Part two in an eight part series previewing the 2014 Kentucky Football Wildcats. Cats hope →
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In 2006 the Ying-Yang twins and Bubba Sparxx changed the world forever with their hit Ms. New Booty. “Do you want a little more frosting on your cakes? Feel a little lacking in your packing? If you do then Bubba Sparxx has got the answer.”
Bubba Sparxxx knew how to get it right and get it tight. KSR could not let the legend’s 37th birthday go unnoticed. Even though he does look like a Louisville fan whose line beard was stolen, Sparxxx was a pretty successful rapper during the 2000s. His song Deliverance is probably the only other song he has worth note, but if you were a fan of the Def Jam video game series like myself, you would know that he’s also a great video game fighter. Sparxxx also has (kind of) a UK connection – Sparxxx was a standout tight end in LaGrange, Ga., one of Rich Brooks’ favorite recruiting pipelines.
Let’s get this news right, and get it tight…
Updated Braketology. With the regular season coming to an end this weekend, Bracketologists are updating their picks almost daily. With one game to go CBS’ Jerry Palm has the Cats’ as a 6-seed and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Cats as a 7-seed. The biggest eye-opener is that Palm’s bracket would pit the Cards and the Cats against each other in the second round.
Get your SEC Tournament ticket books from UK while you can. The UK ticket office announced today that they are releasing a limited amount of books for the tournament today. Get ‘em while you can by calling 859-257-1818. KSR will be LIVE from STATS on Friday and you might find yourself lucky enough to witness the uncensored KSR podcast live from the fancy shmancy suite in downtown Atlanta.
Speaking of SEC Tournament… UK Hoops begins postseason play tomorrow at 2:30 against the Florida Gators. The Gators have beaten the Cats twice this season, but it’s awfully hard to beat a team three times. Wilder Treadway and Hayley Minogue will be LIVE Blogging the revenge game from Duluth, Ga; don’t forget to join in on the fun.
The KSR Road Trip keeps rolling. Matt and Drew were joined by Chris Tomlin in Cincinnati for tonight’s game against Memphis. A KSR fan caught up with the group at the stop and gave them the awesome cartoon above (even though I don’t think they made Matt’s head big enough). Don’t miss out on any of the action from the Road Trip, especially last night’s stop in Bloomington.
Craig Naivar is formally introduced as UK’s new Special Teams’ coach. Naivar replaces Bradley Dale Peveto after spending three season as Texas State’s defensive coordinator. Naivar has a history with the staff, coaching alongside D.J. Eliot at Texas State and Rice. Coach Stoops spoke highly of Naivar, “He has vast knowledge, both as a defensive coordinator and as a special teams coordinator. He’s a high-energy coach with a great reputation as a recruiter.” Adding another recruiter with Texas ties is HUGE, but I’m more exited about his energy – something Peveto had plenty of. How excited is Naivar to get started? Naivar Tweeted today:
Tim Couch made the College Football HOF Ballot. Last year Steve Meilinger represented the Big Blue in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Cats may have another this year. It will not be easy for Couch to become one of the final 14 that make the HOF; there are three Heisman Trophy winners on the 75-person ballot, as well as Miami’s Ray Lewis and Cal’s Keyshawn Johnson.
King Rex is back with IRex3.com. Rex Chapman called into KSR this morning to talk hoops and promote his new website IRex3.com. Not only does the site have cool merchandise like the ‘Apollo 3′ jersey, but its filled with analysis and anecdotes from Rex. One of the cooler stories he has already posted is about his recruitment process, focusing on his interactions with legendary coach Dean Smith as ‘The Dean’ currently battles with dementia.
Mark Stoops’ second Spring football season kicks off three weeks from tomorrow. The eyes of Big Blue Nation will all be firmly set upon the progress of Drew Barker. After fans’ Air Raid expectations were met with inconsistent play at quarterback, the #BBN is thirsty for offensive production.
