Every year, it’s the same. Fall camp starts, practice updates start rolling in, and you →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 5:30pm
We are officially back in game mode, which means Monday press conferences and Monday evening call-in shows with Mark Stoops.
Stoops’ first call-in show of the season starts at 6 p.m. ET and this year, will have a new feature. In addition to airing on all of the UK Radio Network affiliates, video of the show will stream on UKAthletics.com. If you’ve got a question for coach, ask via Twitter at @UKRadioNetwork or by calling 1-800-606-GAME (4263) or 859-280-2287.
By Bobby Reagan on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 5:00pm
SI.com is starting to rank the top 100 players in the NBA and to the surprise of no one, names of Kentucky players are popping up on the list. Today they unveiled players No. 51-100 with Nerlens Noel (No. 97), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 85), and Brandon Knight (No. 79) all making the first cut.
For Noel, he cracks the top 100 because of his offensive improvement. The writers talk about how few rookies can help their team defensively, but Noel was an exception and the shift in his offensive game has moved him into the top 100 list. Expect Noel to be a constant climber with this annual preview, as his offense should improve each year.
Perhaps though it was MKG who got the kindest words about him. The article calls him the best perimeter defender in the NBA, despite the fact he’s not even 22 years old yet.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 4:50pm
And now, for some unfortunate news. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced today that they have waived former UK running back Braylon Heard. The news isn’t terribly surprising, since Heard only had 5 carries for -2 yards and 1 catch for 4 yards in the Steelers’ three preseason games.
A former Nebraska transfer, Heard started 10 games during the 2014 season for the Cats, putting up 366 yards and 4 touchdowns. He decided to forgo his senior season to test the NFL waters.
Best of luck to Braylon in his next move.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 4:30pm
How crazy has basketball recruiting gotten lately? Five-star guard Malik Monk is going on a radio show tomorrow night just to announce his visiting schedule. To be fair, the radio show is his brother Marcus’, but still. This is like players “cutting” their lists from 15 to 12. A bit much if you ask me.
Regardless, according to Eric Bossi, Monk has his visits set and at 7:05 p.m. CT tomorrow night, will unveil the list on the Raw Report on 99.5 fm in Fayetteville. I’m not going to say Bossi accidentally tweeted-then-deleted Monk’s list of visits, but if I were you, I’d pencil Monk in for Big Blue Madness.
Monk’s getting a ton of pressure to stay home and play for Arkansas, where his brother played both basketball and football. Right now, the Razorbacks lead his Crystal Ball 77% to UK’s 23%; however, if there’s any event that can change that, it might be Big Blue Madness.
By Freddie Maggard on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 3:30pm
Last season, the Ragin Cajuns took their show on the road to Oxford, Mississippi. I’m fairly certain that tailgating was enjoyable and the Grove was welcoming. But in terms of the actual football game, well it got ugly. Mississippi’s consistently inconsistent quarterback Bo Wallace was nearly perfect by completing 23/28 passes for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns. His numbers reflected ULL’s 2014 pass defense woes.
Midway through the second quarter, Ole Miss’s lead grew to 28-0. Before the third quarter ended, ULL fell behind 49-6. Final score ended up being 56-15. What does all this mean? Let’s take a look at some numbers:
Total yards: ULL-322, Ole Miss-554
Passing yards: ULL-129, Ole Miss 340
Rushing yards: ULL-193, Ole Miss 214
3rd down efficiency: ULL 4/14, Ole Miss 7/12
Time of possession: ULL 31:19, Ole Miss 28:41
The home team scored by big plays and exploited ULL’s suspect pass defense. From that 2014 defense, Lafayette has lost its primary pass rushers and linebacker. I look for Kentucky to come out firing to put the Ragin Cajuns in a must-pass scenario and take RB Elijah McGuire out of the equation. ULL’s only bright spot was it rushed for 193 yards, a number that concerns.
