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Let me be the first to wish all of you a big, warm Happy National Custodial Workers Day!
Oh, you didn’t know? This is awkward. I thought everyone knew. Wednesday is National Custodial Workers Day. The “holiday” is set aside each year on October 2 to recognize the many men and women who work behind the scenes in our offices, schools, restaurants, and other places of business to keep it squeaky clean and free of filth. These people are overlooked 364 days out of the year by most of the people dirtying everything up, but not today. Today, we all take time out to thank the hardworking, under-appreciated people who keep things so fresh and so clean.
So thank you, custodial workers of America. I work from home so I probably won’t see any of you, but I, and everyone else in America, appreciate all you do. Enjoy your big day.
Welp, let’s do this…
After listening to Mark Stoops following Tuesday’s practice, it sounds like UK has its starting quarterback and that guy will get most of the snaps. The problem for fans is, the UK staff is not going to tell us who it is prior to Saturday’s game. Stoops admitted that one quarterback is getting more work with the first team in practice, but they’re going to keep it hush in the days leading up to the game to force Steve Spurrier to prepare for both QBs.
My guess is Jalen Whitlow will be the starter because his mobility will be needed to escape South Carolina’s pass rush. Max Smith is like a statue in the pocket and that’ll get him killed against Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks’ front four. Whitlow may not have the deep ball, but Max hasn’t shown us much of anything through the air, either. Roll with Whitlow’s athleticism and hope for the best.
Or give it to Mansour.
Some quarterback news from the other sideline: Steve Spurrier said Conner Shaw could suit up against the Wildcats. Shaw, ranked fourth in the conference in pass efficiency, injured his shoulder Saturday night against Central Florida and the initial report was he would likely miss the next two or three games. But now the Ol’ Ball Coach is a little more confident in the status of his starting quarterback after watching him throw the ball in Monday’s practice. The injury is not as significant as originally thought, apparently.
Spurrier also took a jab at Kentucky on Tuesday, just as he has always done in the past. After complimenting the South Carolina fan base for selling out another game, he said he won’t criticize the crowd if they decide to leave early Saturday. Hear it for yourself:
Spurrier did have good things to say about Mark Stoops, though. He said, “(Kentucky has) struggled a bit this year, got a new coach, Mark Stoops, who I think eventually is going to do an excellent job there at Kentucky. They’ve struggled a little bit offensively; their defense has played well most of the year; struggled ocassionally, but they’ve been tough. They’ll come in here and give us all we can handle, I’m sure.”
Kentucky is currently a 21-point underdog to the Gamecocks.
We’re about six hours away from the mayhem that is Tent City, although I’m told the mayhem is already getting underway across the street. The campout officially begins at 5:00 a.m. Wednesday morning when UK allows campers to set up around Memorial Coliseum. UK asks campers to be courteous to others — play nice, everybody — and public safety officials will be on hand to aid and assist a safe move-in. I plan to catch a quick 2:00 am – 4:00 am nap and join the party for the race across Euclid before sunrise, so I’ll be around to lend a hand too. Tweet me if you want breakfast.
Also, KSR will be around Tent City Thursday night and Friday morning. We’ll be doing Friday morning’s radio show live from someone’s tent.
Got questions about parking? We got answers, via UK:
Campers are encouraged to come prepared with their tents and other belongings prior to arriving at Memorial Coliseum. Unloading may occur in the Wildcat Plaza inset (directly across from the frontage of Memorial Coliseum) for a maximum of 5 minutes or in the metered spaces directly North of the Joe Craft Center. Campers should not park in employee or residential parking lots and streets near Memorial Coliseum, both of which require valid UK parking permits until 5:30pm on Friday, October 4th. Campus safety officials request campers not block bike lanes and/or sidewalks with their vehicles at any time. Vehicles left unattended or creating traffic congestion will be cited and/or towed.
