod Strickland’s departure. You may remember that Barbee was last the Auburn head coach and worked for Calipari at Memphis prior to that job. More as it comes tomorrow, the day in which Cats Illustrated suggests it will be released.
By Drew Franklin on ©10:10 pm
By Drew Franklin on ©9:49 pm
Former Chicago Bull Rick Brunson is having a rough summer. Today he was indicted on charges of attempted criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery and domestic battery, one month after the internet learned he was arrested while trying to book a massage under the name ‘Patrick Ewing.’ It all stems from an incident with a massage therapist last month that led to the arrest. From what I’ve gathered, he showed up, removed his clothes and starting getting a little touchy with the gal at Lifetime Fitness. (I’m sure it’s worse than that.) You can’t do that, guys.
Anyway, when I saw Brunson’s mugshot, I immediately remembered an early morning with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the Joe Craft Center. MKG was in town for the 2012 alumni game, he worked out early in the morning as only MKG would do, and Brunson was in Lex to push him. They were going at it with pads and the whole nine yards, while I was rubbing my eyes trying to wake up and finish my Burger King. It was my first time really seeing how committed MKG is to hard work and I was quite impressed.
Then there is another connection to Brunson in his son, Jalen. Jalen Brunson is a top five point guard in the 2015 class and we just watched him put on a show at the Peach Jam. Temple recently hired his dad, “Patrick Ewing,” to be an assistant next season and it was likely going to reel Jalen in to being an Owl. Now it’s unlikely that whole plan will come to fruition. Michigan State is already closing in in his Crystal Ball prediction.
My point in telling you all of this is, don’t book a massage under the name Patrick Ewing. And if for some reason you do, keep your pants at the waist and keep your hands to yourself.
By Duncan Cavanah on ©8:45 pm
Part two in an eight part series previewing the 2014 Kentucky Football Wildcats.
Cats hope added experience, depth and tonnage lead to improved line play in 2014. In the inaugural season of the Mark Stoops era, Kentucky’s “Air Raid” offense faced a myriad of problems. The receiving corps was woefully thin and remarkably inexperienced. Aside from an occasional flash from freshman Jojo Kemp, the runningbacks displayed neither elusiveness nor explosion. The quarterbacks were constantly hurt, and were sporadic even when healthy. In short, it was a debacle. But with all of the sources of ulcers and sleepless nights for offensive coordinator Neal Brown, perhaps none hamstrung the Cats as much as the play of the offensive line. While it may be a tired cliche that football is a game won or lost at the line of scrimmage, the axiom remains largely correct. Unfortunately, the Cats were simply man-handled at the point of attack for much of the season. Though it can be difficult to quantify offensive line play with statistics, some numbers are telling. Kentucky ranked 13th in the SEC in rushing offense and allowed more sacks and tackles for a loss than any team in the conference. With the rather inauspicious opening season in the rear view, the Cats are hopeful that a more veteran group, and another year in Kentucky’s much-celebrated strength program, will turn the o-line from a disaster into a position of strength.
POST-SPRING OFFENSIVE LINE DEPTH CHART:
Darrian Miller 6-5, 292 Sr. Lexington, KY (Bryan Station)
Teven Eatmon-Nared 6-7, 339 Sr. Bucyrus, OH
Zach West 6-4, 318 Jr. Lexington, KY (Lexington Christian Academy)
Nick Haynes 6-3, 319 Fr.RS Niceville, FL
Max Godby 6-4, 298 Sr. Louisville, KY (Christian Academy of Louisville)
David Baumer 6-5, 295 Fr-HS Cincinnati, OH
Jon Toth 6-5, 301 So. Indianapolis, IN
Zach Myers 6-3, 287 So. Miamisburg, OH
Dylan Greenberg 6-2, 295 Fr-TR Tucson, AZ
Ramsey Meyers 6-4, 300 Fr-RS Orange Park, FL
John Gruenschlaeger 6-11, 363 Jr. Ft. Thomas, KY (Newport Central Catholic)
or Cole Mosier 6-6, 348 Fr-RS Walton, KY (Walton-Verona)
Jordan Swindle 6-7, 306 Jr. St. Johns, FL
Kyle Meadows 6-5, 294 Fr-RS West Chester, OH
Shaquille Love 6-4, 323 Jr. Harriman, TN
Kentucky has cause for optimism on the offensive line. That optimism begins with experience. The Cats will open 2014 with returning starters at four of five positions. Included in this group are talented tackles Darrian Miller and Jordan Swindle. Miller is a two year starter at left tackle who is considered an NFL prospect by both the current staff and the previous staff. Miller has started Kentucky’s last 24 games, and is a cornerstone player in the program, as indicated by his appearance on the cover of the 2014 Football Media Guide. His bookend at right tackle is junior Jordan Swindle. Swindle made dramatic progress last season, his first as a full time starter. Intelligent and soft-spoken off the field, the 6-7 Floridian is reputed to have a nasty disposition on the field. Neal Brown has referred to Swindle as the leader of the entire offense, a position Mark Stoops reinforced by selecting Swindle to represent the Kentucky offense at SEC Media Days.
