Football Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 08th, 2018 @ 10:15am
One of the defining characteristics of this Kentucky football team is physicality, and Tennessee safety Nigel Warrior had an interesting way of describing the lengths to which the Cats will go to win yesterday.
“They want to put their face in the fan,” the Tennessee safety said of Kentucky’s offense. “They’re coming at you. They want every yard. They’re coming consistently. They want to make plays on the ball. They want to make plays with the ball. You know what I’m saying?”
If you’ve watched Benny Snell play football, then yes, you do. Benny’s had a rough few weeks, but should be able to get back on track vs. a Tennessee rushing defense that allows 161 rushing yards per game. Instead of shredding their face in a fan, hopefully tomorrow’s Saturday will be a little more like this for the offense:
Video via Sports Radio WNML:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 07th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
After starting the season 2-7, things are only going to get worse for Bobby Petrino and the Louisville football program.
According to a report by Louisville radio host Mark Ennis, 20 players have requested paperwork to initiate a transfer from the team.
According to a source within the athletic department, in the Fall 2018 semester alone, 20 Louisville football players have requested the required paperwork to initiate a transfer. Number was described as “abnormally high. The most for one sport since the women’s lacrosse fiasco.”
— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) November 7, 2018
Ennis followed it up with an update from the athletic department, who disputes the high number of potential transfers.
“An athletic department representative contacted me and disputes that Louisville has had this many football players request transfer paperwork,” he said. “I stand by my earlier report, but in the interest of full disclosure Louisville denies it.”
Former Under Armour All-American and son of former Wildcat standout Craig Yeast, Russ Yeast, announced he was transferring from the University of Louisville just two days ago. Freshman quarterback Jordan Travis also announced he would transfer last week.
Louisville also lost commitments from their highest-rated 2019 recruit in Austin Griffin, three-star offensive lineman Jamari Williams, and three-star defensive end Kristian Varner.
There is no way Bobby P makes it out of this season as Louisville’s football coach.
By Brent Wainscott on ©November 07th, 2018 @ 8:15pm
Before they head into their final SEC game against Tennessee, Josh Allen says he and Mike Edwards are thinking about bringing the “blitz bros.” What does that mean exactly? Well, they obviously can’t bring in Denzil Ware (the third founding member of the blitz brothers) from Jacksonville State, but Allen did say he and Edwards are looking for a third. Just saying, Blitz Bro Boogie does sound catchy.
Now, More from today’s practice:
Baity thinks there will be no dropoff with Davonte Robinson
Once again, Kentucky will be missing one of their best defenders this week, due to a targeting call on Darius West in the 2nd half of last week’s game. But, the man filling Darius West’s shoes is sophomore Davonate Robinson, has played fairly well this year. With nine tackles against Georiga and increased playing time this season, Robinson can handle the task in West’s absence.
Derrick Baity said the sophomore safety had made significant progress. ” We always knew he had it in him,” Baity said. “He just had to come along, know the roles, and get the feel for the game. He’s come along way. I don’t think there’s gonna be a drop-off.”
An update on Kash’s hand
It’s no secret that Kash Daniel’s club has caused a bit of a hindrance in his play, as evident from the Missouri and Georgia game. But, it shouldn’t be much longer until he is out of the club.
“This week my hand feels a lot better,” Daniel said, “hopefully, we’ll trim that cast down a bit to where I can get my wrist around it.”
The timetable for his injury to heal is six weeks, so his hand should be 100% by the bowl game at the worst.
More Edge in practice
As many of you know, this Kentucky team isn’t a team that lays down lightly. The only other time Kentucky lost this season was to Texas A&m, which was followed by a bye week which gave the Cats some time to let their loss pass. This time, they only have a week to get back on the week, which has caused the defense to have more of an edge in practice.
“We didn’t live up to the standard that we put on ourselves at the beginning of the year,” said Kash Daniel. “The message this week is to get back to us and get back to playing Kentucky defense on the practice field.”
