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The 25th time was not the charm…


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Some final thoughts…

 - We mentioned earlier in the week that there hadn’t been such a lack of optimism about Kentucky’s chances in a football game in quite some time and Saturday night proved exactly why that was.  Florida is plenty good enough to beat Kentucky.  When Kentucky is also beating Kentucky, it gets ugly.  The Cats have probably played worse games this season, but they got a quick painful lesson about life in the SEC when they essentially handed out freebies to the Gators.  There were the four turnovers, one that was returned about two yards for a touchdown, dropped passes, miscommunications on play calls….pretty much everything a team shouldn’t be doing in the fourth game of the season.  If they can’t stop beating themselves, it’s only going to get uglier from here.

 - As expected, Florida found success in making the big play.  The script for these games is almost identical from year to year and, after Kentucky forced a couple of early punts, things reverted back to where they typically are.  Florida’s offensive touchdowns came on gains of 45, 1, 20, 84 and 60 yards.  And while those scores were probably scored on pure talent and speed – the type that UK just can’t really compete with – the repetitiveness of such touchdowns has almost become a sort of psychological hex.  We knew they were coming.  We all said it before the game.  That’s just what Florida does.  Not just to us either.  They just do it to us more.

 - After the game, Joker Phillips gave his take on the state of the team:

“Well, we’re 2- 2, I’ll tell you that, and it’s not a pretty 2-2, there’s no doubt about that.  We’re a football team that looks good at times, and definitely tonight there were some good things, and that’s the thing that’s lost in this.  We did some good things at times.  We threw the ball, we moved the football. ”

 - As almost a bullet point to that note, Kentucky got slaughtered on the ground.  The Gators used three running backs to combine for 350 yards on 29 carries.  Jeff Demps (187 yards), Chris Rainey (106) and Mike Gillislee combined to average twelve yards per carry on the ground.  Add in another 50 and the Gators racked up 400 yards rushing.  To put that into perspective, UK has 492 yard rushing – ON THE SEASON.  They got manhandled up front and then got torched when the backs got their opening.  Afterward, Rick Minter had the line of the night:

“It’s kind of like lightning struck the outhouse and we were in it.”

 - On the offensive side of the ball for the Cats, it was essentially the same old story.  What Kentucky has on offense is really just whatever Morgan Newton can create for them.  Newton finished the game 16/33 for 124 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while also picking up a team-high 50 yards on the ground.  He again flashed signs of being a solid quarterback, but fell victim to the same old things that have haunted him all season – a collapsin offensive line and the almost comical inability to throw to anyone except his primary receiver.  Watch Newton when he drops back and you’ll see he never looks anywhere other than the side of the field he wants to throw the ball too, which is generally LaRod King’s half.  I talked with Craig Yeast on the radio after the game and he said that he sees what Newton is doing and agrees that it’s just a maturity thing right now and he seems like he’s not comfortable enough with his receiving corps to be willing to look at them all.  If the Cats are going to progress this season and advance past this painfully stagnant offense, it’s going to come through Newton maturing in that area.  With that being said, I did like what I saw from him in terms of taking control of the huddle and getting after guys about where they’re supposed to be.  Some of that came when UK ran the no-huddle offense, but it has to happen more.  He’s clearly the best player on offense right now (which says a lot) and he has to be the leader.

 - Late in the game Joker pulled Newton out of the game and put in Maxwell Smith, who played pretty ok, finishing 6/11 for 41 yards.  Joker said he wants to get him snaps when he can do so and that no one should really read anything into it.  So please don’t.  I’m begging you to please resist the urge to start a grassroots internet movement calling for Smith to see action.  Morgan Newton, despite the mistakes he’s making, is clearly the better player at this point and this team stands to gain absolutely nothing from Smith seeing more action or the fans clamoring for it.  When he gets in the game, let’s hope he makes the most of his reps.  Otherwise, let’s pretend like he’s not even there.  This team’s starting quarterback doesn’t need another thing to worry about.

