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September 14th, 2014

Getting Past the Distractions in Today’s Practice Notes

-  South Carolina’s defense isn’t as bad as we think.  With all eyes on South Carolina to start the season, their defense allowed Texas A&M to score 52 points against them on their home turf.  They’ve slowly recovered since, but their young secondary has had a tough time against some of the best offenses in the country.  “They’re getting better.  They’re young, very similar to what we are at wideout.  They’re playing some true freshman back there and I think they has some growing pains early, but I thought they played solid against some really good players.”

T.J. Surratt will create some chaos in the interior line and their superstar true sophomore linebacker, Skai Moore, will make plays all over the field.

-  The suspensions will NOT affect the offensive game plan.  The timing of a suspension is never good, but at least Neal Brown knew they would be without Baker and Boom before solidifying his game plan.  They had planned some extra packages to get Boom the ball this week, but they’ll have to be set aside for now.

-  Figuring out the running backs.  Brown was pleased with how involved the running backs were in the passing game last week, using pre-snap motions to get them in space.  The toughest part is figuring out who gets the most snaps.  So far Braylon Heard has been the most consistent, but Brown isn’t ready to limit the other backs’ roles, “For the most part, our guys are pretty versatile at running back,” Brown said.  “We’ve got a pretty good feel for what each guy’s talents are and what they’re best at, at this point.  From a game-planning perspective, we kind of devise things we think they’ll do well and get them in for those things.”

-  Jojo is carrying his 4th quarter momentum into this week.  After letting his mouth get him into trouble before Florida, Jojo had to earn his playing time in practice.  Last week things weren’t clicking until the 4th quarter.  The coaches asked him to bring that energy and intensity to practice and it has paid off,  “He had a good practice today.  I was pleased with him.  His confidence level is going to be higher too because of the way he performed at the end of the game too.  I was really proud of him.  This speaks to him maturing.  He was great on the sidelines the whole game.  He kind of waited his turn, we got caught up with him and he produced.”

-  Neal Brown’s quote of the day:

“We did some good things against Vandy.  I think much (fuss) has been about Patrick.  If he plays bad and completes 23 of 30 every game, we’ll be alright.

-  Ryan Timmons’ hand is in a cast…but you shouldn’t be worried about it.  After spraining his wrist in the Swamp, the cast has been a precautionary measure that has come a part of his routine, removing his hardware prior to the game.  The greatest injury worry is at left guard.  Zach West and Cole Mosier were both forced out last week, but West practiced today and Mosier will likely practice tomorrow.  Blake Bone has also been ‘banged up’ this week, but shouldn’t miss a beat on Saturday.

UK wants you and 62,902 others to sing Saturday’s national anthem

Following Marlana VanHoose is no easy task, but if all 62,000-plus seats in Commonwealth Stadium are full, and we work together, I think we can hold our own.

That is the plan for Saturday as UK is putting the pregame singing duties in the vocal cords of Big Blue Nation. Dr. Everett McCorvey will lead the crowd in the national anthem before Kentucky hosts South Carolina, just as we did last basketball season in Rupp Arena before the Louisville game.

If you haven’t already purchased your tickets, do so now at Use promo code BEATSC to score some upper-level reserved seats for $25.

See you there and Go Cats.

Noel excited to get back on court after 20 months


Photo by Chris Reynolds,

Photo by Chris Reynolds,

Nerlens Noel is ready to get back on the court and start his NBA journey after 20 months away from basketball, according to the 76ers. Yesterday at media day Noel shows his excitement and joy to be able to finally start playing compeitive basketball after being injuried against Florida. While the injury might have kept him off the court competiviely, Noel used his recovery time to step back and work on other things to help his game get better, such as basketball education/knowledge, his outside game and specifically his jump shot, which we didn’t see at all during his time at Kentucky.

“I bring the most on the defensive end of the floor. I’m able to affect passes as well as shots. I can also start fast breaks, getting the rebound and then quickly getting the ball to [Michael Carter-Williams] or Tony [Wroten]. At Kentucky, I didn’t shoot one jump shot, so it was important for me to get in the gym and start shooting jumpers and shooting them with confidence. This confidence will definitely translate into the season. When I get in a groove and start hitting two or three in a row I think it’s really going to take me some places.” 