Matt house said there’s no doubt the defense is practicing with an angry mindset after their unsatisfactory performance against Georgia.
Pray for Tennessee…or don’t. Who cares about them.
Want to hear everything from today’s practice? Check it out:
By Nick Roush on ©November 07th, 2018 @ 6:00pm
Kentucky’s defensive coordinator has had one hell of a year. He could end it holding one of the nation’s most prestigious college football awards.
Matt House has been nominated for the Broyles Award, given each year to the top assistant in college football. One of 53 nominees, in just his second year as Kentucky’s defensive coordinator, he’s turned UK’s defense into one of the best in America. Kentucky has the nation’s No. 8 scoring defense, seventeenth-ranked pass defense and the SEC’s top sacker, Josh Allen.
The winner of the Broyles Award will be announced December 4.
House is one of many Wildcats on short lists for postseason awards. They’re on so many, it’s hard to keep track. Yesterday Benny Snell was named a semifinalist for the CFBA National Performer of the Year, an award based purely on a scientific ranking system. You can find more on that honor here.
House will be speaking with the media shortly following Wednesday’s practice. Stay tuned for updates.
November football was not always been kind to Kentucky football. In years past, November was usually reserved for holding out hope that Kentucky could play postseason football. This year, we know Kentucky will be in the postseason and we have a good idea where they will play.
As you plan your holiday festivities, here’s an idea of what could happen in the final three games of the regular season and where it could take the Kentucky football team for New Year’s.
Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
December 29 at Noon on ESPN
If the season ended today, ESPN’s Heather Dinich would put No. 11 Kentucky in the Peach Bowl against No. 9 West Virginia. Unaffiliated with a conference, the Peach Bowl will take the highest-ranked teams remaining after the other New Year’s Six Bowls are filled. Kentucky is currently the last team in, according to the latest CFB Playoff Rankings.
The Peach Bowl has its positives and its negatives. Tons of Kentucky fans will make the short six-hour drive from Lexington to experience a football game inside arguably the greatest stadium in the world. On the field, West Virginia would be a fun matchup. Off the field, seeing Appalachia take over Atlanta would be a spectacle.
The date is the kicker. It would free up people with New Year’s plans, but Kentucky tips off against Louisville at the Yum! Center two hours after the Peach Bowl kicks off.
Playstation Fiesta Bowl
University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona
January 1 at 1:00 ET on ESPN
It could be the furthest west the Kentucky football team has ever played. The Fiesta Bowl committee will ultimately choose which top-ranked team to take, but they will be stuck with one opponent: Central Florida. If the Knights finish undefeated for the second straight season, they will not return to the Peach Bowl. It’s not an attractive New Year’s Six opponent, but when you’re Kentucky, you gotta take whatever they give you.
The Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s
Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida
January 1 at 1:00 ET on ABC
The seventh-oldest bowl game in America has ties to the SEC and Big Ten. If Kentucky cannot secure a New Year’s Six bowl, Citrus Bowl reps want UK fans in Orlando. The national exposure will grow even more if Kentucky is playing a traditional Big 10 power like Penn State or Ohio State.
If Kentucky can win in Neyland Stadium for the first in 34 years and avoid a possible rivalry upset in Cardinal Stadium, a ten-win season will (knock on wood) get the Cats into a New Year’s Six bowl. The Playoff committee’s premium on strength of schedule has the Cats hovering around the top ten. More UK wins and more losses by teams ahead of the pack will solidify a spot in the nation’s top-tier of bowl games.
If Kentucky slips up and drops one of the final three games, prepare for New Year’s at Disney World (or Harry Potter World, if that floats your boat). In theory, UK could fall into the Outback Bowl, but Citrus Bowl reps want to take advantage of the opportunity to host the Big Blue Nation.