 - As far as the receivers go, it was another game of drops and, honestly, it might have been the worst.  In the first three games, UK’s wideouts were just dropping catchable balls.  Against Florida, they were letting them bounce off of themselves into the air and giving the Gators plenty of chances to pick them off.  After the game, Joker spoke about the continued inability of the receivers to receive and said this about his frustration with the group:

“Being an ex-receiver, ex-receiver coach, it’s pretty high right now.  If you’re going to play in this league, at this level, you’ve got to be able to catch the football.  We can’t use the excuse that these guys have not been — quarterbacks handle the ball every play, so expecting the guys to be able to handle it when it comes to them.  Pretty frustrating.  It’s my job.  I’ve got to get it corrected because that, too, is the lack of how precious the football is when we’ve got it because you see a lot of balls bounce off receivers that end up in interceptions, and that’s giving the ball up.  So you’ve got to secure the football when you have an opportunity.”

 - Make sure you look for the special edition milk cartons this week featuring UK’s running game.  Another week of being a non-factor, another week of an offense that’s forced to rely on an unproven and painfully raw passing game.  The offensive line can accept some of the blame and the lopsided score can as well, but this simply will not cut it in the Sunbelt, let alone the SEC.

 - After watching this team struggle for four games, the painful truth is that they don’t really do anything very well.  There are so many aspects of the game where you think that they might be close in having some consistency, but they just don’t have it anywhere.  There’s not one aspect of the football game that you can point at and say you expect them to perform reasonably well in every week.  You can point to the inexperience as a large reason for that, but you can’t ignore that it’s there.  The defense isn’t what we thought it was after the first two games.  Morgan Newton isn’t where we thought he was after the Lousiville game.  The running backs aren’t where we thought they were after Central Michigan.  And most importantly, the offensive line isn’t anywhere near what people said they were in the offseason.  And that adds up to bad football.

 - With two uninspiring wins, a disappointing loss to Louisville and a blowout at the hands of Louisville now on the books, this team now heads to Baton Rouge in the worst possible spot.  This is where coaches lose players.  With nothing to really hold their head high about, the Cats face another potential blowout team next week without the veteran leadership in the locker room necessary to guarantee that everyone stays focused.  That’s not to say that they can’t do it.  That just means they’re going to have to pay special attention to keeping themselves in each other’s corner and not making sure their morale goes down the tubes.  Joker Phillips is going to be earning his money the next 13 days.  This could have a massive impact on the rest of the season. 

 - With a trip to LSU and South Carolina on the slate for the next two weeks, Kentucky needs to focus on nothing more than getting better and taking small steps forward together in the next two games.  They’ll be heavy underdogs in both contests, but they have an opportunity to improve and grow closer together before a very important final six games.  At the beginnin of the season, we looked at the final six as the stretch where the season would be made and nothing has changed, save for the lackluster start.  There are no games that are guaranteed – that includes Jacksonville State – in the final six, but there are also no games that should get blown out of.  These next two weeks will be critical for improvement and preparing themselves to make a push in the second half of the season.

Stats:

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Article written by Thomas Beisner

77 responses to “The 25th time was not the charm…”

  1. Eddie C.

    solid quarter century of tradition!

  2. Legion Of Blue

    “they don’t really do anything very well” is false… we can punt well

  3. mocha

    “..disappointing loss to Louisville and a blowout at the hands of Florida.”.

  4. kittylitter

    I just sincerely hope that when the time comes to fire Joker, the program is not such damaged goods that no coach of any talent would come near it. Alas, though, I fear that to be the case.

  5. Sense

    The punting game is about the only reliable aspect of this team.

  6. JBR

    Joker is horrible…he has got to go, NOW. There is nothing that signals he has any clue of what is going on, nor that anything will get better. He cannot even be honest in the postgame, and if he is honest, then he is just ignorant of reality. This team sucks…but has as good of talent as we have had in some time. That is on the staff, folks…and they have no clue how to prepare a team to play football. Listen to Joker talk about stuff…not a freakin clue.

  7. Calipari'sInYourEar

    “With nothing to really hold their head high about”

    Beisner, with all due respect you’ve obviously never played football making a quote like that. If these were baseball players, yea… tennis or golf, sure, but these are football players.

    Football players have plenty to hold their head high about (even if they appear worn and beaten down). That’s why they are football players.

