(Ed. Note: The Emmys were last night, and the Funkhouser crew was on hand to →
By Duncan Cavanah on ©8:00 pm
As you, my loyal and devoted reader, enjoy this insightful post, we sit less than 48 hours from kickoff of the 2014 Wildcat football season. Once you’ve finished reading, you have my full authorization to head on over to Commonwealth to initiate tailgating festivities. Your boss/teacher/spouse/probation officer (Louisville guests) told me it would be fine. Each Thursday evening of this football season, we will delve into the match-up with Kentucky’s upcoming opponent. This week, on the eve of year two of the Mark Stoops era, we preview Kentucky’s first ever football tilt with the legendary UT Martin Skyhawks. So what do we know about these guys? I did a little research to find out.
Skyhawks was a 17 episode television cartoon series sponsored by Mattel that aired from 1969 to 1971. As it type that sentence, it occurs to me that this information is likely not pertinent to Saturday’s game. You win this round, Wikipedia. Looking a bit further, I ultimately found the UT Martin athletics official site, and managed to uncover a few interesting tidbits for Cat fans to consider when heading to the game this weekend. First, UT Martin is an FCS program (Division 1AA for old timers) competing in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Skyhawks are historically a mediocre program even by the standards of the lower tier of college football, but have experienced some degree of success under current coach Jason Simpson, who has compiled a 52-39 record in his 8 years at the helm. The Skyhawks finished 7-5 in 2013, but lost convincingly on both occasions in which they faced FBS opponents. Boise State bludgeoned the Skyhawks 63-14 and the atrocious Memphis Tigers beat them 21-6. Both results bode well for the Wildcats’ chances on Saturday.
In addition to relative program history, comparative physical size favors the Cats in this match-up as well. It is a rare Saturday that finds the Cats fielding the more physically imposing roster, but such is the case this weekend. Specifically, UT Martin projects to start two offensive guards who weigh under 250 pounds. At 6-1 and 230 pounds, starting right guard Kenneth Crenshaw is four inches shorter and eight pounds lighter that Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles. There is a reasonably decent chance that at some point in Saturday’s game, Crenshaw will attempt to block Matt Elam, who outweighs the diminutive Crenshaw by 145 pounds, or roughly one TV Williams. That play alone will be worth the price of admission. The size differential is not limited to when the Cats are on defense. The Skyhawk defensive line averages only 260 pounds, and will be out-girthed by 44 pounds per man by the Kentucky offensive line. This should give both Patrick Towles and the deep stable of Wildcat tailbacks ample room in which to operate.
The size factor is only one example of a larger point. For one of very few occasions during Mark Stoops’ rebuilding process, Kentucky simply has far better football players than its opponent. Only Skyhawk linebacker Tony Bell, an FCS All American in 2013, would likely see the field for the Cats. Kentucky should roll on Saturday. I’m going with 45 -7. And if you don’t enjoy the new stadium music, don’t blame me. I voted for ‘Lil Scrappy.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©7:30 pm
#5 Braylon Heard
– Height: 5’11”
– Weight: 189 lbs.
– Class: Redshirt Junior
– Experience: Transfer
– Position: Running Back
– Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio
– High School: Cardinal Mooney
Class of 2011 High School Ranking
– Rivals.com: #5 RB,
– 247Sports.com: #5 RB,
– ESPN Recruiting: #25 RB,
How He Got Here
After playing two seasons at Nebraska, Heard transferred to Kentucky because he found himself behind two other running backs on the depth chart. Braylon decided then it was time for a fresh start somewhere new. Heard wanted to come to Kentucky because it was closer to his hometown. Heard says that his mom will now be able to drive to his games instead of fly which was another key factor.
During his first two season, Heard rushed for a total of 452 yards and scored four touchdowns. During his sophomore season, he played in all 12 games averaging 5.9 yards per carry. His career-high game came against Idaho State, where he rushed for 74 yards with a career best 27-yard run and a touchdown.
Something You Didn’t Know About Him
Braylon took an service/educational trip to Ethiopia this past May.
Something We Made Up About Him
After constantly breaking out in hives and weird rashes for two years at Nebraska, Braylon finally went to the doctors to figure out the problem. After multiple tests, the doctors finally diagnosed Braylon with a corn allergy. Knowing that his corn allergy meant he couldn’t stay in Nebraska, Heard knew it was time to leave. With much thought, Braylon decided to come to Kentucky because if football does not work out, his other dream job is to be bourbon distiller and open his own distillery.
