There’s pretty much only one reason I look through the media guide each season: the →
Football Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©12:00 pm
This morning, Mark Stoops met with the media before the Louisville UK Alumni Luncheon, and, predictably, was asked about the future of the UK/UofL football series. Stoops decided not to attend the annual Governors’ Cup lunch earlier this week, which many took as a sign that UK is distancing itself from the rivalry, especially with the SEC considering adding a game to its conference schedule.
This morning, Stoops cleared up any misconceptions, and said that even if the SEC moves to nine conference games, the rivalry will continue. Stoops said that he believes the Louisville game is “very important” to the coaches and players, but added that “sometimes people don’t realize there’s eleven other games.” In other words, “I have better things to do right now than attend a luncheon about a game that’s four months away.”
photo by Jennifer Palumbo
Guess Who’s back, back again, Shady’s back, tell a friend. This time the resident shady journalist known as Pete Thamel is back with this profile of new Texas Coach Charlie Strong. Mixed in with some interesting tidbits is the part of the article highlighted above, in which Kentucky is lumped in with a group of schools where Strong interviewed in which it is insinuated he was not hired due to the fact that he is African American and his wife is white. This is an issue that has been brought up in the Charlie Strong story before, but Thamel goes the next step and mentions the schools that could be indicted for the charge.
I can’t speak to what happened at the others schools as I am not familiar with their hiring process. I also would be naive if I didn’t leave open the possibility that Strong’s race and interracial marriage could not have played some part in his lack of a hiring opportunity at some point in his career. However Thamel’s decision to lump Kentucky into the category of schools that didn’t hire Strong because of race is simply not fair. Strong interviewed for the job when Kentucky hired Rich Brooks and if you speak with anyone that was around at that point, they all agree that he had an awful interview. The knock on Strong always was that his communication skills were not great (an issue that has followed him to Texas and has led to some early criticism) and that he did not do well in an interview setting. Kentucky ended up not going with Strong, in part for this reason, and to suggest that they didn’t hire him because of race isn’t fair for a reporter to insinuate who was not part of the process.
But even if such an accusation could potentially have some merit in general, in has zero place with Kentucky. Why? Because just a few years later, Kentucky hired an African-American coach with a white wife for the exact same position. Joker Phillips was hired by Barnhart and while he did not have success, his race, nor that of his wife, was no obstacle in him getting the job. If Kentucky was against Strong because of his race or his interracial marriage, why would they hire Joker just a few years later? Does Thamel believe that UK’s administration and Athletic Director all of a sudden became more enlightened? Of course not. Kentucky had no problem hiring a black coach with a white wife, when Strong was first interviewed or a few years later. The fact that they hired the wrong one of the two is not a symbol of racism, but rather simply a poor hiring decision.
Thamel, as per usual, went for the cheap hit and the easy shot on a group of programs. My guess is that individuals at all of those programs would disagree with his assessment, and their points may be completely valid. But in the case of Kentucky, to insinuate that Charlie Strong wasn’t hired because of his race/marriage is objectively false. However as we have seen with Thamel over the years, writing incorrect/misleading articles is par for his journalistic course and showcases once again why when the Hall of Fame of Overrated sports writers is erected, Pete’s bust will be part of the first ballot class, likely inducted by a beautiful speech from Manti Teo’s girlfriend.
There’s pretty much only one reason I look through the media guide each season: the fun facts about each player at the end of their bios. Reading what each player’s hidden talent, nickname, or favorite thing about UK is may be the best way to get to know them. So, to save you the time of flipping through each bio, I did it myself this morning, and came up with this list of 22 fun facts about UK’s 2014 football team:
1. Despite the fact that most of the players were toddlers during his prime, Michael Jordan is still the most famous athlete in sports.
When asked what sporting event they’d most like to witness, past, present, or future, several players said they wanted to see Michael Jordan in his prime (Josh Clemons, Josh Forrest), or specifically his “flu game” (Drew Barker, Thaddeus Kuzunas, Ashely Lowery). Three players said Jordan is the athlete with which they’d most like to trade places (Shaquille Love, Ramsey Meyers, Miles Thompson). To me, this is further proof that Jordan is still considered the greatest basketball player of all time, or, at the very least, “Space Jam” was the most popular kids movie in the mid-90′s.