    It’s a different breed of person, plain and simple.

  8. Fire joker now

    Forget this talk about we will be ok we will not score against lsu we might not beat vandy this year I wanna know who ur choice is to replace joker when he gets fired this year and if he dont who is ur choice to reolace mitch and dont say mitch brought cal cause he didnt I like tcu head coach south florida head coach lsu def coord or weis from flor pay the money and lets win what u say big blue nation

  9. Fire joker now

    Whos ur next coach

  10. BlueJesus

    7) Hahaha

  11. UKGoBigBlue

    Florida had the ball for 28:15 & UK 31:45 UF scored 48 points UK 10; man Florida is efficient.

    I’m really surprised Florida didn’t score at least 60.

    The only thing to do is hope these so called great recruits that are coming next year are really really good; this season might as well already be over because UK is done. UK will win 3 games this season.

  12. Truth

    8) Mike Leach (although that probably won’t happen), Skip Holtz at USF, Brent Venables the DC and Asst HC at Oklahoma, and maybe an exciting offensive coach at a mid major like Tulsa or Hawaii.

  13. Calipari'sInYourEar

    #8 – Fire joker now – Your wasting your time. Go paint the barn.

    BTW, USF’s head coach is only good because of the talent in Tampa Bay. Put Joker @ USF and he will win 2.

  14. Calipari'sInYourEar

    Also, Skip Holtz knows not to leave USF for UK. But trust me, he’s not a great coach.

    This just show how little you guys know about USF. It’s SEC calibur talent. Go watch some clips. The only reason you guys don’t know about them is because we (I’m a dual alumni… UK and USF) only started playing football in 1997.

    Go ask Notre Dame how their tradition worked out for them when they played us this year in South Bend.

  15. Tyler Du

    “Far the coach.” -Drew Franklin

  16. Fire joker now

    Not with that offense run run pass punt its like playing freshman level on ncaa 11 for xbox did anyone see that play by alabama on 4th down thats playcallin need a spread off example louis tech vs miss st texas tech vs texas with leach u cant win playin big ten football against speed in sec been proven ask ohio st we ned new staff get the movement started

  17. 2020

    Tired of seeing true freshman all across the country contribute to their teams, while we are still waiting for our juniors to “mature”.

  18. Fire joker now

    13ill take that bet cause joker gets players that georgia dont want and they aint no good either how does strong pull recruits to ul from florida his name and reputation thats how joker livin off brooks we need big name coach that will pull recruits no matter what facilitys look like

  19. George W. Bush

    And folks think I’m bad at public speaking? Have you heard Joker talk to the press? Could he talk any slower? Does he know any of his player’s names? He doesn’t even have all them foreigner names to say either.

  20. Calipari'sInYourEar

    #19 – George W. Bush – “He doesn’t even have all them foreigner names to say either.”

    At least he uses proper english.

    Keep your hate at the dinner table, um k.

  21. Change Required

    13-14…..I’m not the biggest Skip Holtz fan, but you need to check out his coaching job at East Carolina before going to USF. Three straight bowl games….wins over VT and WV in the same year! East Carolina was 3 and 22 it’s previous 25 games before Holtz took over. Were talking about ECU here…..not what you call a football school. I don’t think he had Tampa talent at ECU!

  22. Fed up

    Hey Matt/Beisner, when can we get you guys on board with trying to get Joker out of here? The fanbase seems almost unanimous in the fact that we’re ready for a new direction, we just need a leader and a platform to organize as a fanbase. Boycotts, demonstrations, email/letter writing campaigns, etc. If KSR would get on board, this could happen, and happen quickly. It’s time to show that football is important, and not just a way to pass time until BBM. Step up to the plate KSR!

  23. Fed up

    @20, I believe his grammar was a GW Bush impersonation.

  24. Nutter Butter

    How is a team like this supposed to get better? It’s just bad players practicing against bad players. It would seem that the old saying you are never as bad as you think you are is still true. We are worse!

  25. RedLobsterGirl

    I’m pretty sure we suck right now. I deserve an apology! Suck my cheddar biscuit.

  26. Calipari'sInYourEar

    Thanks RedLobsterGirl. You ran off the one player responsible for Kentucky going to a bowl the past 3 seasons.