After unloading, campers must relocate their vehicles to the E/K overflow parking lot, located across from Commonwealth Stadium off Alumni Drive. Parking in the E/K overflow parking lot will be free. Bus service will be available to transport fans back to Memorial Coliseum. Lextran buses serve this parking lot from 7 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, the gates of Parking Structure #5 (also known as the Limestone Garage) next to Kennedy’s Bookstore will be open and the structure will be available for free parking. The garage will remain open overnight; however no camping or sleeping in vehicles is permitted. Cars must be removed by 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5.
I hope that helped. If it didn’t, I don’t know what to tell you.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen a lot of new content from the various media outlets that cover Kentucky basketball. It’s all hitting the web at once now that it’s no longer embargoed from last month’s interviews, and most of it is the same, but one thing is very clear: this team is good, probably better than we originally expected. Cal is back to his trash-talking ways; the players won’t stop raving about the competition in practice; Aaron Harrison may be better than Andrew; Dakari is giving Willie all he can handle; and the chemistry is exactly what it needs to be at this point in the season. There is still a whole season of college basketball to be played, but the hype is real, folks. Say what you will about preseason expectations — they’re often too high, I know — but this year, Kentucky basketball is the real deal.
Sleep on that and I’ll see you at Tent City at 5:00 a.m.
1-12. That’s Kentucky’s record against South Carolina in the new millennium. South Carolina got a new coach and found a way to climb from the depths of the SEC to compete for SEC East championships. Kentucky looks to be following a similar model to one day be competitive as well. For now though they are struggling to pick up their first SEC win in two years and in order to do that the Cats will need to do this. Find a way to stop South Carolina:
The Wildcats are quickly becoming a curse for rival quarterbacks. Brandon Doughty. Jeff Driskell. Connor Shaw. All guys who have lost their starting position with Kentucky on the schedule. While it isn’t certain Shaw will not be under center this Saturday it certainly appears that way after suffering a shoulder sprain against UCF. Thompson has been a serviceable backup in his playing time over the past couple of seasons. Coach Stoops had this to say about Thompson earlier this week:
“I think they’ll change a little,” Stoops said. “Connor Shaw had a little more experience. You saw some more of the (shot)gun running game with the quarterback running. I think we will still see that, but I do expect them to be under center a lit bit more and run it.”
Hopefully we have a better time with this back-up than we did with Florida.
Last season Clowney was an absolute force but so far this season he has merely been dominate. In fact Coach Spurrier issued a challenge this week that Clowney needed to “step up”. Just what the line who has been outplayed all season wanted to hear I’m sure… Clowney has considered a Heisman candidate coming into the season but has only logged 12 tackles, including 3 for loss and 2 sacks. I’m sure it has something to do with teams game planning around one of the best defenders in football. If Clowney is going to bounce back he’ll want to start this Saturday against Kentucky. If Kentucky is going to win then they need to find a way to avoid Clowney and keep the running attack safe. Easier said than done.
It seems like Bruce Ellington has been a thorn in Kentucky’s side on both the field and hardwood for about seven years now. In reality, Ellington is entering just his third year while breaking out with the pigskin. Bruce is leading the cocks in both receptions and yards with an average of 16.4 yards per catch. No matter what the outcome is this Saturday Ellington will most likely suffer from nightmares after playing a team with Kentucky across the chest. On March 1 the revenge tour will head to Columbia and Ellington will get the honor of trying to guard Andrew Harrison. Ellington stands just 5’9. Good luck with that.
So what do you think? Will the Cats find a way to stop these guys this Saturday?
KentuckySportsRadio.com asked each member of the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team the same ten questions about a variety of personal topics, ranging from celebrity crushes to favorite food. We will unveil their responses, one question at a time, over the next two weeks in this ten-part “Pop Quiz” series.
WHO IS THE FUNNIEST GUY ON THE TEAM?
Willie Cauley-Stein: “It depends on the day. Everyone is really funny.”
