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November 29th, 2015

Governor’s Cup stayed true to trend: a second half disaster

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Kentucky jumped out to a 21-point lead.

I didn’t think UK would win the football game.

The first half ended with the Wildcats leading 24-7.

I didn’t think UK would win the football game.

It’s been one of those seasons. After 30 minutes of score board dominance, where did the doubt come from? Guilt crept in by having little hope for a Kentucky win when all signs pointed to the Governor’s Cup taking up residence in the Nutter Center.

Following a 12-game body of work for observation, the following are engrained preconceptions that led to final score reservations:

— There was a complete lack of on-field leadership and team chemistry. For certain underclassmen, there was a comprehensive failure in followship. This imbalanced combination equaled a 5-7 record. Once Melvin Lewis was lost to an unfortunate injury, not a resemblance of on-field management existed. However, the offense is where the intolerable — and at times, unwatchable — leadership meltdown occurred.

In the second half and even before Louisville began to score at will, several offensive players showed the body language of an ailing patient moments prior to a root canal. There is a difference between the false bravado coming out of the tunnel and the gut-check realization when plays must be made. Unfortunately, this team was better exiting the locker room in a cloud of smoke than making a catch on 3rd and 7. It danced better before the game and between plays than it tackled opposing running quarterbacks.

— Immaturity. During critical game junctures, the Cats played and acted like adolescents in a man’s league. Hanging heads, not finishing plays, complaining about quarterbacks or playing time, catches/carries, and so forth. By the end of Saturday’s game, a disturbing internal question resonated: “Is this team likable?” I can’t honestly answer that inquiry. Not generalizing the entire 100-man roster, but a handful of counted-upon characters displayed appalling selfish actions.

— After starting 4-1 and somewhere on the schedule between EKU and Auburn, this team misplaced its fortitude. Courage to fight back and resiliency to counter adversity disappeared; in their absence surfaced erroneous and misguided self-importance. Again, mostly on offense.

— Other than the opening drive, Kentucky’s inept offense was manhandled by an above average defense that wasn’t as good as its performance indicated. Virginia scored 31 on it. Pitt ran up 42 in the first half for goodness sake. Following the disheartening loss of Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp, UK’s offensive compass lost its true North, South, East, and West. The identity-less unit wandered like a rudderless ship sailing along with dropped passes, errant throws, questionable play calls, missed blocks and penalties of the undisciplined nature.

Patrick Towles was not Kentucky’s offensive problem. Pat was merely the fall guy. Offensive woes ran much deeper than quarterback play. Up front, the offensive line was overwhelmed. An overabundance of holding calls prevented the second half from becoming a quarterback sack parade. The OL has been a point of concern from Louisiana to Louisville with brief flashes of positivity against South Carolina and Missouri. Its flaws were embarrassingly exposed in the 3rd and 4th quarter. In addition to the front five, UK’s receivers lacked. Its talent was evident in September, but it conspicuously lost its way somewhere on the road between EKU and Auburn.

Locker room divide: Older players vs. younger ones. Patrick Towles supporters against those that wanted Drew Barker. These unconfirmed rumors and leaked murmurings became nauseating and devastatingly tiresome. I’d argue that this team was divided into two categories: 1. Likable. 2. Unlikable. Typing those words hurts me to the core. While understanding ramifications, it had to be said. There were not enough battlers like Josh Forrest, Farrington Huguennin, Chris Westry, Jon Toth, Khalid Henderson and unnamed others that played their absolute guts out on every snap throughout the disappointing season regardless of score or situation.

The BBN doesn’t expect to win every game; however, it does demand indisputable high effort, passion, and a give-a-darn mentality from its participants. Instead of embracing the underdog role in the second half of the season, this team shrunk in moments against superiority.

— Halftime adjustments were made by Louisville. Kentucky grossly failed in this venture. Louisville’s true freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson can be used as an example. On a wet and soggy day, one would imagine that the opponent’s top rusher (Jackson) would be the offensive feature in the second half. The read option would be the prominent play call. Following intermission, he ran it and ran it well. The Cardinal quarterback finished the game with 17 rushing attempts for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The closest Cardinal in rushing statistics was RB Brandon Radcliff with 66 yards on 14 carries. I’m not a coach nor do I pretend to understand the game on a professional level, but I would assume that Petrino made the decision to win or lose the game with Lamar Jackson running the football.

