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KSR Preps Recap: St. X Tigers rally to win 42-28

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KSR Preps Game of the Week

St.Xaiver 42 Lexington Catholic 28

Lexington Catholic stormed out of the gate playing like they had something to prove in their annual Traditional Bank Bluegrass Bowl. Senior QB Kirk Fagot started the game in full control of the offense connecting on two slant passes to Senior Receiver Sam Hodges and Sophomore Receiver Nathan Schnurr for touchdowns to open the game. St. X struggled to get anything going offensively early, failing to score until the 6 min mark in the second quarter.

For a defense that lost two of their starters the Knights did not play like it in the first half, Corner back Jake Topley made a great break on an out route to intercept Jack Albers pass and return it for a 91 yard touchdown.

At this point the atmosphere in Joseph K. Ford Stadium was at an all time high, Coach Mark Perry stressed to his team how pivotal getting a running clock could be.

St. X was able to slow down Fagot and the Knight offense by possessing the ball for 9:20 in the second quarter. The Tigers ran a vanilla offense for much of the night using the same set of plays to move the ball. Senior Running Back Sam Taylor got the Tigers on the board in the first half with a 3 yard run. Lexington Catholic went into the half with a 28-10 lead.

Cramps hit Lexington Catholic hard in the second half with many of their guys missing extended time. This gave St. X an opportunity after Senior Middle Linebacker Austin Pedroche went out of the game, Coach Will Wolford took advantage and pounded the ball down continuously in the second half. The Knight offense struggled down the stretch, unable to make the big plays that they had in the first half.

Sam Taylor carried the ball 17 times for 211 yards just in the second half on his way to making the biggest run of the night a 46 yard touchdown with 10:02 remaining.

After that touchdown the Knight sideline seemed flat but Seniors Will Roden and Sid Sharp would not give up. Each of them were running sideline to sideline making tackles for a defense that needed people to step up. Coach Mark Perry said that at one point in the game his team had to use their 6th linebacker due to injuries.

A 3 yard QB keeper for Jack Albers gave St. X the lead and they would not give it up the rest of the night. Taylor finished the game rushing 32 times for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, he received the game MVP award after a dominating performance.

In a losing effort Kirk Fagot was exceptional throwing dimes to his receivers and finishing the game going 14 of 32 for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sid Sharp was named game MVP for Lexington Catholic stepping up big with so many injuries on the Knights defense.

Lexington Catholic tries to build on their performance next week on the road against a good Johnson Central team. St. X faces off against Bowling Green in a match up that never disappoints.

Other Scores around the State

Ryle 34 Henry Clay 28 – The opening game of the Traditional Bank Bluegrass Bowl was an exciting game in its own right. Ryle jumped out to a 18-0 lead at halftime but Henry Clay came clawing back to close the gap 34-28 with 8:24 left in the game. The Raider defense stepped up and would not allow Henry Clay to score the go ahead touchdown. Tanner Morgan finished the game 16 for 26 for 153 yards and a touchdown.

DeSales 17 Butler 0 – DeSales has not allowed a single point scored this entire season and got their run game going to win a hard hitting contest. Butler is much improved this season but they just didn’t have enough offensive firepower to score on a stifling DeSales defense.

Corbin 20  Louisville Central 14 – In this class 3A match-up the teams were basically even and the score reflected that until Corbin scored the go ahead touchdown with just 51 seconds remaining. Corbin hopes to continue their hot start next week against Clay County in the Appalachian Bowl.

Belfry 48 Tates Creek 12 – This Belfry team is a scary bunch right now getting a running clock just 4 minutes into the second quarter. The Belfry offensive line overpowered Tates Creek defenders as the ball moved effortlessly for the Pirates. Derek Wellman was the MVP for Belfry scoring two touchdowns on the ground and intercepting a Tates Creek pass.

Danville 35 Southwestern 34 – This game had big expectations going in and boy did these two teams deliver. Southwestern drove the ball 81 yards with 51 seconds left to come within one point of Danville. Coach Larry French went for the win and but their 2pt attempt was stuffed just inches from the goal line. Danville pulls off the upset in one of the best games of this young season.

