Photo © Mark Zerof With two straight losses and the national media circling like sharks, →
By Nick Roush on ©9:30 pm
Mark Stoops’ second Spring football season kicks off three weeks from tomorrow. The eyes of Big Blue Nation will all be firmly set upon the progress of Drew Barker. After fans’ Air Raid expectations were met with inconsistent play at quarterback, the #BBN is thirsty for offensive production.
The competition for starting quarterback will be pitted against two redshirts (Pat Towles and Reese Phillips), an experienced athlete (Jalen Whitlow), and an All-American true freshman (Drew Barker). For most, the simple answer to the offense’s problems is starting the true freshman. Drew has been a vocal leader since his commitment while proving his skills against the nation’s best at the Elite 11 QB Camp and U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Drew has contended since before he arrived on campus that he’s going to fight tooth and nail to become a starter, but is it wise to immediately throw him to the dogs?
On paper, Drew has the most potential and fits the criteria for great UK Quarterback (big arm and a home-state hero). Drew looks great on paper, but in the SEC true freshmen don’t look great on paper. I’ve compiled stats dating back to the Cats’ last great team in 2007 (excluding running QBs that split time, a la Tim Tebow), see for yourself.
Most coaches have avoided handing their offenses over to true freshmen, with MSU’s Carroll as the only player in the group to beat out someone for the position. The best case scenario has been a Liberty Bowl victory, but Cobb wasn’t even quarterback for that game. Carroll eventually transferred to FIU and Auburn’s Wallace might never play quarterback for the Tigers again after losing his spot to Nick Marshall.
Once again, most of these guys would not have played unless the guy ahead of them got hurt. That might be the only similarity between the two groups. Every redshirt threw at least 1,000 yards, while true freshman struggled to find a 1:1 TD/Interception ratio. Redshirt freshmen won more games, but most importantly how many of those true freshman have become household names? Aaron Murray is the SEC’s all-time leading passer and Johnny Manzeil won a Heisman Trophy. Even the worst guys in the redshirt group have proved themselves more than the best of the true freshmen.
Drew could very well be the best of the bunch entering the season, but it’s silly to think that a redshirt year would not help him long-term. You also must consider how much a redshirt year could have helped Reese and Pat’s development. Throwing a young kid to the dogs can be mentally exhausting, as evidence by Jalen Whitlow’s timidness in the pocket from time to time during his sophomore season.
We also must grip reality: the Cats are not going to be great this year. Offensive production will rely on underclassmen and defensively, besides Bud and Za’Darius, the squad will be mostly underclassmen. Everyone wants to win right away, but Mark Stoops is more worried about long-term investments than short-term success. With 2015 poised to be a landmark year in Kentucky football, #WhyNot let Drew’s first start as the face of the program happen inside the New Commonwealth Stadium?
Let me know what you think @RoushKSR. I challenge you to find a successful true freshman QB in the SEC.
By John Dubya on ©8:00 pm
KSR…Daddy Doug knockin’ again.
Long time no chill. That’s my fault, been pretty busy onmygrind# tryin to getthatpaper#.
I guess you could say my hianus from the blog here is due in large part to one bitch of a semester. It all started back at the beginning of February, back when it was like -40 degrees and I go outside to start the van and she’s having none of it. Get it towed to my buddy Squirrel’s shop and he delivers the news: blown camshaft. After we got done laughing it quickly set in that this would put me back a good bit. Now, Daddy Doug is doing just fine, I got what I need and get to where I’m goin and usually have enough to send down to the kids in Florida each month. But this was an unexpected blow and I knew I’d have to pick up some extra cash from somewhere so I answered an ad in the Kernel (that’s the student paper here on campus) looking for a few students to participate in some clinical trials. Now, I’ve done a lot of “clinical trials” on my own time over the years so the opportunity to earn up to $600 extra bucks a month for about 30 hours was a horse that this cowboy could ride.
Well I go in for an interview and I’m already nervous because I want to look the part without trying to look the part if that makes sense. Anyway, I answer some questions and talk to a few white coats and charm the pants off the whole room and they tell me to come in the next Monday morning and block off the rest of the day. Easy. Done.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©7:00 pm
One of the most shocking things about last Saturday’s game against South Carolina may have been that John Calipari got two technicals and Frank Martin didn’t get any. Martin is notoriously hot headed, and today, South Carolina suspended him for the final game of the season because of “inappropriate verbal communication” with a player.