Teams to Cheer For (and Against)
Georgia — Enemies a week ago, now the Bulldogs are Kentucky’s ticket into the New Year’s Six. A Georgia win over Alabama in the SEC Championship will put them back into the Playoff. The selection committee will then be forced to place two SEC teams into the Playoff. It frees up a spot for a fourth SEC team to make a New Year’s Six Bowl.
Texas A&M — Kentucky’s top competition for a New Year’s Six Bowl, LSU, will travel to Aggieland on the final weekend of the college football season. Untested against Arkansas and Rice, Texas A&M is the last team that can knock down the Tigers a peg. A&M has not been great on the road, but they almost knocked off Clemson at home. Kyle Field took away a Kentucky win, but it could give UK a New Year’s Six bowl berth.
Ohio State — We want Ohio State. I can’t imagine a scenario where Benny Snell, Mike Edwards, Darius West, C.J. Conrad and the rest of the Wildcats from Ohio miss an opportunity to exact revenge on Urban Meyer. To do that, it will probably take a couple of Ohio State losses. Jim Harbaugh has home-field advantage to help him get his first victory over the Buckeyes, but they also need to lose to Michigan State this Saturday to fall out of the running for the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl’s Big Ten ties and the committee’s lack of confidence in OSU makes the Citrus Bowl the only feasible option for the two teams to meet.
Best and Worst Case Scenarios
A lot can happen in the final three weeks of the college football season, but the SEC race has ended. Kentucky and LSU lost the de facto division title games, leaving the Tigers ranked four spots higher than the Cats. The No. 3 team in the SEC will get into the New Year’s Six, making UK’s best case scenario clear: win out and hope LSU falls to Texas A&M at Kyle Field.
The only problem with the best case scenario is that it could end up being the worst case scenario. A Fiesta Bowl berth would be a bittersweet pill to swallow. Nobody wants to travel 1,800 miles to watch a game against UCF. It’s the worst big-game bowl opponent imaginable. If you lose, you lost to an AAC school. If you win the game the national college football audience will say, “It was just UCF.”
Mark Stoops has not received the same bowl fortunes as Rich Brooks. Brooks beat two traditional powers, Clemson and Florida State, that were not very good football teams (FSU suspended half their team before the game). Stoops has been stuck with two boring opponents, Georgia Tech and Northwestern, who played above their status in college football hierarchy.
UCF is the Alabama of no-name, good college football teams. After his best season at Kentucky, it’s Stoops’ turn to play a bad team with a big name.
The Good News: Kentucky is in the College Football Playoff Rankings for the second straight week. The Bad News: the loss to Georgia didn’t help.
After debuting at No. 9 in the first CFB Playoff Top 25 of the season, the Cats dropped two spots to No. 11 in week two. UK is still one spot ahead of undefeated UCF.
By Nick Roush on ©November 06th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
Kentucky’s offense is slowly, but surely, getting back on track. The problem is that it isn’t showing up on the scoreboard. Moving the ball is not a problem; finishing drives is the problem.
“We just have to do the little things right and extend those drives. I feel like we played good as an offense,” quarterback Terry Wilson said after Tuesday’s practice.
Nobody’s improved more over the last two weeks than Wilson. Against Missouri and Georgia he threw for a combined 493 yards, 2 touchdowns and only 15 total incompletions for an average 151.85 quarterback rating.
“Everything feels natural. It feels how it should feel,” Wilson said. “I’ve been letting it rip out there, just trusting my instincts and letting it go. I’ve been really comfortable.”
He’s more comfortable, but he has not been perfect. Wilson and the rest of his teammates have made too many costly mistakes in important moments. Wilson took too many sacks, his offensive line jumped offsides inside the ten, C.J. Conrad put the ball on the turf in Georgia territory and Bunchy Stallings was ejected after a Benny Snell touchdown.
“We have to limit those mistakes. We gotta play hungry, but we can’t play too hungry where we’re making bad decisions after the play,” said Wilson.