The competition for starting quarterback will be pitted against two redshirts (Pat Towles and Reese Phillips), an experienced athlete (Jalen Whitlow), and an All-American true freshman (Drew Barker). For most, the simple answer to the offense’s problems is starting the true freshman. Drew has been a vocal leader since his commitment while proving his skills against the nation’s best at the Elite 11 QB Camp and U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Drew has contended since before he arrived on campus that he’s going to fight tooth and nail to become a starter, but is it wise to immediately throw him to the dogs?
On paper, Drew has the most potential and fits the criteria for great UK Quarterback (big arm and a home-state hero). Drew looks great on paper, but in the SEC true freshmen don’t look great on paper. I’ve compiled stats dating back to the Cats’ last great team in 2007 (excluding running QBs that split time, a la Tim Tebow), see for yourself.
Most coaches have avoided handing their offenses over to true freshmen, with MSU’s Carroll as the only player in the group to beat out someone for the position. The best case scenario has been a Liberty Bowl victory, but Cobb wasn’t even quarterback for that game. Carroll eventually transferred to FIU and Auburn’s Wallace might never play quarterback for the Tigers again after losing his spot to Nick Marshall.
Once again, most of these guys would not have played unless the guy ahead of them got hurt. That might be the only similarity between the two groups. Every redshirt threw at least 1,000 yards, while true freshman struggled to find a 1:1 TD/Interception ratio. Redshirt freshmen won more games, but most importantly how many of those true freshman have become household names? Aaron Murray is the SEC’s all-time leading passer and Johnny Manzeil won a Heisman Trophy. Even the worst guys in the redshirt group have proved themselves more than the best of the true freshmen.
Drew could very well be the best of the bunch entering the season, but it’s silly to think that a redshirt year would not help him long-term. You also must consider how much a redshirt year could have helped Reese and Pat’s development. Throwing a young kid to the dogs can be mentally exhausting, as evidence by Jalen Whitlow’s timidness in the pocket from time to time during his sophomore season.
We also must grip reality: the Cats are not going to be great this year. Offensive production will rely on underclassmen and defensively, besides Bud and Za’Darius, the squad will be mostly underclassmen. Everyone wants to win right away, but Mark Stoops is more worried about long-term investments than short-term success. With 2015 poised to be a landmark year in Kentucky football, #WhyNot let Drew’s first start as the face of the program happen inside the New Commonwealth Stadium?
Let me know what you think @RoushKSR. I challenge you to find a successful true freshman QB in the SEC.
KSR…Daddy Doug knockin’ again.
Long time no chill. That’s my fault, been pretty busy onmygrind# tryin to getthatpaper#.
I guess you could say my hianus from the blog here is due in large part to one bitch of a semester. It all started back at the beginning of February, back when it was like -40 degrees and I go outside to start the van and she’s having none of it. Get it towed to my buddy Squirrel’s shop and he delivers the news: blown camshaft. After we got done laughing it quickly set in that this would put me back a good bit. Now, Daddy Doug is doing just fine, I got what I need and get to where I’m goin and usually have enough to send down to the kids in Florida each month. But this was an unexpected blow and I knew I’d have to pick up some extra cash from somewhere so I answered an ad in the Kernel (that’s the student paper here on campus) looking for a few students to participate in some clinical trials. Now, I’ve done a lot of “clinical trials” on my own time over the years so the opportunity to earn up to $600 extra bucks a month for about 30 hours was a horse that this cowboy could ride.
Well I go in for an interview and I’m already nervous because I want to look the part without trying to look the part if that makes sense. Anyway, I answer some questions and talk to a few white coats and charm the pants off the whole room and they tell me to come in the next Monday morning and block off the rest of the day. Easy. Done.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©7:00 pm
One of the most shocking things about last Saturday’s game against South Carolina may have been that John Calipari got two technicals and Frank Martin didn’t get any. Martin is notoriously hot headed, and today, South Carolina suspended him for the final game of the season because of “inappropriate verbal communication” with a player.