From this guy?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
Over the weekend, word leaked out that Mark Stoops had hired Texas State defensive coordinator Craig Naivar to fill Bradley Dale Peveto’s shoes as UK’s special teams coordinator and safeties coach, and today, the university made it official. Mark Stoops had this to say about the newest member of his staff:
“I’ve gotten to visit with Craig the last couple of years and am very impressed with him,” Stoops said. “He has vast knowledge, both as a defensive coordinator and as a special teams coordinator. He’s a high-energy coach with a great reputation as a recruiter.”
Naivar joins the Cats after three seasons as Texas State’s defensive coordinator, and brings 15 years of experience as a defensive and special teams coordinator with him to Lexington. Like everyone else, he’s impressed with Mark Stoops’ energy, and says he looks forward to working with him:
“I’m excited to be part of the Big Blue Nation and such a prestigious university,” Naivar said of his decision to come to Kentucky. “I was attracted by the opportunity to work with Coach Stoops, the energy he brings and the success he’s had everywhere he’s been.
How did Naivar get on UK’s radar? He and DJ Eliot were on the same staff at Texas State from 2004-2006, after which the two moved on to Rice. He’s excited about reuniting with his former colleague: “It’s also exciting to reunite with Coach Eliot. He is one of the really sharp minds in college football, a great coach and recruiter.”
I’ll take those Texas ties any day. Welcome to the fam, Coach Naivar.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:41 pm
The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament is underway in Duluth, Georgia, and we now know UK’s opponent tomorrow: Florida. The Gators beat Mississippi State today to advance to Friday’s game against UK Hoops, which will be played at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Our own Wilder Treadway and Hayley Minogue are heading to Duluth in the morning to bring you live coverage. They’re leaving at 6 a.m., so if you see them around Lexington tonight, tell them to go home and get some sleep.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:00 pm
After his senior night, it’s only fitting that Jon Hood is next up in UK Athletics’ “In their own words” blog series. Hood opens up about Senior Night, which he said was special from the pregame shoot-around to the end of the game. Hood gives us a lot of great stuff, including this rant about his three at the shot clock buzzer which totally should have counted:
I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of me going crazy. I wanted them to check the monitor because there was no doubt about it: It left my hand well before time expired. I’ve gotten four or five pictures today of different angles of it with the clock in the background and the space in between my fingertips and the ball. But that’s part of the game. It’s human error so you’ve just got to live with it.
Human error is just about the nicest way to put that. Hood also talks about his favorite memory at UK, which was playing a pick-up game with John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, and Daniel Orton his freshman year:
I was asked Tuesday what my favorite memory was other than the national championship, and I’d have to say it was that summer of 2009 in June and July during my freshman year when we were all playing pick-up together for the first time. Me, John, Eric, DeMarcus and Daniel all played on the same team and played against all the old guys like Darius, DeAndre, Pat, Josh, Ramon and Perry. We just had that swagger about us, a connection before we got here that we wanted to just keep building. (My all-time starting five would still be our freshman five.)
Still? You wouldn’t even trade Daniel for Anthony Davis?
Thanks for the memories, Hoody Hood.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:00 pm
Good afternoon, friends. It’s been kind of a slow day around these parts, but that’s not stopping me from bringing you some afternoon notes. Let’s go.
– Believe it or not, the SEC might actually get four teams in the Tournament now. Both Arkansas and Tennessee won big last night–Arkansas 110-80 over Ole Miss, Tennessee 82-54 over Vandy–and are climbing the KenPom rankings. In fact, Tennessee is 14th in the KenPom, a whopping seven spots in front of Kentucky. Whoa. Arkansas is 45th. Tennessee is on a roll, don’t get me wrong, but maybe this is why we shouldn’t take the KenPom so seriously…
– Look who Joe Craft brought to the Joe Craft Center today: Condolezza Rice.
Buddies with Bill Clinton and Condi? This will be a fun comments section.
– The video of the dancing guys from Tuesday night’s game has gone viral, making it in the first segment of last night’s “@Midnight” on Comedy Central. Thanks to Funkhouser’s Richmond Bramblet for the tip.
– Last night, Matt and Drew were in Bloomington for Indiana/Nebraska game, the tales of which you can hear on the podcast, and Drew wrote up his thoughts on Assembly Hall for Fox Sports. They actually had a pretty good time, thanks to a “fresh start” from the Indiana SID, even if he wasn’t impressed with Drew’s take on business casual.
