(Photo by Darrell Bird) So, it’s like the Baylor game never happened, right? Well, maybe →
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As many of you have seen on the site already today, Jon Hood, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, and the Harrison twins played matball against a group of fifth graders at Picadome Elementary School on Monday. (The rules of matball are simple: play kickball with tumbling mats for bases; more than one person can be on one base/mat; if you step off the base/mat you have to run; and kick it to Dakari.) The Wildcats stopped by the school to deliver food as part of UK Athletics’ annual Backpack Program with God’s Pantry. It was one of three stops on the day, along with Cassidy Elementary and Landsdowne Elementary.
While watching the four freshmen and Grandpa Hood (their nickname, not mine) struggle, the camaraderie between the new teammates was obvious, as was their inability to catch the kickball. It was clear, at least on this day, Hood is the leader UK needs to him to be off the court. He directed his four freshman teammates around the gym and spoke for the group after the game. It was also clear they’re a fun-loving group with Dakari playing the role of class clown. When he wasn’t missing dunks on the lowered Picadome goals, Dakari was making jokes (funny ones I might add) and cutting up with the kids, teachers and his teammates. We all caught a good laugh when he introduced himself to the students as UK’s point guard and told Jon Hood he has been at UK since the Adolph Rupp days.
But Jon Hood age jokes aside, it was a very fun afternoon for everyone at Picadome. I loved being there to watch; I know the kids had fun playing against the basketball players; and I bet the basketball players enjoyed it more than anyone.
Now let’s run through some notes from the day before we release the embargoed John Calipari interview at midnight…
In his Monday press conference, Mark Stoops said he saw some good things from his players in the Florida game. “I thought our players played extremely hard on both sides of the ball,” he said of the team’s effort. “The thing about that game is it went so quick, our offense only had seven possessions, and that goes to both sides; offense not getting first downs and defense letting them drive it too much, so limited possessions there. But I thought we did keep them off balance, moved the ball pretty good.
“Defensively I thought we did some good things as well. I felt like we were a little more stout in the run game. I was worried about that going into the game. Their primary play is the power and the counter and I thought our players played fairly well. There were some things obviously we need to do better. They hit us on a long run, but outside of that long run we made them work for their yards and did some pretty good things. Like I said, the overall fight was pretty good. We know there are a lot of things we need to get corrected.”
As far as the quarterback situation goes, the two-quarterback look is here for at least another week. “We need to continue to evaluate that,” he said. “It would be reckless for us to name one guy at this point because nobody has taken the job and we’re going to evaluate it this week and see where we’re at.”
Both quarterbacks struggled against Florida and he attributes that to great defense by Florida and Kentucky not executing offensively. Someone needs to emerge and it’ll take consistency to do it, he says.
Steve Spurrier is up next. Get your popcorn ready!
And another backup quarterback!
Kudos to our man DeMarcus Cousins for not only officially signing the max deal with Sacramento, but giving a large chunk of it back to the city. Boogie announced on Monday that he will donate one million dollars to Sacramento charities aiding families in need. “I’m blessed to be in this situation,” Cousins said in his Kings press conference. “I’m extremely happy. I’m glad we finally got this done. I usually have a lot to say, but I’m short on words today. I like where this organization is going. I believe in it. I’m glad they believe me.”
The transition from kid to man is underway. Father, too…
Look at Baby Boogie.
One final reminder: A limited number of tickets to the Champions Classic go on sale at 10 a.m. ET. The Champions Classic will take place on Tuesday, November 12 at the United Center in Chicago and will feature Kentucky vs. Michigan State at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by Duke vs. Kansas at 9:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $39 to $405. Andrew Wiggins will be there.
Kentucky football’s next home game will be under the lights again when the Crimson Tide come to town. Kentucky and Alabama will kick off at 7:00 pm ET on October 12 and it will be televised on ESPN2. So who’s up for a Keeneland/Commonwealth double-header???
There is some quality stuff in KSR’s Funkhouser right now. I encourage you to check it out.
That’ll do it for now. See you back here in an hour with the Coach Cal interview.