Scott County 48 Pulaski County 19 – Pulaski County came out strong Friday night but Scott County opened the second half with two defensive touchdowns and they never looked back. Scott County starts a tough three game stretch this week as they travel to Fort Thomas to face off against the Highlands Bluebirds.


Will the Southern Miss Defense Bring Havoc?

Will the Southern Miss Defense Bring Havoc?

AP Photo

 

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Matt Jones was recently a guest on a Southern Miss based podcast when the host discussed Southern Miss’ Havoc Defense. In football terms havoc refers to disruption, pressure, and forced explosive plays. I became obsessed with the football term and immediately researched Alcorn State.

Why? In order to analyze new USM head coach Jay Hopson and defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro’s schemes, patterns, trends, and production. Here’s what I found from their previous stop:

2015 Alcorn State Havoc (Explosive Plays) Statistics

QB Sacks: 46 (Kentucky-17)

Tackles for Loss: 119 (Kentucky-53)

Interceptions: 11

3rd Down Conversion Percentage: 28.65%

Projecting Hopson/Pecararo’s Patterns

Southern Miss will blitz, play man-to-man, and be extraordinarily daring when the Wildcats have the football. The old football saying states, “Blitz us and die” was coined during the early advent of defensive schematic evolution. Hal Mumme is credited with conceptualizing and implementing the “Air Raid” offense. However, a look back at history and real-life experience tells us that Bobby Bowden and Steve Spurrier were the modern-day sculptors of the blitz pickup.

Let me explain; Bowden and Spurrier constructed sight adjustments and route conversions to counter blitzing defense. Thus, when faced with a blitz both made defenses pay dearly for playing risky.

Big plays for the Cats will ensue if it effectively blocks the blitzer and runs with power straight at the USM defense. Remember, blitz heavy teams normally play man-to-man coverage. When/if UK running backs break the line of scrimmage, one move to make a single defender miss could lead to a track sprint to the end zone. Wildcat outside receivers will have a significant size advantage. Early and costly receptions by Dorian Baker, Kayaune Ross, Tavin Richardson, and crew will force USM to go away from Havoc.

Southern Miss features the most “Havoc” safety duo the UK will face since going against Florida’s finest: Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye. D’Nerius Antoine and Picasso Nelson are excellent tacklers and blitzers. Both will be extremely active on September 3rd. When playing “Havoc”, safety production is critical as confusing or intimidating opposing quarterbacks play a key role in chaos. USM has a pair of Dogs.

Havoc is a high risk defense. Kentucky will need a proactive, attacking game plan to counteract Southern Miss’ dangerous defensive style.


UK Fans of the Day Want Friday Night Highlights from UK Football Commits

UK Fans of the Day Want Friday Night Highlights from UK Football Commits

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Nobody had a better night than Springfield, Ohio running back Bryant Koback.  The preseason All-State selection rushed for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns, but that wasn’t enough.  He returned a kickoff for a score to total 424 all-purpose yards.  Not too shabby.

Georgia dual-threat quarterback Jarren Williams didn’t get the win, falling 34-13, but he still had a solid outing.  The junior QB completed 24 of 39 passes for 302 yards and the team’s only 2 touchdowns.  

Wide receiver Javonte Richardson had three catches and a touchdown, but was rested after the first quarter in a blowout.  He almost took another one to the house on this kick return. 

Defensively, future Wildcats got familiar with the end zone.  Linebacker Jamin Davis was only a few yards away from a scoop and score.

Florida cornerback Cedrick Dort jumped the slant route for an impressive Pick 6.


One Week Till Kickoff: All You Need To Get Hyped

"Get Hyped BBN!" - Boom Williams, probably

“Get Hyped BBN!” – Boom Williams, probably

No matter how cool the KY Wildcats TV 2016 hype video is, every year I’m obligated to peruse through the YouTubes for the Kentucky football videos that get your blood boiling for all the right reasons.

Whether it’s a huge hit, a monumental win or Tom Leach’s “TOUCHDOOOOOOOWN KENTUCKY!” the following clips should be on every football fan’s preseason playlist.  If I missed any, leave a link in the comment section for all to enjoy.

