Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
September 1st, 2015

UK Helmet Design Second Best in the SEC

Photo by Clay Jackson

Photo by Clay Jackson

We’re less than a week away from Kentucky football being on our TV. Now that we’re done screaming our heads off that we’re so close, let’s take a look at rankings of a different sort. Before the season starts everyone wants to know who is ranked in the AP Poll, conference projections, Heisman predictions, etc. But, what about jersey designs and specifically helmet designs? Well, Saturday Down South took care of those rankings and they have Kentucky’s chrome design with the second best design, behind just Vanderbilt.

Here’s what they said about it:

UniSwag’s winner of the best helmet last season, Kentucky’s chrome alternate is one of several gameday options the Wildcats have at their disposal now that they’ve incorporated black and grey into their uniform options. These debuted against South Carolina (in a win no less) to rave reviews. Paired with black jerseys, the blue and chrome really pops.

Now because of those helmets, your obligatory video of that great game:

 


A basketball recruiting dilemma and a football game (Tuesday Show Thread)

On today’s show, Matt and Ryan will talk about the dilemma Coach Cal faces with his point guard in the 2016 class. One is ready to commit, but will it run off another?

That, and there’s a pretty big football game coming up.

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

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PRTC TV Channels 209 & 409: Jackson & Owlsey Counties (Replayed at 1 and 6)

On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…

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The US Open’s Tuesday Morning Wakeup

One of the best sporting events in America began last night in Flushing Meadows without KSR in attendance for the first time in a couple of years. I’m talking about the US Open, the fourth and final major in the tennis Grand Slam.

This year’s tournament will run through September 13 and I will have eyes glued to the ESPN and Tennis Channel coverage as much as possible. Last night gave us Rafael Nadal closing out opening night and today we will get plenty more action throughout the day, headlined by Roger Federer this afternoon. Check that one out.

I am very excited to get to Commonwealth Stadium this weekend to kick off the 2015 football season, but a little piece of me misses being at the US Open this week and next. It’s such a fun event to attend and, you know, New York City. I kind of love it there a little bit.

Now who’s first to make fun of tennis in the comments section?

 

Tickets still available for Saturday’s game and that is unacceptable.

If you don’t take advantage of the new $25 ticket price for the season opener you are crazy. So get on over to Ticketmaster.com and use the promo code ALLIN to pick your $25 seat for Saturday’s game. We don’t want to hear any excuses. You want a good football team? Do your part. Sell out Commonwealth. Anything but a sellout will be an embarrassment for the grand opening of the new CWS. Get in there and enjoy it.

We will record the second KSR UK Football podcast tonight.

With better quality this time. Look for it on the website tomorrow afternoon.

Coaches can begin calling 2016 recruits today.

Andy Buh is excited:

They can slide in those DMs, too.

Check out these highlights of Kash Daniel in Frankfort.

Daniel had 16 tackles and a forced fumble at linebacker for Paintsville last Friday. He also played a little offense, rushing for 120 yards and throwing a 53-yard touchdown pass in the first half of his team’s 36-0 victory.

Malik Monk to announce his five official visits tonight.

Maybe the best scorer in the 2016 class will go on his brother’s radio show in Arkansas tonight to announce the five schools he plans to visit and when he will make those trips. Word on road is Monk plans to attend Big Blue Madness for his official to Kentucky, but we’ll wait till he makes the announcement before adding him to that weekend’s guest list.

Anyone watching Narcos on Netflix?

I’m going to start it tonight and I can’t wait.

What happened to The U????

 

That’s not the Miami we once knew. How sad.

KSR is coming up in an hour.

Tune in as the guys get ready for Saturday’s game.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How have the Post-2000 NBA Drafts Picks Performed Against Expectations?

Photo by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

Since the year 2000, UK has had a total of 29 NBA Draft picks.  Six of those were this year and thus haven’t played an NBA game yet.  But what about the other 23?  Based on where each of those 23 players were drafted, how many of those guys have overachieved, underachieved, or played as expected?  I did my best to split the group up into those 3 categories.  Obviously some guys still have a lot of career left to be played so this could change a bunch over the next 5-10 years.  And keep in mind: a person’s draft position was key in these rankings.  Expectations for a John Wall are not equal to those of an Eric Bledsoe or Josh Harrellson.

