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Football Season Coverage

Steve Spurrier says QB Dylan Thompson will play on Saturday

Steve Spurrier just wrapped up his time on the SEC Coaches’ Teleconference this morning, and said starting QB Dylan Thompson practice yesterday and will be able to go against Kentucky this weekend. Thompson sprained his neck during South Carolina’s loss to Missouri this past weekend. So far this season, he’s 109-179 for 1,359 yards, 12 touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Once again, Spurrier played nice and complimented Mark Stoops and his staff on the job they’ve done so far. In fact, he said Kentucky is “very capable of beating every team they play” this season. Whoa. What’s next, Spurrier starts wearing shirts on the beach??


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Does This Not Excite You For 2015 Defense?

Yesterday, I put up the offensive players who have contributed a stat in any way, shape, or form at this point this season to highlight just how many of those guys will be returning next season (and beyond).  It is really amazing to think just how experienced next year’s team could be.  But many people asked about the defensive side of the ball.  Well, I would argue it is not quite as noticeable on defense as 3 of the 4 UK defensive linemen will be gone for sure and that can be a young group next year.  But the linebacker and secondary will remain largely in tact and guys like Jason Hatcher have shown great potential on the line.

Every guy listed has contributed in at least 1 statistical category.  I know there is maybe a player or two that have played and have not accumulated any stats, but those players are likely not key members as of yet.  Seniors have been marked out.   

DEFENSIVE LINE
Zadarius Smith (Senior): 4 starts, 23 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Bud Dupree (Senior): 4 starts, 17 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Mike Douglas (Senior): 4 starts, 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks
Melvin Lewis (Junior): 4 starts, 9 tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Jason Hatcher (Sophomore): 2 starts, 12 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Reggie Meant (RS-Sophomore): 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Farrington Huguenin (Junior): 4 tackles
Matt Elam (Freshman): 1 start, 2 tackles
Corey Johnson (Junior): 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Jabari Johnson (Junior): 2 tackles
Christian Coleman (Senior): 2 tackles
RETURNING IN 2015: 42% of tackles, 59% of TFL, 60% of sacks

LINEBACKER
Josh Forrest (RS-Junior): 4 starts, 26 tackles, 3 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Khalid Henderson (Junior): 4 starts, 24 tackles
Ryan Flannigan (Junior): 15 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Daron Blaylock (Junior): 3 tackles
Travaughn Paschal (Senior): 3 tackles
Tyler Brause (Senior): 2 tackles
RETURNING IN 2015: 93% of tackles, 100% of TFL, 100% of sacks

SECONDARY
Fred Tiller (Junior): 4 starts, 21 tackles, 1 INT
AJ Stamps (Junior): 4 starts, 20 tackles, 2 INT
Cody Quinn (Junior): 4 starts, 12 tackles
Blake McClain (Sophomore): 3 starts, 10 tackles
Ashley Lowery (Senior): 3 starts, 16 tackes, 1 INT
JD Harmon (RS-Sophomore): 17 tackles
Nate Willis (Senior): 5 tackles, 1 INT
Glen Faulkner (Junior): 5 tackles
Kendall Randolph (Freshman): 5 tackles
Marcus McWilson (Sophomore): 2 tackles, 1 INT
Eric Dixon (Senior): 2 tackles
Keron Wakefield (Freshman): 1 tackle
RETURNING IN 2015: 80% of tackles, 67% of INT’s


Best-Case, Worst-Case For South Carolina

Kentucky has momentum and they’re still in contention for the SEC east. South Carolina just dropped their second home game of the season and haven’t looked like the team we thought they’d be coming into the season. As such ESPN named this Saturday’s game the most intriguing in the SEC:

Intriguing matchup: South Carolina at Kentucky
While the West division deserves all the attention it’s going to get on Saturday, the East is quietly trying to sort itself out. Upstart Kentucky finally removed a very large monkey off its back by beating Vanderbilt and snapping a 17-game conference losing streak. In order to earn respect, the Wildcats’ next task is to score an upset. Kentucky and its fans will be fired up for this home game, and the Gamecocks are ripe for the picking after blowing a 20-7 lead in the fourth quarter against division-leading Missouri. [ESPN: At A Glance SEC Week 6]

The game certainly will tell us much about the outlook for the rest of the season. Win and maybe the Cats find a way to claw for the SEC east crown. Get blown out and attention begins to turn to the hardwood until next spring. Here are my picks for the best and worst ways this Saturday could play out:

Best Case Scenario: Steve Spurrier With This Look On His Face

Via SaurdayDownSouth

Kentucky has been looking for a signature win under coach Stoops and they finally deliver one with an upset of the ol’ ball coach. Last year Kentucky fought back from being down 21-0 to nearly pull off the W before falling 35-28. This year they take an early lead on a Towles to Timmons pass and never look back as the Gamecock’s shaky defense can’t keep them in the game.

Kentucky’s defense is impressive once again as they continue to disrupt opposing QBs and get to Dylan Thompson several times in the second half. The Cats move to a tie atop of the SEC east the next week following a Missouri loss to Ole Miss. The team is just two wins away from being bowl eligible.

Worst-Case Scenario: Mike Davis Runs Wild

Kentucky takes the field with high hopes but they are quickly dashed as Mike Davis manages to rip off run after run. Like Florida’s Matt Jones did earlier this season, Davis is able to average over 5 yards per carry as the Gamecocks keep their defense off the field with a grind it out game.

Kentucky is unfocused following this weeks events and the loss of Boom and Baker is evident. The bevy of recruits on campus leave the stadium unfulfilled after a week of major anticipation. With big blue madness looming the football team begins to lose attention and the stadium is just over half full for the UL-M game. The Cats will need to win two of their toughest six to end the season in a bowl.

 

So those are my wild scenarios for the best and worst cases we could see this Saturday. How about yours?Do you think things will be more good than bad or are we in for a long Saturday under the lights of Commonwealth?


Getting Past the Distractions in Today’s Practice Notes

-  South Carolina’s defense isn’t as bad as we think.  With all eyes on South Carolina to start the season, their defense allowed Texas A&M to score 52 points against them on their home turf.  They’ve slowly recovered since, but their young secondary has had a tough time against some of the best offenses in the country.  “They’re getting better.  They’re young, very similar to what we are at wideout.  They’re playing some true freshman back there and I think they has some growing pains early, but I thought they played solid against some really good players.”

T.J. Surratt will create some chaos in the interior line and their superstar true sophomore linebacker, Skai Moore, will make plays all over the field.

-  The suspensions will NOT affect the offensive game plan.  The timing of a suspension is never good, but at least Neal Brown knew they would be without Baker and Boom before solidifying his game plan.  They had planned some extra packages to get Boom the ball this week, but they’ll have to be set aside for now.

-  Figuring out the running backs.  Brown was pleased with how involved the running backs were in the passing game last week, using pre-snap motions to get them in space.  The toughest part is figuring out who gets the most snaps.  So far Braylon Heard has been the most consistent, but Brown isn’t ready to limit the other backs’ roles, “For the most part, our guys are pretty versatile at running back,” Brown said.  “We’ve got a pretty good feel for what each guy’s talents are and what they’re best at, at this point.  From a game-planning perspective, we kind of devise things we think they’ll do well and get them in for those things.”

-  Jojo is carrying his 4th quarter momentum into this week.  After letting his mouth get him into trouble before Florida, Jojo had to earn his playing time in practice.  Last week things weren’t clicking until the 4th quarter.  The coaches asked him to bring that energy and intensity to practice and it has paid off,  “He had a good practice today.  I was pleased with him.  His confidence level is going to be higher too because of the way he performed at the end of the game too.  I was really proud of him.  This speaks to him maturing.  He was great on the sidelines the whole game.  He kind of waited his turn, we got caught up with him and he produced.”

