Kentucky Sports Radio

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July 31st, 2014

2014 Kentucky Position by Position Preview: Offensive Line

Part two in an eight part series previewing the 2014 Kentucky Football Wildcats.

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Cats hope added experience, depth and tonnage lead to improved line play in 2014.   In the inaugural season of the Mark Stoops era, Kentucky’s “Air Raid” offense faced a myriad of problems.  The receiving corps was woefully thin and remarkably inexperienced. Aside from an occasional flash from freshman Jojo Kemp, the runningbacks displayed neither elusiveness nor explosion. The quarterbacks were constantly hurt, and were sporadic even when healthy.  In short, it was a debacle.  But with all of the sources of ulcers and sleepless nights for offensive coordinator Neal Brown, perhaps none hamstrung the Cats as much as the play of the offensive line.  While it may be a tired cliche that football is a game won or lost at the line of scrimmage, the axiom remains largely correct.  Unfortunately, the Cats were simply man-handled at the point of attack for much of the season.  Though it can be difficult to quantify offensive line play with statistics, some numbers are telling.  Kentucky ranked 13th in the SEC in rushing offense and allowed more sacks and tackles for a loss than any team in the conference.   With the rather inauspicious opening season in the rear view, the Cats are hopeful that a more veteran group, and another year in Kentucky’s much-celebrated strength program, will turn the o-line from a disaster into a position of strength.

POST-SPRING OFFENSIVE LINE DEPTH CHART:

LEFT TACKLE:

Darrian Miller 6-5, 292 Sr. Lexington, KY (Bryan Station)

Teven Eatmon-Nared 6-7, 339 Sr. Bucyrus, OH

LEFT GUARD: 

Zach West  6-4, 318 Jr. Lexington, KY (Lexington Christian Academy)

Nick Haynes  6-3, 319 Fr.RS Niceville, FL

Max Godby  6-4, 298 Sr. Louisville, KY (Christian Academy of Louisville)

David Baumer  6-5, 295 Fr-HS  Cincinnati, OH

CENTER:

Jon Toth  6-5, 301 So. Indianapolis, IN

Zach Myers  6-3, 287 So. Miamisburg, OH

Dylan Greenberg  6-2, 295 Fr-TR Tucson, AZ

RIGHT GUARD:

Ramsey Meyers  6-4, 300 Fr-RS Orange Park, FL

John Gruenschlaeger  6-11, 363 Jr. Ft. Thomas, KY (Newport Central Catholic)

or Cole Mosier  6-6, 348 Fr-RS Walton, KY (Walton-Verona)

RIGHT TACKLE:

Jordan Swindle 6-7, 306 Jr. St. Johns, FL

Kyle Meadows 6-5, 294 Fr-RS West Chester, OH

Shaquille Love 6-4, 323 Jr. Harriman, TN

OUTLOOK:

Kentucky has cause for optimism on the offensive line.  That optimism begins with experience.   The Cats will open 2014 with returning starters at four of five positions. Included in this group are talented tackles Darrian Miller and Jordan Swindle. Miller is a two year starter at left tackle who is considered an NFL prospect by both the current staff and the previous staff. Miller has started Kentucky’s last 24 games, and is a cornerstone player in the program, as indicated by his appearance on the cover of the 2014 Football Media Guide.  His bookend at right tackle is junior Jordan Swindle.  Swindle made dramatic progress last season, his first as a full time starter.  Intelligent and soft-spoken off the field, the 6-7 Floridian is reputed to have a nasty disposition on the field.  Neal Brown has referred to Swindle as the leader of the entire offense, a position Mark Stoops reinforced by selecting Swindle to represent the Kentucky offense at SEC Media Days.

Zach West is a two year starter at guard, and should bounce back from a rocky 2013 season in which he was slowed by nagging injuries. Kentucky should also improve up front through an increase in size and strength. Kentucky’s projected starting five weighs a combined 62 pounds more than they did just one season ago, an average of a little over twelve pounds per man. Fortunately, this twelve pounds was carefully cultivated through the highly sophisticated exercise and nutrition plan formulated by Kentucky High Performance Coach Eric Korem as opposed to my method, which was based primarily on eating combo meals in my car in the parking lot at Arby’s.   Both resulted in weight gain, but it seems reasonable to assume the method utilized by the Cats will be more productive.