2. UK beating LSU in 2007 is UK football’s most famous moment for this generation
UK’s football tradition isn’t exactly great, but we’ve had some big moments in the past decade. The biggest is UK’s upset of LSU in 2007, and four players–Mikel Horton, Jacob Hyde, Matt Howard, and DJ Warren–said that’s the sporting event they’d most like to witness past, present, or future.
3. Tre’ Dunn and Eli Capilouto are workout buddies
Senior linebacker Tre’ Dunn’s profile might be the best of all. He says he wears the number 26 because “2 multiplied by 6 is 12 and 12 is the greatest number.” When asked for one thing he couldn’t live without, he said “my organs.” I mean, that’s just straight up logic. The coolest thing about UK for Tre’? “Hanging at the gym with Eli Capilouto.” We need video of this.
4. The Blaylock Twins are very musical
Junior linebacker Daron Blaylock says that if he could go back in time, he’d like to go to Woodstock, and his hidden talent is Guitar Hero. In fact, he claims he has “a voice of Fergie and Jesus combined” when he sings. His twin, safety Zack Blaylock, may have one of the most unexpected go-to hype songs on the team: “Sweet Dreams.” I’m assuming he means “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics, which is just awesome.
5. Javess Blue’s hidden talent shouldn’t be a surprise
Javess Blue says his hidden talent is tumbling but KSR readers learned all about that during his recruitment.
6. Darryl Long’s hidden talent is writing poetry
Get ready to swoon, ladies.
7. Some more random hidden talents on the team…
- Grant Aumiller used to bass fish competitively.
- Matt Howard is really good at quoting Forrest Gump. (I think this calls for a quote-off with Drew Franklin at Media Day)
- Farrington Huguenin can stand on his hands for a while.
- Travaughn Paschal claims that he can fly (Hmm).
- Patrick Towles can play the harmonica.
- Tyler Brause is really good at precision long-range shooting.
8. Jason Hatcher’s dream job other than the NFL is owning an animal hospital.
9. John Gruenschlaeger listens to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion to get ready for a game
That flute solo is really stirring.
10. The “dream jobs” are all across the board
The players were asked what their dream jobs are other than playing in the NFL. There was a wide variety:
- Junior long snapper Kelly Mason: Actuary
- Senior wide receiver Demarco Robinson: Jungle Explorer
- Freshman offensive lineman Josh Krok: DEA agent or US Marshal (he’ll be a hit at parties)
- Freshman offensive lineman Nick Richardson: architect
- Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Badet: financial advisor
- Senior tight end: Steven Borden: Professional surfer
- Junior offensive tackle Shaquille Love: chef
11. Freshman linebacker Dorian Hendrix meditates every day.
12. Stanley “Boom” Williams’ reason for picking the number 18 will make you love him
The freshman running back says he picked the number 18 to “follow the legacy of Randall Cobb and Jacob Tamme.” Yep, fan favorite already.
13. Here are just a few of the players’ nicknames:
- Josh Clemons: Big Zoo Doo
- JoJo Kemp: Jojo on the Go-Go
- Nico Firios: Greek Freak
- Khalid Henderson: Lee-do, Shotta, Waka, and Blondey
Who needs four nicknames?!?
14. Jacob Hyde and Jordan Swindle can wiggle their ears
I bet you’re trying to wiggle yours right now, aren’t you?
Earlier today we told you the date and schedule for Fan Day, and now we have a little more details via the official press release from UK.
In case you missed it, Fan Day will be Saturday, August 9th at Commonwealth Stadium. The autograph session with the players will begin at 9:00 am and last through 10:15 am, before the players take the field for an open practice with the coaches at 10:45 am. Admission and parking are free of charge. Fans can also pick up the new 2014 UK football posters and schedule cards.