Zach West is a two year starter at guard, and should bounce back from a rocky 2013 season in which he was slowed by nagging injuries. Kentucky should also improve up front through an increase in size and strength. Kentucky’s projected starting five weighs a combined 62 pounds more than they did just one season ago, an average of a little over twelve pounds per man. Fortunately, this twelve pounds was carefully cultivated through the highly sophisticated exercise and nutrition plan formulated by Kentucky High Performance Coach Eric Korem as opposed to my method, which was based primarily on eating combo meals in my car in the parking lot at Arby’s. Both resulted in weight gain, but it seems reasonable to assume the method utilized by the Cats will be more productive.
Center John Toth, who started at center as a freshman in 2013, may benefit more than any other player on the roster from his weight and strength gains. Listed at 283 to start the 2013 season, Toth played at around 270 by the end of the year, an unheard of weight for an SEC offensive lineman in the modern era. Even at that size, and in his first year at the position, Toth was named to the freshman All SEC team by the league’s coaches. With his obvious talent, and 30 pounds of added muscle, Toth should be a force in the middle of the line for the Cats.
Kentucky coaches were not afforded the luxury of redshirting many players in the 2013 class. However, their patience with regard to offensive line recruits should pay dividends in 2013. The Cats were able to redshirt all of their incoming offensive linemen last season. As a result, Kentucky currently features three redshirt freshmen in the two deep, including the projected starter at Right Guard, Ramsey Meyers. These players now have a year’s worth of high level weight training, as well as a year of learning the system at their disposal. The coaches are hopeful to do the same with the four offensive linemen in the 2014 class.
By Drew Franklin on ©7:56 pm
Word out of Team USA training camp is Mason Plumlee is likely to make the team over DeMarcus Cousins. I can’t believe I just typed those words.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst tweeted the rumor this evening, shortly after Boogie told reporters he is very satisfied with the way he played at camp. If Boogie believes he played well, then he played well, and there isn’t enough talent in the entire Plumlee family tree for Mason to beat him out for that spot.
By Drew Franklin on ©7:00 pm
Guys, I need your full attention.
Gals, give us a few minutes here. It’s bro time.
Today I watched a video called “Hot Crazy Matrix: Man’s Guide To Women“ from an online group that goes by Tactical Response. And it is brilliant. It’s the perfect self help guide for all you single lads out there, wondering if the girl you just took to dinner is worth your time. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not she could be the one, this guide gives you the answer. Plain and simple. The analysis is right there in front of you on the chart, saving you all of that strenuous thinking and decision-making when you can be doing other things, like watching sports. It’s almost cheating, really.
The mastermind behind the formula, Dana McLendon, breaks it all down by rating women based on two criteria: Hot and Crazy, the two axes on the chart.
The ‘Hot’ axis is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, while the ‘Crazy’ axis runs from 4 to 10. “Because there is no such thing as a woman who is not at least a 4 Crazy,” McLendon says.