Center John Toth, who started at center as a freshman in 2013, may benefit more than any other player on the roster from his weight and strength gains.  Listed at 283 to start the 2013 season, Toth played at around 270 by the end of the year, an unheard of weight for an SEC offensive lineman in the modern era. Even at that size, and in his first year at the position, Toth was named to the freshman All SEC team by the league’s coaches.  With his obvious talent, and 30 pounds of added muscle, Toth should be a force in the middle of the line for the Cats.

Kentucky coaches were not afforded the luxury of redshirting many players in the 2013 class.  However, their patience with regard to offensive line recruits should pay dividends in 2013.  The Cats were able to redshirt all of their incoming offensive linemen last season. As a result, Kentucky currently features three redshirt freshmen in the two deep, including the projected starter at Right Guard, Ramsey Meyers.  These players now have a year’s worth of high level weight training, as well as a year of learning the system at their disposal.  The coaches are hopeful to do the same with the four offensive linemen in the 2014 class.


IF MASON PLUMLEE MAKES TEAM USA OVER DEMARCUS COUSINS I AM MOVING TO CANADA

Word out of Team USA training camp is Mason Plumlee is likely to make the team over DeMarcus Cousins. I can’t believe I just typed those words.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst tweeted the rumor this evening, shortly after Boogie told reporters he is very satisfied with the way he played at camp. If Boogie believes he played well, then he played well, and there isn’t enough talent in the entire Plumlee family tree for Mason to beat him out for that spot.

Unbelievable.

#FireCoachK


The Universal Hot/Crazy Matrix: A Man’s Guide To Women

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Guys, I need your full attention.

Gals, give us a few minutes here. It’s bro time.

*****

Today I watched a video called Hot Crazy Matrix: Man’s Guide To Women from an online group that goes by Tactical Response. And it is brilliant. It’s the perfect self help guide for all you single lads out there, wondering if the girl you just took to dinner is worth your time. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not she could be the one, this guide gives you the answer. Plain and simple. The analysis is right there in front of you on the chart, saving you all of that strenuous thinking and decision-making when you can be doing other things, like watching sports. It’s almost cheating, really.

The mastermind behind the formula, Dana McLendon, breaks it all down by rating women based on two criteria: Hot and Crazy, the two axes on the chart.

The ‘Hot’ axis is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, while the ‘Crazy’ axis runs from 4 to 10. “Because there is no such thing as a woman who is not at least a 4 Crazy,” McLendon says.

Once you rate your woman (personal preference) and plug her into the matrix, you will find her in one of the six zones:

The NO GO Zone

No matter how crazy or stable a woman is, McLendon believes anyone lower than a 5 in looks is a no-go. That automatically eliminates half of the field.

The Fun Zone

From a 5 to about an 8 in Hot and below the Hot-Crazy line, you will find the Fun Zone. McLendon encourages men to eventually move out of this zone and into a more permanent location. After having some fun, of course.

The Danger Zone

Anyone 5 or higher in Hot but above the Hot-Crazy line is in the Danger Zone. His description of this group is as hilarious as it is accurate. Check it out.

The Dating Zone

Above an 8 Hot but still around a 7 Crazy is the Dating Zone. McLendon says you can introduce this woman to your family and friends. “You can stay here indefinitely,” he adds.

The Wife Zone

If you meet a woman in the Wife Zone, you should start thinking long term. She will be above an 8 Hot and between a 5 and 7 Crazy. That’s worthy of an engagement ring.

Unicorn

Anyone below a 5 Crazy and above an 8 Hot is a Unicorn. She doesn’t exist.

*****

For more on each zone, including one zone I didn’t tell you about, take five minutes out of your evening to watch Dr. McLendon explain the entire matrix in further detail. The man is a genius and he single-handedly made life easier for mankind.