After each game Eddie Gran tallies up the mistakes for the offensive meeting room. The number fell from 21 against Mizzou to nine last week. The goal is to drop it to five or better.
“It’s pretty nitpicky, but that’s what it has to be,” said Gran. “You’re striving for perfection. You’re not going to get there every time, but you have to strive for it, especially against good SEC teams on the road.”
If Kentucky can clean up the untimely mistakes, the offense can click at the perfect time.
Other Notes from Practice
— Benny is Gucci. Kentucky’s running back bruised his ankle and was forced to miss a few reps against Georgia. It has not held him back at all this week. “Didn’t even notice it,” Gran said. “He’s rocking and rolling.”
— It’s not all on the offensive line. Wilson was sacked four times last Saturday. Gran said only one was the offensive line’s responsibility. The rest fell on the shoulders of the running backs or Wilson. UK’s offensive coordinator is not worried about UK’s health in the trenches.
— Familiar Systems. Scouting Tennessee’s defense won’t be too different from scouting Georgia’s. Obviously, the personnel is completely different, but schematically they are similar. Jeremy Pruitt was Kirby Smart’s replacement as Alabama’s defensive coordinator. Their defenses don’t look too different, except Georgia’s is really, really good and Tennessee’s is not.
By Nick Roush on ©November 06th, 2018 @ 5:00pm
With three regular season games and a bowl appearance left in the 2018 season, Josh Allen and Benny Snell’s window to break all-time UK records is closing. Do they have enough time to cement their legacies atop the school record books?
Josh Allen is sitting pretty. The Georgia offensive line prevented Allen from recording a sack for only the third time this season, but he still has ten to his name in 2018. It only takes two to break Oliver Barnett’s record of 26 and tie Dennis Johnson’s single-season record of 12. At this rate, it’s safe to say Allen will secure both with three or more.
This season Allen has recorded 14.5 tackles for loss. Now with 35 in his career, Allen can become the tackles for loss record-holder with just three more. That could happen in Knoxville this Saturday.
Allen’s incredible production has all but secured two elusive records. Benny Snell has some more work to do.
Against Georgia, Snell became the first Kentucky Wildcat to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards in three seasons. However, bumps and bruises are starting to take its toll against powerful SEC defensive lines. In the last two games he’s only averaged 3.6 yards per carry on 67 and 73-yard performances.
With four games to go, Snell is 404 yards away from breaking Sonny Collins’ all-time rushing record. Averaging 101 yards per game might be a reach, until you consider the rush defenses that lie ahead. Tennessee allows 161.1 rushing yards per game (66th in the nation), Middle Tennessee surrenders 170.6 (77th) and Louisville gives up 277.4 yards per contest (128th out of 130). Last week three Clemson running backs surpassed the 100-yard mark.
Kentucky’s rushing attack has not been as potent in the last month, but with a record on the line against a rival, Eddie Gran will feed Snell at Cardinal Stadium until he secures Kentucky’s top spot.
By KSR on ©November 06th, 2018 @ 2:30pm
Kentucky’s SEC Championship Game dreams ended against Georgia, but the KSR Football Podcast is still incredibly excited about the 2018 football season. Drew, Nick, Charles and Austin relive the highs and lows of the Georgia game and prepare you for a 10-2 finish that begins with a win at Neyland Stadium. Highlights:
— “Kentucky is 7-2. Kiss my ass.”
— Who’s the fastest person on the team?
— Stories from losses at Neyland.
— We want Ohio State.
— When talking to Georgia fans goes wrong.
— Experience matters.
Get the podcast delivered to your phone by subscribing to “KSR Football Podcast” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app (just search “KSR Football Podcast”). You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play , and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
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By TJ Walker on ©November 05th, 2018 @ 7:00pm
You have 19 days. When Kentucky travels to (don’t call me Papa John’s) Cardinal Stadium you should do your best to be there. UK fans are experiencing one of the best seasons in program history while UofL fans are begging for Bobby Petrino to be fired.