— After halftime, Kentucky’s offense exited the locker room lacking urgency and a plan. Inexplicably, defeated body language became commonplace after the first series of the third quarter. It didn’t improve, nor did production. The Cats lacked tempo, execution, or a strategy to answer the Cardinals’ 31-point onslaught. One scoring drive may have been enough of a deterrent to force Louisville into certain passing scenarios. On UK’s last offensive series, Patrick Towles finally led the Cats to the red zone with a little over two minutes left in the game. An interception followed. Game over. Cup travelled back west on I-64.

SEC football teams should be prepared for attrition, especially at an injury-prone position like running back. Understandably, losing both Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp lessened UK’s explosiveness; however, UK commenced a three-and-out procession that repeatedly and quickly gave the football back to Louisville and Lamar Jackson. It was a recipe for disaster. Catastrophe came in the form of 31 unanswered second half points.

What’s Next?

Mark Stoops must evaluate his football program in its entirety. From coordinators to assistant coaches, practice schedules to calisthenics, the Kentucky Football program is in need of an overhaul; what that looks like lies within the mind of Mark Stoops.

At no point in 40 years of fandom have I witnessed a team worsen more so than the 2015 Wildcats. From a 4-1 start to a 5-7 finish, week by week, Kentucky lessened its on-field prowess while facing the friendliest schedule in decades. College football is unforgiving. While the Cats are home for the holidays, its opponents will enjoy 15 additional days of bowl practice as well as an extra game. While UK is Christmas vacationing, future foes are strengthening. For returning players, that should sting. I’m not convinced that it does. I hope I’m wrong.

From now until National Signing Day, Stoops and staff will be in living rooms convincing teenager prospects that progress is being made. 2015 was stagnant at best.

In closing, thank you for reading. I honestly am honored and surprised you do so. I’ve tried to be as objective as possible, but disappointment and frustration led to hard truths and realities being discussed. This post was incredibly hard to write. Uncomfortable and disappointing would be more descriptive. Objectivity and fandom mix like oil and water. As a lifelong UK fan, nothing would please more than for Mark Stoops and this football program to succeed.

It’s been a blast, and we’ll continue through National Signing Day and beyond. I’d like to thank Matt Jones and the entire KSR organization for the privilege to write and talk about football.

Landon Foster pens moving goodbye letter to UK Football

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Saturday was Senior Day for several Cats, including punter Landon Foster, who posted this touching goodbye letter to the program on Instagram tonight. After a rough weekend, do yourself a favor and read it before you head to bed:

There are a few decisions in life that impact the direction your life will take, and committing to a college is one of those monumental decisions. Growing up bleeding orange and white, the first college football game I remember going to was a Tennessee vs. Kentucky game in Neyland Stadium. Never in a million years did I expect myself to take the field as a Kentucky Wildcat, until the hand was dealt. I am extremely blessed, thankful, and indebted to the University of Kentucky, Dr. Eli Capilouto, Mr. Barnhart, Coach Joker Phillips, and all of my special teams coaches for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to fulfill a dream of mine playing football in the best conference in America. Also, I want to thank each and every one of the supporting staff whose work and dedication to us as student-athletes unfortunately go unnoticed.

As my collegiate football career came to a sudden end last night, I took a few minutes to think about the four years I’ve spent here. It was extremely emotional coming to the realization that the numerous amount of hours spent in the weight room, training room, locker room, on the practice field, watching film, and bonding with my brothers are all over…so suddenly. But I know one thing is true in life, that I was able to look at myself in the mirror after the game, even with tears running down my cheeks, that I gave my absolute all on the field, in the weight room, in the classroom, and in the community and have absolutely no regrets. As hard as it is to accept the way my collegiate football career ended, I can guarantee that no one worked harder than myself, was more thrilled to wear “KENTUCKY” across my chest, or wanted / still wants this University to succeed on and off of the field. I know I gave it all that I had, and that is the only way to have peace of mind when a chapter in your life closes.

As Coach Wooden’s definition of success states, “Success is peace of mind, attained only through self-satisfaction and knowing you made the effort to do the best that you are capable of.”

Landon was recently named one of three finalists for the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service.” The winner will be announced on December 8.

Rondo playing like ‘a max player’ according to Rick Carlisle

Getty Images

Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks head coach, Rick Carlisle, discussed the situation with Rajon Rondo last season before the Dallas/Sacramento matchup on Monday. Carlisle praised his former point guard, but also said that he wished Rondo had never come to Dallas.