-  Neal Brown’s quote of the day:

“We did some good things against Vandy.  I think much (fuss) has been about Patrick.  If he plays bad and completes 23 of 30 every game, we’ll be alright.

-  Ryan Timmons’ hand is in a cast…but you shouldn’t be worried about it.  After spraining his wrist in the Swamp, the cast has been a precautionary measure that has come a part of his routine, removing his hardware prior to the game.  The greatest injury worry is at left guard.  Zach West and Cole Mosier were both forced out last week, but West practiced today and Mosier will likely practice tomorrow.  Blake Bone has also been ‘banged up’ this week, but shouldn’t miss a beat on Saturday.


UK wants you and 62,902 others to sing Saturday’s national anthem

Following Marlana VanHoose is no easy task, but if all 62,000-plus seats in Commonwealth Stadium are full, and we work together, I think we can hold our own.

That is the plan for Saturday as UK is putting the pregame singing duties in the vocal cords of Big Blue Nation. Dr. Everett McCorvey will lead the crowd in the national anthem before Kentucky hosts South Carolina, just as we did last basketball season in Rupp Arena before the Louisville game.

If you haven’t already purchased your tickets, do so now at UKFootballTix.com. Use promo code BEATSC to score some upper-level reserved seats for $25.

See you there and Go Cats.


Stoops: “We have good kids who used poor judgment”

stoops

Mark Stoops is currently meeting with the media to discuss the shooting incident on Sunday and the one-game suspensions for Dorian Baker, Tymere Dubose, Drew Barker, and Boom Williams. Stoops said “we have good kids who used poor judgment,” and the players realize they made a mistake. “They’re remorseful, they realize they’re wrong.” He added that when you’re dealing with 115 college kids, you have to expect some immature moments. Stoops said he and the team are cooperating with the authorities and he’s unsure if the players will face further punishment.

How has this affected the team heading into a huge game against South Carolina? “The players felt bad because it took away from a big victory and big preparation,” Stoops said. He added that Baker, Barker, Williams, and Dubose will practice this week, but have been removed from the game plan and will only play on the scout team. How is the rest of the team? Stoops said they had an okay practice and were bummed out by the news, but aren’t using it as an excuse to not be ready for South Carolina.

Stoops wasn’t scheduled to meet with the media today, so kudos to him for coming out to address the situation and getting as far ahead of it as possible. Nick will be by in a little bit with more practice notes.


The four suspended freshmen face disorderly conduct charges

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According to multiple media reports out of Lexington, the four UK freshmen involved in Sunday night’s air-gun incident on campus face disorderly conduct charges. Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts told the Herald-Leader his office filed misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct on Tuesday. Roberts recommended second-degree disorderly conduct as an appropriate punishment in his discussions with UK.

The misdemeanor, plus the embarrassment and the one-game suspension, seems fair enough.


Who are you and what have you done with Steve Spurrier?

Who are you and what have you done with Steve Spurrier?

spurrier

Hold up. Something’s wrong here. Steve Spurrier met with the media during Kentucky week and he was very complimentary of the Wildcats, not the Spurrier we’ve known for the last two decades. This is the time of the year we get a good, degrading comment from the Ol’ Ball Coach. Instead we got a guy who sees a good football team ahead. Who are you? Where am I? Is time a flat circle?

“Kentucky Wildcats, uh, Kentucky Wildcats are a pretty good team,” said Spurrier to lead off his press conference. “They don’t look like some of their teams 10, 15 years ago. They are very fast and athletic. I think their defense is actually nationally ranked in most all categories. They’re a good looking team.”

He continued, “They play tough, smart, well-coached, and they’ll certainly be a big challenge as we go into Commonwealth Stadium to play Kentucky this year.”

“It should be a heck of a game.”