OVERACHIEVERS

-Anthony Davis (1st round, 1st overall): This guy is going to win an MVP.  You could argue he might be the best player in the league now.  Might become a revolutionary player.  That’s overachieving.

Eric Bledsoe (1st round, 18th pick): Just finished his 2nd straight 17 point per game season.  Has become a top level guard with a big contract.

-Jodie Meeks (2nd round, 41st overall): Meeks has never been a star in the NBA and likely never will be.  But he has become a consistent performer in the league, averaging 10 ppg for his 6-year career.  Considering he had no contract guarantee after the draft, I’d say that’s overachieving.

-Rajon Rondo (1st round, 21st overall): Even with the mega-stars the Celtics brought in, Rondo became a top level NBA point guard.  Led the league in assists 3 times.  Is he a knucklehead?  Yeah, but his career far exceeded what most UK fans thought it would be.

-Keith Bogans (2nd round, 43rd overall):I had forgotten that Bogans was a 2nd round NBA draft pick, and for that reason I think he belongs on this list.  He hasn’t had an amazing career, but he has remained in the NBA for 11 years and for a 2nd round pick it’s overachieving.

-Tayshaun Prince (1st round, 23rd overall):  He does have a world title and Olympic gold medal to his resume.  Once he entered the starting lineup for the Pistons, he didn’t leave it.  If Prince had been a Top 10-15 pick, I probably would have bumped him down a level.

-Jamaal Magloire (1st round, 19th overall):Magloire simply goes here for his longevity in the NBA.  Never thought to be a big offensive weapon, he developed that part of his game and made an All-Star team.  Another guy who if he had been a Top 10 pick might drop a level, but has overachieved from his draft spot.

AS EXPECTED

-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (1st round, 2nd overall): I’m gonna put MKG here for now but you could make an argument he has been an underachiever so far.  He did just have his best year and signed a nice contract.  He hasn’t left the starting lineup in Charlotte.  But the 2nd overall pick is supposed to be a star and he hasn’t quite shown that yet.

-Terrence Jones (1st round, 18th overall): His last 2 years in Houston have been solid.  Will he ever become an all-star, probably not.  But he seems to have found a consistent spot on a good team and I think that qualifies him in this spot.

Brandon Knight (1st round, 8th overall): If he could just find his way onto a good team and get more exposure, he has the potential to be a star in the league worth the 8th pick.  Has never averaged belong 12.8 ppg and has been a starter his entire career.  For now, just as expected.

-Josh Harrellson (2nd round, 45th overall): The fact Harrellson ever became a draft pick is an overacheivement.  But his NBA career was pretty much as expected.  Bounced around a couple teams, saw the floor a little, stats were pretty low.  I think he performed like most thought he would.

-John Wall (1st round, 1st overall): Why not an overachiever?  Because the 1st player taken in the draft is supposed to perform how Wall did this season.  He is in a tough spot.  Really the only way to be an overachiever as the 1st player taken is to become an MVP like Derrick Rose or a Hall of Famer.

-Demarcus Cousins (1st round, 5th overall): Like Wall, he has been fantastic in his career so far.  But Top 5 picks are expected to be that great.  Add some playoff success and Cousins could easily move into the first category.

UNDERACHEIVERS

-Archie Goodwin (1st round, 29th overall): Could easily bump up into the category above if he continues on the path he’s on.  But has bounced around between NBA and D-League so far.

-Marquis Teague (1st round, 28th overall): Really never worked it out in the NBA.  Badly needed another year at UK but no turning back now.

-Doron Lamb (2nd round, 42nd overall): Flamed out of the league after 2 years.  Even as a 2nd round pick, that was disappointing.

-Darius Miller (2nd round, 46th overall): Not sure expectations were that high for Miller anyway so you could argue he played “as expected” but didn’t make it past 2 years in the NBA.

Patrick Patterson (1st round, 14th overall): It’s hard to say this about Patterson because he is so loved in Lexington, but his NBA career has just been average.  He’s an 8 ppg career scorer and is playing on his 3rd team in 5 years.  He’s become a serviceable role player in the league but the 14th pick is expected to be more.