Unfair NFL Comparison
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Outlook for 2014 Season
Coming to Kentucky as a transfer, Heard has a lot to prove in his first season here. After impressing the coaches and making great strives while sitting out, Braylon is ready to show the #BBN what he has to offer. His quickness and agility will give Kentucky the backfield they need after losing veteran Raymond Sanders. Expect Heard to be the guy we need to get our running game back where it needs to be.
By Kaan Solagan on ©7:00 pm
-The team is getting everything wrapped up for game day and putting in the finishing touches in preparation for the Skyhawks at home on Saturday. The offensive unit had to kick the press out of the UK football team room for a meeting that looked pretty important.
- Stoops is going to be using a different routine to get the Cats ready for game day this year. He’s switching up the Thursday-Friday practice schedule on game weeks to where Thursday will be the light walk-through day, and Friday will be a fast game-paced practice. Stoops said he had heard of many coaches doing it previously, but pointed out Chip Kelly at Oregon as a coach who had great success with it in the past.
-Mike Edwards, the freshman safety who found out he doesn’t have to have shoulder surgery, has reported to campus and was spotted walking around inside the UK Nutter Training Facility today. Stoops confirmed, though, he is not currently practicing with the team and isn’t ready to do so anytime soon.
-Stoops feels very anxious about playing against the Skyhawks. He didn’t downplay the importance of the game and said he really feels his team is ready to go to battle on Saturday. “I feel good about where we are right now going into this game, I know the players are all ready to get out on the field and finally play.” Said coach Stoops.
-Coach Stoops wants to show the fans on Saturday that Kentucky has something to prove. He mentioned that it’s important for UK to put up a good performance against UT-Martin to get the fans behind this team. Stoops made a big point about how it’s the team’s job to go out and impress the fans, and give them what they deserve in this season’s opener.
-Lastly, Stoops will be kicking back and watching the Ol’ Ball Coach play the Aggies tonight. He said it’s an important night to relax and enjoy some good early-season football, and he shall be joining in on the festivities.
By John W. on ©6:00 pm
The college football season is finally here. Texas A&M and South Carolina are kicking off the season in style, on the brand-new SEC Network as we speak. The two schools are moving on without the services of Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney. It’s yet to be determined how difficult it will be for each school to replace its big star, but this has me thinking … in recent history, which Kentucky football and basketball stars have been most difficult to replace after their departures?
We’ll consider “recent history” to mean any player since the start of the Rich Brooks and Tubby Smith eras. This is not a list of the best players Kentucky has had during this period, although they are probably all in the conversation. It’s a list of players who have been the most difficult to replace. Much of the list has to do with the talent, or lack thereof, that followed each star.
Let’s begin, in chronological order:
The Hefty Lefty was the third of a trio of good QBs at Kentucky. Tim Couch passed down the torch to Dusty Bonner for a solid 1999 campaign, but the job was Lorenzen’s from 2000-2003. Lorenzen threw for 2,221 yards and 16 TDs with eight INTs in 2003, the first year of the Rich Brooks’ era. He was primarily replaced by Shane Boyd, who totaled only 1,328 passing yards with seven TDs and nine INTs in 2004. Lorenzen’s loss could also be felt in the 2005 season as Andre Woodson took time to develop into the great QB that he would eventually become in 2006 and 2007.
Hayes was a key player in the best four-year run of the Tubby Smith era. When Tayshaun Prince’s eligibility expired after Hayes’ freshman year, most expected UK to regress in 2003. Instead, the Cats went 32-4, ran the table in the SEC and earned a No. 1 overall seed. With Keith Bogans gone the following season, 2004 was also thought to be a rebuilding year. Wrong again. Although the Cats were upset by UAB in the second round, Kentucky went 27-5, earned a No. 1 seed and was ranked No. 2 in the final regular season AP poll. The one constant key to the success of Kentucky through these years was Chuck Hayes. As a senior, he averaged 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists, along with 10.9 points per game in 2005. The next two seasons without Hayes, Bobby Perry led Kentucky’s forwards with just 3.9 and 3.5 rebounds per game. The Cats had to rely on their point guard, Rajon Rondo, for a team-leading 6.1 rebounds per game in 2006. That was the first of four straight double-digit loss seasons.