Dicky Lyons Jr. Killed a Guy

I ca not think of a more infamous hit inside Commonwealth Stadium.  The best part?  Hearing the crowd “OOOOOH” when it’s replayed on the video board.  God bless Dicky Lyons.

Taylor Wyndham T.K.O.’s Tim Tebow

I spoke to soon.  Knocking out Tebow is a more infamous hit inside Commonwealth Stadium.  It would have been a lot cooler if the game was actually close.

Stevie Got Loose

No caption necessary.

Boom Opens the New Commonwealth Stadium

Entering the season with unbelievable hype and optimism, the BBN’s expectations were surprisingly met on the first play of the game.  Even when it got close at the end, the awesomeness of the first play took the poor taste from everyone’s mouth.

Myron Pryor Finishes Louisville

Remember when Kentucky used to take out Louisville Mortal Kombat-style?  Those were the days.

Bud Dupree Beats South Carolina

It doesn’t get much cooler than winning a game on a defensive touchdown, except win it’s a come-from-behind victory, and it’s a sold-out blackout with chrome domes, and it’s against Steve Spurrier.

Derek Abney Breaks the Punt Return Record

Watching Abney chase the record as a child was reminiscent of the homerun records baseball’s roid users chased in the late 90’s.  Not only did you want to see history made, but you wanted the little white guy to be the best at something.  It was also the year the Cats were banned from the bowl, making Abney’s run even more important.  As the year stretched along, I worried he wouldn’t get that last one, until his teammates helped him make the final push.

JoJo Changed the Game

It was the kind of postgame speech that rarely happens without a script, yet the freshman who gave it all was there to deliver a powerful message to the fans.  Hopefully he finishes his story this year on a high note.

A Game-Saving Stiffarm

The best touchdowns are fat guy touchdowns.  What’s better than a fat guy touchdown that wins a bowl game? A fat guy touchdown with a mouthpiece-removing stiffarm that wins a bowl game.

Blake McClain’s Hit Stick

This Miss. State man regrets the decision to come across the middle on McClain.

Boom (almost) Beats Florida

I hate to bring up what happened after this play, because this would have been arguably the biggest play in the history of the program if it was the game-winner.  Can you remember a time when a Kentucky player could outrun Florida players from sideline-to-sideline for a 25-yard diving touchdown?  I can’t.

Randall Cobb’s Touchdown Beats Spurrier

I was so happy I should have been arrested.  Instead, my friend got arrested.

Beware of the Jailbreak Screen

When I asked fans for their input, most responses had already made the list, but I’m glad Kyle Churchman was there to help me remember one of the best hits laid in the last decade.  Myron Pryor put that receiver to sleep before Brooks’ Cats took down Georgia, the last time the goalposts were torn down by fans at Commonwealth Stadium.

Jeremy Jarmon shares a fond memory from this moment on the KSR Football Podcast that will fire you up.

Dorian Baker Peels Back

People love to critique what he does what his hands, but they can’t deny that he lowers his shoulder better than most wide receivers.  The first time got him in trouble.

The second time was just as gratifying.

It’s LIT

The only play that wasn’t a play, I can’t think of a cooler moment at Commonwealth Stadium in the Mark Stoops era.


The Red Bull Flugtag’s Saturday Morning Wakeup

The Red Bull Flugtag’s Saturday Morning Wakeup

We’re still waiting for one to fly, via Red Bull.

An honest blog.  We are not afraid to admit when we have messed up.  Today, we dropped the ball.  The Red Bull Flugtag is at Louisville’s Waterfront Park for the first time and we should be there, jumping a giant KSR-mobile off a 30-foot platform into the Ohio River.

We may have messed up, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss it. The nonsensical leap is an annual event that occurs in cities across the country, proving that Red Bull does not in fact give you wings.  The madness begins when 35 teams take the stage, starting at 2:00.

If that isn’t crazy enough, Louisville is hosting a zombie walk on Bardstown Road. I’ve been a part of the Michael Jackson Thriller Parade and I had no idea how much fun it would be to get drunk and look dead for a night. Word on the street is that they’re expecting upwards of 40,000 people. Bring the blood; it will be fun.