From this guy?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
Over the weekend, word leaked out that Mark Stoops had hired Texas State defensive coordinator Craig Naivar to fill Bradley Dale Peveto’s shoes as UK’s special teams coordinator and safeties coach, and today, the university made it official. Mark Stoops had this to say about the newest member of his staff:
“I’ve gotten to visit with Craig the last couple of years and am very impressed with him,” Stoops said. “He has vast knowledge, both as a defensive coordinator and as a special teams coordinator. He’s a high-energy coach with a great reputation as a recruiter.”
Naivar joins the Cats after three seasons as Texas State’s defensive coordinator, and brings 15 years of experience as a defensive and special teams coordinator with him to Lexington. Like everyone else, he’s impressed with Mark Stoops’ energy, and says he looks forward to working with him:
“I’m excited to be part of the Big Blue Nation and such a prestigious university,” Naivar said of his decision to come to Kentucky. “I was attracted by the opportunity to work with Coach Stoops, the energy he brings and the success he’s had everywhere he’s been.
How did Naivar get on UK’s radar? He and DJ Eliot were on the same staff at Texas State from 2004-2006, after which the two moved on to Rice. He’s excited about reuniting with his former colleague: “It’s also exciting to reunite with Coach Eliot. He is one of the really sharp minds in college football, a great coach and recruiter.”
I’ll take those Texas ties any day. Welcome to the fam, Coach Naivar.
The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament is underway in Duluth, Georgia, and we now know UK’s opponent tomorrow: Florida. The Gators beat Mississippi State today to advance to Friday’s game against UK Hoops, which will be played at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Our own Wilder Treadway and Hayley Minogue are heading to Duluth in the morning to bring you live coverage. They’re leaving at 6 a.m., so if you see them around Lexington tonight, tell them to go home and get some sleep.
After his senior night, it’s only fitting that Jon Hood is next up in UK Athletics’ “In their own words” blog series. Hood opens up about Senior Night, which he said was special from the pregame shoot-around to the end of the game. Hood gives us a lot of great stuff, including this rant about his three at the shot clock buzzer which totally should have counted:
I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of me going crazy. I wanted them to check the monitor because there was no doubt about it: It left my hand well before time expired. I’ve gotten four or five pictures today of different angles of it with the clock in the background and the space in between my fingertips and the ball. But that’s part of the game. It’s human error so you’ve just got to live with it.
Human error is just about the nicest way to put that. Hood also talks about his favorite memory at UK, which was playing a pick-up game with John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, and Daniel Orton his freshman year:
I was asked Tuesday what my favorite memory was other than the national championship, and I’d have to say it was that summer of 2009 in June and July during my freshman year when we were all playing pick-up together for the first time. Me, John, Eric, DeMarcus and Daniel all played on the same team and played against all the old guys like Darius, DeAndre, Pat, Josh, Ramon and Perry. We just had that swagger about us, a connection before we got here that we wanted to just keep building. (My all-time starting five would still be our freshman five.)
Still? You wouldn’t even trade Daniel for Anthony Davis?
Thanks for the memories, Hoody Hood.
On last night’s episode of Comedy Central’s newest hit, @Midnight, Chris Hardwick started the episode with these words as usual:
“It’s 11:59 and 59 seconds, this happened on YouTube today…”
YouTube is always a good source of material for the show, and sure enough it provided the world with the University of Kentucky’s worst kept fan secret, Dancing Guy and his new nemeses, “Those Other Two Dancing Guys” (trademark pending).