-Daniel Orton (1st round, 29th overall): Never played any role in the NBA and now is in China.

-Joe Crawford (2nd round, 58th overall): Even though he was a low draft pick, Crawford never played anywhere near his potential.  He played on 3 teams in 3 NBA seasons, but only played in 11 total games.  Crawford has experienced some success in the D-League, but his pro career has been underwhelming to say the least.

JURY STILL OUT
-Nerlens Noel: lost a year to injury, 1st year was promising but not spectacular
-Julius Randle: lost rookie season to broken leg
-James Young: pushed to D-League much of rookie season, we’ll see how Year 2 goes


Ryan Lemond Appears on WWE’s Swerved

Meatball

WWE has been having an interesting time coming up with new programming for the WWE Network.  Over the past couple of months, they debuted a show called SWERVED, which is an insider term for pulling one over on somebody.  It is produced and directed by Jeff Tremaine, who is also responsible for directing Jackass.  So, with nothing else to watch, I decide to take in an episode of Swerved.

In one segment, they are explaining this gag, where a guy pretends like he’s always wanted to be a wrestler, and go by the name Muscles Marinara. Already hilarious.  Muscles Marinara comes out and his whole shtick is that he pours spaghetti and marinara all over himself.  Sure.  However, I start to look around the set that they’re on and see a Pop’s Resale banner.  Woah, they’re in Lexington, that’s really cool.  But nothing could prepare me for this:

Swerved

Our very own Ryan Lemond in the background of the Muscles Marinara skit.  Congrats, Ryan.  First Bobby Bone, now Muscles Marinara, where will Ryan show up next?

If Ryan had a wrestler name, what would it be?


August 31st, 2015

6 quick hitters from Stoops’ first weekly press conference

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.25.25 AM

Mark Stoops just wrapped up his first weekly press conference of the season in the Wildcat Den, and had plenty to tell reporters about the team heading into Saturday’s opener. I already posted the unfortunate news about Kyle Meadows and CJ Johnson being suspended, but here are some quick notes before Kindsey has a full recap for you later.

— The biggest injury we’re keeping an eye on right now is starting weakside linebacker Ryan Flannigan. Stoops sounded hopeful Flannigan will be back soon. “We’ll see,” Stoops said. “He’s getting better, I think he’s very close. If he can practice Tuesday or Wednesday, he’ll play. If he can’t practice by Wednesday, he won’t play.”

— Freshmen, both true and redshirt, were all over this week’s depth chart, and Stoops said he expects nine true and ten redshirt freshman to play this year. Heading into year three, that’s a telling sign of the talent still coming into the program, and Stoops is clearly letting talent win some position battles even if means sacrificing experience. He singled out running back/kick returner Sihiem King and cornerback Chris Westry as two true freshmen that really turned heads in camp, calling King an explosive playmaker.

— Speaking of redshirt freshmen, Stoops said the depth at wide receiver is so good that the staff is hoping to redshirt Tavin Richardson and Jabari Greenwood. “If we stay healthy, we’ll protect them if we can. But if we need them to win football games, we’ll play them.”

— Alexander Montgomery not being on the depth chart raised some eyebrows this morning, and Stoops admitted the sophomore has had some setbacks with his injuries, but will play on Saturday.

— You’ve heard Freddie talk a lot about ULL’s star RB Elijah McGuire. Stoops called him a “very dynamic” and “fantastic player” that will create problems for the Cats. How is he feeling about his run defense? “It comes down to just getting more stops,” he said. “We need to get better in a lot of areas, and run defense is one of them. But I anticipate we will be improved.”

— A reporter brought Matt Elam’s tweet about going undefeated to Stoops’ attention, to which Stoops joked, “I didn’t even know he said it. Well, he needs to lose a few pounds, so I’ll get him after practice.”

Similarly, Stoops said he likes the players’ confidence, but “if that’s what motivates you, then put your money where your mouth is.”

A replay, if you missed it:


Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Weekend

Spicy Chicken


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 brandon lutsch


Did you get me one?