The Coach Cal Fantasy Camp Continues

Instead of being dead in Louisville, I’ll be balling at the Joe Craft Center. Well, I will only shoot around from time to time while the experts show us how it’s done.

Day One provided plenty of entertainment. It wasn’t exclusively old guys; Cris Carter still has some athleticism, but he can’t hold a tune to the guy who dunked it twice during the tryouts. I’m sure there will be more shenanigans throughout the day, like this:

Did You Miss Mark Stoops on KSR?

Kentucky’s head football coach joined Matt and Ryan at All Sports in Fayette Mall to give the BBN something to look forward to a week away from kickoff.  He discussed Drew Barker’s progression and looked ahead to Southern Miss, something Freddie Maggard will touch on later today.

One Week Till Kickoff

It’s hard to believe it’s almost here. After almost six weeks of preseason, it’s finally game week. If you aren’t geeked yet, I’ll have something later today that should do the trick.

A Podcast Update

I’ve had a few goof ups since I started full-time a year ago, but I have never had a trainwreck like the one I was steering on Thursday. From bringing the equipment, to recording it, to editing it, I did whatever I could to make it terrible. Yet, it’s still one of the best things we’ve ever recorded. Please forgive me and give it a shot. The stories are some of the best of the best.

Also, keep your ears peeled for Freddie’s first Depth Chart Podcast, entering the airwaves Monday evening. It will be for football nerds, but it will also be enjoyable to hear Freddie out on his own, preparing you for Southern Miss better than anyone. Just remember: It’s not personal, it’s personnel.

Cats or Cougars?

For all the Crooked K haters.

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Regis Meant is No Longer Enrolled

Before practice began a UK spokesperson revealed that Regie Meant is no longer enrolled in school, effectively removing him from the roster.  Although expected, you could only hope the “indefinite suspension” wasn’t permanent.

For more optimistic notes from practice, like Boom Williams saying he’s in the best shape of his life, check out these notes and quotes from last night.

Scores from Friday Night Football

  • Ryle 34, Henry Clay 28
  • Danville 35, Southwestern 34
  • Corbin 20, Central 14
  • North Hardin 25, John Hardin 10
  • DeSales 17, Butler 0
  • Bethlehem 14, Thomas Nelson 13
  • Campbell County 24, Highlands 21
  • South Oldham 34, Doss 26
  • Madison Central 14, Dunbar 12
  • Trinity 35, Brentwood Academy 21

Another Large Water Balloon Fight

The start of the fall semester means eleventy gajillion water balloons were thrown on the Johnson Center Fields last night.  For freshmen, it’s a can’t-miss event, including our own Maggie Davis who saw plenty of celebrities at the annual event.

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If there was a Sportscenter Top Plays for Water Balloon Fights, Maci Morris chasing down Bam Adebayo would be No. 1.

Don’t Forget to Vote in the Tailgate Bracket

You have the rest of the weekend to have your voice heard in the Final Four of the KSR Tailgate Food Bracket.  Wings have a commanding lead over Queso, but the Sausage Balls still have time to come back to upset Fried Chicken.  As Diddy said, VOTE OR DIE.

Get Tickets for the Celebrity Softball Game

There are approximately 757 reasons you should go, but here are my top five:

  • Karl-Anthony Towns will be there
  • $1 Beers
  • If it rains out, you get to see an open practice
  • Proceeds go to help Louisiana Flood victims
  • $1 Beers

Get your tickets HERE.


Friday Night Notes and Quotes from Football Practice

Friday Night Notes and Quotes from Football Practice

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Hi friends.  It’s strange seeing you tonight.  Friday night is usually reserved for high schoolers, but tonight is the rare exception the media had the chance to meet with the football team.  Here’s a little from my conversations with Darin Hinshaw, Boom Williams and Dorian Baker.

Boom has Never been in Better Shape

“I fell like I’m ready to go, I couldn’t be more ready,” Boom said after practice.  “I feel like I’m in the best shape that I’ve been in since I’ve been here.”