If you can’t make it out for Fan Day, Mark Stoops will also open up three additional preseason practices to the public. Those practices will be on the mornings of Monday, August 11, Tuesday, August 12, and Monday, August 18. Times and further information will be released another day.
UK cornerback J.D. Harmon tweeted photos of a black UK football helmet with a blue UK logo on the left side and a chrome number on the right. It appears to be the homemade work of a fan but still cool nonetheless.
I might believe it if not for it being in someone’s backyard.
By Drew Franklin on ©1:30 pm
Kentucky leads George Brown Jr.’s Crystal Ball prediction with 88 percent of the vote, but GatorBait.net, the Florida 247Sports affiliate, still expects him to pick the Gators. “We continue to hear the Gators are confident in landing the three-star prospect,” the site’s Recruiting Insider writes.
Brown, set to announce his decision tomorrow afternoon, recently took a visit to Gainesville (his final visit before deciding) and immediately unfollowed almost all UK-related Twitter accounts, while adding several Florida assistant coaches, beat writers, players and former players. If you read into that stuff, it could be a very telling sign.
But the UK staff is also confident it will land Brown tomorrow at 1:30 pm, says Chris Fisher, which means one side is in for a letdown. Kentucky was at one time the very heavy favorite for the offensive lineman from Cincinnati, and he has taken at least six unofficial visits to Lexington.
24 hours until he tells the world…
Your University of Kentucky football program will hold its annual ‘Fan Day’ on Saturday, August 9th at Commonwealth Stadium this year. The autograph session with the players will begin at 9:00 am, followed by an open practice at 10:45 am.
Last year’s open practice/scrimmage was played in the rain, but it was still a very fun event with a surprisingly good turnout for the weather. I spent most of the time watching Za’Darius Smith do pushups on the sidelines in full pads because he was out with a tweaked ankle. It was my first time seeing him in person.
You should go this year and show your support for the Cats as the season opener draws near.
There is now a 25 percent chance we will hear Three 6 Mafia in Commonwealth Stadium before the opening kickoff in 37 days. The fans voted Braylon Heard’s suggestion of “Who Run It” into the next round, ahead of Mike Douglas’ “Head Bussa” suggestion. “Who Run It” will meet “Knuck If You Buck” in the semis.
Today’s matchup is Blake McClain and C-Murder’s “Down” versus Javess Blue and Jay Z’s “Encore.” I don’t think Javess stands a chance at seeing his suggestion advance, although I may be wrong. To me, it’s a good song but way too slow for a football game.
“Down,” on the other hand, is the best beat of the entire contest but it’s the most vulgar song imaginable. UK would have to go with the instrumental version, which I still think is the best of the bunch. I believe it was used at Big Blue Madness recently, too.
Do your part and VOTE NOW
Voting for KSR’s Kickoff Playoff goes live tonight.
With little over a month until college football season kicks off, sportsbook Bovada has released their over/under win totals for the season. The oddsmakers put Kentucky’s win total at 3.5, the lowest in the SEC:
- Alabama: 10.5
- Georgia: 9.5
- South Carolina: 9.5
- Auburn: 9
- LSU: 9
- Florida: 7.5
- Mississippi State: 7.5
- Missouri: 7.5
- Ole Miss: 7.5
- Texas A&M: 7
- Vanderbilt: 6
- Tennessee: 5.5
- Arkansas: 4.5
- Kentucky: 3.5
Years of Kentucky football fandom have taught me to be a realist, but a recent surge of optimism has me thinking over is a pretty good bet. Let’s go through the schedule (with color coding!):
8/30 - UT Martin: Easy win
9/6: Ohio - Easy win
9/13 – at Florida: Toss-up considering Florida’s problems, but given UK’s history against Florida, not likely, especially in the Swamp
9/27 – Vanderbilt: Best chance for an SEC win
10/4 - South Carolina: Very likely loss
10/11 - Louisiana-Monroe: Easy win
10/18 - at LSU: LOL, I wish. Death Valley worth the road trip though
10/25 - Mississippi State: Many fans think UK has a good shot at here, but I’m not so sure. Mississippi State is returning most of their team and will be better than most realize. However, we’ve always been competitive with them, and this one’s at Commonwealth. I’ll call it a likely loss, but I love to be proved wrong.