    Your cheddar biscuit is moldy and cold at the moment.

    Bake a new batch please.

  27. Sward

    Ya know some teams are bad enough to drive coaches to drink. This years team could drive Joker to heroin.

  28. Calipari'sInYourEar

    That’s it! Red Lobster Girl is to Blame!

    Randall Cobb even said so. Kentucky fans need to come together!

    With Cobb on the field, no one would have noticed any of the problems so far this season. The Cobb never needed an offensive line or recievers. He certainly didn’t need Fartline. Plus our defense was way worse the past 3 years (with the obvious gap left when Woodyard’s leadership left). Thank god for Trevathan’s emergence but you get the point.

    Cobb would have beaten UL, and made the WVU and CMU games run aways. He wouldn’t have gotten the win against Florida, however he would have laid at least 21 points on the Gators, to make the score look less painful. (48-21 vs. 48-10).

    We’d be 3-1, looking at LSU and USC knowning we’d still lose those games. No difference there. But at we’d somehow convince ourselves that getting beat by 27 is no way near as bad as getting beat by 38.

    You ran off our Cobb Red Lobster! Just for that, your cheddar biscuit won’t get my butter sauce.

  29. Dave

    Go to wildcat nation.net

    Those morons are defending the Joke like it’s their job. Dumbest football fans in the nation.

  30. SexnNursinHomes

    I am a USF alum too and trust me Skip Holtz isn’t that good. Period.

    But hey, we held uf to under 50 points. that’s a bright spot. I sat through with UK in the 80′s with season tickets and if I sat through that garbage I can sit through this garbage.

  31. Mark story and Jon clay are idiots

    Ksr staff I can’t wait until you get to read and comment on the award winning writing in today’s HL.

  32. SexnNursinHomes

    I bet Mitch woke up today in his nice big ass bed, smiling all happy, probably squeaked out a mornin fart or two. Yawned and made his way down his stairs and had Jeeves make him a double latte ecpresso. Sat down and just thankfully happy that UK pays him so much g******n money to run our program down the drain. no Mitch, you are not responsible for Cal. piss off

  33. really

    how were the scoreboards? were they good? i hear they were nice !

  34. Awkuiuc2

    I’ve said it in the past. Kentucky is not a football school. Until they start recruiting 4 and 5 star talent like the rest of the league they have no chance. Which isn’t going to happen under joker Phillips so let’s go basketball season!!!

  35. Jezz

    When are we gonna stop acting like we can win these games? We just have to accept it. I’m not saying we shouldn’t care, we should be there and cheer as loud as we can. But we have to start being fine with getting crushed by Florida. It’s just the way it is.

    Go UK, there’s always next game. Let’s try and make a mediocre bowl and sign as much 3 star as we can, that’s UK for you. I’ll go to as many football games as I can, but I’m not setting myself up for disappointment. I knew we were gonna lose this one. I know we’re gonna lose next one as well. It’s fine, I’m a diehard basketball fan, that’s when I’ll get sad if we lose. We just suck at football. Let’s try as hard as we can though. But please stop acting like there’s a chance…

  36. bung

    barnhead should raise ticket prices again and hire granny walton as coach in waiting then ask Pratt to fix it…

  37. disgruntled

    Someone said that a definition of insanity was something like attempting the same thing over and over while expecting different results each time. The results are going to be the same because we have a coach, using the term very loosely, who cannot recruit and inept at using the talent he has. It is only going to get worse.

  38. flyingfishman

    It is time for Commissioner Gordon to send out the Bat Signal!

  39. Jeff

    Joker deserves the length of his contract.

  40. Jeff

    Next season will certainly be better but I believe the team will show significant improvement the 2nd half of season–no matter who we are playing. For some reason this team has a large learning curve. Dropped passes and fumbles are upsetting me most. I wish we could talk about direction of team when turnovers at key points haven’t happened against UL and UF.

  41. Jeff

    Message boards are barometer for never being as bad as it seems (football) or as good as it seems (basketball).

  42. citycat

    If you think that Morgan Newton is clearly our best offensive player then either you are absolutely crazy or we are worse off than I thought.