– If you listened to the radio show today, you heard Matt mention the Fleming County high school teacher who was arrested for giving alcohol and marijuana to students in exchange for work done on her property. This is her mug shot:
Hear Matt and Drew talk about it on today’s podcast.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©2:00 pm
Rex Chapman came on the show this morning to talk about the Cats and his new website, iRex3.com. If you follow Rex on Twitter, you know he loves sharing his opinions on both the Cats and college basketball, and his new site is just a bigger forum for those thoughts. He’s already got some great stuff up, including this spot-on comment about James Young:
But in this “one and done” age in which we live – THERE IS NOBODY ON THIS KENTUCKY ROSTER who would benefit any more than James Young to returning for his sophomore year. Pay no attention to mock-drafts. James Young, right now, is not a better prospect than Archie Goodwin was a year ago – and Archie went 29th. The people at these “mock-draft”-sites haven’t a clue. The NBA ppl I’ve spoken with, to a person, are in agreement that the league could crush a youngster w the weaknesses James currently has handling and passing from the guard spot. He CAN IMPROVE and I believe he WILL improve – IF he’s not in too big of a hurry to leave.
Rex has similar breakdowns for Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Dakari Johnson, so go check it out at iRex3.com.
By C.M. Tomlin on ©1:00 pm
Friends, you look well. Oh, you made me a cake? It’s…delicious. Really, it is. No, I like it. I do. Thanks. It’s delicious. Oh. Sure, yes, I’ll have another piece. Hey, what’s that over there? What? No, I finished it already. Just now. I promise.
Friends, let’s be honest: this is really the only time in the entire year where anyone should really care about Joe Lunardi. This is really his time to shine; that’s because this is the only time his guesswork is on the line. So if you look at Lunardi’s latest bracketology, one can guess — because this is totally Lunardi’s thing — that he probably has a good idea of how things are going to shake out. Sure, there’ll be some changes, but this is probably the best hypothesis of what the field of 64 may look like. That said, let’s do some demographic work for CBS and find out which valued groups the network will pull if and when the following teams are added in a piece we’ll call What Your Favorite Possible NCAA Tourney Team Says About You, shall we? And I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.
Arizona: I consider a cactus to be a legitimate plant and not a novelty item.
Weber State: I have beautiful dreams that I don’t live in Ogden, Utah and then I wake up and cry.
Memphis: I think the phrase “Dirty South” sounds awesome and I don’t realize that everyone else thinks it sounds extremely unappealing.
Xavier: The only things separating me from University of Cincinnati students are a zoo and an outrageous sense of entitlement.
Oklahoma: I do not mind telling you I’m a “hell-raiser,” and I will.
Brigham Young: Don’t tell anyone but once I pushed my friend around in an empty parking lot in a shopping cart. It was crazy and you better not tell anybody.
San Diego State: Are you done talking? Because I have a perfect, beautiful day to get back to.
North Dakota State: I, and all of my family, consider Fargo to be “urban.”
Ohio State: Sweater vests are out.
Baylor: Over the past two or three years I’ve begun to suffer from vision problems and I’m not sure why.
Creighton: I know where Creighton is located.
Vermont: I have an extra jar of sorghum if you’d like some.
New Mexico: Sure, mesas are beautiful, but they get old after a while.
Stanford: I have the money to go to an inordinate number of outdoor music festivals.
Wisconsin: I have had to reinforce at least one chair in my home.
UC-Irvine: I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth like those posh twits over at UC-Davis.
Kansas: I use the words “rock,” “chalk” and “jayhawk” roughly 73% than everyone else in the country.
Robert Morris: Have you heard that we beat Kentucky once? Do you want to watch it? It’s still on my DVR.
Southern Methodist: I carry, at all times, both a gun and a bible.
Gonzaga: This is the year. I feel it. It’s gotta be, right?
UCLA: I haven’t stopped talking about my documentary in over forty-five minutes.
Green Bay: I have cheese curd grease stains on almost every dress shirt I own.
St. Louis: I went to St. Louis.
Iona: I have at least one immediate relative who wears a turtleneck and has written a book about how to raise a child.
Kentucky: I am so incredibly nervous right now.
Oklahoma State: I have a cowboy hat to match each pair of pants I own.
Michigan: I’d rather be watching football.
Delaware: I’d rather be in an apple orchard.
Connecticut: Jim Calhoun. Never forget.
St. Joseph’s: I believe Delonte West’s side of the story.
Syracuse: I cheer vigorously to fend off hypothermia.
Boston University: I have worn a blazer with sweat pants to a wedding.