It’s the perfect storm for Kentucky fans to outnumber UofL fans at their stadium on Nov. 24th. Yes, I hope UK fans pack Knoxville this weekend and Kroger Field needs to be packed for Senior Day the following Saturday, but it’s never too early to plan ahead.
Every team in the country fudges attendance numbers so when UofL was announcing an average of nearly 51,000 for the Cards’ first four home games it didn’t take a genius to realize that wasn’t accurate. The Courier Journal reported the average number of tickets scanned was actually 34,968. UofL has played one home game (Wake Forest) since that report and seeing the pictures from that game it’s clear the average has dipped closer to 30,000.
Not the best time for UofL to bust open their (beautiful) expansion, which closed the horseshoe. But UofL’s loss(es) and idiotic “Build it and they will come” attitude is Kentucky’s gain. With Louisville fans looking to do anything else on Saturday UK fans have a chance to show up in historic numbers at Cardinal Stadium.
And they should. You should.
UofL’s football program won’t be down forever, and if the Cards do fire Petrino and are able to lure Jeff Brohm back home our rival fans will be in heaven. Louisville (whose recruiting class is crumbling) will rebound quickly with recruits across the state and region. UK doesn’t look to be taking a step back anytime soon, so no one in Lexington is scared, but why not take a moment to capitalize on a picture perfect moment in 19 days?
Travel to Cardinal Stadium and outnumber UofL fans in their own building. Besides having the ultimate troll stuff like this help recruiting and the program. Louisville may someday get better, but pictures last forever. Kentucky has the fans to do it and there are a plethora of tickets available for cheap.
You can click HERE to look at ticketing options. $40 to get in the door? You don’t often even see those prices at Kroger Field. Get your family and friends and make the road trip.
Plus, if the Cards do keep Petrino until the end of the season you will want to see this beatdown first hand. This may be the last Petrino vs. Kentucky game and his last game at Cardinal Stadium.
Let’s make sure to send him out the right way.
By Nick Roush on ©November 05th, 2018 @ 4:30pm
Stoops’ Opening Statement:
“Just like I said after the game, the film revealed the same thing. Georgia played better than us. (They) Made plays in critical moments, made us miss, blocked us, did a very good job. There’s many things we can do better, and will. I thought our team really came into it with the right attitude and worked hard in our preparation. You have to be, the margin of error against teams like that is very small. You have to play your best football, and I didn’t think we did that. Certainly, we had some mistakes early, and put us behind with the fumble early in the game, and then the false start. We had it down there in a good situation, felt like we had a good play called and designed. Made some mistakes, and you can’t do that. Offensively, I thought we did some good things. Terry (Wilson) played very well. Made some improvement, there’s certainly things he can improve from in that game, but he did play well. Offensively, we had some good possessions, moved the ball well. Then, got ourselves out of rhythm, behind the chains and stalled out and you can’t do that. Defensively it was the worst game we’ve played all year. That’s pretty obvious, giving up the amount of rush yards that we did. Again, credit Georgia for that, much of it. There’s certainly things we can do better. Excited to get back out there today, and get the team motivated and excited about another great opportunity to go on the road here against Tennessee and try to get the victory, and close out the SEC play. We’re worried about ourselves, and getting better and improving in some of those areas.”
With four games left, are there potential redshirts that might play now …
“I don’t think there’s anybody that sitting out there that you haven’t seen at this point. If they could help us win they would have been in there.”
On what he saw on long Georgia punt return…
“Fantastic returner. Not in the game plan where we had it placed, and missed some tackles in the open field. Again, part of that is because when you get it, just like Lynn’s (Bowden Jr.) punt return (at Missouri), when you get a good punt and you outkick your coverage sometimes it gives those returners the opportunity to get started. When they get started, as you saw in that game, whether it was on punt return or on defense when they had space and then you create a one on one, it’s very difficult to tackle some of those guys. It was a combination of things.”