Hardwick went on: “It’s not March Madness yet, but a couple of people at the UK/Alabama basketball game were showing early signs of dance fever. That is what we refer to in the business as a “Dad-Off”. Also if you ever wanted to know what Steve Wozniak would look like Gangnam styling. But it doesn’t end there… a third dad is all like ‘I need to get in on some of this’, and this happens… *clip of two guys doing the sprinkler*. I think that’s the sprinkler breaking, not the sprinkler working. Comedians, what is the Urban Dictionary definition for a three way dad dance off?”
Paul F. Tompkins: Viagra Withdrawal Shuffle
Maria Bamford: “Your dad’s in good shape, I mean… I think I should be on the team, it’s just… I blew out my knee in ’94…”
Paul Scheer: That is a Menage a Pa’
Hardwick and @Midnight helped Pierre the Pelican (pre-rhinoplasty) become an internet sensation starting the hashtag #SavePierre and an awesome chant of “Yes We PeliCAN”. Hopefully @Midnight can bring Dancing Guy to more prominence than he already has known here in the Bluegrass State.
Good afternoon, friends. It’s been kind of a slow day around these parts, but that’s not stopping me from bringing you some afternoon notes. Let’s go.
– Believe it or not, the SEC might actually get four teams in the Tournament now. Both Arkansas and Tennessee won big last night–Arkansas 110-80 over Ole Miss, Tennessee 82-54 over Vandy–and are climbing the KenPom rankings. In fact, Tennessee is 14th in the KenPom, a whopping seven spots in front of Kentucky. Whoa. Arkansas is 45th. Tennessee is on a roll, don’t get me wrong, but maybe this is why we shouldn’t take the KenPom so seriously…
– Look who Joe Craft brought to the Joe Craft Center today: Condolezza Rice.
Buddies with Bill Clinton and Condi? This will be a fun comments section.
– The video of the dancing guys from Tuesday night’s game has gone viral, making it in the first segment of last night’s “@Midnight” on Comedy Central. Thanks to Funkhouser’s Richmond Bramblet for the tip.
– Last night, Matt and Drew were in Bloomington for Indiana/Nebraska game, the tales of which you can hear on the podcast, and Drew wrote up his thoughts on Assembly Hall for Fox Sports. They actually had a pretty good time, thanks to a “fresh start” from the Indiana SID, even if he wasn’t impressed with Drew’s take on business casual.
– If you listened to the radio show today, you heard Matt mention the Fleming County high school teacher who was arrested for giving alcohol and marijuana to students in exchange for work done on her property. This is her mug shot:
Hear Matt and Drew talk about it on today’s podcast.
Rex Chapman came on the show this morning to talk about the Cats and his new website, iRex3.com. If you follow Rex on Twitter, you know he loves sharing his opinions on both the Cats and college basketball, and his new site is just a bigger forum for those thoughts. He’s already got some great stuff up, including this spot-on comment about James Young:
But in this “one and done” age in which we live – THERE IS NOBODY ON THIS KENTUCKY ROSTER who would benefit any more than James Young to returning for his sophomore year. Pay no attention to mock-drafts. James Young, right now, is not a better prospect than Archie Goodwin was a year ago – and Archie went 29th. The people at these “mock-draft”-sites haven’t a clue. The NBA ppl I’ve spoken with, to a person, are in agreement that the league could crush a youngster w the weaknesses James currently has handling and passing from the guard spot. He CAN IMPROVE and I believe he WILL improve – IF he’s not in too big of a hurry to leave.
Rex has similar breakdowns for Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Dakari Johnson, so go check it out at iRex3.com.
Friends, you look well. Oh, you made me a cake? It’s…delicious. Really, it is. No, I like it. I do. Thanks. It’s delicious. Oh. Sure, yes, I’ll have another piece. Hey, what’s that over there? What? No, I finished it already. Just now. I promise.