While Noel expects to have a big role for the 76ers alongside center Henry Sims, he also has a big job off the court as well by helping new teammate Joel Embiid as he goes through a similar track Noel did in his rehabilitation after a foot surgery.

You can read his quotes about his struggles sitting on the bench for a year and how he plans to help Embiid learn lessons Noel wishes he would have learned sooner here.


Stoops: “We have good kids who used poor judgment”


Mark Stoops is currently meeting with the media to discuss the shooting incident on Sunday and the one-game suspensions for Dorian Baker, Tymere Dubose, Drew Barker, and Boom Williams. Stoops said “we have good kids who used poor judgment,” and the players realize they made a mistake. “They’re remorseful, they realize they’re wrong.” He added that when you’re dealing with 115 college kids, you have to expect some immature moments. Stoops said he and the team are cooperating with the authorities and he’s unsure if the players will face further punishment.

How has this affected the team heading into a huge game against South Carolina? “The players felt bad because it took away from a big victory and big preparation,” Stoops said. He added that Baker, Barker, Williams, and Dubose will practice this week, but have been removed from the game plan and will only play on the scout team. How is the rest of the team? Stoops said they had an okay practice and were bummed out by the news, but aren’t using it as an excuse to not be ready for South Carolina.

Stoops wasn’t scheduled to meet with the media today, so kudos to him for coming out to address the situation and getting as far ahead of it as possible. Nick will be by in a little bit with more practice notes.

The four suspended freshmen face disorderly conduct charges


According to multiple media reports out of Lexington, the four UK freshmen involved in Sunday night’s air-gun incident on campus face disorderly conduct charges. Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts told the Herald-Leader his office filed misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct on Tuesday. Roberts recommended second-degree disorderly conduct as an appropriate punishment in his discussions with UK.

The misdemeanor, plus the embarrassment and the one-game suspension, seems fair enough.

Who are you and what have you done with Steve Spurrier?


Hold up. Something’s wrong here. Steve Spurrier met with the media during Kentucky week and he was very complimentary of the Wildcats, not the Spurrier we’ve known for the last two decades. This is the time of the year we get a good, degrading comment from the Ol’ Ball Coach. Instead we got a guy who sees a good football team ahead. Who are you? Where am I? Is time a flat circle?

“Kentucky Wildcats, uh, Kentucky Wildcats are a pretty good team,” said Spurrier to lead off his press conference. “They don’t look like some of their teams 10, 15 years ago. They are very fast and athletic. I think their defense is actually nationally ranked in most all categories. They’re a good looking team.”

He continued, “They play tough, smart, well-coached, and they’ll certainly be a big challenge as we go into Commonwealth Stadium to play Kentucky this year.”

“It should be a heck of a game.”

Is this a mind trick? I’m lost. I don’t trust him. Why is Spurrier being nice? Spurrier’s never nice. He loves to throw barbs at UK. Is this real life?

Watch his full comments here.

DraftKings is giving away $1,000,000 to one lucky winner this weekend

That’s right, football fans.


KSR and DraftKings are back together with another Fantasy Football contest this weekend with a $2,200,000 prize pool, the biggest of its kind. First place will cash out with a cool one million dollars while the top 15,500 contestants will be paid out in some form.

To sign up, visit the contest page here and begin drafting your team. The format is the same as it has been: $50,000 to select eight offensive players (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex) and one team defense. It is $27 to enter and all first time depositors will receive a 100 percent bonus up to $600.

If I were you, I wouldn’t draft Charlie Whitehurst of my beloved Tennessee Titans. I wouldn’t draft any Titan, for that matter.

Good luck.


This weekend’s guest list is loaded with talent

This weekend’s night game against South Carolina provides another huge opportunity for Kentucky on the recruiting trail. Stoops and his staff plan to host several four- and five-star prospects, among others, for the 7:30 pm game in Commonwealth Stadium. Below you will find a list of some of those names with several others expected to join in on the fun in Lexington.