 

 

#9 John Brooks


That long distance bill will be a nice gift for your new wife to look at.

 

 

#8 Jackie Watson

Please make it stop.

 

 

#7 collin cornette


Looks like the nicest place to poop.

 

 

#6 Kentucky Josh


Sounds like you just lost some family. And I am okay with that.

 

 

#5 Wilder Treadway


I would watch this. An advice show from Jared.

 

 

#4 Things #BBN Likes


Meaningless?

 

 

#3 Matthew Mahone


I like when logos are more accurate like this.

 

 

#2 Devin Booker


Well that’s adorable.

 

 

#1 Mohamed Ali


Mohamed knows how to ask all the right questions.

 

@Hessler_KSR


UK Fans of the Day want Depth Chart Observations

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– Decommits weren’t a bad thing.  There are four true freshman in starting slots to begin the season – CB Chris Westry, TE C.J. Conrad, OT Georga Asafo-Adjei, and KOR Sihiem King.  Four other true freshman made the two-deep.  Of those eight true freshmen that will be asked to play early, four of them were late pickups after the late decommittments – Westry, King, Derrick Baity, and Josh Allen.

For those keeping score on the redshirt freshmen, 12 grace the coveted two-deep.

– Juice is so nice, they named him twice.  He hasn’t done anything on the field yet, but his hype is reinforced by being the only wide receiver on the depth chart at multiple positions, starting at the slot and third as an outside receiver.  Man, I can’t wait to watch this guy do work on Saturday.

– Westry is solid, the other corner will be competitive.  Westry has looked the part and played the part, likely locking up his spot, but the other cornerback position will be an interesting storyline to follow.  Cody Quinn has fought rigorously to keep his spot, but Baity’s length and quick-twitch response is impeccable.  Kendall Randolph is listed as McClain’s backup at nickel, but he’s too good to be a reserve and will likely see time on an island at cornerback.  I don’t know how he will do, but as one of the defense’s best blitzers, he could play a dynamic role for the defense.

– Does Timmons Still Got It?  If he does, we will definitely see a return touchdown this season.

– The two-deep at DLine is solid.  This defensive line doesn’t have the names that WOW you like Bud and Z, but all are formidable.  No matter who you throw out there on the two-deep, Jimmy Brumbaugh and D.J. Eliot shouldn’t lose a step.  It doesn’t matter what the name is on the back of the jersey, you can feel confident in their production.  The only exception is Melvin Lewis, but Matt Elam isn’t too far behind.

– Montgomery’s knee is still an issue.  Stoops didn’t reveal any minor setbacks until today’s press conference.  It’s unfortunate, because Montgomery’s massive frame and hands are invaluable.  Hopefully he can get some game reps and regain his confidence.

– Outside responsibility will fall on True Freshmen.  Jason Hatcher’s two-game suspension hasn’t left the Cats empty-handed, but if Jabari Johnson cannot go, true freshman Josh Allen will be forced to take his place.  The same applies to the other side of the ball – if RS freshman Denzil Ware needs to be replaced, early enrollee Kengera Daniel will have to step in.  I am concerned, because there aren’t many more spots on the defense with more responsibility than containing the outside, either standing up or with their hand on the turf.

– Redshirting Greenwood and Richardson is HUGE for future wide receiver depth.  Both guys are able enough to play, but Stoops will be playing it safe to start, redshirting them if depth allows it.  Most of the receivers are either true sophomores or redshirt freshmen.  Redshirting Greenwood and Richardson staggers the classes so there isn’t a mass exodus that leaves the receiving corps empty-handed.


All Hands on Deck to Make New CWS Game Ready

 

We are #ALLIN for @ukfootball! The entire team and staff helping get The New CWS ready for Saturday! #BBN

A photo posted by Kentucky Women’s Basketball (@ukhoopcats) on

We’ve been worrying for the last few months that Commonwealth Stadium would not be ready for the 2015 season-opener on September 5th.  Mitch Barnhart has been hesitant to say it won’t be finished.  He’s stated that every massive project he’s ever been on has gone down to the wire, and that “all hands are on deck” to get the project completed in time. Tonight, the proof is in the pudding.  Not only did other athletes get involved with cleanup, the staffers brought out their families to pitch in. Football media relations extraordinaire, Evan Crane, brought his wife, who could not have made a better hardhat selection.