  43. mike

    There is still very little evidence that anyone on this team or coaching staff will ever be accused of showing any leadership or emotional involvement. We keep pounding outselves into football irrelevancy each week and seem to want to display even more when we are on national t.v.

  44. kylesmithuk

    When I read this message board aloud I add “I’ll hang up and letcha answer” to the end of everything.

  45. big tim

    did you all really think after we lost hartline locke cobb think we was going to be good at the beginning the year. we have good players and some good players coming in next year it dont happen over night it takes time after you lose most of your talent in one year

  46. bung

    i am sure our new pres/chancellor/king feller with his vast knowledge of UK history will fix the ad situation….who hires these people? The board of rejects needs new members…

  47. Jimmy Buffett

    yikes

  48. LOGO

    @35…You are one of the reasons why UK football stays mediocre. That kind of thought process is just asinine. I’m a die hard UK basketball fan also, but I love football and will never settle for mediocrity.
    “We just have to accept it.” <—- most ridiculous comment. I sure hope you’re being sarcastic, for your own good. Why would we cheer as loud as we can? To support bad coaching staff?…wow…

  49. droppedpasses

    We need to luck out & get a Dabo Swinney (Clemson) type head coach. Inspired football.

  50. LOGO

    @35…You are one of the reasons why UK football stays mediocre. That kind of thought process is just asinine. I’m a die hard UK basketball fan also, but I love football and will never settle for mediocrity.
    “We just have to accept it.” <—- most ridiculous comment. I sure hope you’re being sarcastic, for your own good. Why would we cheer as loud as we can? To support bad coaching staff?…wow…

    and to all those people that asks us “impatient” people to wait for next year, you are kidding yourselves. Joker has been here forever and Newton is a Junior….How much time do you need to mature? Its time for a change.

  51. kyhank

    we will never be what we can be with Joker as the head guy, he got this job on the run, there should not be a big drop in talent !! we will forever measure our season by how we compete with L-ville, and never how we compete with LSU !!

  52. bung

    We should throw scholarships to recruits and only sign the ones that catch them…

  53. NavyKat

    UK football is a joke. We cannot complete and it is sad. As the lone basketball school in the SEC, how can schools such as Florida field competitive teams in nearly every sport, especially the ‘Big 2′ and we cannot? Oh, wait. We kick ass in rifle and cheerleading. Who cares?

  54. SexnNursinHomes

    53- haha

  55. rj

    excuses, excuses and more excuses….man up and face it, this coaching staff is not getting it done and they will not get it done. beisner is no different than his liberal buddy matt jones, can always look on the bright side, we could of lost 70 – 0….

  56. Orlando Blue

    Why does UK allow this game to be shown on national TV every year?? There should be a full media blockout on this disaster. No TV, radio, internet, newspaper, twitter, texts, etc!!! It’s the same every year, the game is essentially over half way through the first quarter. I live in FL and the UF fans don’t even raz me anymore as they did years ago. It’s sad. I support them and force myself to watch the whole game but am amazed at how psyched out these guys are by UF.

  57. DT in DC

    Does anyone else think we might just lose by triple digits to LSU next week?

  58. big tim

    57 it espn not uk that makes the tv schedule uk has no say in it

  59. Dennis

    I looked at several games yesterday and just watched the sidelines and the coaches. Organization and coaching ability was so apparent and really stood out. I look at UK and see none of this. Total disaray and confusion seems to dominate the UK sideline. The better teams, and I am not talking about top tier schools, seem to have the traits of well organized teams that compete . UK does not have that on the sideline and never will under the Joke. Giving up over 400 yards rushing in no even sane to any kind of coaching. I see why Mintor has been to so many schools , he just isn’t very good . We are now in the darkness of college football and will not see any light in the foreseeable future. A sad commentary on a school that is totally surrounded by states with great football talent and we end up with guys like Newton at QB who just doesn’t have the game IQ needed and players who look like they are running in sand.

  60. shields eyes

    If Spurrier had been coaching, it would have been 75-10. Muschamp wasn’t going to pour it on in his first year.