By Nick Roush on ©November 05th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
Saturday at 3:30 Kentucky will try to defeat Tennessee at Neyland Stadium for the first time since 1984. Will Mark Stoops talk to his team about the 34-game losing streak in Knoxville?
“I will not. No.”
That’s about all the time Mark Stoops has for streak talk.
“I think just beating Tennessee is important to us. Whether there’s a streak involved or not, why would that make a difference to our team? They don’t know anything about 34 years ago. To be honest with you, they really don’t care. They want to win for their team this year,” said Stoops.
“That’s very important and that’s motivation for us. For me, to say that, of course I always say that. I acknowledge the importance to our fans, I acknowledge the importance to our state and our community. But to our team, they’re hungry for each other and for this year.”
Fans were hungry to end the Florida streak. If Stoops could end another thirty-year streak to an SEC East rival in a ten-win season, it’s not hyperbole to give 2018 the title of “Best Season Ever.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 05th, 2018 @ 2:03pm
The game times for November 17 were just announced and Kentucky vs. Middle Tennessee State will kick off at noon. It will be shown on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate, which will be determined after this weekend’s games.
All of the SEC game times for that day:
SEC Television Schedule for Saturday, November 17, 2018:
- Citadel at Alabama, Noon ET/11 am CT on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate*
- Idaho at Florida, Noon ET/11 am CT on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate*
- MTSU at Kentucky, Noon ET/11 am CT on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate*
- Arkansas at Mississippi State, Noon ET/11 am CT on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network or SEC Network Alternate*
- Missouri at Tennessee, 3:30 pm ET/2:30 pm CT on CBS
- UMass at Georgia, 4 pm ET/3 pm CT on SEC Network
- Liberty at Auburn, 4 pm ET/3 pm CT on SEC Network Alternate
- UAB at Texas A&M, 7 pm ET/6 pm CT on ESPN or ESPN2*
- Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, 7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT on SEC Network
- UT-Chattanooga at South Carolina, 7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT on SEC Network Alternate
- Rice at LSU, 7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT on ESPNU
*Network designation to be determined after games of November 10
By Nick Roush on ©November 05th, 2018 @ 1:10pm
Kentucky’s 2018 defense features plenty of star-power. Josh Allen, Mike Edwards, Darius West and Derrick Baity have NFL futures, while Jordan Jones and Kash Daniel raise hell in the middle of the defense. Of all the big names on UK’s defense, the unit’s top performer from Saturday is someone you may have forgotten, Davonte Robinson.
“Davonte played very good. He was our player of the game on the defensive side of the ball here this week. He played a good football game,” Mark Stoops said at his weekly press conference.
Robinson had nine tackles against Georgia, second only behind Mike Edwards, and he added a tackle for loss. He played well even though he was a little out of his element. He spent most of the week preparing for Georgia as the nickel back in Kentucky’s medium package. When Darius West was ejected for targeting on the first drive of the second half, Robinson’s responsibilities changed.
“He stepped in the game and did some very good things,” Stoops said. “He fought through those pinch sets that I was talking about, shot through and made some tackles, was disruptive, made a very critical open-field tackle that was a very difficult tackle. He did some good things. I’m pleased.”
The targeting penalty will sideline West for the first half against Tennessee. Robinson’s play from Saturday gives Stoops no reason to worry.
“It’s very encouraging. Sometimes when opportunities like that surface — certainly we want Darius in there all the time, he’s a leader and plays extremely tough — but when opportunities like that arrive, it is interesting to see how those guy are going to step in and I anticipate that he’ll play very well.”
A four-star recruit from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky, Robinson has spent the last three years learning behind UK’s experienced leaders in the secondary. This year the redshirt sophomore has seized the most from each opportunity. Filling Edwards and West’s large shoes in 2018 will not be easy, but Robinson appears to be up for the task.