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September 14th, 2014

DJ Eliot Speaks after a Bye Week Wednesday

Mark Stoops DJ Eliot

-  Bud Dupree is sack-less through three games.  Frankly it’s stunning, but just because he isn’t filling up the box score, he’s still making the impact on defense that we expected.

Teams have had to go out of their way to stop Bud, sliding protections or bringing extra blockers.  DJ Eliot isn’t worried about the stats, he’s worried about all of that extra attention, “He’s taken a lot of things away.  If you look at who the most important guys on the team are, they’re not always your ‘stat guys.’  I think that’s evident in the NFL.  The highest paid guys aren’t always the stat guys, it’s the guys that take a lot of plays away.”

-  All of those situational drills are paying off.  The Cats were not clutch last year.  The plays that make the biggest differences in the game are the toughest.  Last year in the red zone, 3rd down and 2-minute drill they simply could not hold up.  After laboring in situational drills for over a year, Eliot’s defense has finally caught on.

They bent, but rarely broke Saturday.  “Yards don’t really determine wins and losses, it’s situations and you HAVE to play situations well,” Eliot said.  “If it’s 13 and 15, and you gave up 13, you win.”

-  The Cats looked much more aggressive on defense last week, using the cornerback blitz in man coverage to put additional pressure on Jeff Driskell.  It looked different, but it was still much of the same.  Eliot said the Cats had the same percentage of blitzes against Florida and Ohio.  It might have been the same percentage, but it looked a lot better last week.

-  Eliot’s biggest problem last week was wide receiver Demarcus Robinson.  Robinson finished with 15 catches for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The frustrating part for Eliot, is the corner’s were there ready to make the plays, but too often failed to execute, “The longest pass he caught went off our cornerback’s shoulder pads.  It was a lot of stuff that we could have prevented.”

-  Za’Darius Smith saved a touchdown Saturday.  On a 3rd down, the Cats brought the house, leaving the short pass WIDE open.  Luckily Big Z was there to put his hands up for the touchdown-saving block.  The play was all a part of Eliot’s master plan as defensive coordinator.  “We call them zero pressures.  We tell the rushers that they have to prevent quick throws,” Eliot said.  “That’s a coaching point.”

Newman, Diallo, Bragg, Jones and Maker to play in the Hoop Fest

Several elite UK targets will play in this year’s Marshall County Hoop Fest, scheduled for December 4-6. Malik Newman headlines the list of 2015 stars that includes appearances from Cheick Diallo, Carlton Bragg and Derrick Jones.

Thon Maker, the No. 1 player in 2016, will also be in town to compete against Newman’s Callaway High School. Callaway will also come to the McCracken County Festival of Hoops later in the year.

Check out the full schedule below via the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts:

Marshall County Hoop Fest

Thursday, Dec. 4
4 p.m. – Marshall County vs. Massac (Ill.) girls
5:15 p.m. – Marshall County vs. Dyersburg (Tenn.)
6:30 p.m. – Sunrise Christian (Kan.) vs. Orangeville Prep (Can.)
7:45 p.m. – Graves County vs. Massac (Ill.)

Friday, Dec. 5
4 p.m. – Oak Hill (Va.) vs. White Station (Tenn.)
5:30 p.m. – Sunrise Christian (Kan.) vs. Quality Ed (N.C.)
7 p.m. – Callaway (Miss.) vs. Archbishop Carroll (Pa.)
8:30 p.m. – Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. Arsenal Tech (Ind.)
10:00 p.m. – Arlington Country Day (Fla.) vs. Carlisle School (Va.)

Saturday, Dec. 6
9 a.m. – Marshall County vs. Madisonville North Hopkins girls
10:30 a.m. – Marshall County vs. Owensboro
Noon – Hopkinsville vs. Lausanne (Tenn.)
1:30 p.m. – McCracken County vs. Lincoln County
3 p.m. – Christ Presbyterian (Tenn.) vs. La Lumiere (Ind.)
4:30 p.m. – Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) vs. Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Ohio)
6 p.m. – Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Our Savior (N.Y.)
7:30 p.m. – Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. Arlington Country Day (Fla.)
9 p.m. – Orangeville Prep (Can.) vs. Callaway (Miss.)