  61. Shakey Pete

    As ugly as it was, the score wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. The question I have is why are we so bad right here, right now? How did we get to this point where we look like we’re a highschool team? We’ve had a few years of supposedly getting better, had a few big wins, gone to some bowl games and we’ve been sending some good talent to the NFL. So how on earth do we take such huge steps backwards? I understand that players graduate or simply leave, but the recruiting has supposedly gotten better to? Right? I’m not on the fire Joker bandwagon yet, every coach has had a bad season. But how did we get so bad and who’s fault is it? Or is it just a cyclical thing, just a “down year”? I love going to the games, but right now, the prospect of going to one doesn’t even seem fun.

  62. Al's IndiCats

    We have no one to blame but ourselves. We continually think that we’ll be in the mix of things come football but as usual we wind up looking at a hand off and someone scampering off a 60 yard run. It isn’t the players fault….well yeah it is but it’s also how these kids are prepared to play. This lays solely on the coaches, no one else. We can bitch and moan all we want about this or that play but guess what? If your QB hasn’t the time to look at his 2nd, or 3rd option he has to get rid of it one way or the other. Ummmm 20 days until BBM.

  63. HickmanCo

    It is time to spend some money and get a coach that can get Uk to the top .

  64. Brew Crew

    Did anybody else see the basketball team in the 1st quarter? Man, we’re gonna be good this year.

  65. I shot mike the tiger

    Can Coach Cal Coach Football? He might know the plays but I am pretty damn sure he can motivate them!!!!

  66. Bige

    Sanders needs to go back to just being the QB coach. He is one of the worst OCs in the country.
    It’s why UT dumped him.
    Love to see offensive stats since he became OC as opposed to prior.

  67. ugh

    Newton is our starter? Shut up. Just… shut up. He’s awful along with the rest of the offense and he doesn’t do anything right. Even his touchdown pass was a hot read to King that was a prayer he just threw in there. It’s time for Max Smith (or ideally Towles next year), because we can’t run anything with Newton when he’s locked on to King on one side of the field and being clueless as to where the pressure is coming.

    I knew you were an idiot, Beisner, but defending Newton’s play is a new low… even for you.

  68. Brian Dawson

    Just plain awful!

  69. cpacat

    “painful truth is that they don’t really do anything very well.” Disagree…they have a top punter.

  70. HickmanCo

    What has newton been doing for the last 3 years? Lsu is going to hammer us.

  71. ROCH

    See Rivals 2010 Football Recruiting Summary for SEC
    (http://rivals.yahoo.com/footballrecruiting/football/recruiting/teamrank/2010/SEC/all)

    total # of of 4 and 5 star recruits – Florida 22, Kentucky 1. That translates into 48-10.

    In the heart of football season, KSR’s first three articles today deal with basketball. Are we a basketball only school. Support football during football, basketball during basketball. The football recruiting staff has to overcome this perception every day. It’s obvious we have problems. Hopefully they can be fixed; however, don’t tear down the program after 4 games.

    The KSR crowd loves to rag Auburn (showing pictures of 12 people midcourt at a home basketball game)and the other SEC schools during basketball season for their lack of basketball interest. If we don’t watch out, schools will say the same about us. We’re all damn mad and disappointed. Just don’t let recruits see our website flooded with basketball stories during football. Football is king in the SEC. The next football national champion will come from the SEC, making it 6 straight years. We’re in one hell of a league.

  72. Mike

    Can Cal coach football too!!!!!!!!!

  73. BossMan

    Fire Joker Now and begin the search for a new head coach… he was never the right choice in the first place, they just wanted to throw papa Brooks a bone with that one.

  74. Jimmy Buffett

    more

  75. Bedside Manner

    All of you pizzers and moaners sound just like the ones when Rich Brooks was in his second year. . .

  76. Triple G

    Rich Brooks was in rebuild mode. We’re supposed to be past that.I like Joker and think he deserves a chance but we need to step up the recruiting big time if we’re gonna compete in the SEC.

  77. BBN

    So we had an average team. Then we bring in a new coach and have two years of unimpressive play and it seems to be getting worse. So what do we do????? Hire Calipari.

    Now the same thing is happening to our football team. So, lets put up the money and hire a good coach.