11/1 – at Missouri: Likely loss
11/8 – Georgia: Very likely loss
11/15 - at Tennessee: Likely loss
11/29: at Louisville: Likely loss—ah hell, toss-up. Yes, the game is at Louisville, but coming off a bye week, the Cats have a decent shot, especially if they’re not banged up too badly.
So there are my predictions. I’m going with 4 wins, with potential for six if the ball bounces UK’s way a few times.
It looks like the construction on Commonwealth Stadium will continue throughout the upcoming season.
UK Athletics project manager Russ Pear tells the Herald-Leader that construction crews will work until Thursday on game weeks before cleaning up the construction area and setting up temporary fencing by Saturday morning. The goal is to have the $110 million renovation done by the start of the 2015 season. UK spokesman Tony Neely says seating capacity will be down about 6,000 from 2013 this season because of construction in the south upper deck.
The Herald-Leader also has a photo gallery and video of the construction if you’re curious.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:00 pm
For many of us, Craig Yeast was a UK football hero growing up. “Couch to Yeast” was a familiar refrain at Commonwealth Stadium in the mid- to late 90′s, and the fact that both players were from Kentucky made UK fans even prouder. In fact, Yeast was one of the best wide receivers to ever play at Kentucky, his career so impressive that 247 Sports included him in their Top 5 SEC East wide receivers since 1992 (the year the conference split into two divisions):
5. Craig Yeast, Kentucky, 1995-98: Catching passes from Tim Couch helped Yeast put up some amazing numbers in Lexington. When he ended his career, he was the SEC’s all-time reception leader and was second in career receiving yards. He has fallen off a bit, but his 208 catches are third in league history, his 2,899 yards are good for seventh in SEC history and his 28 receiving touchdowns are good for No. 6 on the SEC career list. As a senior he had 85 catches for 1,311 yards receiving and 14 TD receptions in 11 games. He also had 1,256 career return yards and returned four kicks for touchdowns.
The other four on the list? 1. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt, 2010-13; 2. Terrence Edwards, Georgia, 1999-2002; 3. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, 2009-11; and 4. A.J. Green, Georgia, 2008-10.
Craig’s son, Russ, is carrying on the Yeast football tradition. Russ is in the class of 2017, and is already drawing high praise for his size (5’11″, 170), speed, and tremendous upside. Russ impressed the UK staff so much at a camp in June that Vince Marrow offered him a scholarship. Judging by his Twitter feed, he’ll probably accept it one day:
Kentucky gonna be good in about 2 years #BBN
— Russ Yeast (@russ_yeast03) July 21, 2014
Here’s some footage from his freshman year:
Yesterday, UK started the Kickoff Playoff bracket to help choose the song to be played right before kickoff on August 30. Eight UK players submitted their picks, and over the next week, fans will vote for their favorite. Yesterday, Bud Dupree’s pick “Knuck if you Buck” went up against Steven Bordon’s pick “Scatta,” and this morning, UK announced the results of the poll. “Knuck if you Buck” has advanced. Sorry, Steven.
Today, it’s time to vote between Braylon Heard’s pick, “Who Run It” and Mike Douglas’ pick, “Head Bussa.” Listen to the two below and head on over to UK’s BBN First site to vote.
“WHO RUN IT” Three 6 Mafia: Braylon Heard
“HEAD BUSSA” Lil Scrappy: Mike Douglas
It’s close, but I’m going with Mike Douglas and “Head Bussa” on this one.
Is a football series with the University of Cincinnati in the works? According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati is discussing future football games with Louisville, Kentucky, and Pittsburgh. Groeschen also announced that Cincinnati will play a home-home series with Indiana starting in 2021.
Kentucky hasn’t played Cincinnati in football since 1996, and the (Wild)Cats hold a 21-9-3 lead on the Bearcats in the series.
Are you in favor of renewing the series with the Bearcats?