Za’Darius Smith passed out cupcakes to campers


Za’Darius Smith stopped by Tent City a couple of hours ago to hang out with campers and hand out cupcakes, according to at least two fans. I don’t know why Za’Darius had cupcakes but I’m not the least bit surprised to see him out mingling with Big Blue Nation. He would stay all night if Stoops would let him.

As for the population of Tent City, the last report from UK said there were 680 tents, up 30 from the morning count. That is 10 behind last year’s record-setting pace but the campout is still young and growing.

Go Cats.

John Calipari will be in Cleveland tonight

Don’t worry, it’s just a recruiting trip. Coach Cal is flying up to The Land to visit with five-star power forward Carlton Bragg, the No. 15 overall player in the 247Sports Composite rankings. The two are planning to meet up around 8:30 pm, possibly to watch The Goldbergs together.

Bragg plans to visit Big Blue Madness next month for his official trip to Kentucky. He took an unofficial visit to Lexington around this time last year and has hosted the UK staff several times.

His Crystal Ball predictions are tight but UK leads at 32 percent, narrowly ahead of Kansas and Ohio State.

Mark Stoops on his offensive line play against Florida


Mark Stoops went on the SEC teleconference today to talk about football things, most of which sounded a lot like what he said yesterday on KSR and after practice. But he did talk in depth about his offensive line and how youth stepped up against the Florida front seven.

Stoops said, “They really played and fought extremely hard. At one point, during critical portions of that game, which they were all critical, we were playing with four freshmen. We had four redshirt freshmen that really went in and competed their tails off. We had a walk-on redshirt freshman left guard started and played the whole game, Cole Mosier. Nick Haynes had to come in because we’ve had injuries both to Kyle Meadows and Darrian Miller. When Darrian went down, so it was Ramsey Meyers and Kyle as well.”

“I really thought they played very well under the circumstances,” he continued. “Playing on the road in a very difficult environment against some very talented football players. Obviously they did some things that we need to get corrected and some things that we were overmatched at times, but there were other times where they protected extremely well. We were able to throw the ball down the field. So they did some good things and really grew up quite a bit, so I was quite pleased with how they fought and who they played.”

Stoops also singled out Darrian Miller as a top performer on the line. The veteran played through an injured shoulder late in the game after taking a few series off. Miller saw Meadows come out and knew he needed to man up and play through the pain. “He really showed a lot of guts,” said Stoops.

Hey, Damien Harris, you hear that? Four freshman played well in the Swamp.

MKG Makes a Campout Appearance


UK Fans of the Day Want Afternoon Notes


Some notes on the beginning of an exciting weekend in Lexington:

— It is of course time for Big Blue Madness Campout and from what I am hearing this could be the wildest scene so far in the history of Campout. Not only are a record number of tents expected but I am hearing that there will be a number of cool things going on for fans that are in attendance. Most of the players have already made an appearance and I would expect more to show their faces this afternoon and evening. Calipari is doing recruiting visits all week, but will be around occasionally (he has already made one trip) and we are doing the KSR RADIO SHOW live at 10 am on Friday. I always tell people that BBM Campout is the best indicator of UK fandom of almost anything that we do. It is uniquely Kentucky and has all ages/types of fans in one place celebrating the Cats. It should be quite the scene and maybe you will get a moment like this as well:


— The collective freakout of the UL fan base about the Antonio Blakeney de-commitment has been brilliant to watch. Blakeney decided (as others before him have as well) that committing to Louisville is a foolish decision and 11 days after doing so, went in another direction. UL fans are all claiming it is because of either (a) Nike (b) Calipari or (c) both. They are furious and have begun their “CALIPARI CHEATS” rhetoric that they bring out every time their lovable hair-plugged coach loses a recruit. I still don’t know how rationally the Card fans can’t understand this one obvious fact. IF you are a 5 star recruit (as Blakeney is) AND you want to play in the NBA (as Blakeney surely does) what possible reason would you have for picking Louisville over Kentucky. Louisville has produced three, yes three, semi-decent pros in the last decade (Dieng/Clark/Garcia), while Kentucky potentially has 7-8 guys who will get drafted THIS YEAR. Going to Kentucky is the smart/safe play, not Louisville. So why in the world would Calipari need to cheat? Now, simply being Calipari and Kentucky is enough.