I asked him if he could start the season better than he started last year: “That’s the goal.”

The Difference in the Receivers is “Apples to Oranges”

Darin Hinshaw has been pleased with the work ethic from the receivers in camp, running “miles and miles” each week.  They understand the system and now they look much different than they look when he first arrived.

“It’s apples and oranges from where we first got here in January to where they are right now,” Hinshaw said.

A New Stage for Tailgaters

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Last year was the first time pregame concerts became a weekly tradition in UK tailgating.  Previously, they used a temporary stage near the Cat Walk.  Now a new permanent fixture will be in place in between the practice fields and Commonwealth Stadium, giving fans a place to gather before the team makes the walk in full pads from the new training facility to the stadium.

There’s No Set Running Back Rotation

Boom said they’ve never operated at a higher capacity under Coach Gran, but they still don’t have a set rotation heading into game week.  “Right now everybody’s just going with the flow.”

Battles with the Defensive Backs

Lamar Thomas and his receivers have repeatedly emphasized the importance of competition at the position.  That was again the case today, but that competition isn’t just between the receivers, it’s against Kentucky’s lengthy defensive backs.

“You really don’t see too many 6’3″ or 6’4″ corners on an everyday basis,” Dorian Baker said. “For me to be facing them everyday, it’s a challenge.  I get to work different releases and different techniques against them to make myself better.”

Praise for the QBs

During the summer,  they only threw the ball three or four days a week without shoulder pads.  They’ve worn their arms out the last few weeks, but the effort has paid off heading into game week.

“I’m really proud of where Drew and Stephen both are,” Hinshaw said.  “I think they’re both ready to play and ready to go win.”

 

Dorian Baker can see the difference in QB1.  “He’s more confident with himself.  He doesn’t second-guess himself anymore.”


The Depth Chart Podcast starts next week

The Depth Chart Podcast starts next week

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Somehow, someway Matt is giving me the keys to the KSR podcast machine. I will be hosting The Depth Chart Podcast that will feature discussions regarding personnel, schemes, and tendencies for both Kentucky and its upcoming opponents.

I will be recording the Southern Miss preview show on Monday with the Hattiesburg American’s Jason Munz. Jason is the Golden Eagles beat writer and will provide incredible insight for the Cat’s opening game opponent.

Much like on the KSR Football Podcast, discussions and topics will be all over the map but will adhere to my “It’s not personal, it’s personnel” mantra. I’d like to thank Murray Promotions for turning a podcast concept into a reality. The company’s owner, Andy Murray, was a UK fullback and twice led the Southeastern Conference in knockdown blocks.

So, please tune in on Monday and tell your friends. It’s here!


Regie Meant is officially off the team

Regie Meant is officially off the team

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Regie Meant’s indefinite leave of absence from the program left a tiny possibility he could one day return. That went out the window today when UK announced Meant is officially off the team and no longer enrolled in school.

It’s not surprising news but it is news nonetheless.

He gone.


Stoops says Barker has done everything you want in a QB

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Drew Barker needed to change his attitude once he was given the keys to Kentucky’s offense last spring and he has done just that, by all accounts.

Today, KSR asked Mark Stoops to summarize Barker’s progression from the spring all the way through fall camp, and he couldn’t be happier with his starting QB.

“I’ve been very impressed, as I’ve talked about a lot in the summer,” said Stoops. “I think it starts with him being a leader and maturity off the field and doing all the right things, and he’s done that. I’ve been very proud of how well he’s done in school; last spring he had a super high GPA and has done great this summer. He’s in the complex all the time studying. He’s around the players. He’s doing everything you want in a leader and everything you want in a quarterback.”

It sounds like Barker has done all that was asked of him off the field, which has in turn made him a better player on it.

Stoops said, “His play is correlated to that. He’s played extremely well and he’s very consistent. He’s making good, quick decisions and I think, in part, that has a lot to do with the offense as well — the talent around him and knowing where to go with the ball and when and delivering the ball. He’s really done that.”

“Overall I’ve been very, very pleased with him.”