Fans must pack CWS to show these kids that Big Blue Nation is in full support of the program.



Damien Harris

Harris took in Kentucky’s SEC win over Vanderbilt over the weekend and he plans to be back this coming Saturday to check out the Commonwealth Stadium atmosphere under the lights. It will be Harris’ tenth visit to UK and he still plans to take his official trip to Lexington for the October 25 game against Mississippi State.

The nation’s No. 1 running back tweeted, “Great win, great visit #BBN #ChangeTheGame” after visiting this past Saturday.

David and Andrew Dowell

The Dowell twins, a four-star safety and four-star running back, have received heavy interest from Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow in September. The two Kentucky coaches traveled to Ohio to watch the twins play during Kentucky’s bye week and now they’ll get them on campus for a visit, according to’s Justin Rowland. Rowland’s sources believe the Dowells will be in Lexington for the blackout.

David and Andrew play high school ball with current UK commit Alex Stump.

George Brown

Once believed to be a UK lean, three-star offensive lineman George Brown chose the Florida Gators over Kentucky in a ceremony from his Cincinnati high school back in June. However, Brown will take another look at UK this weekend for the South Carolina game.

The day he committed to Florida, a source very close to Brown’s recruitment told me, “This is far from over.”

Kengera Daniel 

A three-star defensive end out of North Carolina, Kengera Daniel will take his official visit to Kentucky this weekend. He sent out a tweet earlier today to confirm the trip to Lexington.

UK currently leads with 83 percent of his Crystal Ball predictions, ahead of Florida State, Wake Forest and Alabama.

Ahmad Wagner

Six-foot-seven Iowa basketball commit Ahmad Wagner picked up a scholarship offer from UK last Friday to play wide receiver, and the staff is trying to get him on campus this weekend. When asked about his interest in switching to football, Wagner recently said, “That remains to be seen.”

He was a high school teammate of Dorian Hendrix.

Rahshaun Smith

Fresh off a visit to Penn State, five-star defensive end Rahshaun Smith will be in Commonwealth Stadium this weekend, per’s Chris Fisher. Smith told him, “I think this weekend I’ll be at Kentucky for the South Carolina game.”

Smith is the No. 51 overall player and third-ranked weakside defensive end in the 2015 class in the Top247 Composite rankings.

Zerrick Cooper and Jordan Griffin

According to’s Josh Edwards, Zerrick Cooper, the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class, will visit UK on Saturday. He will be joined by his high school teammate, four-star cornerback Jordan Griffin. The duo from Georgia also visited over the summer.

George Asafo-Adjei

Current UK commit George Asafo-Adjei will visit Lexington on Saturday. The offensive lineman from Ohio picked the Cats over Florida, Louisville and West Virginia, among others, on June 23.

Jordan Jones

Like Asafo-Adjei, three-star outside linebacker Jones is already committed to Kentucky but will make the trip to see his future squad take on the Gamecocks.

Zy’Aire Hughes

A third UK commit, 2016 quarterback Zy’Aire Hughes of Paducah, also plans to visit.


Beat South Carolina.

School Shooting at Fern Creek


Image from WHAS TV live stream

There has been a shooting at Fern Creek High School in Louisville. At least one victim has been taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the school is now on lock down. As you can see from the picture above, students have been taken outside the building, but as of yet, there has been no identification or capture of the shooter. The only information we have beyond that is from this young man who tweeted us inside the school:

More as it comes….

Mark Stoops wants you to stop thinking about Matt Elam playing offense

matt elam blimp photoshop

via Saturday’s KSR Live Blog

On his Monday evening call-in show last night, Mark Stoops took a call from a fan who wondered if we’ll see Matt Elam lined up in the backfield as a potential ball carrier. Many of you are familiar with the tactic: the Cincinnati Bengals occasionally use defensive tackle Domata Peko as a fullback in goal line situations. Last night the Kansas City Chiefs used 340-pound nose tackle Donatrio Poe as a fullback on one touchdown play.