Today UL announced that they were cutting off all ties with Blakeney…I did that move too Cards fans when I was at Duke..when a girl dumped me, I said that I would never, ever, ever get back together with her…at that moment her tongue was already down Shane Battier’s throat. It made me feel better nonetheless, and hopefully it did for you as well.


How good was Mark Stoops on KSR yesterday? (you can hear it here if you missed it or subscribe to the KSR podcast here to listen to everything we do). I firmly believe that Stoops is at his best on our show, as he is more laid back, open and honest than he is when he is in the bigger media settings. You could feel the emotion he had about the game as he went through the tough plays and how he is bouncing back from them. At the end of the interview, I seriously wanted to go and put on the pads and play for him…even though I don’t particularly like to be tackled or hit. He has that level of motivation…I think he is the perfect coach for Kentucky and the big win is coming…I firmly believe it.


pic by Barstool Sports

— The Jameis Winston story is a perfect example of the difference in generations and what the internet has done to modern sports. Winston got up and apparently said a vulgar phrase that is a popular internet meme as a joke in the FSU cafeteria. A bunch of students saw it, tweeted it and then the race was on to get the news viral. Deadspin got the first lick and then Pat Forde spent the rest of the day writing students trying to get more information. While Winston’s comment was undoubtedly stupid and showed a lack of anything resembling self-awareness as to his position on campus, I disagree with suspending him. Yes, I know his history but most people making this decision have no idea what he was doing. He was repeating an internet meme that comes from a news video and has become the thing to say on college campuses as a dare. That doesn’t make it right but it also doesn’t make it malicious. It is basically just a dumb thing college students do…which is what college students should be allowed to do…dumb things. Winston has to know that he is in a position of attention and thus he should avoid the vast majority of dumb things college do….he hasn’t and that is a problem with his judgment. But at the same time, people shouldn’t overreact simply because what he did sounds awful to people of a generation that don’t even know what a “meme” is. He is being suspended for a half, which doesn’t outrage me, and it is clear that Winston has some growing up to do, as his numerous stupid decisions have showcased. BUT, four years ago this would have been a nothing story and chances are some of you folks reading this have kids/brothers/sister/etc who have said the same thing…especially if they are under 25. Just remember that when you are saying what a horrible person he may be.


— Speaking of stories that are fascinating, we have had two good days of conversation on the Nicholasville biking lady who was arrested last night for riding again in the middle of Nicholasville Road. For those of you who haven’t followed it, she has been cited numerous times for creating dangerous conditions by riding down the middle of Nicholasville Road on her bike. The police have said, “just ride on the shoulder” and she has said, “no, its bumpy!” So instead she causes traffic hazards on the busiest road in Kentucky. After she lost a one day trial on the issue last week, she said she would not change her behavior. Now she has been arrested again and is looking at potential real jail time. The issue has led to the cyclists vs the world fight that we often see, and I am firmly with the world in this case. While I like cycling and think more of us should do it for environmental reasons, there are SOME ROADS YOU CANNOT RIDE ON! If they are too congested, you actually make life crazy dangerous for everyone else. Nicholasville Road would be at the top of that list so I am with the Jessamine County police here. The bike lady however is diligent and has a Youtube page with her various interactions with drivers who yell at her. The one below is with a grandmother who screamed at her, but also showcases just how dangerous having her on the road can be:

And with that, enjoy campout. I will be out there tonight and hope to see everyone on Friday for the show:


Coach Cal gave away a TempurPedic mattress and pillows to campers


Two lucky BBM campers will be sleeping a little more comfortably than they anticipated outside Memorial Coliseum this week after they were randomly selected as the winner of Coach Cal’s TempurPedic mattress giveaway this afternoon. Congrats to Morgan and Kaitlyn, winners of the new bed, and to other lucky fans who received free TempurPedic pillows.