Southern Miss will be down a defensive lineman next week

The Southern Miss defensive line will be down a man next Saturday when they come to Lexington.

Junior defensive tackle Draper Riley is out for the Kentucky game with an injury, according to the Hattiesburg American. Riley played in all 13 games last season and is projected to start at defensive tackle this year.

Kentucky was already going to run the ball up the middle all over the Golden Eagles’ weak interior. This only makes that a little easier for the Cats.


Scouting The Southern Miss Offense

Scouting The Southern Miss Offense

SouthernMiss.com

Former Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken directed one of the most prolific offenses in college football a year ago. His team lit up Conference USA and Power 5 opponents during his tenure in Hattiesburg. Monken has since moved on and is now the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Enter Jay Hopson. Hopson was a long time defensive coordinator prior to taking the head coaching job at Alcorn State. With a defensive background, Hopson hired former UK offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson to lead an offense that averaged 509 yards per game in 2015.

In today’s scouting report we will strictly focus on personnel and statistics. Match-ups, schematic analysis, and a concentrated overview will be posted next week.

Chuck Cook | USA Today

The obvious first point of discussion focuses on senior quarterback Nick Mullens. Mullens is listed on virtually every postseason quarterback award watch list as well as being named Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year; an honor that he was awarded a year ago. 2015 was productive for the Hoover, Alabama native: 4,476 passing yards, 38 touchdown passes, and 10 games in which he threw for more than 300 yards. His highest total was 447 in a game at Nebraska.

An interesting observation surfaced during film study. Nick Mullens’ prior offensive coordinator was Chip Lindsey who is now in the same role at Arizona State. The QB and Lindsey’s relationship dates back to Mullens’ days in high school. Game one without his trusted play caller will come in Lexington.  Also worth noting: even with its high-flying turf show, in 2015 Southern Miss only beat one team with a winning record.

* USM averaged 22.6 points in its five losses to: Mississippi State, Nebraska, Marshall, Western Kentucky, and Washington.

**USM averaged 55.7 points in its eight wins: Austin Peay, Texas State, North Texas, UT San Antonio, Charlotte, UTEP, Rice, Old Dominion, and Louisiana Tech.

Receiver Mike Thomas and running back Jalen Richards combined for 2,489 yards in 2015. Both are now playing in the NFL. When watching Southern Miss film, it’s highly obvious that the duo was critical to offensive success that accumulated 7,000 yards. Their absence will be a significant adjustment. Thomas was Mullens’ go-to pass catcher. As discussed in a prior post, hypothetically when Mullens was asked his Top 10 plays; eight would have gone in Thomas’ direction. Richards was one of two running backs that rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2015. His loss also presents a challenge moving forward.

Center Cameron Tom is equally as touted as Nick Mullens. The senior center was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List, Preseason All-Conference USA, and joins Mullens on the Reece’s Senior Bowl Watch List.

Joining Tom on the offensive line is Will Freeman. The 6’6, 290-pound Freeman spent his first three seasons on the defensive side of the football. The Kentucky game will mark his first start at left tackle.

Ray Carlin | USA Today

Junior running back Ito Smith is dynamic. The all-conference performer rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2015 by averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Smith is best when playing in space. His ability to catch the football coming out of the backfield will be a major concern for the Wildcats.

Much like Ole Miss and Mississippi State; Southern Miss enjoys recruiting success from the state’s junior college programs. Projected playmaking receivers Isiah Jones and Allenzae Staggers both played at East Mississippi which is now famous from the Last Chance U documentary. Also in the receiver corps are returners DJ Carter and Korey Robertson. Robertson is a promising and dynamic playmaker that’s returning from injury. Offensively Southern Miss is fast, really fast.