E.J. Floreal: Julius Randle or Andrew Harrison
Aaron Harrison: Dakari Johnson
Andrew Harrison: Willie Cauley-Stein, Aaron Harrison, or Dakari Johnson
Dominique Hawkins: Julius Randle
Jon Hood: Brian Long
Dakari Johnson: Julius Randle
Tod Lanter: James Young
Marcus Lee: Julius Randle
Brian Long: Willie Cauley-Stein
Sam Malone: Dakari Johnson
Jarrod Polson: Dakari Johnson
Alex Poythress: Willie Cauley-Stein
Julius Randle: Brian Long
Derek Willis: Julius Randle or Dakari Johnson
James Young: Dakari Johnson
- Coach Stoops has mentioned often the team’s in-practice work over game-situations, especially on 3rd down. The last two games have proved that isn’t enough with the Cats going 1-23 since entering the meat and potatoes of the schedule. Yesterday I asked Coach Stoops if that warranted a complete change in preparation. The short answer was no, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to change it up in practice. Today they worked on 3rd down earlier than ever before, “we’re still in search of making some plays in critical situations.”
- Maintaining positive energy in the locker room throughout this tough stretch of games will be a challenge for the young staff. It might be difficult for young guys that haven’t experienced many losses to handle the situation, but Stoops likes what he sees after two days of work this week, “It’s very difficult to come in Sunday after a loss; having to get here and grind it out all day and get these kids back out there ready to go, it’s not fun. But I was very encouraged Monday and I was very encouraged today, I think their attitude is right. We truly try to just make it a one-week season.” Avery Williamson has been through rough times before, but it’s different this time because he believes that this is truly a good football team, “I know we’ve got a good team that can win some games. That’s what drives me to come out here each day and get better, knowing that we have a chance to win some good games.”
- DJ Eliot agrees with Stoops’ statements yesterday about the improved play against the power rushing attack. The next step is improving against single-back sets, “Our weakness in that game was one-back runs. The quarterback had a long run in a one-back, the running back got to the edge on a one-back run, but the power game is where I think we improved (the most).”
- Josh Forrest didn’t play too terribly much after working his way into the starting spot at strong-side linebacker. However he made a lot of his time, getting the team’s first interception of the year on his first play in the game. Forrest might be seeing the field even more after the big play, “that goes a long way,” DJ Eliot said today, “we need more of that. It goes a long way when you make a big time play like that.”
- Jason Hatcher’s world could’ve been rocked upside down if he didn’t drop USC for Stoops’ Troops in Kentucky. Lane Kiffin was fired as the head ball coach this past weekend, but Hatcher hasn’t paid much attention to what’s going on across the country, “I feel like that’s a whole different situation and I’m just glad to be where I’m at.”
- Donte Rumph is returning home Saturday night, playing in a stadium he’s been to often, “I can’t count, a lot.” Donte grew up not far away in St. Matthews, South Carolina, visiting Williams Brice Stadium frequently as a child to watch his uncle Chris play for the Gamecocks. “It’s definitely a good feeling to go back home and see your family, but I can’t let that be a distraction.”
- I gotta get outta here. Time to prep for BBM with a good ole-fashioned camp out. If you see me, don’t act like a stranger. @RoushKSR
Last season, the University of Kentucky Gymnastics team had the most successful run in program history. They finished 21st in the national rankings and grabbed the highest-ever NCAA regional score in school history. This season will prove to be just as exciting for the Wildcats as most of last year’s team will return to the mat to build upon the fantastic progress that they made last year.
With that in mind, Tim Garrison who is in his third year of coaching at UK, is turning towards the 2014 season schedule which includes match-ups with the defending National Champion Florida Gators and SEC rivals: Auburn, Mizzou, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, and Alabama. In addition, WVU, Penn State, Nebraska, NCAA title runner-up Oklahoma, Arizona, Ball State, Cal, and Centenary will also face the Cats.
There will be a total of four home meets this season, including the SEC match-ups with Florida and Auburn on February 7th and February 28th respectably. The team will hold their Blue/White meet on December 10th and their annual Excite Night to kick off the regular season on January 10th.
Here is the full schedule:
Kentucky fans aren’t craziest and most passionate in college basketball? Try telling these people that.
There now looks to be close to 80 people camping out. They have been doing so all day. They are not camping out for tickets to the Louisville game, Michigan State game or Florida Game. They are camping out for Big Blue Madness (a day before the camp out is scheduled I might add), which is a team scrimmage. You read that right a scrimmage against themselves.