Woah. Woah. Woah. A kicker pulls of an event that results in the following play-by play:
TD @ 1:46 Joe Mansour runs for 25 yards (Joe Mansour kick is good). Drive: 10 plays, 75 yards in 05:27.
…and he only lands an honorable mention? Yes, that is indeed what happened today and the king of kick was only named the Honorable Mention Specialist of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards. So despite putting up the only points of the game against the top ranked defense in the nation Joe only finishes second. Let’s take a look at the guy who brought home the top spot.
Arkansas State senior kicker Brian Davis (Brentwood, Tenn.) was named a College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) National Specialist of the Week on Monday after making 4-of-4 field goal attempts and scoring 13 points in the Red Wolves’ game against Missouri.
Let’s take a blind look. On one hand you have a guy who makes four field goals against a Missouri team that gives up 21 points per game while playing nobody. On the other you have a kicker who leads the team in rushing yards, touchdowns, and drills the extra point. If that won’t get it done I don’t know what will.
Seriously, congrats to Joe Mansour for the Honorable Mention. The play was a bright spot in another loss to Florida and was well deserving of some recognition.
The UK softball team continued their fall schedule yesterday in Ohio, where they swept Wright State and Dayton (Ohio) in a doubleheader. Shutout pitching performances led to 13 scoreless innings over two games, allowing only three hits. The offense put 14 runs on the board between the two games. The Cats started game one against Wright State with freshmen pitcher Shannon Smith, who received great run support as the Cats started the first inning with six runs. Smith threw three scoreless innings, had five strikeouts, and allowed only two hits. Freshmen pitcher Meagan Prince relieved Smith in the fourth to close out the game with three no-hit innings and three strikeouts. The Cats went on to post five more runs, defeating Wright State 11-0.
The Wildcats were even more impressive in the circle against Dayton in game two. Lauren Cumbess started the game throwing three perfect innings with six strikeouts. Sophomore Kelsey Nunley took over in the fourth allowing only one hit, walking one and striking out five, limiting the Flyers to only two base runners the whole game. Catcher Griffin Joiner blasted a two-run home run as part of a three run 5th inning. The Cats went on to defeat Dayton 3-0.
Fall ball concludes this weekend as the Cats host Georgetown College for a doubleheader starting at 12:00pm at John Crop Stadium. Admission is free.
(h/t UK Athletics)
I am not one to usually compliment West Virginia. In fact, I usually use whatever references to the Mountaineer state that I make as a method to poke fun on their bizarre behavior. But this video is cool. After the upset victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday, WVU crowd and players sang “Country Roads” and it was fairly awesome. I am not sure how Kentucky can get a tradition like this going (or if we can ever even wear the same color as the yellow that is in this crowd) but I wish we could at least replicate this feeling occasionally. Of course wins help, but some unifying song/cheer/chant would as well. Either way, the video is definitely worth the watch.
By now, you’ve heard that NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has started mentoring DeMarcus Cousins. During a press conference to announce his max contract extension today, Cousins opened up about the relationship, which is more about off-the-court lessons than basketball. Cousins said that Shaq will send him “silly texts” and stuff to check in on him from time to time. Hearing this, KSR had to investigate. A source in Sacramento confiscated Boogie’s phone and sent us screenshots of some of the texts between the two. Enjoy:
The Cats will have one VIF (Very Important Fan) in the seats when they take on Michigan State in Chicago on November 12th: Marquis Teague. The former Cat and current Chicago Bull tweeted that he will attend the game to support Cal and the Cats.
Maybe he can tell the guys a thing or two about winning a championship while he’s at it.
As we told you earlier, Marcus Lee, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, and Jon Hood visited Picadome Elementary today to play kickball with some young fans. Drew took some great videos of it, and now the folks at KYWildcatsTV have posted some more, including Marcus Lee leading the kids in a C-A-T-S chant. It’s pretty much the best thing you’ll see all day.
The UK seven-game win streak came to an end on Friday night with a 3-0 home loss to Arkansas at the UK Soccer Complex.
UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said, “Everything we talked about in the scouting report and everything we worked on was gone at the beginning of the game. We had more than enough opportunities to score a huge number of goals, but we shot everything near post and wide. We had an own goal, and the game kind of blows up on you. We came out flat and Arkansas punished us.”