Kentucky easily replaced and improved in almost every area in John Calipari’s first season. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and company joined an NIT team and instantly turned it into a Final Four contender. The one key part they lost from 2009, however, ended up being the one thing they needed most in the NCAA Tournament. Jodie Meeks’ outside shooting wasn’t replaced and it may have been the one thing that stopped the Cats from winning it all in 2010. Meeks made 117 three-point shots at a percentage of .406 in 2009. In 2010, the Cats’ two best long-range threats combined for less made threes than Meeks made alone the year before. Darnell Dodson made 50 threes at a percentage of .347 and Eric Bledsoe made 49 (.383). And in that final game against West Virginia, those two combined to make 2-of-14 and the team made just 4-of-32 from long range.
Yes, Mike Hartline. Hartline wasn’t as beloved as the other players on this list and was often unfairly criticized, but it’s been four years and Kentucky has yet to replace his production or go to another bowl game. He had one of the strongest seasons in the SEC as a senior in 2010. Hartline threw for 3,178 yards, 23 TDs and 9 INTs. He led the SEC with 268 pass completions and finished second in passing yards. In 2011, the year after he graduated, Maxwell Smith led the team with just 819 passing yards.
In addition to losing Mike Hartline, Kentucky lost one of the greatest all-around players in its history in 2010. Randall Cobb did everything in his three years in Lexington. He spent time at QB while Hartline was developing or injured, made a huge difference in special teams, and developed into a 1,000-yard receiver as a junior. He totaled 1,441 yards from scrimmage that season. No player played a bigger part in helping Kentucky reach five consecutive bowl games than Cobb, who kept the streak going for three more years after Andre Woodson, Stevie Johnson, Jacob Tamme, Wesley Woodyard and company had departed after the 2007 season. There hasn’t been another player step into his shoes, but to be fair, there likely never will be a player like him again.
Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy
The bowl streak was snapped in their senior year, but they also helped end the losing streak to Tennessee in their final game. These two kept Kentucky competitive with a five-win season in 2011, despite an offense that was struggling to adjust to the losses of Randall Cobb and Mike Hartline. The two combined for 124 solo tackles and 263 total tackles. The duo of Avery Williamson and a young Bud Dupree fell short of those numbers with 226 total tackles between them in 2012. In the win-loss column, Trevathan and Guy’s absence showed as the Cats went from five wins to two and Joker Phillips was on his way out.
The 2012 National Championship team
It wouldn’t be fair to name just one or two players from the 2012 National Championship team that were toughest to replace. The reality is Kentucky lost its entire team and completely started over again in 2013. Anthony Davis’ freakish skill set couldn’t be replaced even by a healthy Nerlens Noel. Darius Miller’s veteran presence was gone. MKG’s work ethic was nowhere to be found. Doron Lamb’s deadly shooting was missed. Terrence Jones at his best was a beast. And we would have loved another year of Marquis Teague at point guard. All six players lost that season are worthy of this list and none of them were able to be replaced in a 2013 season that ended sadly and bizarrely in Moon Township, PA.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments section below.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
Bruce Pearl is on a roll. Today, Trayvon Reed, a former Maryland signee, committed to Auburn. Reed, considered the 9th best center in the 2014 class by 247 Sports Composite, was kicked off Maryland’s team after he was arrested for stealing a candy bar. (Really.) He’ll spend a semester at Elev-8 Prep and will be eligible to play for Auburn in January.
This is just the latest of Bruce Pearl’s coups since taking over for Tony Barbee. Pearl’s recruiting ban expired Sunday at midnight, and since then, he’s picked up commitments from 2015 4-stars Danjel Purifoy and Horace Spencer, and JuCo guard TJ Dunans, which has pushed Auburn’s 2015 class into the Top 10 nationally. More elite recruits are visiting this weekend.
Needless to say, this is getting the Twitter world all excited.
I'd take Bruce Pearl over Calipari. Better coach. Good enough recruiter
— Jared Stillman (@JaredStillman) August 27, 2014
Whoa, slow down there buddy. It’s fun to have Bruce back in the SEC, but let’s not get crazy.