KSR’s Kickoff Playoff: The Finals

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It’s time to determine the winner in KSR’s Kickoff Playoff. Last night you voted Jared Lorenzen and “Hells Bells” into the final round, where it meets Tyler Thompson and “Lose Yourself” tonight for the crown. There is vomit on Tyler’s sweater already. Mom’s spaghetti.

Jared and Tyler survived the field of eight timeless classics to get here:

Jared Lorenzen – “Hells Bells” by AC/DC
Matt Jones – “Victory” by Puff Daddy
Bryan The Intern – “Whoomp! (There It Is) by Tag Team
Ryan Lemond – “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon
Shannon The Dude – “For Those About To Rock” by AC/DC
Tyler Thompson – “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
Drew Franklin – “Jungle” by X Ambassadors & Jamie N Commons
CM Tomlin – “Magnificent Seven Theme” by Elmer Bernstein

Get to voting…


“Hells Bells” vs. “Lose Yourself”

“Hells Bells”

“Lose Yourself”


And don’t forget to vote in UK’s Kickoff Playoff here.


‘Meet The Wildcats’ is back for another year on CoachCal.com

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Up first, Karl Towns.

The freshman big man leads off this summer’s ‘Meet The Wildcats’ series with confessions of owning four lint rollers — he hides one at the Wildcat Lodge check-in desk — so he’s always looking fresh around campus. “I want to look like the best-looking guy possible,” he told Eric Lindsey.

Then Towns goes on to talk about being the youngster on the Dominican Republic National Team three years ago and what that experience did for his game.

He also opens up about his family, academics and several other aspects of his life that’ll make you like him even more than you already do.

Check it out.

[Meet the Wildcats: Towns wise beyond his years]


The U of L Silos Bite the Dust

@dharbsmeier

@dharbsmeier

Today the University of Louisville began the demolition process on the infamous silos that line I-65 near the fairgrounds.  They were an eyesore for many, but as a kid I always thought it was the coolest thing on campus.

No word on whether or not a DJ was hired (but probably).


Slice was brilliant on KSR this morning. Brilliant.

slice

New UK assistant basketball coach “Slice” Rohrssen made his first public and first radio appearance this morning at KSR’s tour stop in Lexington and he knocked it out of the park. You’ll have to hear it all for yourself to catch his quick wit and great personality; I can’t do it justice here in writing. (Congratulating Big Brother on the success of his show was hilarious.)

When Slice wasn’t cutting up with Matt and the fans, he told the story of sending Joe B. Hall a letter in the 80s, asking if he could come to Lexington from New York to pick his brain. Coach Hall, who was at the top at the time, responded with a letter inviting a young Slice to come down and work a summer camp. Now here he is, some 25-30 years later, working as an assistant at UK.

He also talked about his longtime relationship with Coach Cal and the expectations for the upcoming season. He told Matt he is going to be like Betsy Ross sewing that ninth banner here at Kentucky.

Have a listen…


The North American Field Guide to SEC Football Fans (Abridged)

Hello, friends. I hope you’re well. I think you have some strawberry jelly around your mouth. No, not there. Not there. There. Yes. Oh, my. That’s a rash. You should have that looked at. Where would you even get a rash like that?

Friends, football season is swiftly approaching — but I don’t need to tell you that. Stoops Fever has captured the Big Blue Nation and this fall sees another opportunity for Kentucky Football to begin rebuilding itself to the perennially successful program it has the potential to be. It’s not going to be easy; I’m not going to lie to you. You know, as well as I do, that SEC football is a gauntlet of impressive assassins, and over the next few years we’re going to have to face them all head-on if we want to claim a spot at the top of the pile. For us, the fans, this also means dealing with the fan bases of these teams. So since it’s late July, nothing much is going on, and I know you guys love off-topic posts, I thought today we’d start off a two-part series updating a piece we began a few years back: our Field Guide to identifying the SEC fans we’ve come to know over the years. Have a great weekend, everyone, and I’ll see you here again next week.