This is the Big Blue Nation ladies and gentlemen where Big Blue Madness is to Kentucky fans what simply breathing is to any other college basketball fan. In other words, Big Blue Madness is an absolute must, no if’s, ands, or but’s about it.
The official camp out starts at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow which should result in a chaotic seen that will produce lines longer than the 5:30 p.m. traffic by Memorial Coliseum.
They are here. Why aren’t you?
Since the start of the year we’ve seen Mark Stoops and the coaching staff send in Max Smith or Jalen Whitlow from the sideline in relief of the other. If you listen to Mark Stoops’ quotes from after this past game it is clear he isn’t happy running a two quarterback system. In fact, Stoops and company haven’t sounded very fond of the use of both quarterbacks since the beginning of the season. The problem? Neither quarterback has stepped up and proved he is the man for the job. Its clear the coaches would love for one of the two to take the reins and prove they can be the guy, but both have played so inconsistently that is has led to them both being listed at the top of the depth chart week after week. So who is the best option to lead Neal Brown’s offense for the rest of the year?
The Case For Whitlow
The best case you can make for Jalen Whitlow to be THE guy going forward for the Cats is his dual threat ability with the ball. Something Jalen brings to the equation that Max simply can’t is god given speed and the elusiveness of a running back. With Whitlow there is an added bonus of making something out of nothing if the offensive line breaks down, whereas Max would take a sack. This year Whitlow has rushed for 169 yards this season some coming on scrambles and some on designed runs that adds another wrinkle to the UK offenses that opposing defenses are forced to prepare for. To go along with those yards, Jalen has two rushing touchdowns. Whitlow’s rushing ability also could be deadly when Kentucky lines up in a goal line package and rolls him out on play action. Whitlow however isn’t all about the legs, he has a very good arm that is more than capable of making the throws needed in the Air Raid offense. Whitlow has 321 yards and a touchdown with his arm this season. The biggest knock on Jalen is his decision making which at times can be very poor (under thrown deep ball in the end zone against Louisville) and can lead to turnovers which this team cant afford to give up with the struggles of the defense. If Jalen Whitlow can improve his decision making and make the right throws taking what the defense gives him then he will be the starter going forward like many predicted at the beginning of the year. Whitlow is simply too dynamic to keep off the field and that may be the deciding factor if Coach Stoops decides to put all his eggs in the Whitlow basket.
The Case For Smith
While not possessing the same speed and scrambling ability as Whitlow, Max Smith presents a strong case himself to be named Kentucky’s starter moving forward. Smith, a sophomore, has the arm to make good throws to open receivers on west-coast style routes. Smith can be more accurate than Whitlow a good amount of the time but has also been called out for his inability to throw the deep ball. In Neal Brown’s offense if they want to stretch the field Max will have to be more consistent on deep passes to be the guy this season, and possibly into next season depending on just how good Drew Barker is as a freshman. This season Smith has thrown for 634 yards in four games, racking up huge yardage against Western in week one in the latter stages of that tilt. Smith has four touchdowns to go along with that and one interception. Smith has the arm and the mindset to lead this potentially high powered offense but the biggest concern for Max Smith is with out a doubt injury concerns. Smith’s shoulder has been a question mark this year and he went down last year to injury as well forcing both Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles to see the field. Smith seems to unfortunately have the injury bug and if it continues throughout this year and the rest of his UK career it could take him out of contention for the starting job more than once. Given Max’s injury history and his lack of running ability it seems that it would be hard to envision Mark Stoops and Co. going with Smith for the rest of the year as the full time starter.
No matter who the coaches select to name the starter, one must be selected sometime soon. History has proven that if you have two quarterbacks you really have no quarterback (cliche I know) and this offense will have to be handed over to one or the other. While either QB has the skills to make this offense run it has to be said that the offense needs an athlete as talented as Whitlow to be on the field as much as possible. He is a young QB and the decision making is concerning at time but Smith’s injury prone tendencies are an even bigger worry and that injury bug could make this a moot point if he goes down again. Whoever is handed the keys to the offense will have earned it, that we can be sure of and trust Mark Stoops with.