I remember when we used to sleep on piles of gravel with nothing but pizza boxes and trash bags for beds. Campers these days have it so easy; it’s like they’re at a five-star resort. TempurPedic pillow, try getting some shut-eye with your head resting on a cast iron manhole cover behind the trash compacter. Back then it was about survival of the fittest.


Win up to $10,000 this weekend on a $2 bet on DraftKings

KSR and DraftKings are back together for Week 3 of the NFL season with another $100,000 prize pool fantasy contest. For the low cost of two measly dollars, you can enter the contest with a chance to walk away with $10,000, the top prize for the first place winner. The top 11,500 places will walk away with some form of payment and, as always, first time depositors receive a 100 percent bonus up to $600.

The contest is open now so click here and draft your squad. You’ll have $50,000 imaginary dollars to draft eight offensive players and one team defense. I recommend loading up on Titans because they have the Bengals this week.

Good luck.

KSR + DraftKings Play-Action $100K Week 3 Fantasy Contest 

Damien Harris’ new 2014 highlight reel proves giving the ball to Damien Harris simply isn’t fair


Damien Harris is only three and a half games into his senior season of football at Madison Southern and he already has an amazing highlight reel of plays on YouTube. With over 900 yards on the ground for 12 touchdowns on 53 touches, Harris is proving that, not only is he worthy of his No. 1 ranking, but giving him the football simply isn’t fair.

Skal Labissiere on his UK visit: “Let’s just say that it was great!”

While you were packing to camp out or watching Sons of Anarchy last night, John Calipari was visiting with Skal Labissiere, one of the premier prospects in the 2015 recruiting class. USA Today’s Jason Jordan caught up with Labissiere today to see how things went and the 6-foot-10 power forward told him, “Let’s just say it went great!”

Labissiere was the first member of the class to receive an offer from the University of Kentucky. He will take his official visit to UK this weekend, followed by trips to Texas and Baylor. He used his two other officials on visits to North Carolina and Georgetown earlier this month.

Memphis was named Labissiere’s leader back in July and Josh Pastner’s program currently holds 85 percent of his Crystal Ball vote. He resides in the Memphis area and was recently deemed ineligible for his senior season after transferring between two Memphis high schools.

When Labissiere arrives on campus to see the mayhem around Memorial Coliseum on Friday, it will really show him what playing for John Calipari and Kentucky is all about. Couple that with last night’s “great visit!” and the gap with Memphis will more than likely grow closer.

Jessamine County cyclist arrested AGAIN yesterday afternoon

Cherokee Schill has been a hot topic on the radio show this week for her inability to follow rules. The Jessamine County woman believes she should be allowed to ride her bicycle with the motorists on Nicholasville Road during rush hour traffic, despite being told several times she is endangering herself and other drivers.

Yesterday, just a few hours after KSR discussed her civil disobedience on air, Schill was arrested and charged with second degree wanton endangerment for clogging up traffic on her ride home. She is still in the Jessamine County jail as of this morning, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.


After several other citations back in April, Schill said, “I’m not out there to ruin your day. I’m just trying to get home like everyone else, and I’m going as fast as I can. Some days I can go faster than others. The really big thing is, we all need to share the road.”

It may ruin Schill’s day, though, or maybe her year. Second degree wanton endangerment is punishable by up to a year behind bars. Just last week she insisted she has no plans to change how she rides.

Stanley Williams has Brought the Boom, But Still has More to Offer

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

“Boom Goes the Dynamite” was a 4th and 7 away from being one of the greatest plays in Kentucky football history.

Boom Williams’ 25-yard sideline-to-sideline scamper on the first play of overtime was incredible.  Unfortunately the loss prevents the play from reaching legendary status, but it did grab the attention of the BBN.

Stanley Williams Jr. had been trying to earn his “Boom” nickname from Neal Brown with a big play.  Let’s just say that has been taken care of.  Brown believes his fearless mindset sets him apart as a playmaker, “You gotta have a little bit of that in you.  He doesn’t have a whole lot of fear.  All guys that have the ability to make those type of plays, they’re not necessarily worried about the consequences because he understands that he has really top end speed.  He ran away from some really fast guys, he turned the field on some really fast guys.”