———–

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Florida

Distinguishing Marks: Visor, Parrothead vanity plate, Croakies tan line, flip-flops
What to know: The Florida fan is mostly bluster on dry land; his true territory is on his boat. That said, the Florida fan — as most Florida natives — can be prone to momentary insanity. Best not to provoke the Florida fan lest he bite your earlobe off or try to run you over with a skid steer. It won’t make sense, of course, don’t question it. That is the nature of the Floridian.  Their leathery, damaged skin is thick and coarse. Do not pet them.
Tips: If you are being pursued by a Florida fan, tossing a few can coozies in the opposite direction will almost certainly throw them off your trail.

opera-1

Vanderbilt

Distinguishing Marks: Ironic Sperrys, “athletic fit” button-downs, glasses
What to know: Vanderbilt fans are among the “hippest” in the SEC due to their Nashville insulation. They are Tennesseeans but not rural, they are Nashvillians who prefer St. Vincent to Luke Bryan. They are generally fairly quiet, but will attack if they feel their favorite neighborhood organic nacho restaurant is being threatened.  They don’t expect much from their football team so they rarely have darker moments following losses. A victory may lead to alcohol poison for the Vanderbilt fan, however, as a few more celebratory Magic Hats to kick things up a notch may ensue.
Tips: You may think a Vanderbilt fan is listening to the words you are speaking but all he hears is acid trance music.

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South Carolina

Distinguishing Marks: Tribal tattoo, unwashed cargo shorts, open mouth
What to know: The South Carolina fan goes nowhere without a 20 oz. Diet Coke bottle full of dip spit in one hand and a 32 oz. McDonald’s cup full of vodka and Sprite in the other. Caps tend to be worn backward, shirts tend to be removed at some point, a pervasive sense of partying follows the Gamecock fan wherever he goes. Look for this fan to be shouting from the tailgate of a pickup truck pre-game and lying unconscious in the mud beneath its tire at kickoff.
Tips: The average South Carolina fan knows a guy who drank a fifth of SoCo and partied with Kenny Chesney. DO NOT ASK HIM ABOUT THIS.

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LSU

Distinguishing Marks: Older age, high income bracket, expensive winnebago
What to know: The average  traveling LSU fan, as noted above, is 60 years old, a successful doctor close to retiring who has the expendable income to purchase a high-level RV to take him, his doctor friends and his 45 year-old “trophy wife” in a big hat to away games on weekends. They are relatively harmless and keep to themselves for the most part.
Tips: Befriend the traveling LSU tailgating fan, as they spend a lot of money on higher-quality food than what you and your friends are eating.

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Georgia

Distinguishing Marks: Male – Red pants, navy blazer, bow tie, no socks, loafers, father’s credit card; Female – blonde, sundress, bulldog paw cutely painted on cheek.
What to know: The Georgia football fan generally fancies himself a higher breed and caliber than his peers, has a father in real estate development and likes to think of himself as an “southern gentleman.” Pays little attention to the game but has good seats. Once drunk, he gets depressed and cries as his girlfriend makes out with a girl.
Tips: The average Georgia fan loves the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and believes that’s how people from Georgia are supposed to be. It’s not, and it’s ridiculous.

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Tennessee

Distinguishing Marks: Camouflage, neon “hunter orange” instead of “Volunteer Orange,” Oakley wraparound sunglasses
What to know: Tennessee fans cannot be reasoned with and hate you, whoever you are, if you are not a Tennessee fan. Still talks about Peyton. Travels to your home field but acts as if he can’t stand to be there.  Owns three or more Duck Dynasty-branded items which are not hunting implements or clothing. Tells you to “come on over here then and say it to his face” when you haven’t said anything. Has more than five punch-holes in the drywall of his garage.
Tips: Never touch the Tennessee fan’s truck balls. You could be murdered for that.


Listen to Mark Stoops on KSR

Stoops-short

Two Great Americans: Coach Stoops and John Short

You read the notes, now hear the audio from Mark Stoops’ special guest appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning, live from All Sports in Fayette Mall.