KEY RETURNING OFFENSIVE PERSONNEL

Offensive Line: Average size, 6’4 300-pounds

— LT Wil Freeman 6’6 290
— LG Brandon Farmer 6’4 304
— C Cameron Tom 6’4 287
— RG Devin Farrior 6’4 304
— RT Ty Pollard 6’3 315

Running Back: Average size, 5’9.5 195-pounds

— Ito Smith 5’9 195
— Patrick Brooks 5’10 195

Quarterback

— Nick Mullens 6’1 196

Receiver: Average size, 6’2 197-pounds

— Isiah Jones 6’4 195
— Allenzae Staggers 6’1 190
— Marquise Ricard 6’2 192
— DJ Thompson 6’3 200
— Korey Robertson 6’1 210

Tight End: Average size, 6’3.5 258-pounds

— Taylor Marini 6’4 247
— Ricky Parks 6’3 270

KEY PERSONNEL LOSSES

— WR Mike Thomas: 71 receptions, 1391 yards, and 14 touchdowns
— RB Jalen Richard: 1098 yards rushing, 5.9 yards per carry, and 14 touchdowns

BEST THREE PLAYERS

QB, Nick Mullens

RB, Ito Smith

C, Cameron Tom

TOP NEWCOMERS

WR, Isiah Jones

WR, Allenzae Staggers

Southern Miss ran offensive laps around the 2015 Wildcats. Thus, the elephant in the room must be addressed. Can Shannon Dawson take over a high-octane group and maintain its level of prowess or will he stumble as he did in Lexington? Dawson certainly has the offensive weapons to succeed after inheriting the nation’s top statistical drop-back quarterback, a 1,000-yard rusher, a future NFL center and a group of receivers that possess size and speed. Was Dawson at fault for the offense’s collapse a year ago or were the players non-coachable? Was he hampered by a struggling defense and an apparent strained relationship with the head coach? These questions will all be answered in just over a week.

SOUTHERN MISS-KENTUCKY OFFENSIVE STATISTICAL COMPARISON

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Notes, Quotes and Audio from Mark Stoops on KSR

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Mark Stoops made his preseason appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio this morning to close out his talking season before the real season begins next week. He was great on the show, as he always is, in giving one last update after fall camp.

Below you’ll find some of the notes and quotes from the 45-minute interview. The audio will be embedded at the bottom once it’s available.

 

He pushed the players harder than ever before this offseason.

“Our players, we wanted to push them more. We want to push them harder physically. We had a much hard winter. The guys lifted harder. We had a harder fourth quarter program where we run them and change directions in the winter. Harder spring practices. The guys trained harder in the summer. And it worked. To this point it has worked.”

Through fancy technology I’ll never understand, Stoops said numbers show the team worked 31 percent harder this offseason than last.

“I told the players from Day 1 and they’ve done it — I put my foot on the gas and we’re coming. Come hell or high water, we’re going hard.”

The future is very bright.

He pointed out that, by having to play young guys the last couple of years, there is a lot of experience back and they’re still not seniors.

“Our junior and sophomore class is really, really good.”

Landon Young, Benny Snell, T.J. Carter and Kash Daniel will play as true freshmen.

Stoops singled out all four of those guys as freshmen who performed in camp and will definitely be used this season. No redshirts for those guys.

Drew Barker will be used in the run.

“You have to,” Stoops said. “He’s a throwing quarterback. He’s a pocket passer. He’s making good decisions. But there will always be some in the run game.”

He would not comment on whether or not Stephen Johnson will be used, though. Can’t show his cards before kickoff.

Courney Miggins is an SEC defensive lineman.

“He’s a good-looking player,” Stoops said of his senior defensive tackle. He’s athletic, he’s tall, and he’s got the size you’re looking for and I really have high expectations for him.”

Denzil Ware and Josh Allen received some praise in the pass rush.

The secondary looks good but they have to go out there and do it.

“They have the potential to be stars in this league.”

He wanted Eddie Gran as his OC from the beginning.

Stoops and Gran coached together at Florida State and lived in the same neighborhood in Tallahassee. When Stoops took the job at UK, he wanted Gran as his offensive coordinator, but Gran had never been an OC, while Neal Brown had experience and ties to Kentucky.

“I really liked the decision I made early on, but Eddie was a guy from Day 1 that I always wanted to have,” Stoops said. “Then he goes to Cincinnati and he is an offensive coordinator and he lights it up and does phenomenal… He’s absolutely at the top of the chart in the last three years of any offensive coordinator.”