By Matt Jones on ©4:40 pm
You may remember Casual Gamer Reed from his various appearances here on KSR. He is a huge UK fan who likes to predict UK games and talk about the Cats (while wearing UK gear). He bills himself as “the #1 UK fan on YouTube. Here is an example of some of his work:
Well it turns out that besides talking about UK, Casual Gamer Reed also does product reviews. And the Comedy Central show “Midnight” has found him amusing…the good news is that he is wearing a UK hat during his national debut. Check it out (about 1:30 into the video)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:00 pm
Coach K was very close to becoming an Enemy of the Commonwealth earlier this summer when reports surfaced that he was going to pick Mason Plumlee over DeMarcus Cousins for Team USA; however, he redeemed himself (slightly) when he kept Boogie on the final roster. In fact, Krzyzewski told ESPN this week that Cousins has cemented himself as Anthony Davis’ backup in Team USA’s rotation.
Boogie told USAB.com that making the team was “a huge accomplishment” that he’s been working all summer towards, and makes him realize how far he’s come from his childhood in Mobile, Alabama:
“Me and my mom talk about it all the time. My story is crazy. Anything that I’ve been through, anything that I have accomplished, it was always the hard way. Nothing ever came easy for me, and that is just something that I have kind of accepted. I know it’s never come easy for me, and I think that is why I am the way I am.”
DeMarcus, Anthony, and Team USA take on Finland in their first game of the FIBA World Cup Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Keep making us proud, guys.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:25 pm
COME ON LET’S GO
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:00 pm
A sad note from the UK Hoops family: Samantha Drake has decided not to play her senior season after tearing the ACL and meniscus in her left knee last November. She will instead focus on her academics and graduating in the spring. The former Nelson County star played in 88 games and started 23. She issued a statement thanking Mitch Barnhart, her team, and her coaches:
“I would like to thank Mr. Barnhart, all of my teammates and coaches for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing women’s basketball program at UK,” Drake said. “I was given the chance to show my talent and be a part of a lot of success during my four years. Although I won’t be playing anymore, I’ll still be the biggest cheerleader for the team. I am going to turn my focus on academics and walking across that stage in May to receive my degree.”
Matthew Mitchell also issued a statement in support of Drake and her decision.
“We support Samantha and her decision to forego playing her senior year,” UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Samantha contributed to so many victories during her career and we are grateful for her efforts. We will continue supporting her any way we can as she works toward graduation.”
Tough, tough news. Best of luck to her going forward.
By Matt Jones on ©2:30 pm
Tom Jurich likes to brag that he hires award-winning coaches and today he was proved correct. In GQ’s list of the 25 Sleaziest Figures in Sports, UL’s football coach Bobby Petrino made the Top 10. Nestled below the Clippers’ racist owner, a murderer, the head of Fifa Corruption and other notorious figures, sits the man that the University of Louisville decided could best represent them to the general public and the values their Athletic Department upholds. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
The rest of the top ten:
1. Donald Sterling
2. Aaron Hernandez
3. Sepp Blatter
4, Isiah Thomas
5. Chad Curtis
6. Tiki Barber
7. War Machine
8. Dana White
9. Lance Armstrong
10. Bobby Petrino
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©2:00 pm
Because it was a good one. Today is Matt’s birthday, and he was serenaded by both Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear AND Kentucky Joe. How many people can say that? Fake Barney also had a special song for Matt midway through the second hour, and it was so good, I made a YouTube video of it for you.
A variety of guests also called in to give their predictions for the season. Here’s how each think the football Cats will do this season:
Mary Jo Perino: 5-7, with an upset of Mississippi State
Alan Cutler, LEX18: 5-7
Gregg Doyel, CBS Sports: 3-9 (ouch)
Tony Vanetti: 5-7, with wins over Vanderbilt and Florida OR Mississippi State
Brian Milam, WKYT: 5-7
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear: 4-8 (After he claimed he was an eternal optimist)
Lukasz Obrzut: 5-7, with upsets of Vandy and Tennessee
The KSR staff will unveil their picks tomorrow.
By S.E. Shepherd on ©1:30 pm
I always thought finding out how you were going to die beforehand would be terrifying, but it’s actually not that bad.
Taco Bell — makers of “food” often shaped like more traditional Mexican cuisine, but containing 150% more deliciousness — is running a contest in which they plan to distribute 11 one dollar bills in 11 different cities, and those lucky/doomed souls who happen to find the bills featuring the winning serial numbers will win all the Taco Bell they can eat for life.