A photo posted by Evan Crane (@wec50) on

 


Anatomy of an Upset: How The Cats Can Avoid A Cajun Trap

Earlier this summer Bleacher Report listed their potential trap games for every team in the SEC. Kentucky was listed as a team capable of upsetting three different teams in Auburn, Georgia, and South Carolina. As for the Cats themselves their trap team is this Saturday’s home opener against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Every year in college football some team loses a game that they would win nine times out of ten. How does that happen and how can the boys in blue avoid it? This is the anatomy of an upset:

Execute the Gameplan

Last year the Ohio State Buckeyes nearly missed out on the college football playoff and an eventual national championship due to a week 2 loss to the unranked Virginia Tech Hokies. How does that happen? Well first OSU fell into an early 21-7 hole that forced them behind the eight ball early. Superstar Ezekiel Elliott got just 8 carries for 32 yards as the Buckeyes played from behind and went to the air. The shift to a pass first offensive philosophy resulted in a 4-16 conversion rate on third down which is awful compared to the Hokies who went 9-17. Then after clawing all the way back to tie the game, two late interceptions doomed any hope of salvaging a win. Virginia Tech controlled the way the game was going to be played and that almost cost OSU a title.

This Saturday the Cats will be the more talented team on both sides of the ball and if they play their game they should cover the spread. But if they let ULL control the game clock with their ground attack and keep the ball out of Patrick Towles’ hands things could be trouble. Execute Coach Stoops’ gameplan and they will be fine.

Limit Early Season Mistakes

Another insane upset from last year was Indiana going into Columbia, Missouri and shocking the Tigers on their home field. Indiana finished the year 4-8. Missouri went 11-3 and played for the SEC championship. How does that happen? Well Mizzou’s line rolled over, giving up 11 tackles for loss. Then on the final drive they had IU pinned on their own 29 yard line on 4th and 6. A pass interference call gave the Hoosiers a fresh set of downs. The very next play a 44 yard bomb followed by a facemask had IU in the red zone. The rest, they say, is history.

For the Cats the key to early season wins will be to avoid mistakes of their own while taking advantage of our opponents’. Against Louisville last season the Cats were penalized for running on the field after Fred Tiller took an interception to the house. The Cards to started their drive at the UK 47 and scored before halftime to take a 21-20 lead. You can’t commit major mental errors and expect to win  games against quality opponents. All four teams UK faces in September have major questions to answer on both sides of the ball, take advantage of our own returning experience and the team could end the first month with a winning record.

Don’t Disrespect Your Opponent

Maybe I too am disrespecting the four time defending FCS champs, the North Dakota State Bisons, by listing their recent FBS wins as upsets. Still you wouldn’t expect that in four of the last five seasons the Bisons went to a power conference team’s home field, gotten handsomely paid, and left with a W. In 2014 it was at Iowa State where they won 34-14, in 2013: @Kansas St 24-21, 2012: @Colorado State 22-7, 2011: @Minnesota 37-24,  2010: @Kansas 6-3. Those teams aren’t exactly a murderer’s row as only one finished bowl eligible and the rest combined for a record of 12-36. But you have to assume that each of those ‘power’ teams probably felt they had the superior crowd, talent, and facilities but ended up humbled.

In Louisana-Lafayette you have a team that has won 4 straight bowl games and won 9 games in each of those seasons. They have a star in Elijah Mcguire that could one day be playing on Sundays. If the Cats don’t respect their opponent this Saturday night in Commonwealth they could be in for one long game. Give the opponent their due, limit mental mistakes, and execute the gameplan is a winning formula for a lot of football games.

 

 

 


A Louisville fan thought he was being funny…

@masterdroo

@masterdroo

…if only he knew that tape could be removed.


The Movie That Could Change Football Forever

Dr. Bennet Omalu, the real-life protagonist of Concussion. (ESPN)

Dr. Bennet Omalu, the real-life protagonist in Concussion. (ESPN)

Today the trailer for the new Will Smith movie was released. He’s not fighting robots in 2035, nor is he fighting aliens on the 4th of July, but the fight depicted in Concussion is one that continues today.

Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known more commonly as CTE.  CTE is the disease that is caused due to repeated blows to the head.  Once only visible during autopsies, the disease has been discovered in many former NFL players, including Heisman Trophy winning Dallas Cowboy legend, Tony Dorsett, and recent Hall of Fame inductee, linebacker Junior Seau.  CTE can be attributed with causing Seau’s suicide.

Concussions are the greatest threat to football as we know it.  Most football players have received a concussion at some point, including myself, and the NFL’s fight to hide the worst of the worst is well documented, but this will be the most graphic and dangerous depiction the world has seen.

The movie is based on a GQ article, Brain Game, and could do to the NFL what The Insider did to the tobacco industry.

If that doesn’t send chills up your spine, this Frontline interview with Dr. Omalu tells his story.


What is a Louisiana-Lafayette?

Kentucky will open its 2015 season and its new Commonwealth Stadium this coming Saturday when Louisiana-Lafayette comes to town. Before that games kicks off, you’re probably asking yourself one very important question: The hell is a Louisiana-Lafayette?

Allow me to educate you, if you will…

 

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Formerly the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute, the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, and then the University of Southwestern Louisiana, UL-Lafayette is one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review’s college rankings. The school has achieved several milestones over the years, including becoming the first all-white southern public college to desegregate, the first to offer a masters in computer science in America, and the first of many to lose to Kentucky in the 2015 college football season.

The university’s motto is “Fortiter, Feliciter, Fideliter,” which is French for “Forts, Felicias, Fidelity.” (I think.)

 

Location: Lafayette, Louisiana

Just west of Baton Rouge and about a two-hour drive from the 2-for-1 Hand Grenades and Hurricanes in New Orleans, you’ll find Lafayette, the fourth-largest city in the Bayou State.

Nicknamed “Hub City” for reasons I don’t care enough about to Google, Lafayette was founded in 1821 and renamed in 1884 for General Lafayette, a member of George Washington’s clique. Lafayette and Washington were, like, BFFs back in the day. Serious man crush going on there. Lafayette even named his son Georges Washington to honor his good friend.

Anyway, the city of Lafayette now boasts a population of about 120,000ish, give or take a few folks. It’s also home to one of the world’s largest Cajun and Creole museums, the actor who played Walter White Jr., and the last remaining Borden’s Ice Cream Parlor in the United States.

USA Today named Lafayette No. 1 on its list of Best College Town Weekends.

 

Notable Alumni

Frank Ocean: Singer, songwriter and rapper; former ghostwriter for John Legend and Justin Bieber

Ali Landry: Smokeshow, best known as the Doritos girl in the 1998 Super Bowl commercial

Peanut Tillman: Cornerback for the Chicago Bears from 2003 to 2014, now with the Carolina Panthers

Richard Simmons:

 

Cheerleader Scouting Report

Oh hey there. What did your parents name you?

 

Mascot: “The Ragin’ Cajuns”

UL-Lafayette adopted the Ragin’ Cajuns nickname in 1963, when then head coach Russ Faulkinberry changed the nickname of the football team from the “Bulldogs.” It took about a decade for the entire athletic department to catch up and make the “Ragin’ Cajuns” name official.

It has a better ring to it than the “Angry Acadian-Creoles.”

 

Ragin’ Cajun Cheers

“Give ’em Hell!  UL!  Give ’em Hell!”

“G-E-A-U-X  Geaux Cajuns Geaux!”

“Ragin’ Cajuns!  Geaux!  Geaux!”

… Those are stupid.

 

Head Coach: Mark Hudspeth

Coach Hudspeth is entering his fifth season with the Ragin’ Cajuns with four nine-win seasons under his belt. He led his team to New Orleans Bowl wins in each of those four years, after zero postseason appearances in school history prior to his arrival.

Though he’s loved around Lafayette, Hudspeth will likely make the jump to a Power 5 football program next year. His name was tossed around as a potential replacement for Will Muschamp at Florida last winter, as well as other attractive openings around college football.

