Back in July, SEC Network’s Greg McElroy made headlines at SEC Media Days when he called out Kentucky defensive tackle Matt Elam for being “lazy” and “underachieving.”
“This was an embarrassing effort last year, particularly the former 5-star, Matt Elam, who’s lazy and as underachieving a player as I’ve seen in this league in a long time,” McElroy said.
When asked about the comments, Elam took the high road by saying he’s going to take the criticism and do something about it.
“I’m not just going to sit there and cry about it,” Elam said. “I’m going to have to do something about it and the only way you can do something about it is just change it.”
Kentucky – Didn't like their switching of qb's, nor did i like much about Kentuckys performance yesterday, Elam is lazy as I've ever seen
— Booger (@ESPNBooger) September 10, 2017
McFarland has never shied away from calling players and teams out, so this is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, he has destroyed the UofL program as of late for allowing Bobby Petrino to come back as head coach, along with saying the team possesses no talent with the exception of Lamar Jackson.
That being said, his analysis on Elam was “lazy” and unoriginal. Not only did he just blatantly recycle what McElroy had to say about Elam, it shows he didn’t actually do his homework. The senior defensive tackle had a career game against Southern Miss, racking up four tackles (one TFL) and clogging the middle, giving future NFL back Ito Smith absolutely nothing to work with.
He wasn’t a world beater in game two against EKU, but he certainly wasn’t a liability on the line. His performance wasn’t a complete (negative) turnaround from the season opener to spark any immediate concerns. Elam was just mediocre like several other Wildcats on Saturday.
It’s low-hanging fruit at the expense of a college kid.
As far as his other comments, I’m not sure anyone agreed with the decision to pull Stephen Johnson for Drew Barker midway through the first quarter. But again, it was only two drives, and it was designed ahead of time. Both players knew it was going to happen, as it was just to get Barker’s feet wet against a lesser opponent in case anything were to happen to Johnson later in the year.
Barker got some of the rust off, and Johnson returned and won the game. Who cares.
For him to say there’s not much to like about UK’s victory on Saturday is just ignorant. Johnson solidified himself as a legitimate No. 1 option at quarterback and silenced all naysayers. The receivers didn’t have any drops on 16 receptions, a massive improvement from years past. Benny Snell got back to his dominant ways and back above the 100-yard mark. Etc.
After a slow start, Kentucky ended the game extremely well and provided plenty of reasons for optimism going forward.
It’s like one of the ESPN producers gave him a Spark Notes version of a five-minute clip they saw from the game, and McFarland ran with it as gospel.