But Mark Stoops needs Elam to learn how to play defensive tackle before he will even entertain the idea of Elam lining up behind the quarterback. Stoops told the caller, “No, no, no. Don’t even put that in his head.”

“I don’t want him asking about it in practice,” said Stoops.

But it would be pretty fun to watch, right? I wouldn’t rule it out before Elam’s time is up at Kentucky.

Oh, and here’s your boy Peko plowing over Troy Polamalu a few years ago:

Imagine Elam doing that for Damien Harris in a few years.


Seth Greenberg to replace Digger Phelps on ESPN College Gameday

Seth Greenberg, friend of KSR and of John Calipari, will take over the seat once held by Digger Phelps on ESPN College Gameday this coming season. The former Virginia Tech head coach and Jay Williams are expected to be formally announced as the new faces of the show at some point today. They will join Rece Davis and Jay Bilas on the eight-week Saturday morning and evening college basketball show.

College Gameday will make its 2014-15 debut on November 18 at the Champions Classic where Kentucky will play Kansas.

Vegas likes the Cats to cover in Saturday’s Blackout


After opening at 10 points in favor of South Carolina, the line for Saturday’s game has moved all the way down to -5 in some Las Vegas books, -5.5 in others. That means people with disposable income and somewhat of a knowledge of college football like Kentucky to keep it close when Spurrier and the boys come to town for the blackout.

According to Vegas Insider, the line moved two points in the first 20 minutes of being on the board on Sunday.

Do you have the same confidence?


Your favorite former Cats do NBA Media Day

We are one month away from the start of the NBA season and teams are getting ready by doing interviews and posing for pictures this week. Today on KSR we have some of the best images from NBA Media Days, featuring many familiar faces to Big Blue Nation. I think you’ll recognize these millionaires and wish some of them were still in Lexington wearing blue.


David Butler II/USA TODAY

“Young & Smart” – James Young and Marcus Smart model their new “We Are Young & Smart” t-shirts in Boston.

Elise Amendola/AP Photo

Injured Rondo - The former Kentucky guard models a new sling on his left hand, days after he underwent surgery to repair a metacarpal fracture. He is expected to miss six weeks.

Alejandro A. Alvarez/

Nerlens and his new friend, Joel Embiid – Embiid believes his fellow 7-footer will win the NBA Rookie of the Year.

AP Photo

The Real T. Jones - Terrence Jones looks ready to teach ‘em ’bout Kentucky in Houston.

CSN Wizards

Wall adds a veteran in Washington. – Paul Pierce said yesterday he believes the Wizards can reach the NBA Finals.

Burr – Archie Goodwin is ready for his second season with a new 10 lbs. of muscle he added over the summer.


Boogie Selfie – In Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins took several selfies with teammates and reporters during Media Day. He needed help to frame up this shot.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today

Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today

Bledsoe’s Back – The 70 Million Dollar Man is back in Phoenix and ready to shine with the Suns.

Russ Isabella/USA Today

Russ Isabella/USA Today

The UnderKanter – Utah is working to re-sign Enes Kanter before the season begins.

Nazr Mohammed

Caylor Arnold/USA Today

Back for a 17th season. – Nazr Mohammed will play forever.

Crystal LoGiudice/USA Today

Crystal LoGiudice/USA Today

Superstar – Anthony Davis is ready to take over the NBA in 2014-15.

UPDATE: We have the presale code to buy CBS Sports Classic tickets NOW

Can’t wait ’til Friday? Buy your tickets to the CBS Sports Classic right booking now on Ticketmaster with the promo code ‘CLASSIC’. It’s going to be a tough ticket to get so you may want to go ahead and jump on it.

The link to purchase tickets can be found here.


From The Vault: Steve Spurrier humping a fitness ball

It’s South Carolina week, so why not get ready for the game with a Tuesday morning viewing of Steve Spurrier humping a fitness ball. I can’t think of a better way to get pumped up for South Carolina, honestly.

Beat Spurrier.