If you remember correctly it was rumored that Rondo and Carlisle did not get along very well. However, Carlisle stated that the situation was just a poor fit for Rondo and the team.

“Listen, we all did everything we could to make it work. It was challenging. I think we all realize that now, but when you do a deal like that, you’ve got to do everything possible to make it work. I learned a lot going through the year with him and trying to be creative and use some of his unique abilities,” Carlisle told

Since leaving the Mavericks last season, Rondo has been having a great season for the Sacramento Kings. Rondo is averaging 12.4 points, 11 assists and 7.3 rebounds for the Kings. Rondo has also been a triple-double machine this season, recording one in five of his first 18 games. Despite Rondo’s success in Sacramento, the Kings have fallen 6-12 on this season and currently sit third last in the Western Conference.

“Anyone who knows Rondo knew he was gonna bounce back with a monster year this year. George Karl has done a brilliant job and put him in position to be a max player next year,” Carlisle said.

The Kings only signed Rondo to a one-year deal, but with how he is playing Carlisle might be right about Rondo’s next contract.


High Proof Bourbon — for the Holidays



Looking to drown out your pigskin sorrows? Or better yet, celebrate our roundball triumphs?  There’s no adult beverage more fitting for Big Blue Nation holiday parties than our signature spirit, Kentucky bourbon.

If you’re counting down to Christmas, bourbon is the ideal partner for tree trimming, mistletoe kissing and fireplace sipping.  If you’re like me (and Adam Sandler, Drake, most NBA and NFL owners, but, alas, not Willie Cauley-Stein), bourbon is the perfect way to numb the blaring accusations of a “War on Christmas.” (We’re only asking for a little recognition of Chanukah, the celebration of a military victory that made it possible for a Jewish baby to be born safely in Bethlehem a century later, OK?  Rant over.)

And if you need a little extra oomph to transcend the season’s stress, I suggest a few extra-potent potables.  The higher the proof not only inflates the intoxication; cask-strength bourbons are some of the finest tasting libations around.  As noted whiskey aficionado Russell Coleman explains, the process of transferring from the barrel into the bottle that results in the typical 80-100 proof fare is really about watering down the innate product — higher alcohol varieties offer straight-from-the barrel, fuller flavors, exploding your taste buds with unprecedented savory and sensory smart bombs — the very way God created bourbon.

(OK, I may be exaggerating when I called Coleman a “noted whiskey aficionado.”  But the former FBI agent and Mitch McConnell consigliere proves the true bi-partisan nature of whiskey drinking.  And the man knows his bourbon.)

A few cautionary notes:  First, if you are not of legal age, please stop reading: Print out this column and place it in a lock box to be opened on your 21st birthday.  Even if you are fully grown, tread carefully on quantity: a one-drink maximum is advised for the novice.  Meanwhile, a cube or two of ice are fine, and/or perhaps a splash of water, but understand that the more H2O you add, the more you are diluting the whole point of the venture.  And don’t you dare add Coke or sour mix.  (Don’t you dare…)  Finally, most of these varieties are hard to find at your typical liquor store — I usually have to shop out of state where bourbon experts are too scarce to hoard the inventory.  Accordingly, for my fellow Central Kentuckians, I offer some prime restaurant locations to sample, sip and savor:

1. William Larue Weller, $80/bottle, 133 proof (66.5% alcohol), available at Tony’s of Lexington

It’s fitting that Lexington’s first world-class steakhouse overlooks the cathedral of our Commonwealth, Rupp Arena.  (Ask for a table by the window in super-server Shoshannah’s section.)  It also features bartender-extraordinaire Lincoln Nevels, bon vivant and bourbon savant.  While the meals are unmatched in the region (try the bourbon-infused sweet potatoes with your filet or bone-in New York strip), it took a few months for Tony to catch up with the whiskey selection.  But since Breeders’ Cup, they are much improved, and Lincoln introduced me to the delicious and powerful William Larue Weller, part of the Sazerac/Buffalo Trace Distillery family.

The oak-infused nose — OK, smelling it — can quickly cure most sinus infections.  But the taste is what’s special.  On the tongue it feels like a cinnamon grenade, but unlike those crappy Fireballs which flame out quickly, a chocolate-y, caramel balance soon envelopes your palate.  Best yet, the aftertaste finish is long and warm, sweet and bold, as comforting as a spicy hot cider.  If the football Cats could finish like this…oh well.

2. Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof, $90, 135 proof (67.5% alcohol), available at Distilled at Gratz Park

A few days after I discovered Colonel Taylor at Proof on Main in Louisville, I left for my annual World Series of Poker trip; and while I was waiting for my luggage at the Vegas airport, I noticed a baggage claim liquor store featuring dozens of bottles of this very barrel proof product.  In retrospect, I should have taken my $1000 buy-in, purchased 15 liters, and returned home:  I have not seen it since offered at retail.  (If you can find a few for me, there are a couple of really great lower Rupp Arena UK basketball seats with your name on it.)

Another champion in the Sazerac/Buffalo Trace collection, The Colonel smells fruity, a bit like raisins, with a little vanilla as a chaser.  Tasting it is like sipping an über-strong cup of coffee, sweetened with caramel and brown sugar.  In the end, like many of Taylor’s lower-proofed concoctions, there’s a warm peppery aftertaste that coats and soothes the back of your throat.

3. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, $45, 133 Proof (66.5% alcohol), available at OBC Kitchen

It shouldn’t be surprising that Central Kentucky’s best bourbon collection can be found at Old Bourbon County (OBC) Kitchen, the latest venture of Bruce Drake and the gang at Bluegrass Hospitality Group.  Walking in the first time and witnessing the orgy of amber-colored bottles, bathed by spotlighted glass, recalled my inaugural visit to F.A.O. Schwartz’ Central Park toy store — with shot glasses replacing the human piano.  There’s no better guide to the comprehensive selection than bourbon sommelier Jake Sulek. Jake introduces me to a new, usually limited-edition, whiskey each time I visit, but my standby is the Heaven Hill Distillery masterpiece, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

Elijah is markedly sweeter than the rest of its competitors on this list, so the nose is masked a bit by a fruity, woody smell.  After you feel the initial heat on the tongue, there is another fruit detonation, a rush of apple and orange with cinnamon mixed in.  After swallowing, the spiciness begins to really hit you, with an oak-y, minty feel on the back of your throat.

4. Noah’s Mill Small Batch, $50, 115 Proof (57.5% alcohol), available at Dudley’s on Short

The best location for lunch and brunch in Lexington is not a close call: Debbie Long’s mainstay is the go-to spot for downtown movers and shakers; and now with new chef Mark Richardson returning to the Bluegrass State from a stint at New York’s The Carlyle, the food is phenomenal.  I’ve sampled Dudley’s brussels sprout salad so often that Debbie engraved my name on a small plate at the bar.  Featuring a smaller whiskey selection, Dudley’s makes up for bourbon quantity with quality, boasting many years of Pappy’s and the like.  Early on, I discovered Noah’s Mill here — and while the family-owned Kentucky Bourbon Distillers’ product features the least alcoholic content on this list; it’s plenty strong, as well as the only variety that you can find in most local liquor stores.

Don’t let the simple, old-style bottle design fool you, this is a sophisticated concoction, aged for 15 years.  The smell is a blend of vanilla and oak, while the taste is leathery, with strong elements of brown sugar.  The finish packs a wallop, even a bit fiery:  You get the full cask-strength power without the cask-strength hangover.

5.  George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon, $90 retail (likely cost you $300+ if you can find it), 142 proof (71% alcohol!), available at Coles 735 Main

As I was first stumbling through higher proof bourbons, I was disappointed to learn that one of my favorite restaurants, Coles 735 Main, was temporarily out of the Colonel. (Don’t worry: He’s back!)  My server, Brian Carcaise, shared a not-so-secret piece of advice: If you like Taylor Barrel Proof, you’ll love George T. Stagg (yep, another Sazerac).  He warned me, though, that the granddaddy of all cask-strength bourbons might be a bit too much for my palate; that the perfect solution was dropping one piece of ice into the brew.  I thought, of course, that Brian was threatening my manhood. But as a show of good faith, he gave me an ounce of each, with and without ice.

Brian is a very wise man.  The nose is phenomenal:  This chocolate lover savored the notes of fudge, nougat and toffee.  Straight up, George is a powerful blend of fruit and wood flavors, but adding that one ice cube opened up the whiskey to a sensation of dates and wintergreen, with a hint of mocha.  George is expensive, so you might try Stagg, Jr., which is a little less powerful, and a little less flavor-able.  But treat yourself once in a while to a George, Sr.  And drop in that piece of ice.