The play’s alternative ending could’ve been much worse: a failed cutback could have put Kentucky out of field goal range right off the bat.

“He’s in a decent little trouble if he doesn’t make it, especially if he takes a big loss,” Mark Stoops said.  “But his instincts took over.  As coaches we all understand that.  We have to play with great fundamentals, you have to do what you’re supposed to do, but sometimes ability takes over.  I’m all for that.”

Boom’s playmaking prowess has made him an immediate star, but he really hasn’t graded out well as a running back.  Excluding his 53-yard touchdown run against Ohio, Boom only has 19 yards rushing on 10 carries.  The adjustment from high school to college has knocked his timing off.  Sometimes he hits the hole before it develops or makes one too many moves in the backfield, causing his hole to collapse.

The young buck has yet to develop consistency out of the backfield, but his playmaking mindset always makes him a homerun threat, “He thinks he can make a big play every time.  Now he’s got to pick and choose when to do that,” Brown said.

Two big plays in three games isn’t a bad way to start a career.  Once he gets everything figured out, the BOOMs from Commonwealth Stadium will be much more frequent.

One more time for the kids at home.


Wake up! It’s time for KSR! (Wednesday Show Thread)


Good morning, sports fans. Today is the unofficial official start of Kentucky basketball season, but don’t think we’re switching our focus from football to the hardwood. Nope. Those days are long gone now that Stoops has the football program on the come up. However, today’s show will feature a little talk about the Big Blue Madness campout because it’s too big of an event not to. Maybe some of the show’s listeners are already at Tent City. (Shout-out to those of you who are.)

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
WTUK (105.1fm): Harlan
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
WPAD (1560am): Paducah
WKYH (600am): Paintsville
WLSI (900am) Pikeville
WPRT (960am): Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240am): Somerset
WTCW (920am): Whitesburg
WHAY (98.3fm): Whitley City
WBTH (1400am): Williamson


WCBL (1290am): Benton, 12-2pm
WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Most UNDERRATED UK Football Player Ever

It’s a bye week, so it gives us some time to relax and do some other posts that are not focused on this week’s game.  In that mode, I have to relay a story from earlier this week.  On the SEC Network, they replayed the classic 2002 LSU-Kentucky game, which did not end particularly well for the Cats but that is not what’s important here.  People remember a lot from that team, namely the Jared Lorenzen and Derrick Abney connection.  Lorenzen was in Year 3 of one of the better UK careers in history and Abney was going down as one of the nation’s best kick returners.  Those 2 guys were the main focus of the broadcast and were the main focus of most UK broadcasts that year.  But what often goes under-reported and under-appreciated was the play of Artose Pinner in 2002.

Just from a statistical standpoint, Pinner had one of the best rushing seasons in UK history.  His 1,414 yards is still the 2nd most in a single season in school history.  Since that time, only Rafael Little in 2005 and 2007 got over 1,000 yards and in neither of those seasons did he get within 300 yards of Pinner.  Then you throw in the fact that Pinner caught 37 passes as well that season and you recognize that he doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves for his talent.  How about the pro game?  Pinner played 5 seasons in the NFL, rushing for over 800 yards and 8 touchdowns.  Since Pinner entered the league, only Alfonso Smith has carried the ball in the NFL as a Kentucky running back.

Now, keep in mind that I am 29 years old, so I haven’t seen as much UK football as many of you.  But when I watched Pinner play that season, and had those memories revisted watching that 2002 game this week, I think Pinner should be in the conversation for most underrated UK player.  It is very true that he basically had 1 great season at Kentucky, but hell, we’ve got a basketball program filled with players who are great for just 1 season, and we don’t consider them any less important or impressive.  So why isn’t Artose Pinner considered a great UK running back?

Now, I know everybody will have their own opinion about who is the most underrated, so I want to hear from you in the comments section.  I wanna hear about the guys from the 1970′s and 1980′s that people loved.