Once you rate your woman (personal preference) and plug her into the matrix, you will find her in one of the six zones:
The NO GO Zone
No matter how crazy or stable a woman is, McLendon believes anyone lower than a 5 in looks is a no-go. That automatically eliminates half of the field.
The Fun Zone
From a 5 to about an 8 in Hot and below the Hot-Crazy line, you will find the Fun Zone. McLendon encourages men to eventually move out of this zone and into a more permanent location. After having some fun, of course.
The Danger Zone
Anyone 5 or higher in Hot but above the Hot-Crazy line is in the Danger Zone. His description of this group is as hilarious as it is accurate. Check it out.
The Dating Zone
Above an 8 Hot but still around a 7 Crazy is the Dating Zone. McLendon says you can introduce this woman to your family and friends. “You can stay here indefinitely,” he adds.
The Wife Zone
If you meet a woman in the Wife Zone, you should start thinking long term. She will be above an 8 Hot and between a 5 and 7 Crazy. That’s worthy of an engagement ring.
Anyone below a 5 Crazy and above an 8 Hot is a Unicorn. She doesn’t exist.
For more on each zone, including one zone I didn’t tell you about, take five minutes out of your evening to watch Dr. McLendon explain the entire matrix in further detail. The man is a genius and he single-handedly made life easier for mankind.
By Drew Franklin on ©6:00 pm
It’s time to determine the winner in KSR’s Kickoff Playoff. Last night you voted Jared Lorenzen and “Hells Bells” into the final round, where it meets Tyler Thompson and “Lose Yourself” tonight for the crown. There is vomit on Tyler’s sweater already. Mom’s spaghetti.
Jared and Tyler survived the field of eight timeless classics to get here:
Jared Lorenzen – “Hells Bells” by AC/DC
Matt Jones – “Victory” by Puff Daddy
Bryan The Intern – “Whoomp! (There It Is) by Tag Team
Ryan Lemond – “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon
Shannon The Dude – “For Those About To Rock” by AC/DC
Tyler Thompson – “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
Drew Franklin – “Jungle” by X Ambassadors & Jamie N Commons
CM Tomlin – “Magnificent Seven Theme” by Elmer Bernstein
Get to voting…
“Hells Bells” vs. “Lose Yourself”
And don’t forget to vote in UK’s Kickoff Playoff here.
By Drew Franklin on ©5:01 pm
Up first, Karl Towns.
The freshman big man leads off this summer’s ‘Meet The Wildcats’ series with confessions of owning four lint rollers — he hides one at the Wildcat Lodge check-in desk — so he’s always looking fresh around campus. “I want to look like the best-looking guy possible,” he told Eric Lindsey.
Then Towns goes on to talk about being the youngster on the Dominican Republic National Team three years ago and what that experience did for his game.
He also opens up about his family, academics and several other aspects of his life that’ll make you like him even more than you already do.
Check it out.
Today the University of Louisville began the demolition process on the infamous silos that line I-65 near the fairgrounds. They were an eyesore for many, but as a kid I always thought it was the coolest thing on campus.
No word on whether or not a DJ was hired (but probably).
By Drew Franklin on ©3:08 pm
New UK assistant basketball coach “Slice” Rohrssen made his first public and first radio appearance this morning at KSR’s tour stop in Lexington and he knocked it out of the park. You’ll have to hear it all for yourself to catch his quick wit and great personality; I can’t do it justice here in writing. (Congratulating Big Brother on the success of his show was hilarious.)
When Slice wasn’t cutting up with Matt and the fans, he told the story of sending Joe B. Hall a letter in the 80s, asking if he could come to Lexington from New York to pick his brain. Coach Hall, who was at the top at the time, responded with a letter inviting a young Slice to come down and work a summer camp. Now here he is, some 25-30 years later, working as an assistant at UK.
He also talked about his longtime relationship with Coach Cal and the expectations for the upcoming season. He told Matt he is going to be like Betsy Ross sewing that ninth banner here at Kentucky.
Have a listen…
By C.M. Tomlin on ©2:15 pm
Hello, friends. I hope you’re well. I think you have some strawberry jelly around your mouth. No, not there. Not there. There. Yes. Oh, my. That’s a rash. You should have that looked at. Where would you even get a rash like that?