(h/t UK Athletics)
Arkansas took the lead in the 30th minute off a shot from sophomore forward Ashleigh Ellenwood. She received the ball at the top of the box and drilled a well-placed shot past keeper Kayla King to give Arkansas the 1-0 lead.
In the 57th minute, the Cats fell victim to friendly fire off a corner, allowing the Razorbacks to double their lead. The ball hit off the back of a defender’s head and into the goal past King.
(h/t UK Athletics)
UK pushed to a four-forward set after the second goal, in an attempt to salvage the game from being their first SEC loss of the season. During an offensive attack in the 80th minute, UK lost the ball and were left susceptible to a counter-attack. Jeriann Okoro put the game out of reach when she struck the ball past Kayla King, scoring the Razorback’s 3rd goal of the night.
UK (7-2-1, 1-1-0 SEC) fell 3-0 at home to the Razorbacks on Friday night, their first SEC loss of the season.
On Sunday, the Cats played their 2013 Kick-Cancer match against No. 19 Georgia. UK came out playing hard early and earned a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs.
Arguably the most impressive game the Cats have played all season, UK controlled the game early and had many shots. Although the stats say Georgia had three more shots, Kentucky had more shots on goal and challenged the Bulldogs often.
Stuart Pope scored the game-winning goal in the 71st minute. She collected the ball at the top of the box, took a touch to her left and drove a low shot past the UGA keeper to put UK up 1-0. Pope leads the team with nine goals on the season thus far.
(h/t UK Athletics)
The game was also Kayla King’s fifth shutout of the season for the #25 Wildcats. King displayed leadership and confidence on the field Sunday behind her two saves on the night.
UK coach Jon Lipsitz said, “I think today was our best performance of the year, there might have been days where we have scored more goals or had more opportunities, but Georgia is such a fantastic team. We watched a lot of film and saw how difficult this game was going to be. For us to win this game means the world to us.”
The team wore gold jerseys to represent pediatric cancer research and to help raise money for Dance Blue, a UK run organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research. The game-worn gold jerseys, the game ball, and Jon Lipsitz’s tie from the UGA game will all be auctioned off with the proceeds going to pediatric cancer research.
The Cats (8-2-1, 2-1-0 SEC) ended a nine-game winning streak for the #19 Bulldogs and regained their confidence with a convincing win on Sunday. UK has also won eight of their last nine games with the win vs. Georgia. The Cats next game is Friday against Mississippi State in Starkville at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Basketball season is only weeks away, which means it’s time to start the speculation. There will be plenty on the actual competitive aspects of the games in those few weeks, but for now, as we get ready for Big Blue Madness, what games are you looking forward to watching most?
A few probable favorites:
1) Louisville – Hard not to start with a rivalry game at home against the reigning champions. If you like your games messy and emotional, well then you’re in luck, because that’s what this rivalry has been the last four years. Both teams should be ranked in the Top 5, and the competition should be as hyped as we’ve seen in a few years. Throw in the fact that it’s at Rupp and Pitino broke his losing streak last year, and things could get out of hand. As the lunch lady used to say, “I made it extra schlllloppy for ya.”
2) North Carolina – This has always been a rocky relationship, made even worse by each team “needing some time alone” last year during the hiatus. Really, the reasoning was schedule-based, as Cal didn’t want Louisville and UNC to be home-home or away-away every year. That means this year the Cats take the trip to the Dean Dome, which should help to equalize the discrepancy between the talent levels. North Carolina’s good, but they might need the help of the crowd. Add in the P.J. Hairston drama, and ESPN will be all over this one. If competitive, dispassionate non-conference is your thing, then this should be clean basketball fun.
3) Tennessee – We only get one crack at Tennessee this year, and thankfully it’s at home, in the comforts of Rupp. Not that I think this Kentucky team needs a home court advantage against the Pumpkin Spice Girls, but being able to watch a beating like that in person is sure to be a lot of fun. Jarnell Stokes is a legit NBA-caliber forward, and Cuonzo Martin has the Vols going in the right direction, but every road to improvement comes with a few bumps. This should be one of those bumps.