Time of possession was advantageous for ULL which is consistent with its intent to run the football. However, with a new starting quarterback, I suspect the Cats will blitz from multiple positions to force the issue and take the run game out of the equation. Kentucky taking a significant early lead is paramount. On September 5th, first quarter points are vital for Shannon Dawson.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 3:00pm
It’s officially game week and the excitement around Lexington cannot be missed. Let’s begin this exciting week with five takeaways from Stoops’ weekly press conference.
Kentucky could see a change in the return game
It seems like forever since we’ve seen a kickoff or punt returned for a touchdown. Randall Cobb was the last to return a punt back in 2011 and Derrick Lock was the last to return a kickoff back in 2009. Thankfully, true freshman, Sihiem King could fix that. King has proven to be the playmaker Kentucky needs to return kickoffs. Stoops noted that King has been explosive, protected the football well and made big plays, which has put him ahead of Ryan Timmons.
Wide receiver is one of the most improved positions
Mark Stoops and his staff have worked very hard at improving the wide receiver position since beginning here just three years ago. The hard work has finally paid off this season. Fans are going to see some of the best wide receivers this season that Kentucky has had in a long time. The inside wide receiver spot is one of the deepest on the team according. Two star freshman wide receivers, Tavin Richardson and Jabari Greenwood, are in a position to get red shirted because there are too many good players ahead of them. If that isn’t a sign we are improving, I don’t know what is.
Veteran leadership is going to come from second year guys
Any experience that Kentucky has is going to help them win games. However, most of the experience and leadership is going to come from second year guys. Kentucky is playing nine true freshman and 10 redshirt freshman. Last season Kentucky had to rely on a lot of freshmen to make plays on both the offense and defense. That experience from last season, especially from the offense, will only help the team.
Success is going to come from improvement
Improvement across the board will be key to the success of this football team. More consistency in each game will be the reason this team is successful. As we know the players want a bowl game, however Stoops does not want them to get ahead of themselves. Stoops philosophy for this season is to just take each game one at a time.
Stoops is anxious for the first game
The first game of the college football season is one of the most exciting games on the schedule. After a long offseason, the players and coaches are anxious to get back on the field and finally begin the season. However, for any opener coaches are finally able to see the kind of players they have. In Stoops’ third season as a head coach, he knows that playing in a real game will be true test for a lot of players. Stoops is confident in his team and is anxious to finally watch them play.
By Matt Jones on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 2:30pm
As we get ready for the start of UK Football season (and by the way, please get tickets if you don’t have them yet), a quick reminder of what I thought was the coolest moment of last season. One can’t quite describe just how loud Commonwealth was at this moment during the South Carolina game. The new uniforms, the night atmosphere, the upset in the air, made the place special and when the Special Teams began to dance…well the place was unreal. I hope we see similar moments during the three home games in September…I believe we will:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 2:06pm
Five-star center Marques Bolden was scheduled to visit Kentucky starting on Friday, but he’s now moved that visit up to Wednesday. The 6’10” 235 lbs. Texas native is considered the second best center in the 2016 class, and just cut his list to eight: Duke, Kentucky, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Alabama, Wake Forest and Kansas. He’s already visited Wake, Duke, and Alabama, and after visiting Kentucky, will take another trip to Duke on September 18 and Kansas on September 25.
Duke and Kansas are considered the favorites for Bolden, but there is a Kentucky connection. His AAU coach Jeff Webster worked with former Cat Julius Randle; however, he also worked with current Dukie Matt Jones, so probably best not to read too much into that.
Let’s watch him work:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 1:45pm
One of the new features at the renovated Commonwealth Stadium is the Ring of Honor, which used to circle the inside of the stadium until it was replaced by new LED ribbon boards a few years back.
The media got a sneak peek at the new Ring of Honor today, which circles the concourse and features the names and playing years of famous former Cats, and pictures of those who play in the NFL. Check it out:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 12:51pm
Mark Stoops just wrapped up his first weekly press conference of the season in the Wildcat Den, and had plenty to tell reporters about the team heading into Saturday’s opener. I already posted the unfortunate news about Kyle Meadows and CJ Johnson being suspended, but here are some quick notes before Kindsey has a full recap for you later.