Is this a mind trick? I’m lost. I don’t trust him. Why is Spurrier being nice? Spurrier’s never nice. He loves to throw barbs at UK. Is this real life?

Watch his full comments here.


Mark Stoops wants you to stop thinking about Matt Elam playing offense

Mark Stoops wants you to stop thinking about Matt Elam playing offense

matt elam blimp photoshop

via Saturday’s KSR Live Blog

On his Monday evening call-in show last night, Mark Stoops took a call from a fan who wondered if we’ll see Matt Elam lined up in the backfield as a potential ball carrier. Many of you are familiar with the tactic: the Cincinnati Bengals occasionally use defensive tackle Domata Peko as a fullback in goal line situations. Last night the Kansas City Chiefs used 340-pound nose tackle Donatrio Poe as a fullback on one touchdown play.

But Mark Stoops needs Elam to learn how to play defensive tackle before he will even entertain the idea of Elam lining up behind the quarterback. Stoops told the caller, “No, no, no. Don’t even put that in his head.”

“I don’t want him asking about it in practice,” said Stoops.

But it would be pretty fun to watch, right? I wouldn’t rule it out before Elam’s time is up at Kentucky.

Oh, and here’s your boy Peko plowing over Troy Polamalu a few years ago:

Imagine Elam doing that for Damien Harris in a few years.

#WhyNot


Vegas likes the Cats to cover in Saturday’s Blackout

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After opening at 10 points in favor of South Carolina, the line for Saturday’s game has moved all the way down to -5 in some Las Vegas books, -5.5 in others. That means people with disposable income and somewhat of a knowledge of college football like Kentucky to keep it close when Spurrier and the boys come to town for the blackout.

According to Vegas Insider, the line moved two points in the first 20 minutes of being on the board on Sunday.

Do you have the same confidence?

#WhyNot


From The Vault: Steve Spurrier humping a fitness ball

It’s South Carolina week, so why not get ready for the game with a Tuesday morning viewing of Steve Spurrier humping a fitness ball. I can’t think of a better way to get pumped up for South Carolina, honestly.

Beat Spurrier.


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Does This Not Excite You for the 2015 Offense?

It can not be stated enough just how exciting it is to have a competitive football team again.  Kentucky is becoming a trendy pick to upset South Carolina this weekend and many are now predicting a possible bowl game this year.  But frankly, all of that would be icing on the cake to what is just the bounce back year for this football program.  But next year could really be something special.  The home slate might be the best in school history.  But most importantly, UK is looking like they will bring back almost all of their key players, especially on the offensive side of the ball.  Through 4 games, take a look at the stats accumulated at each position and how many of those guys will be coming back.  And then I did the math on what percentage of key stats could be coming back through 4 games.  Seniors have been included but marked out.

QUARTERBACK
Patrick Towles (RS-Sophomore): 4 starts, 84-135, 1117 yards, 6 TD, 49 carries, 205 yards, 2 TD
Reese Phillips (RS-Freshman): 2-4 (50.0%), 45 yards
RETURNING IN 2015: 100% of completions, 100% of yards, 100% of TD’s

RUNNING BACK
Braylon Heard (Junior): 3 starts, 29 carries, 217 yards, 7.5 ypc, 2 TD, 3 catches, 8 yards
JoJo Kemp (Sophomore): 1 start, 33 carries, 155 yards, 4.7 ypc, 1 TD, 2 catches, 15 yards
Mikel Horton (Freshman): 23 carries, 121 yards, 5.3 ypc, 2 TD
Boom Williams (Freshman): 16 carries, 99 yards, 6.2 ypc, 1 TD, 5 catches, 75 yards, 1 TD
Josh Clemons (RS-Junior): 7 carries, 32 yards, 4.6 ypc
DJ Warren (Senior): 1 catch, 9 yards
RETURNING IN 2015: 100% of carries, 100% of yards, 100% of TD’s