Happy Birthday to two former Cats!


Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Both Julius Randle and Jamal Mashburn celebrate their birthdays today. Mashburn turns 43 and the current Los Angeles Laker turns the big 21 today.

The Lakers take on the Indiana Pacers at 6:30 PT at the Staples Center. Hopefully Randle can go out and celebrate his birthday and a win after the game. I’m sure Kobe would love to buy a drink for you, Julius.

#BBN, make sure to wish Julius and Jamal a very happy birthday!!


“What ifs” for other guards if Tyler doesn’t play tomorrow

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

After injuring his right elbow against South Florida on Friday, there is the possibility that Tyler Ulis could potentially be sidelined tomorrow against Illinois State. Lucky for us, even if our floor general is out, we have a bench full of guards to take his place.

Today, discussed the opportunities for other guards that exist if Ulis is unable to play tomorrow.

On Briscoe and Jamal:

“Against USF, Briscoe had a strong stat line of six points, a season-high seven assists and six rebounds, but Coach Cal didn’t like his shot selection (3 for 9) and how he seemed to avoid contact (took just one free throw). Murray led the Cats in scoring with a season-high 21 points, but Calipari wants him to get to the foul line more, where he’s an 88.2 percent shooter.”

“So it’s not that I’m worried about Isaiah and Jamal and how they’ll play — Dom(inique Hawkins) — it’s not that. It’s that we’re playing a team that plays a little different, that Tyler would have no problem with, but these guys may.”

On Dominique Hawkins:

“Hawkins is another player who could see an uptick in minutes Monday if Ulis were to sit out. Against South Florida, the junior guard logged nine minutes, hit one of his two 3-point attempts, dished out an assist, had a steal and took a charge. Afterward, Calipari said he liked what he saw from the Richmond, Ky., native, adding that Hawkins may be that elusive “rotational guy” he’s been looking for all season.”

Hey Tyler, the offer for my elbow is still there if you want it. You need it more than I do.

2016 basketball recruits had big nights last night



Because it’s never too early to talk about next basketball season, 2016 recruits had one heck of a night last night according to Chris Fisher from 247 Sports.

  • Bam Adebayo had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Malik Monk had 46 points, yes 46 points.
  • Sacha Killeya-Jones posted 28 points and 11 rebounds.
  • De’Aaron Fox gathered 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

So what does this mean? It means we’re going to be pretty dag on good next year.

Read more here.

Hoops Cruises to Win over JSU, 92-24.

(HT UK Athletics)

(HT UK Athletics)

Coach Matthew Mitchell got his 200th win with Kentucky this afternoon in Memorial Coliseum when the Hoops squad beat Jackson State, 92-24. Today’s win marks the first time Kentucky has won a game by 60 or more since the Grambling State game in 2013.

Both teams struggled in the first quarter, with Kentucky only making 6 out of 19 of their shots. Towards the end of the second period, the Cats went on a 24-0 run, the largest of the year, extending the lead to 28 points with 3:25 to go in the half. Makayla Epps made her first basket of the afternoon at the halftime buzzer to give the Cats a 30 point lead. At the break, Kentucky had two players in double-digit scoring, Taylor Murray with 11 and Akhator with 13. Kentucky demolished JSU in the paint, outscoring them 26-2. The Cats forced 24 TO’s in the first two quarters alone, converting 28 points off of them.

Kentucky cruised through the second half, shooting 45.2% from the field. The Cats continued to dominate the Lady Tigers defensively, forcing 13 turnovers in the second half, and holding them to 4.2% from the field (yes, you read that right.)  Evelyn Akhator ended the game with a double-double, 20 points and 13 rebounds, joining four other UK players in double-digit scoring: Jennings with 10 points and 9 rebounds, Janee Thompson with 15 points and 7 assists, Makayla Epps with 12 points and 9 assists, and Taylor Murray with a career high 13.

Here’s Kentucky’s box score:


Full box score here.

The Cats will now look to Northern Kentucky on Wednesday in Highland Heights, KY at 7pm. The game after that will be against UofL in Rupp on the 10th. Be there or be square, BBN.

Go Cats.


Josh Forrest surprised by Lamar Jackson

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Ending the season on a disappointing note, UK’s 38-24 loss to Louisville Saturday still hurts. As soon as Lamar Jackson came in to the game after Kyle Bolin threw two inceptions, the Wildcats scrambled to keep the mobile backup QB contained – and failed, miserably.