Friends, football season is swiftly approaching — but I don’t need to tell you that. Stoops Fever has captured the Big Blue Nation and this fall sees another opportunity for Kentucky Football to begin rebuilding itself to the perennially successful program it has the potential to be. It’s not going to be easy; I’m not going to lie to you. You know, as well as I do, that SEC football is a gauntlet of impressive assassins, and over the next few years we’re going to have to face them all head-on if we want to claim a spot at the top of the pile. For us, the fans, this also means dealing with the fan bases of these teams. So since it’s late July, nothing much is going on, and I know you guys love off-topic posts, I thought today we’d start off a two-part series updating a piece we began a few years back: our Field Guide to identifying the SEC fans we’ve come to know over the years. Have a great weekend, everyone, and I’ll see you here again next week.
Distinguishing Marks: Visor, Parrothead vanity plate, Croakies tan line, flip-flops
What to know: The Florida fan is mostly bluster on dry land; his true territory is on his boat. That said, the Florida fan — as most Florida natives — can be prone to momentary insanity. Best not to provoke the Florida fan lest he bite your earlobe off or try to run you over with a skid steer. It won’t make sense, of course, don’t question it. That is the nature of the Floridian. Their leathery, damaged skin is thick and coarse. Do not pet them.
Tips: If you are being pursued by a Florida fan, tossing a few can coozies in the opposite direction will almost certainly throw them off your trail.
Distinguishing Marks: Ironic Sperrys, “athletic fit” button-downs, glasses
What to know: Vanderbilt fans are among the “hippest” in the SEC due to their Nashville insulation. They are Tennesseeans but not rural, they are Nashvillians who prefer St. Vincent to Luke Bryan. They are generally fairly quiet, but will attack if they feel their favorite neighborhood organic nacho restaurant is being threatened. They don’t expect much from their football team so they rarely have darker moments following losses. A victory may lead to alcohol poison for the Vanderbilt fan, however, as a few more celebratory Magic Hats to kick things up a notch may ensue.
Tips: You may think a Vanderbilt fan is listening to the words you are speaking but all he hears is acid trance music.
Distinguishing Marks: Tribal tattoo, unwashed cargo shorts, open mouth
What to know: The South Carolina fan goes nowhere without a 20 oz. Diet Coke bottle full of dip spit in one hand and a 32 oz. McDonald’s cup full of vodka and Sprite in the other. Caps tend to be worn backward, shirts tend to be removed at some point, a pervasive sense of partying follows the Gamecock fan wherever he goes. Look for this fan to be shouting from the tailgate of a pickup truck pre-game and lying unconscious in the mud beneath its tire at kickoff.
Tips: The average South Carolina fan knows a guy who drank a fifth of SoCo and partied with Kenny Chesney. DO NOT ASK HIM ABOUT THIS.
Distinguishing Marks: Older age, high income bracket, expensive winnebago
What to know: The average traveling LSU fan, as noted above, is 60 years old, a successful doctor close to retiring who has the expendable income to purchase a high-level RV to take him, his doctor friends and his 45 year-old “trophy wife” in a big hat to away games on weekends. They are relatively harmless and keep to themselves for the most part.
Tips: Befriend the traveling LSU tailgating fan, as they spend a lot of money on higher-quality food than what you and your friends are eating.
Distinguishing Marks: Male – Red pants, navy blazer, bow tie, no socks, loafers, father’s credit card; Female – blonde, sundress, bulldog paw cutely painted on cheek.
What to know: The Georgia football fan generally fancies himself a higher breed and caliber than his peers, has a father in real estate development and likes to think of himself as an “southern gentleman.” Pays little attention to the game but has good seats. Once drunk, he gets depressed and cries as his girlfriend makes out with a girl.
Tips: The average Georgia fan loves the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and believes that’s how people from Georgia are supposed to be. It’s not, and it’s ridiculous.