4) Florida – We hate Tennessee more, but Florida should be a better game. They’re coached better, have better talent, and Rutger transfer Eli Carter was just granted a waiver by the NCAA. However, we’ve got two games against the Gators, which may diminish the appeal of each one.
5) Robert Morris – Revenge is a dish best served boiling lava hot, and that’s exactly what I expect these Cats to be coming out of the gate with the home opener. The returners will want to show they’ve improved, and the newcomers will want to show that they’re not the team that lost in the NIT. It’s the first game for the fans at Rupp, and the first game in Rupp for a lot of freshmen, so we might see a team start out shaky and end up dominating. Perhaps a dark horse for most fun game of the year.
And now in random and slightly terrifying news, state police have caught Peter Dobyns, an Indiana man who pulled a gun on another driver on I-75 in Madison County yesterday afternoon. David Kollar noticed the man driving recklessly and shot a video and sent it in to WKYT’s newsroom. In the video, you can see Dobyns pull a gun and allegedly fired it at him. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Dobyns was taken into custody in Indiana this afternoon. Get the full details, including the video, over at WKYT.com.
Yes, you read that correctly. Our fearless leader spent the afternoon filming a part in Laura Bell Bundy’s new video, “Kentucky Dirty.” The song apparently mentions UK several times, hence Matt’s role.
Country music is Bundy’s latest venture. The Lexington native has starred in several Broadway plays, movies, and TV shows, including a current gig on Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management.” Her latest hit, “Two Step,” is climbing the country charts and has over 800,000 views on YouTube:
If only nerdy 16-year-old Matt Jones could see himself now…
In an attempt to reassert itself as one of the top shoe brands in the game, Reebok is bringing back two iconic styles this fall, the Question and the Pump Omni Lite. “The Pump” was pretty much the coolest shoe ever when it came out in the early 90s, featuring a internal inflation mechanism that made even the worst basketball player feel cool.
The Pump is coming back as the “Pumpspective Omni,” and new Reebok spokesman Nerlens Noel just instagrammed a photo of his new pair this afternoon. Does this mean we’ll see Nerlens saying “pump it up!” in a commercial sometime soon?
The basketball team can now practice for 20 hours a week, but that didn’t stop them from taking a little break today to play kickball with the kids at Picadome Elementary. Check out this video from our ace reporter Drew Franklin, who was on the scene.
Dakari just had to get that kid out, didn’t he? Stone cold killer.
A dunk contest on an 8-foot goal? Why not?
In the pantheon of great fictional sports characters, Kenny Powers (or, to the indoctrinated, “Kenny F****in Powers” belongs in the hallowed halls of entertainment alongside greats as Sam “Mayday” Malone and Pedro Cerrano. Sports figures can make fascinating characters with a multitude of dynamic paths to traverse.
But where Sam Malone and Pedro Cerrano found a resolution to their stories (Sam resolved his issues with long-time love Diane Chambers and Pedro won a pennant for the Cleveland Indians), Kenny Powers’ trajectory has long been a bullet train to self-destruction. At the end of the last season of HBO’s Eastbound & Down, which was believed at the time to be the series finale, viewers saw Powers (Danny McBride) hanging up his baseball dreams, faking his death and returning to his much put-upon but beloved April (Katy Mixon) for a life as a regular, upstanding family man. It would have been a decent end to the series, combining both Powers’ flair for dramatically flaming out with his deep-seeded need to find approval…from someone, somewhere, even if it wasn’t as the hardballing, universally loved and feared athlete he dreamed he could always be.
The beginning of season four (which showrunner Jody Hill claims is the last) picks up a few years down the line for the former MLB pitcher, finding Powers’ average-guy daily life as a car rental employee, husband and father of two starting to show signs of wear. We pick up the story after a brief montage of Powers’ post-season-three, whereupon we see glimpses of his triumphant return to his own funeral and marriage to the perpetually sweet April, and Hill drops us squarely into a phase of Kenny’s life where he’s clearly starting to see the seams of his buttoned-down, non-hellraising life splitting at the seams. Dinner parties, dreams of owning an inground pool — Kenny has all the archetypal trophies which prove to a man that he’s “settled down.” After a chance encounter with an ex-teammate (The State’s Ken Marino, great casting) who now hosts a sports talk show, however, Powers begins to long for the days of realizing his own greatness once again. As regular viewers of Eastbound & Down realize, however, Kenny Powers’ attempts to fulfil his destiny come at great price for nearly all those around him.