It seemed as if Mark Stoops and Co. were scratching their heads to come up with anything to shut down Jackson ,who finished the game with 130 yards passing, 196 rushing, and three touchdowns.

It led many to speculate on Twitter if Kentucky even prepared for the possibility of Jackson, and sadly, it seems they didn’t.

After the game, Josh Forrest told the media the team was surprised by Louisville’s switch to Jackson – something the team had, surprisingly, not planned for. Forrest said Jackson ran more than the team had anticipated and was faster than expected:

I don’t know what’s more troubling, the fact that UK was caught unawares by a quarterback change or the fact that no one has yet to figure out how to stop a running quarterback. After three years, you would think someone would at least have a plan…



Mark Richt steps down

Wesley Hitt / Getty Images

It’s open season on college football coaches right now as University of Georgia’s Head Football Coach Mark Richt becomes the most recent coach to receive a pink slip from his university.

After 15 years with the Bulldogs, Richt agreed to step down from his position following Georgia’s upcoming bowl game, which will be announced on Dec. 6. Richt will leave Georgia as the second-winningest coach in Bulldog’s history with a record of 145-51. UGA finished this season 9-3.

According to UGA athletic director Greg McGarity, who met with Richt earlier this morning, it was a mutual agreement that Richt should step down as the head coach.

The news of Richt’s leaving came shortly after Rutger’s released both the university’s athletic director Julie Hermann and head football coach Kyle Flood. This marks an abrupt end to Hermann’s short two-and-a-half year tenure that was riddled with controversy. Flood, who faced a three-game suspension in September for violating a university compliance policy, was ousted after a tumultuous season that included the arrests of seven of Flood’s football players on various charges.

The search for football coaches is about to get really hot, as college football staffs and athletic directors continue to reshuffle their decks in search for more wins. New football staffs  mean that December and January will be a recruiting Armageddon as newly-installed leadership look to fill their coffers with fresh recruits as many previous commitments will likely fall to the wayside.

Get ready for war, that’s all I’m saying.

On a lighter note, Les Miles appears to be safe and sound at LSU after a bizarre week of speculations that the head football coach would be receiving the boot in Baton Rouge. Even Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal got involved:

Putting the rumors to rest, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva made it clear the Tigers would be sticking with Miles:

“The season’s complete, and I want to make it very clear and positive that Les Miles is our football coach and he will continue to be our football coach. I’m looking forward to working with Coach Miles as he leads this team to a bowl game and another great recruiting class.”

I would hate to be a college football coach right now.


Towles bids farewell to UK

Darrell Bird |

Darrell Bird |

After a rocky season with the Wildcats, UK quarterback Patrick Towles just announced his plans to transfer from the university on his Instagram account.

The quarterback, who spent four years with the Wildcats and is a native of Fort Thomas, KY, wrote:

I would like to thank the University of Kentucky for giving me the opportunity to achieve my childhood dream of playing quarterback for the WildCats. The last four years have been ones that I will truly cherish for the rest of my life. Although I wish my time here in Lexington could have ended another way, I’m eternally grateful. I’ve decided to transfer to play my fifth year at another university. Thank you to Coach Stoops, Coach Dawson, Mitch Barnhart, my teammates, the Big Blue Nation and the entire Kentucky Athletics Department for allowing me to achieve my lifelong dream. I will truly bleed blue til the day I die.


While at UK, Towles joined Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner and Jared Lorenzen as the only players in school history to top the 3,000-yard mark in their first season as a starter. Due to red shirting in 2013 his sophomore year at UK, Towles will be eligible to play immediately for the university he transfers to. The quarterback was expected to redshirt in 2012 as a true freshman but was pressed into service when injuries struck the quarterback position.

Good bye Patty Ice, you have always represented the Wildcats with class and while this year has been a difficult one, I will miss seeing my favorite Harry Potter fan out on the field. Much success to you, and please, grow out those luscious golden locks again.