Fun fact: Hudspeth was Ole Miss head basketball coach Andy Kennedy’s backup quarterback in high school. The third-string QB on that team? Our own Matthew Mitchell.

 

Players To Watch

Elijah McGuire, Running Back: McGuire was the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore, having rushed for 1,264 yards and 14 touchdowns, ranking fourth in school history for most yards in a season and tied for fourth in touchdowns. He is the 2015 Preseason Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year heading into this season. He is really, really good.

Dominique Tovell, Linebacker: The team’s leading returning tackler is a Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team selection and a member of the Lombardi Award Watch List. The Ragin’ Cajuns defense will look to him for leadership in his senior season.

Gunner Hudspeth, Daddy’s Boy: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Gunner’s athleticism didn’t land him a spot on the team. Being the son of the head coach probably did that.

 

Here’s a welcoming video if you need to know more…

Now let’s play football.


Jaleel Hytchye is Heading to Georgia State

Jaleel's lone star was his freshman year at Georgia. (David C. Bristow | RedandBlack.com)

Jaleel’s lone start was his freshman year at Georgia. (David C. Bristow | RedandBlack.com)

Former Wildcat cornerback is heading South to the land of Ryan Harrow, Georgia State.  Hytchye was one of Mark Stoops’ first commitments, but had fallen far on the depth chart.  He is one of five former Wildcats to leave Lexington for Atlanta, joining Alex Smith, Donald Russell, Nermin Delic and Marcus Caffey.

Even though Leel didn’t fill up too many stat sheets, he managed to bust out beats on a regular basis.  This one with Bud is definitely his best. 


Position Previews: A Preachy, Inside Look at the Quarterbacks

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Simply put, in order for Kentucky to go bowling, its quarterback play has to excel at the “3 C’s”, Consistency, Captain, and Confidence.

Consistency

In 2015, for Patrick Towles to take a step forward, he has to run less and raise his completion ratio to above 62%. One manner to do so is to complete the easy throws, or high percentage passes. These plays move the chains and increase the likelihood of extending drives that could turn into points. 2014 saw Towles struggle with the simpler passing tasks, but excelling while running the football. His runs were both planned draws and impromptu scrambles. Enter Shannon Dawson. While watching an open practice, Patrick tucked the ball and ran instead of attempting to check down in his progression for a sure completion. Coach Dawson wasn’t happy. I’ll use much kinder and G rated vernacular. Dawson loudly asked Pat if he wanted to play running back. That small interaction describes UK’s 2015 offensive intent.

Confidence

The quarterback we saw throughout Kentucky’s red hot 5-1 start appeared much different than the one seen in the 0-6 finish. National and local talking heads were proclaiming Patrick to be next in line in the UK historical hierarchy. Down the stretch, the young Cats hit the proverbial wall. Let me make this perfectly clear, the six game losing streak was on the shoulders of 85 players, not just one. However, during the season’s rough patch, Patrick Towles’ mojo seemed to disappear at times. Not uncommon. Twelve games make up a long season, especially for an offensive player that carried the majority of the load by himself. Pat’s eyes and body language didn’t look right. He appeared overly frustrated, which is not uncommon for an intense competitor when things aren’t going right. There are many reasons as to why: inconsistent running back play in blitz pickup, receivers’ inability to release from the line of scrimmage into their route, tight ends all but invisible, and a young offensive line all helped create an offensive rut. Previously listed Wildcat limitations are 2015’s expected strengths. But even with the losing streak, Towles’ statistics were solid and in the upper SEC echelon. NFL scouts rave about Towles’ ability. He can make virtually every throw in the passing tree. 2015 can possibly see Patrick Towles catapult into the national conversation. Regardless, a confident quarterback can shape a team’s personality. Towles made the Atlanta claim on the SEC Network. I like that version of Pat Towles.

Captain

This “C” isn’t referring to being elected to a leadership position based upon a popular vote. Going back to the Clown vs. Captain Debate, Patrick Towles doesn’t have a choice other than to be a consistent, living definition of a Captain. So far, that’s exactly what he’s done. The starting quarterback is the first in the Nutter Center and last out. He must hold offensive mates accountable, not so much by verbal confrontation, however, at times that becomes necessary. Leading by example in non-football activities are as important as his pass attempt during a 3rd and goal to go in the 4th quarter.