McBride and Jody Hill have long been writing and producing partners going back to the indie film The Foot Fist Way, which featured McBride as a prototype for what the character of Kenny Powers would eventually become. The Foot Fist Way, it should be noted, also had a very pronounced dark side (nowhere more than in a delted “ending” scene where McBride’s character actually kill someone) — and one wonders where Hill and McBride can go with the character next. After all, in the past three seasons Powers has already dynamited the relationship with his brother, disappeared to Mexico and “died,” all which would have been natural and sensible ways to end the series itself. Season four would seem to be the point of no return for the character — he either gets it all, which he admittedly does not deserve, or he loses everything. Everything.
Herein lies the dilemma for the season: as a character with a fully-formed family and career, Powers’ self-destruction has greater repercussions than ever before. As a man with a wife and child myself, I found myself watching the episode with a slight cringe — Kenny Powers has always been hilariously easy to love, even in the depths of his violent narcissism, but to crack completely now would drop an atomic bomb on everyone in a really, really awful way. It won’t be pretty. There’s no way it can be.
It would seem that Jody Hill has a tough row to hoe here — and if past work by the director is any signpost, he’s certainly capable of finishing the story in grim fashion. Obviously season four can’t follow the same trajectory as the past three — Kenny loses everything and then sucks it up to get it all back — so the arc to come will be an interesting one to watch. At the close of last night’s episode we saw him smoking crack and grabbing a shovel to build his own damn pool. These are signs that this is all going to come to a head really fast, and it’s going to be a marvel to watch. Even through clenched teeth. At this point it’s all or nothing for Kenny Powers, and Hill and McBride seem to be asking us to grab onto the mane of this devil-stallion and ride it straight into the depths of hell. You got it, guys. Let’s go.
On paper, Stephen Merchant’s Stuart — of Hello Ladies, HBO’s latest comedy offering — would appear to be the precise opposite of Kenny F****in Powers: he’s an affable beanpole web designer in Los Angeles pining to be considered a ladies man despite his entire countenance proving otherwise. Merchant, the longtime writing partner of Ricky Gervais, has made his own name in Gervais-starring projects like The Ricky Gervais Show, Extras and Life is Short, and he’s extremely likeable. It’s actually a really smart idea, a show with Merchant in a lead role like this one, and he fills it well.
Stuart lives, by “television standards,” a sad and uninteresting life — he eats microwaved chicken wings by himself late at night a small apartment, works in a mundane job, has a schlubby best friend (Nate Torrence) and can’t conduct a conversation to save his life. He routinely watches his attractive neighbor Jessica bed cooler guys than him and mock his lack of confidence, then bites his lip as she torpedoes him in front of potential love interests. In a smaller, more grounded community, a guy like Stuart might have opportunities. But this is L.A., where image and presentation is key, and Stuart has neither image nor presentation.
The pilot episode of Hello Ladies shows great promise; a scene where Stuart, in an effort to gain favor in a club he doesn’t belong in, buys drinks for everyone (one patron actually thinks he’s a waiter), prompts both laughs and sympathy. Merchant pulls it off; he’s endearing with his stuttering speech, gangly height and bug eyes. But a closer look reveals certain similarities between Stuart and Kenny Powers — his need for approval from women, much like Kenny’s need for approval from, well, everyone, prompts him to overlook the approval he has in front of him. A scene wherein he denigrates his recently-separated friend and disregards her daughter completely denotes a Kenny Powers-esque delusion in that his eyes are so solely focused on one prize — in this case, becoming the casanova he so clearly wants to be — that meaningful interpersonal relationships suffer. The pilot strikes an even balance between Stuart’s charming fumbles and a snarky dickishness, and to really make the show sing one or the other of these sides will need to take a larger role. As it is, however, Hello Ladies has real potential if it can find that balance. We may not be riding with Stuart into the inferno like we are with Kenny Powers, but Stuart’s a fortysomething man in trendy Los Angeles. He’s already there.