We generally consider UofL evil around these parts, but it seems like there is at least one faculty member fighting the good fight in the vile ‘Ville. Check out this picture of a test administered by a University of Louisville Industrial Engineering professor, who came up with the best bonus question ever for his/her students. Well done.
How soon before Jurich gets him fired?
Mark Stoops just told reporters that one quarterback took more snaps than the other today at practice, but declined to say which one. (That wily minx!) Yesterday, Stoops said that it’s time for the staff to finally settle on one quarterback, but that’s been difficult because neither Jalen Whitlow nor Maxwell Smith have pulled ahead in the battle for the starting spot.
Could the staff be taking matters into their own hand? If so, which quarterback do you think took the most reps?
In other news, Stoops says he’s encouraged by the team’s attitude the past few days despite the grind that comes with losing two straight games and the SEC gauntlet. As always, Nick Roush will be by in a bit with more from practice, including comments from the defensive staff.
(I’m probably the only one who sings “QB Shuffle” to the tune of “Cupid Shuffle”, right? Thought so. Oh well…)
I’m the type of person who often will resign my opinion about something in the case that I assume someone else knows more about it than I do. In the case of any and all strategic football decisions, I assume that Mark Stoops and Neal Brown have been doing the job much longer (and by that, I mean at all…which contrasts with me having NEVER done it) than I have, therefore qualifying them to make the decision– even if it doesn’t necessarily align with mine. Do I think Kentucky should go with one quarterback, no matter what, from this point moving forward? Yes. Mark Stoops and Neal Brown aren’t quite ready to make that call yet though, and I have to think and respect that if they felt comfortable in doing so, they would.
So the QB Shuffle continues… for at least another week.
Now that I’ve resigned that the decision is in much better hands with the coaching staff than it is with you, me, or anyone else for that matter… I did find the constant shuffling in and out of both quarterbacks on Saturday a bit overwhelming. From my seat in Commonwealth Stadium, the substitution pattern certainly didn’t feel like it was very effective. The eye test told me (any many others who have aired the same grievance) that perhaps any chance of one quarterback finding a rhythm was lost in the shuffle. But my naked eye isn’t trained enough in football to say that with pure confidence, so I decided to actually break down the QB Shuffle from Saturday to see exactly how the offense moved after each switch was made.
QB Shuffle #1:
Before the Shuffle…
- Jalen Whitlow threw 2 times for 2 completions, totaling 17 yards
- Jalen Whitlow rushed for 7 yards
- Jalen Whitlow successfully helped Kentucky get 2 first downs
- The offense moved a total of 22 yards on 4 plays
After the Shuffle…
- Max Smith completion for 1 yard
- Penalty UK false start
- Max Smith completion for 8 yards
- Max Smith sacked for a 3 yard loss
—-Thoughts: Jalen Whitlow finally appeared to look comfortable in the opening moments of a game this season, which hasn’t necessarily been the case very often. Whitlow has often looked tight and nervous, generally making costly mistakes early in games. On Saturday though, Whitlow appeared confident and at ease early on in the game. On the first series, the offense was methodically moving down the field behind Whitlow’s combination of short throws and playmaking ability on the ground. Just as Kentucky was entering Florida territory, Whitlow was removed and Max Smith entered the game. Of all the shuffles throughout the game, this one was the most puzzling. As soon as Smith entered the game, the offense had trouble continuing the momentum.
QB Shuffle #2:
Before the Shuffle…
- Jalen Whitlow completion for 6 yards
- Jalen Whitlow completion for 3 yards
- Joe Mansour fake FG for a TD
After the Shuffle…
- Max Smith completion for a 7 yard loss
- Raymond Sanders rushes for 9 yards
- Max Smith pass incomplete
- The offense got zero first downs and moved the ball a total of 2 yards
—- Thoughts: Once again, after the momentum of the fake field goal, the change in quarterbacks didn’t create much momentum moving forward.