Friends, let’s be honest: this is really the only time in the entire year where anyone should really care about Joe Lunardi. This is really his time to shine; that’s because this is the only time his guesswork is on the line. So if you look at Lunardi’s latest bracketology, one can guess — because this is totally Lunardi’s thing — that he probably has a good idea of how things are going to shake out. Sure, there’ll be some changes, but this is probably the best hypothesis of what the field of 64 may look like. That said, let’s do some demographic work for CBS and find out which valued groups the network will pull if and when the following teams are added in a piece we’ll call What Your Favorite Possible NCAA Tourney Team Says About You, shall we? And I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.
Arizona: I consider a cactus to be a legitimate plant and not a novelty item.
Weber State: I have beautiful dreams that I don’t live in Ogden, Utah and then I wake up and cry.
Memphis: I think the phrase “Dirty South” sounds awesome and I don’t realize that everyone else thinks it sounds extremely unappealing.
Xavier: The only things separating me from University of Cincinnati students are a zoo and an outrageous sense of entitlement.
Oklahoma: I do not mind telling you I’m a “hell-raiser,” and I will.
Brigham Young: Don’t tell anyone but once I pushed my friend around in an empty parking lot in a shopping cart. It was crazy and you better not tell anybody.
San Diego State: Are you done talking? Because I have a perfect, beautiful day to get back to.
North Dakota State: I, and all of my family, consider Fargo to be “urban.”
Ohio State: Sweater vests are out.
Baylor: Over the past two or three years I’ve begun to suffer from vision problems and I’m not sure why.
Creighton: I know where Creighton is located.
Vermont: I have an extra jar of sorghum if you’d like some.
New Mexico: Sure, mesas are beautiful, but they get old after a while.
Stanford: I have the money to go to an inordinate number of outdoor music festivals.
Wisconsin: I have had to reinforce at least one chair in my home.
UC-Irvine: I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth like those posh twits over at UC-Davis.
Kansas: I use the words “rock,” “chalk” and “jayhawk” roughly 73% than everyone else in the country.
Robert Morris: Have you heard that we beat Kentucky once? Do you want to watch it? It’s still on my DVR.
Southern Methodist: I carry, at all times, both a gun and a bible.
Gonzaga: This is the year. I feel it. It’s gotta be, right?
UCLA: I haven’t stopped talking about my documentary in over forty-five minutes.
Green Bay: I have cheese curd grease stains on almost every dress shirt I own.
St. Louis: I went to St. Louis.
Iona: I have at least one immediate relative who wears a turtleneck and has written a book about how to raise a child.
Kentucky: I am so incredibly nervous right now.
Oklahoma State: I have a cowboy hat to match each pair of pants I own.
Michigan: I’d rather be watching football.
Delaware: I’d rather be in an apple orchard.
Connecticut: Jim Calhoun. Never forget.
St. Joseph’s: I believe Delonte West’s side of the story.
Syracuse: I cheer vigorously to fend off hypothermia.
Boston University: I have worn a blazer with sweat pants to a wedding.
Florida: I have been shot at by a stripper. (more…)
At this point, I don’t have to mention that, whether legitimate or illegitimate, there was talk of 40-0.
But under the colossal weight of those expectations, Kentucky has labored to a 22-8 record this season, just 12-5 in what is universally considered another weak year in the SEC.
So, what’s wrong with the Wildcats?
247Sports’ Jerry Meyer diagnoses what’s wrong with Kentucky.
To read the rest of this article, visit CatsPause.com [FREE]
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©12:00 pm
Kentucky’s tournament seed has never been more in question than it is now, and in his latest projections, Jerry Palm has them as the 6-seed in the South Region, playing 11-seeded Gonzaga in Orlando. Palm has the Cats potentially playing 3-seeded Louisville in the round of 32. Oh boy.
Joe Lunardi’s newest Bracketology also came out this morning, and Lunardi agrees with Palm that the Cats will be in the South Region, as a 7-seed playing 10-seed Oregon in Raleigh:
I’m sure this will change a million times before Selection Sunday, but that potential matchup between Kentucky and my alma mater Davidson in the round of 32 is already stressing me out.