Distinguishing Marks: Camouflage, neon “hunter orange” instead of “Volunteer Orange,” Oakley wraparound sunglasses
What to know: Tennessee fans cannot be reasoned with and hate you, whoever you are, if you are not a Tennessee fan. Still talks about Peyton. Travels to your home field but acts as if he can’t stand to be there. Owns three or more Duck Dynasty-branded items which are not hunting implements or clothing. Tells you to “come on over here then and say it to his face” when you haven’t said anything. Has more than five punch-holes in the drywall of his garage.
Tips: Never touch the Tennessee fan’s truck balls. You could be murdered for that.
By Drew Franklin on ©12:45 pm
With 100 of its 300 top targets still weighing their options, ESPN Recruiting tried its best to predict where each uncommitted member of its ESPN 300 will eventually go. Damien Harris, Kentucky’s top target, is believed to be heading to Columbus over Lexington:
As a consolation prize, Traveon Samuel (No. 17 ATH) and Jaylin Hayward (No. 22 ATH) are predicted to go to Kentucky but with a much lower confidence rate.
By Drew Franklin on ©12:00 pm
We’ve always said Mark Stoops is infinitely better at the microphone when he is chatting with KSR. That was the case again this morning when Coach stopped by All Sports in Fayette Mall for an interview before his team begins fall camp on Monday. He was loose, energetic and undoubtedly excited to see the fans in attendance, plus he sounded pretty excited about kicking off his season in a couple of weeks, too.
Below you’ll find a rundown of his comments; you can hear the audio of the entire interview on the website later today.
Enough with the basketball questions.
Stoops understands basketball is king in Kentucky and he has said many times that he embraces Coach Cal’s program, but today he admitted that, for the first time, a question about UK basketball annoyed him recently. He was at the ESPN Car Wash in Bristol, fresh off SEC Media Day, and the first question he got was about basketball. Stoops said he was tempted to respond with: “Really?!”
“We’re all starving for a good football program.”
Feed us, Coach. Let’s eat. Big Blue Nation is famished.
Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith are ‘difference-makers’ on the ends.
Stoops said his two DEs are as good as anybody in the country. The interior guys will be decided by committee, but he feels very good about his defensive line. He foresees three or four guys who will play well at the defensive tackle spots inside his superstars, who he says are as good as any of the NFL talent he had at Florida State.
The secondary was a letdown last season.
After Matt complimented the secondary’s effort, Stoops told him, “Wow, they didn’t play as good as I wanted them to.”
He expects that group (his expertise on defense, he says) to be much better in 2014.
He expects a substantial step up at wide receiver.
“I don’t mean to be funny or cute here, but we were not very good,” he said of last year’s receiving corps. “We are going to drastically improve there, because all of the guys were first year guys in the program. Four of the top five guys were first year guys in our program. Three of them were true freshmen.”
He said Ryan Timmons was good with the ball in his hands but that’s all he could do last year. They had to create ways to get him the ball because he played lost. But now Timmons and the others know the offense, they know what they’re doing, and they know how to play wide receiver.
He’s really looking forward to getting Josh Clemons on the field.
Headlined by transfer Braylon Heard and returning leading rusher JoJo Kemp, Stoops feels great about his backfield. He called Heard a guy that can make some home run plays, and we all know what Kemp is capable of. But Stoops is also really excited to get Josh Clemons in the mix.
Regarding Clemons’ arms, Stoops said, “Our strength and conditioning coaches want to take pride in that, but that’s called genetics.”
The quarterback update is there is no quarterback update.
We’ve known the deal since the spring and Stoops is tired of talking about it. The staff will decide some time in fall camp before the opener.
Does he have a relationship with Bobby Petrino?
“I do not. No.”
But he plans to keep playing Louisville, even if the SEC goes to nine games.
He is surprised by how quickly they found recruiting success.
He knew it would come, but Stoops admitted to surprising himself by how quickly they’ve gone up against quality teams for recruits and winning some of those battles.
The new football complex will be “incredible.”
Stoops is very excited to get everything in one centralized location, a new 100,000 sq. ft. football facility that will house their offices, dining room, players lounge, weight room and locker rooms.
“It’s going to be incredible.”
“Never look back, believe me.”
Get ready for a new attitude on the football field in 2014.