QB Shuffle #3:
Before the Shuffle…
- Jalen Whitlow rush for no gain
- Jalen Whitlow pass incomplete
- Jalen Whitlow rush for 2 yards
- Kentucky forced to punt after traveling only 2 yards
After the Shuffle
- Raymond Sanders rush for 2 yards
- Max Smith completion for 21 yards
- Raymond Sanders rush for 5 yards
- Max Smith completion for 8 yards
- Max Smith incomplete pass
- Dyshawn Mobley rush for 6 yards
- Dyshawn Mobley rush for no gain
- Max Smith incomplete pass
- Kentucky moved the ball a total of 45 yards, completing 2 first downs
—-Thoughts: At this point, Max Smith took over and the shuffle seemed to be more productive. Time wasn’t on Kentucky’s side though, even with a few timeouts in the pocket.
- In the second half, Max Smith was basically handed the reins other than a play here and there with Jalen Whitlow
- Kentucky got 6 first downs in the 2nd half, including a final drive that saw Kentucky cover 40 yards before falling short on 4th down in Florida territory
- Max Smith was sacked for a loss 3 times on the final drive, costing Kentucky a total of 19 yards
—-Thoughts: In the second half, we saw much more of Max Smith than we saw of Jalen Whitlow. Smith was able to complete a few impressive passes, but struggled with accuracy. Compared to the first half though, Smith was given a chance to find more of a rhythm.
For now anyway, we will probably continue to see some of both quarterbacks. The coaching staff is still waiting for one or the other to completely take the reins. So, in the spirit of the Cupid Shuffle being stuck in my head still…”(Neal) Brown, Brown, do your dance…do your dance. “
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:00 pm
This morning, the Champions Classic released a limited number of tickets to the public via Ticketmaster and the United Center Box Office. The Classic, which will feature Kentucky vs. Michigan State and Duke vs. Kansas, will take place on November 12th at the United Center in Chicago, which seats about 22,000. Demand for this event is sky high, as it will pit four of the best teams against each other in what may be the best set of games to take place outside of the Final Four.
As many of you know by now, tickets sold out instantly, even for those who started refreshing the Ticketmaster page at 10:55 a.m. ET. Some people were able to get tickets by calling Ticketmaster or the United Center Box Office, but they’re few and far between. So, what the heck happened?
The Champions Classic staff says the limited release included allotments for each of the four schools, PrimeSport.com, and the general public. What is PrimeSport.com? A hospitality/ticket broker that partners with Ticketmaster to sell tickets and ticket passages at a higher fee. Right now, they’re selling nosebleed seats behind the basket for $270/each; on Ticketmaster’s site, those same seats are priced at $39/each plus taxes. (Cue the “Ticketmaster is evil” rants…) All in all, it’s a terrible system that makes it pretty impossible to go see a game on a reasonable budget.
Not surprisingly, fans are outraged over the “ticket release” and have attacked Champions Classic via Twitter and Facebook. In an attempt at damage control, the Champions Classic people released the following statement: “As we’ve done in previous years, we will release more tix via Ticketmaster at a later date.” The Facebook comments on that thread are particularly scathing, and therefore hilarious. Here are my ten favorites:
300 tickets?! If true, that is absurd. Why even publicize it? I do love that this guy brings it around to blame on the NCAA. This has Mark Emmert written all over it!
Bullpoo, I tell you! BULLPOO!
Something tells me this is the guy that would sit in the corner of the cafeteria in high school writing feverishly in his journal about taking down the man. PUPPETS!
Don’t go blaming the BBN for this one!
Ahh, sarcasm is always a great coping mechanism.
I’ll admit, this one made me laugh the most:
And then I saw the same guy hate on a Kentucky fan on this comment:
Who knew the guy who said “donkey d!ck” would also be a grammar nazi? He’s also the guy that blames Obama:
I’m not touching that with a ten foot pole.
This guy’s making way too much sense.
By far, my favorite. Truer words have never been spoken.
Hopefully Champions Classic will get back to us soon on when they’ll release 300 more tickets.
The Big Blue Madness Campout doesn’t officially start until 5 a.m. tomorrow morning, but fans are already lining up across the street from Memorial Coliseum to get the best spots…to run across the street and get the best spots. Check out the picture above, which was taken this afternoon.
We people are crazy.