The feels, they are too much right now…


Five takeaways from Cal’s Illinois State presser

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Ulis will not practice

According to Coach Calipari, Tyler Ulis’ status for the team is still day-to-day and the 5-foot-9 sophomore will not join his teammates in today’s practice. Cal shied away from reporter’s questions about Ulis playing in tomorrow’s match up against the Redbirds, instead, Cal saying the team “might be without Tyler” and that it “would be a different game.” Cal assured reporters that Ulis’ injury was not serious and that “he’ll be fine.” Ulis hyperextended his elbow during the Wildcat’s game against South Florida Friday, but according to Ulis’ dad, subsequent x-rays revealed no broken bones and told reporters that his son’s injury was nothing to worry about. Cal said, knowing Ulis, the starting guard would insist on playing against Illinois State but it was still too early to make a definite call.

If the team is without Ulis for Monday’s game, Cal said he was unsure how the team would react gainst the Redbirds who, according to Cal, play similiar to Arkansas in that they like to trap and pressure teams on defense.

“Tyler keeps coming and does not stop,” Cal said of Ulis. “That’s the experience. I don’t know how the other’s will respond. They (Illinois State) has some veteran guys… Ulis has experience with these types of teams.”

Let’s just hope that Tyler is icing up that elbow.

The guys need to be more aggressive

Cal said the guys need to “stop running from someone” and instead “look for someone to post up” during games. He told reporters that after reviewing tapes, he noted that some guys need to play more physically and fight for position.

“We’re playing really fast and that is really hard to do,” Cal said. “You have to play physical. What we’re asking of them is really hard. If we can get to when the shot goes up, fight for position then go get the ball, we’ll be fine.”

Cal said Illinois State likes to spread the court and play five men out, which means the Wildcat’s will need to adjust on the defensive side of the ball where center Skal Labissiere will need to up the ante on the aggression meter.

“If Skal doesn’t play tough enough, we’ll put Isaac in,” Cal told the media.

Hawkins is working hard for minutes 

After being sidelined with a hand injury, Dominique Hawkins told reporters he felt like he was “being left behind” and has been working hard to get back into rotation. In regards to Hawkins’ playing time, Cal said he has been trying to get the guys to understand that they are responsible for themselves.

“They need to fight within. You want more time, how are you going to get it,” Cal said. “If you don’t defend you have no chance playing here. If you go under the ball screen – you are coming out.”

Cal said, unlike other teams, Kentucky players are expected to be on “warp speed time” here and develop their talents quickly.

“(On other teams) you can tell them that by junior year, you are going to be a beast,” Cal said. “But here, we say, by JANUARY, you got to get this right.”

Blue gets in

Cal said he expected to see some blue at UCLA’s Pauley Pavillion when the team takes on the Redbirds tomorrow.

“I don’t know why,” Cal joked with the media. “I would figure they would get tickets somehow.”

Let’s hope the Big Blue Nation doesn’t disappoint.

Isaiah Briscoe has a message 

According to Cal, Briscoe has a card attached to his mirror that reads: “Make a ridiculously hard play look easy.” However, the coach said Briscoe has been reading the message backwards, because he has been making easy plays look difficult. Cal claimed it was “just how the AAU play” and that Briscoe would have to break some habit’s from high school.

The No. 1 Wildcats (6-0) will take on the Redbirds (3-4) tomorrow at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

Pitino thinks he had “the best recruiting class” this year


Because Rick Pitino is Rick Pitino and likes to keep us all entertained, he told the media after a 77-57 win over Saint Louis: “We had the best recruiting class, I think, in college basketball, as far as I’m concerned.” This is above our class with Skal, Jamal and Briscoe, I-Zack, Mychal Mulder and Charles Matthews and even Dukes (bleh).

And because he can’t do anything without talking about Kentucky (jealous, much?) he also said, “Kentucky taught me how to get into the one-and-dones, and I’m doing it now, except I’m waiting for fifth-year guys instead of high school kids.”

According to Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal, Pitino also believes that Louisville is being ignored because of the Katina Powell situation. Apparently everyone is focusing on that instead of the stellar basketball they’re playing.

If you want, you can read the full article here. It might brighten up your day after yesterday.

Keep doing you Rick, never change.

Watch Calipari preview Illinois Sate

Future Cats take to Twitter after loss to UofL


It’s natural to worry about the state of the upcoming recruiting class after yesterday’s disappointing loss to Louisville. It was very apparent yesterday that we will need some new blood in order to compete in next year’s tough schedule, so we need to keep the recruits that we already have. Lucky for us, some took to Twitter to ease the mind of the Big Blue Nation.

However, cornerback Tobias Gilliam’s tweet was less than reassuring.