— The biggest injury we’re keeping an eye on right now is starting weakside linebacker Ryan Flannigan. Stoops sounded hopeful Flannigan will be back soon. “We’ll see,” Stoops said. “He’s getting better, I think he’s very close. If he can practice Tuesday or Wednesday, he’ll play. If he can’t practice by Wednesday, he won’t play.”
— Freshmen, both true and redshirt, were all over this week’s depth chart, and Stoops said he expects nine true and ten redshirt freshman to play this year. Heading into year three, that’s a telling sign of the talent still coming into the program, and Stoops is clearly letting talent win some position battles even if means sacrificing experience. He singled out running back/kick returner Sihiem King and cornerback Chris Westry as two true freshmen that really turned heads in camp, calling King an explosive playmaker.
— Speaking of redshirt freshmen, Stoops said the depth at wide receiver is so good that the staff is hoping to redshirt Tavin Richardson and Jabari Greenwood. “If we stay healthy, we’ll protect them if we can. But if we need them to win football games, we’ll play them.”
— Alexander Montgomery not being on the depth chart raised some eyebrows this morning, and Stoops admitted the sophomore has had some setbacks with his injuries, but will play on Saturday.
— You’ve heard Freddie talk a lot about ULL’s star RB Elijah McGuire. Stoops called him a “very dynamic” and “fantastic player” that will create problems for the Cats. How is he feeling about his run defense? “It comes down to just getting more stops,” he said. “We need to get better in a lot of areas, and run defense is one of them. But I anticipate we will be improved.”
Forget Those 8-4 Predictions We Going 12-0 !! It's Game Week #BBN We Ready !!!
— Matt Elam™6⃣9⃣ (@FballIsLife69) August 31, 2015
— A reporter brought Matt Elam’s tweet about going undefeated to Stoops’ attention, to which Stoops joked, “I didn’t even know he said it. Well, he needs to lose a few pounds, so I’ll get him after practice.”
Similarly, Stoops said he likes the players’ confidence, but “if that’s what motivates you, then put your money where your mouth is.”
A replay, if you missed it:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 12:06pm
Offensive tackle Kyle Meadows and defensive tackle CJ Johnson were notably absent from this morning’s depth chart, and now we know why. Mark Stoops just told reporters during his press conference that both are suspended one game for a violation of team rules. He did not go into the matter any further.
Disappointing news, especially since CJ is a senior. More on this as the story develops.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 11:29am
We are five days away from the season opener, and according to our sources, about 4,000 tickets are still left.
Want to help christen the new Commonwealth Stadium? UK is offering upper level tickets for $25 each on Ticketmaster. To get yours, use the promo code “ALLIN” on Ticketmaster.
Do it. No excuses.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 10:57am
Read it and weep for joy that football is back.
- Four true freshmen are starting: CB Chris Westry, RT George Asafo-Adjei, RB Sihiem King on special teams, and TE CJ Conrad. Redshirt freshman Denzil Ware is also getting his first start at defensive end/linebacker.
- Eight true freshmen are listed in the two-deep, 12 redshirt freshmen
- No Kyle Meadows, Alex Montgomery, or CJ Johnson. Transfer Courtney Love is also not listed (UK is still appealing his hardship waiver)
More coming from Stoops at noon…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2015 @ 10:30am
The back of the video board facing Nicholasville Road is now finished, featuring a mural of former players and the new UK logo.
The original design had “‘Til the Battle is Won” in block letters, but after Chester led a coup against it, UK went back to the drawing board, offering four designs for fans to vote on. The one above narrowly beat out the mural of the players with the Kentucky state outline, which may grace the back of the other video board facing the Nutter Field House.
Thoughts? Crooked K and all, I like it.
UPDATE: Here’s a picture of the other video board, courtesy of Freddie Maggard.