He’s tired of being close.

“They’re very close and they’ve worked extremely hard. They want to deliver for these folks right here, believe me. They want to deliver for the fan base. I want to deliver for the fan base. I promise you, we care. These players care and they know they get great support in this state and this community, and like I said earlier, we’re tired of being close. The players are tired of being close and they want to do everything they can to get you the victories we all deserve.”

Hear it all for yourself in Hour 2 of the podcast:


Stoops still likes Shannon Dawson, but planning for him is “gut-wrenching”

Stoops still likes Shannon Dawson, but planning for him is “gut-wrenching”

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Mark Stoops will run into his former offensive coordinator in Week 1 of the upcoming season when Southern Miss brings Shannon Dawson to town. And though fans may not have a lot of love for Dawson after his one season in Lexington, Stoops still believes he is a good coach and a good guy.

He told KSR today, “I wouldn’t have hired him if I didn’t think he was a good coach. He’s a very good coach and he has good plays.”

“We have a good relationship and contrary to what anyone says we have a good relationship,” Stoops continued. “He’s a good guy and a good person. It just didn’t work out here. I wish him the very best. He’s a good coach, again, or I wouldn’t have hired him.”

That being said, preparing for Dawson has been “killing” Stoops, he admitted to the show. He and his staff have been watching their own game and practice tape from last season, which means they’re having to relive all of those heartbreaking moments.

“I’ve been sitting there studying ourselves. It does absolutely kill me because you can see how close we were… It is gut-wrenching for me. It is tearing me up.”


UK announces game promotions for 2016 season

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UK Athletics released some of its early plans for football game promotions this coming season. There will be plenty more to come as things roll on, but for now, here’s what’s on the docket for the opener:

Southern Miss – Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m.
UK’s season opener will also mark the debut of the new Cat Walk. The Cat Walk will still begin two hours and 15 minutes outside Gate 1, but the team will proceed down Talbott Todd Way between Commonwealth Stadium and Nutter Field House.
After the Cat Walk, the Jordan English Band will play a concert outside Gate 12 in the plaza between Commonwealth Stadium and the new Kentucky Football Training Facility. The concert will begin after the Cat Walk and will last until 30 minutes prior to the game’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff. During the concert, the members of the team will make their way from the Football Training Facility through Gate 12 and into the stadium. Fans are welcome to cheer the Wildcats as they enter Commonwealth.
Inside the stadium, the Commonwealth Choir will perform the National Anthem. The Commonwealth Choir is made up of singers from all 120 Kentucky counties.
Sept. 3 will be Junior Wildcat Club Day. Members of the Junior Wildcat Club and one guest will be able to gain free admission to the game. The Junior Wildcat Club is open to children eighth grade or younger. Learn more about becoming a member here:http://www.ukathletics.com/page/jwc-about.
It will also be Band Day at Commonwealth, with members of high school bands from throughout Kentucky playing at halftime.
The release also confirms Heroes Day for September 14, as well as the dates for homecoming, Hall of Fame recognition, the honoring of the Peach Bowl and integrating of the SEC, and much, much more.
See it all here.

CORRECTED: The KSR Football Podcast with Jeremy Jarmon

Former Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon joined the Football Podcast crew to help prepare the BBN for the 2016 Kentucky football season.  A film studying analyst who saw UK’s last preseason scrimmage, Jarmon provides some insight that should make you fell more confident about the season opener vs. Southern Miss.  There were also PLENTY of shenanigans, including:

—  Dropping ‘F Bombs’ on live radio.

—  Infamous fart stories from Kentucky football players.

—  A history of Kentucky football’s nastiest hits.

—  The best and worst highlights from preseason camp.

—  How the new offensive coaches and skill players will help Drew Barker succeed.

To listen, just subscribe to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or stream on Podbay.

If you would like to be a part of this year’s new and improved podcast by advertising on the show, e-mail maria@kentuckysportsradio.com. 


UPDATE

You ever had one of those days where no matter what you do, you mess it up?  Today has been that day for me.  I apologize for the recording, editing and life errors.  Today has been tough.  Thanks for gutting it out with me.