By Nick Roush on ©3:00 pm
Coach Stoops began this morning’s press conference with what is probably the longest narrative of his head coaching career. After watching film from Saturday’s game, Stoops took away 3 Main Points of emphasis:
1. Film showed that it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was, with players fighting “extremely hard on both sides of the ball” until the final horn.
You could feel the frustration in the air from fans, players and coaches but after watching the film, Stoops is happy to pump the brakes before jumping on his players for a poor performance. When things didn’t go their way, the Cats continued to battle. Through the ugly stretch of games, it can be difficult keeping the fire under the player’s butts lit. “We’re by no means perfect. We know there’s a lot of things we need to clean up and get better at, but that was a good indication.” After watching the film, Stoops was anxious to get right back into practice, “for us it’s back to work.”
2. The run defense was more “stout”, keeping Florida’s primary rushing plays in check (outside of Matt Jones’ 67 yard scurry).
Matt Jones’ 176 rushing yard may have you thinking Stoops is full of it when he says this, but in reality the defense kept Florida from turning routine plays into big ones. The stalemate at the line of scrimmage forced their running backs to rely on size to fall forward for a few yards at most. Coach Stoops is adamant on being able to stop a power run game in the SEC, taking steps in the right direction last Saturday. On the contrary, there’s also a few areas Stoops needs to improve on, and he’s not afraid to admit it.
“We need to do things better, we know that. Take the first drive for instance; they take the ball and go 93 yards in almost 8 minutes, and that’s frustrating as a defensive guy. The good news from that is some of the base plays we need to improve on defending or you’re NEVER going to be good, we improved. The one that crushes me is the 3rd down they executed because we had been very good at 3rd and long. That was my fault. I called the pressure that was a complement off some other things we had been doing in the first 3 games and it was good (for them) empty (in coverage), so it didn’t work out. That’s on me.“
3. This QB situation isn’t shaking out the way he’d like to see.
To dig a little deeper into what Tyler said earlier, it appears the coaching staff wanted to find “their guy” at QB over the Bye Week stretch. Max’s shoulder was probably going to take him completely out of the game after missing a week of work, until he came back in practice with his best performance. The quandary has caused to Stoops to be a little restless but, “It’d be reckless to name one guy at this point because nobody’s taken the job.” Since Bye Week practices couldn’t help the coaches make a choice, whomever maintains the most composure on the road by providing consistent drives will likely win the starting job.
A little something to LOL about
- Mark Stoops has known the Spurriers for awhile, dating back to 1996 when brother Bob’s defense helped Spurrier lay claim to his only National Championship. You might be thinking, OK so what, but there’s something unique about this relationship: the Spurriers’ and Stoops’ share the same vacation spot, “We see them from time-to-time on vacation on the beach. Coach (Spurrier) goes to the same place Bob does and we see them every now and then.” Can you imagine the hi-jinx at the beach???????????
- On how you prepare true freshmen for their first SEC road game, “Throw em to the wolves.” Real talk: they’ll be bringing in some artificial crowd noise for practice this week.
- How do you stop an offense that sticks to quick passes? “We could tighten up, we could also give up 57 yard touchdown passes too…we could tighten up, it’s not like I forgot how to do that.”
- The offensive line struggled at times against the disruptive Florida DLine. There were two plays that Coach Stoops classified as “absolutely unacceptable”. One was a mental mistake by Darrian Miller and the other was a wrong protection call upfront. “I’ve been coaching defense a long time and you never get two free ones, and we gave em two free sacks, so Merry Christmas.”
- When Stoops was discussing the opportunity to go up against big-time offenses, the following quote made Lonny Demarree laugh at a higher pitch than a prepubescent teenage girl, “It’s sleepless nights, but it gives you a little fix.”
- Today’s entertaining press conference was a great 22nd birthday present. Some follows from my favorite KSR fans would also be much appreciated @RoushKSR.