There is no doubt in my mind that finding one of the bills and gorging myself to death on nachos, burritos, tacos, and chalupas over the course of about six days is my destiny. I’m prepared to meet my maker, so long as he lets me hold the sour cream gun.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©1:00 pm
YouTube NBA channel Pro Basketball recently had some fun with the NBA Rookies, asking them a variety of silly questions, which prompted a variety of silly answers. For example, when asked what their favorite go-to karaoke song was, both Julius Randle and James Young chose songs by Drake. Actually, Julius said he could sing “any Drake song,” with hand motions and everything, while James Young picked Drake’s “0 to 100,” and even belted out a few lines for us, which you can see above.
Pro Basketball also asked…
Who would play you and your love interest in a movie of your life?
Julius had no comment, while James thinks he’s a dead ringer for Nick Young, and Iggy Azelea could play his bae.
Alright, I can kind of see it.
NBA Player you’d most like to dunk on?
Julius took the safe route, laughing and saying “We’ll see what happens.” (BOOOO, give us an answer.) Meanwhile, James gave the most popular and predictable answer: LeBron James.
What’s your favorite junk food?
Julius likes the sweets, and said he goes for anything with brownies and ice cream or “one of those pan cookies and ice cream.” James could be looking a a future endorsement deal with his answer: “Cheeseburger, oh my god. Bacon Cheeseburger from Five Guys.”
What’s the coolest job other than the NBA?
Julius said something around basketball and working with kids, while James went an unexpected route and said either a judge or the CIA.
Move over Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown, Judge James is taking over.
By Bryan the Intern on ©12:00 pm
There is a definite split amongst UK fans and fans of football in the state on what the expectations should be for Kentucky this season. Some fans are calling for another year of patience and looking forward to 2015. I generally fall in the camp that expects a 2-3 win jump this year into the 4-8 or 5-7 area. And there are strong arguments for both sides. But my biggest point about thinking the Cats will get to 5 wins this year is the simple fact that a 2nd year of any coaches tenure at a school usually brings an improvement. The simple fact the players are much more comfortable with the coaching staff and the system in place makes it a smoother entry into the season. But does my belief in 2nd year head coaches hold water? Below are each of the 14 SEC schools with the coaches they have hired since 1990. And next to each coach is the increase or decrease in wins from their first season to their second. Those in red had a decrease.
Gene Stallings: +4, Mike Dubose: +3, Dennis Franchione: +3, Mike Shula: +2, Nick Saban: +5
Jack Crowe: +3, Danny Ford: -2, Houston Nutt: -1, Bobby Petrino: +3
Terry Bowden: -2, Tommy Tuberville: +4, Gene Chizik: +6
Steve Spurrier: +1, Ron Zook: Even, Urban Meyer: +4, Will Muschamp: +4
Jim Donnan: +5, Mark Richt: +5
Bill Curry: +1, Hal Mumme: +2, Guy Morris: +5, Rich Brooks: -2, Joker Phillips: -1
Curley Hallman: -3, Gerry DiNardo: +3, Nick Saban: +2, Les Miles: Even
Jackie Sherrill: Even, Sylvester Croom: Even, Dan Mullen: +4
Larry Smith: Even, Gary Pinkel: +1
Tommy Tuberville: -1, David Cutcliffe: -1, Ed Orgeron: +1, Houston Nutt: Even, Hugh Freeze: +1
Brad Scott: -2, Lou Holtz: +8, Steve Spurrier: +1
Phil Fulmer: +1, Derek Dooley: -1
Dennis Franchione: +3, Mike Sherman: +2, Kevin Sumlin: -2
Gerry Dinardo: -1, Rod Dowhower: Even, Woody Widenhofer: -1, Bobby Johnson: Even, James Franklin: +3
All total, that is 50 head coaches. Of those 50, 37 head coaches had an even or increase in wins in their 2nd season. But even more important, for those 37 coaches, their average wins jumped up 2.4 wins from season to season. If that holds true for Mark Stoops this year, we are looking at a 4 or 5 win season this year. And that is how I get to my conclusion. Now, to be fair, there are 13 coaches who dropped in wins from their 1st to 2nd season. But considering that UK won only 2 games this year, I find it hard to believe that Kentucky is going to drop in wins this year.
So do you see a 2nd year bump for Mark Stoops?