ESPN predicts Ohio State for Damien Harris, Kentucky for two others

With 100 of its 300 top targets still weighing their options, ESPN Recruiting tried its best to predict where each uncommitted member of its ESPN 300 will eventually go. Damien Harris, Kentucky’s top target, is believed to be heading to Columbus over Lexington:

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As a consolation prize, Traveon Samuel (No. 17 ATH) and Jaylin Hayward (No. 22 ATH) are predicted to go to Kentucky but with a much lower confidence rate.

samuel hayward

[ESPN Insider]


Notes from Mark Stoops’ interview with KSR

@jennyhg76

We’ve always said Mark Stoops is infinitely better at the microphone when he is chatting with KSR. That was the case again this morning when Coach stopped by All Sports in Fayette Mall for an interview before his team begins fall camp on Monday. He was loose, energetic and undoubtedly excited to see the fans in attendance, plus he sounded pretty excited about kicking off his season in a couple of weeks, too.

Below you’ll find a rundown of his comments; you can hear the audio of the entire interview on the website later today.

*****

Enough with the basketball questions.

Stoops understands basketball is king in Kentucky and he has said many times that he embraces Coach Cal’s program, but today he admitted that, for the first time, a question about UK basketball annoyed him recently. He was at the ESPN Car Wash in Bristol, fresh off SEC Media Day, and the first question he got was about basketball. Stoops said he was tempted to respond with: “Really?!”

“We’re all starving for a good football program.”

Feed us, Coach. Let’s eat. Big Blue Nation is famished.

Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith are ‘difference-makers’ on the ends.

Stoops said his two DEs are as good as anybody in the country. The interior guys will be decided by committee, but he feels very good about his defensive line. He foresees three or four guys who will play well at the defensive tackle spots inside his superstars, who he says are as good as any of the NFL talent he had at Florida State.

The secondary was a letdown last season.

After Matt complimented the secondary’s effort, Stoops told him, “Wow, they didn’t play as good as I wanted them to.”

He expects that group (his expertise on defense, he says) to be much better in 2014.

He expects a substantial step up at wide receiver.

“I don’t mean to be funny or cute here, but we were not very good,” he said of last year’s receiving corps. “We are going to drastically improve there, because all of the guys were first year guys in the program. Four of the top five guys were first year guys in our program. Three of them were true freshmen.”

He said Ryan Timmons was good with the ball in his hands but that’s all he could do last year. They had to create ways to get him the ball because he played lost. But now Timmons and the others know the offense, they know what they’re doing, and they know how to play wide receiver.

He’s really looking forward to getting Josh Clemons on the field.

Headlined by transfer Braylon Heard and returning leading rusher JoJo Kemp, Stoops feels great about his backfield. He called Heard a guy that can make some home run plays, and we all know what Kemp is capable of. But Stoops is also really excited to get Josh Clemons in the mix.

Regarding Clemons’ arms, Stoops said, “Our strength and conditioning coaches want to take pride in that, but that’s called genetics.”

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Wow.

The quarterback update is there is no quarterback update.

We’ve known the deal since the spring and Stoops is tired of talking about it. The staff will decide some time in fall camp before the opener.

Does he have a relationship with Bobby Petrino?

“I do not. No.”

But he plans to keep playing Louisville, even if the SEC goes to nine games.

He is surprised by how quickly they found recruiting success.

He knew it would come, but Stoops admitted to surprising himself by how quickly they’ve gone up against quality teams for recruits and winning some of those battles.

The new football complex will be “incredible.”

Stoops is very excited to get everything in one centralized location, a new 100,000 sq. ft. football facility that will house their offices, dining room, players lounge, weight room and locker rooms.

“It’s going to be incredible.”

“Never look back, believe me.”

Get ready for a new attitude on the football field in 2014.


Stoops promises new attitude on the field: “Never look back”

Before wrapping up his guest appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning, Mark Stoops was asked one final question about the upcoming season:  “What is the biggest difference fans will see on the field this year?”