Florida: I have been shot at by a stripper. (more…)
By Chris Fisher on ©12:31 pm
At this point, I don’t have to mention that, whether legitimate or illegitimate, there was talk of 40-0.
But under the colossal weight of those expectations, Kentucky has labored to a 22-8 record this season, just 12-5 in what is universally considered another weak year in the SEC.
So, what’s wrong with the Wildcats?
247Sports’ Jerry Meyer diagnoses what’s wrong with Kentucky.
To read the rest of this article, visit CatsPause.com [FREE]
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©12:00 pm
Kentucky’s tournament seed has never been more in question than it is now, and in his latest projections, Jerry Palm has them as the 6-seed in the South Region, playing 11-seeded Gonzaga in Orlando. Palm has the Cats potentially playing 3-seeded Louisville in the round of 32. Oh boy.
Joe Lunardi’s newest Bracketology also came out this morning, and Lunardi agrees with Palm that the Cats will be in the South Region, as a 7-seed playing 10-seed Oregon in Raleigh:
I’m sure this will change a million times before Selection Sunday, but that potential matchup between Kentucky and my alma mater Davidson in the round of 32 is already stressing me out.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:30 am
Thinking of making the trip to Atlanta next week? The UK ticket office announced today that they have a limited number of SEC Tournament ticket books available in UK’s section. To join the party, call 859-257-1818.
If you do make the trip, come visit the KSR crew at STATS (300 Marietta St NW) for the radio show Friday morning, the pregame show in the afternoon, and the postgame show after the game. If the Cats win, we’ll do it all again on Saturday, and maybe even Sunday.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:00 am
Good news for those of you who enjoy alcoholic beverages at sporting events: according to SEC Associate Commissioner Herb Vincent, the SEC will review its alcohol policy for neutral site games and home games off-campus.
The SEC’s current alcohol policy prohibits alcohol from being sold at any games, but the league will review it this spring with the intent of cleaning up language as it relates to neutral-site games and home games off campus. Rupp Arena is the only off-campus arena in the SEC, and if the SEC changes their policy, alcohol sales would be allowed. It could also mean alcohol will be sold at the SEC Tournament since it’s a neutral site.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:30 am
Who’s ready for some football? Believe it or not, spring practice starts in a few weeks, and the Spring Game is set for Saturday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m. Because of construction at Commonwealth Stadium, seating in the south lower and south upper level sidelines will not be available. In fact, the capacity for the Spring Game will be approximately 42,500, which means we won’t be able to break last year’s record of 50,831.
The season ticket holder presale begins Monday, March 10 at 9 a.m. on Ticketmaster. Season ticket holders should receive an email from UK this week on how they can obtain their free tickets to the game. The limit is six. UK students may obtain their free tickets beginning Monday, Mar. 10, at 9 a.m. at the Joe Craft Center ticket office. Students may pick up two tickets per ID.
Remaining tickets will be available to the general public through the same Ticketmaster channels beginning Wednesday, March 19 at 9 a.m. Tickets still available on game day (April 26) may be picked up free of charge at the stadium, based on availability.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©9:55 am
Good morning and welcome to the Thursday edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. This morning, the guys are coming to you live from the Holiday Inn in Bloomington, Indiana after stop #6 on the Fox Sports/KSR Road trip. Tune in to hear their thoughts on the Cats, as well as the awkward struggle to get credentialed for last night’s Indiana/Nebraska game.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
KSR Affiliate List
WAIN (93.9 fm) Columbia
WHIR (1230 am) Danville
WCLU (1490 am) Glasgow
WHOP (1230am/95.3 fm) Hopkinsville
WJKY (1060 am) Jamestown
WLAP (630 am) Lexington
WFTG (1400 am) London
WKJK (1080 am) Louisville
WFMW (730 am/94.9 fm) Madisonville
WFTM (1240 am) Maysville
WKYM (101.7 fm) Monticello
WMSK (1550 am) Morganfield
WLME (102.7 fm) Owensboro
WKYH (600 am) Paintsville
WLSI (900 am) Pikeville
WPRT (960 am) Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240 am) Somerset
WTCW (920 am) Whitesburg
WBTH (1400 am) Williamson, WV
On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…
WBGN (1340 am) Bowling Green 11am-1pm
WMTL (870 am) Leitchfield 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570 am) Morgantown 3-5 pm
WRIL (106.3 fm) Middlesboro Thur 8-10 pm
WPAD (99.5 fm/1560 am) Paducah 5-7 pm
WHAY (98.3 fm) Whitley City 2-4 pm