I used all of those words to say, Patrick Towles has to be the undeniable leader and accountability enforcer of the offense. From all accounts, he has been and will continue to be. He’s impressed in this category.

Being a starting quarterback is a colossal responsibility. With that obligation comes scrutiny and accountability. There is no time to waste effort in trying to be the “cool kid”, or everyone’s favorite teammate. There is a mammoth difference in being a leader and being popular. That dynamic is learned through experience but is also an innate trait. Drew Barker has learned this lesson the hard way. Mark Stoops is trusting that Drew’s advanced past that phase of his life and moved onto focusing on the art of playing team athletics’ most difficult position. Every player on the team wants to be the quarterback- except on game day. The weight the position carries on Towles’ shoulders during the Cat Walk is indescribable. Conversely, the gratification following a win is inexpressible.

Towles has proved to be an exceptional teammate, sprinting from the sideline in Spring Practice to celebrate a touchdown. (Jon Hale | The Cats Pause)

Towles has proved to be an exceptional teammate, sprinting from the sideline in Spring Practice to celebrate a touchdown. (Jon Hale | The Cats Pause)

Key Reserves

Drew Barker is the backup quarterback. Many times, this depth chart spot is the most popular with Monday Morning Quarterbacks. Drew experienced a rough start to his college football career. No need in reviewing or rehashing. Barker’s throwing motion is now more fluid. His confidence has never lacked. If called upon, Drew Barker can lead the team and play at a starter’s level. The QB competition was real. Both he and Towles practiced at a high level. Going into the season with two capable quarterbacks is a luxury. From my limited time observing Drew at open practices, he seems as if a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He seems to “get” it, and is taking his team role seriously. All positive indications for the redshirt freshman.

Reese Phillips is recovering from an Achilles tear, a tough injury for a thrower to overcome. If healthy, Reese is a capable, extremely accurate quarterback. Reese and Drew will be Patrick’s extra set of eyes on the sideline. The trio’s sideline communication is critical.

Summary

As the Kentucky quarterback goes, so will the 2015 Wildcats. That may seem like an unnecessary amount of pressure to be placed on a college student, but,that’s part of playing the position. Much like Calipari’s point guard, if things go bad QB’s receive the blunt of the blame. If the Cats light up the scoreboard, QB’s get all of the glory. Both in unrealistic surplus.

The truth of the matter: UK will have to average 35-37 points per game to win six. There’s no way around it. September is the most critical month of the season. There are several factors that support this claim, but the most obvious is on the other side of the football and in particular, the linebacker position. Jason Hatcher’s suspension and Ryan Flannigan’s ailing shoulder puts a tremendous strain on the offense to not only score points, but sustain drives and keep opposing offenses off the field. The cold hard truth is that Patrick Towles will need to play the best month of football in his career in order for Kentucky to at least break even at 2-2. A sub-.500 September hampers postseason likelihood. Full disclaimer, on the KSR podcast I picked the Cats to start the season 3-1.

QB Dictionary

On a rope-Describes a pass that is thrown to a pass catcher in a straight line, non-arching trajectory and with high velocity.

Pull the string-Opposite of above, a pass that has touch or loft in order for the football to avoid underlining defenders. “Taking a little off” is another term that can be used.

Happy feet-Was a great kid’s movie, seen it a hundred times. However, when dealing with QB’s, this phrase is used when their feet are choppy in the pocket and usually leads to a fundamentally-flawed throws. Old timers (like me) use this description while describing a scared or unsure QB in the pocket.

Step up in the pocket-Blocking schemes are designed to create an umbrella effect around the quarterback. Outside blockers or offensive tackles are trained to push or force pass rushers outside the pocket. At times, the QB has to slightly shuffle forward to avoid the rush to attempt a pass. This QB pocket fundamental comes through experience and is difficult to teach.

On a dime-When a QB throws a pass that is highly accurate, normally in a location that the pass’s intended receiver is the only player that has a chance to make the catch.