“The attitude,” Stoops responded. “The fight. We showed signs of it last year and I know everybody in Kentucky appreciates that — being scrappy, being tough, playing with that great passion, playing with that great energy… This year’s team is going to have that.”

“We’re never going to look back, believe me.”

More from Stoops’ radio interview throughout the day…


UK returned 2,500 tickets to Louisville

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The University of Louisville received a gift of 2,500 game tickets to this year’s Governor’s Cup showdown when our beloved Wildcats returned tickets back to Card Nation. UK claimed 3,000 of its allotted 5,500 tickets, freeing up 2,500 seats to be sold to UofL fans.

Same thing happened two years ago when the game was in Papa John’s.

Bring it on, Red.


It’s a packed house at All Sports in Lexington (Thursday Show Thread)

@richardson_UK

After visiting 24 affiliates across the entire state of Kentucky, the Kentucky Sports Radio tour is now down to its last two stops: Lexington and Louisville. Today’s show is coming to you live from All Sports in Fayette Mall in Lexington and the guys have a big morning lined up for our listeners.

It all picks up with Mark Stoops in the building at 10:30 am, before new UK assistant basketball coach “Slice” Rohrssen makes his first KSR appearance, in person, at All Sports.

And if that’s not enough to get you out to the mall, the last two remaining games in the UK ticket giveaway are the Louisville and UCLA games. Someone in the building will walk out with two tickets to one of those games, while another fan earns one of the final spots in the Bahamas drawing.

Or you can join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

Listen to Kentucky Sports Radio

KSR Affiliate List

WBGN (1340am): Bowling Green
WAIN (93.9fm): Columbia
WHIR (1230am): Danville
WCLU (1490am): Glasgow
WGOH (1370am): Grayson
WHOP (95.3fm): Hopkinsville
WJKY (1060am): Jamestown
WLAP (630am): Lexington
WFTG (1400am): London
WKJK (1080am): Louisville
WFMW (730am): Madisonville
WWXL (1450am): Manchester
WFTM (1240am): Maysville
WKYM (101.7fm): Monticello
WMSK (1550am): Morganfield
WLME (102.7fm):Owensboro
WKYH (600am): Paintsville
WLSI (900am) Pikeville
WPRT (960am): Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240am): Somerset
WTCW (920am): Whitesburg
WBTH (1400am): Williamson

On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…

WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm
WPAD (1560am): Paducah, 11-1pm
WHAY (98.3fm): Whitley City, 2-4pm


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Everybody has a Basketball Favorite, but who is your Football?

You know what is kinda funny?  I was sitting here thinking about what to write this morning, and I realized that KSR has done a lot of polls over our history.  Favorite UK Basketball Player, Favorite UK moment, Favorite UK coach, Moments you would change, etc.  But we have never asked the most simple of UK football questions:

WHO IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE UK FOOTBALL PLAYER? 

I would think that Tim Couch would the favorite for this contest, especially for the younger generation.  But hell, Couch hasn’t played for UK in over a decade so maybe Andre Woodson would be a serious contender.  Craig Yeast, Jared Lorenzen, Mo Williams, Wesley Woodyard, Randall Cobb.  All these guys have legit arguments for them.  In basketball, it usually revolves around a couple guys: Delk, Mashburn, Prince, Patterson, Walker.  You will see the same names over and over.  I think with this poll, you will see a wide variety of names, both offense and defense.  It’s one of the actual positives from not being an elite program, and that is fans tend to latch onto different players for different reasons.  Maybe you like attitude and energy more.  Maybe you like athleticism.  Maybe you just like the quarterbacks.  Whatever the case, there are lots of options to choose from.

My answer would be Randall Cobb.  He is the only player that I can remember in UK history that I thought could be a touchdown every time he touched the ball.  He was must see television.  He is the only skill player I can remember having that feeling about.

But, who would be yours.  Put your answer in the comments section and I will total up the votes and release them tomorrow.