WIDE RECEIVER
Ryan Timmons (Sophomore): 4 starts, 20 catches, 246 yards, 1 TD
Demarco Robinson (Senior): 4 starts, 10 catches, 180 yards
Javess Blue (Senior): 3 starts, 6 catches, 77 yards
Dorian Baker (Freshman): 1 start, 11 catches, 122 yards, 1 TD
Garrett Johnson (Freshman): 11 catches, 181 yards, 2 TD
Blake Bone (Freshman): 5 catches, 113 yards, 1 TD
TV Williams (Freshman): 4 catches, 64 yards
Joey Herrick (Junior): 1 start, 2 catches, 18 yards
Charles Walker (Freshman): 1 catch, 4 yards
RETURNING IN 2015: 80% of catches, 77% of yards, 100% of TD’s

TIGHT END
Steve Borden (Senior): 3 starts, 3 catches, 32 yards
Ronnie Shields (Senior): 2 catches, 28 yards
RETURNING IN 2015: 0% of catches, 0% of yards, 0% of TD’s

OFFENSIVE LINE
Jordan Swindle (Junior): 4 starts (16 career starts)
Jon Toth (Sophomore): 4 starts (19 career starts)
Ramsey Meyers (RS-Freshman): 4 starts
Darrian Miller (Senior): 3 starts
Cole Mosier (RS-Freshman): 2 starts, 3 games played
Zach West (Junior): 1 start (22 career starts)
Kyle Meadows (RS-Freshman): 1 start, 3 games played
Nick Haynes (RS-Freshman): 1 start, 3 games played
Max Godby (Senior): 4 games played
Zach Myers (Sophomore): 1 game played (1 career start)
Teven Eaton-Nared (Senior): 1 game played
RETURNING IN 2015: 85% of starts (66 career starts combined for returning players)

Unless tight end becomes a serious focal point of the offense in the future, I think Kentucky is going to be quite strong on the offensive side of the ball in 2015.


Watch Mark Stoops’ Monday Pre-South Carolina Press Conference


Darrian Miller is your SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week

And now for some positive news from the football program…

Senior offensive tackle Darrian Miller was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against Vanderbilt on Saturday. Miller is the second Wildcat to earn the award this season, following center Jon Toth in the first week of the season against UT Martin.

Miller was also big in the loss at Florida, playing through the pain after injuring his left shoulder early in the game. He has played well in three games this season after missing the opener as part of a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.

Go Cats.


Stoops suspends Dorian Baker, Drew Barker, Boom Williams and Tymere Dubose

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A statement from UK regarding last night’s campus incident:

Four University of Kentucky football student-athletes, freshmen Dorian Baker, Drew Barker, Tymere Dubose and Stanley Williams, have been suspended for Saturday’s game vs. South Carolina and will have additional internal team discipline for violation of team rules in relation to an incident on campus Sunday evening.

“Proper conduct is emphasized as a core value of our program,” Coach Mark Stoops said. “If we have a situation in which someone who does not act according to our standards, we hold him accountable.”

“We absolutely respect being part of a wonderful campus community,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK director of athletics. “It disappoints us when one of our student-athletes does not live up to our expectations. We respect the process of the University and are working hand-in-hand with the campus community on this issue.”

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe:

“Today, University of Kentucky Police continued its investigation into Sunday’s incident on campus. We have been able to identify all of the people in a picture from last night’s incident captured on security cameras. Moreover, three BB guns connected with the incident were recovered as part of our investigation. UK Police officers also have interviewed those identified in the picture and worked closely with the Office of Student Affairs and the Department of Athletics on the appropriate next steps. To that end, we will be meeting tomorrow with the Fayette County Attorney’s office to determine what actions should take place. Once that investigation is completed, that information will be turned over to the Office of Student Affairs as dictated by university policy to investigate whether any violations of the code of student conduct have taken place.”

Not smart, boys. Not smart at all.