Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.


What’s the Best Lake in Kentucky?

What’s the Best Lake in Kentucky?

There are over 40 lakes in the state of Kentucky; which is the best?

After spending last weekend on Center Hill Lake, my dream of one day owning a lake house is back in full force. After scrolling through lake houses on Zillow yesterday, I put out a Twitter poll asking you guys what the best lake in Kentucky is. Not surprisingly, it sparked a very lively debate. Lake Cumberland won by a lot, but Twitter only let me list four options, so let’s carry that fun over to today with an expanded version.

Vote for what you believe is the best lake in Kentucky below:

My criteria: clean water, pretty scenery, and nice marinas. Boat drivers that aren’t assholes are a plus. Be ready to defend your pick in the comments.

Let the debate begin…

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Goal #1 This Year is Beating Florida

We’ve said this before when it comes to the losing streak that Kentucky has against Florida, now standing at 30 games, that this is the year that we get payback.  But I truly feel like never before has it seemed more likely and almost destined than it is this year.  If UK can’t pull it off now, there is really no reason to ever have hope of doing it.  If UK can pull off a win over Tennessee after 20-whatever years playing a WR at quarterback with a inept coach, then I sure as hell believe they can win at home against a team in some bit of turmoil and with a slew of returning skill players.  But if you needed a little extra motivation, here are 9 good reasons and a couple videos that should make you believe why 2017 will be the year:

1988: Florida 24, Kentucky 19
1989: Florida 38, Kentucky 28
1991: Florida 35, Kentucky 26
1993: Florida 24, Kentucky 20

2002: Florida 41, Kentucky 34
2003: Florida 24, Kentucky 21

2007: Florida 45, Kentucky 37
2014: Florida 36, Kentucky 30 (3ot)

2015: Florida 14, Kentucky 9

Nine times UK has been within 10 points of the Gators, 6 of those times within a touchdown.  The 1994 and 2014 losing are especially brutal considering how those games finished.  But to be honest, I LIKE IT.  There really shouldn’t need to be any extra motivation from Stoops or the coaches to get these players fired up.

It’s time.

Today on KSR: Drafting the Legends Game (for real)

Today on KSR: Drafting the Legends Game (for real)

It’s Friday, and just the mere mention of that probably made some of you throw up your hands in joy like that fan up there. Here’s what you can expect from the world of UK Sports before you take off for the weekend.

We’ll hear from the football team

The football team got a well-deserved break from the media yesterday, but select players will be back in front of the mics today. TE Greg Hart, CB Zy’Aire Hughes, LB Courtney Love, CB Kendall Randolph, WR Tavin Richardson and OG Logan Stenberg are all scheduled to speak to reporters around lunchtime, so check back this afternoon for a full rundown. I’m most excited to hear from Stenberg, whom Denzil Ware called that “Big Dude with a Ponytail” on Wednesday:

The radio crew will draft the Legends Game teams (for real)

Yesterday, Drew and I did a mock draft of the players participating in the Legends Game and UK liked it so much that they’re letting us do it for real on the radio. Yet another reason to tune into today’s show, right? Here’s the list of players the guys will choose from:

Honestly, I think my Blue Team from yesterday will be hard to top. I was happy to see that over 60% of you agreed, picking my squad to beat Drew’s:

UK Legends Game: Mock Draft

Drew was so bitter over the poll results that he wrote a whole post about it last night, so let’s hope he drafts a better team today.

Council votes unanimously to relocate Confederate statues in Lexington

Mayor Jim Gray’s quest to relocate two Confederate statues in Cheapside Park took another step forward last night when the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council unanimously approved the resolution. Now, it will be presented to the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission, who must approve it before any action is taken.

Earlier this week, reports came out that a white nationalist group was planning a rally in Lexington to protest the removal of the statues, but yesterday, Lexington Police said, thus far, there has been no indication that such a protest will take place:

Freakishly Tan Calipari is back


August means two things: endless first day of school pictures on Facebook and Calipari getting his tan on. Fresh off a family vacation, Calipari showed up at a corporate event in Vegas yesterday looking like Magda from There’s Something About Mary. Usually Tan Calipari is also Swaggy Calipari, so you won’t hear me complaining.

“They’re all grown up” Moment of the Day

the bros

A post shared by Malik Monk (@ahmad_monk) on

Last night, Malik Monk shared this picture from the Panini NBA Rookie photo shoot, and I’ll be honest, it made me a little nostalgic for last year’s squad. I know we’ve got a great new group to look forward to, but the run Monk, Bam, Fox, and the Cats made in March was such a sweet surprise. And now they’re millionaires…

Happy birthday, Ryan Lemond!

Our favorite KSR sidekick/real estate agent turns the ripe age of 51 today, but after partying in Madisonville last night, he may feel a whole lot older. Tune into the show to check on his condition.

Summer Tour Stop of the Day: Madisonville

The gang is at Watermark Toyota in Drew Franklin’s hometown to draft the Legends Game and get you ready for the weekend.

Ten Things You Missed from Week Three of UK Football Training Camp for the KSR’s Fan of the Day

Ten Things You Missed from Week Three of UK Football Training Camp for the KSR’s Fan of the Day

After five years of writing on KSR, I think it’s about time my Dad received the spotlight.  While I was busy working around the practice facility, he was doing his best to become KSR’s fan of the day at Arches National Park.  Next step: teaching him how to properly throw up three goggles.

Even though we’ve reached the doldrums of talking season in the middle of preseason training camp, a ton of stuff has happened this week.  You’ve heard about the injury to Cole Mosier and Stephen Johnson’s boot, but that’s just the tip of the news iceberg.  Without media availability today, now is the perfect time to catch up.

1. Changing Things Up

Yesterday’s practice was different for two reasons.  Instead of starting in the early morning on the grassy fields adjacent to the Nutter FTF, the team practiced in the afternoon on the hot Kroger Field turf.  I initially thought it was to get reps to prepare for the heat the team will certainly feel at 3:00 p.m. in Hattiesburg on September 2, but Matt House said the purpose was to simply break the monotony of camp.

“When you get in the dog days of two a days it’s just trying to change the schedule and keep the players fresh and keep it from being too monotonous.”

The team did extensive situational work ahead of Saturday’s second live scrimmage.

2. How to Fight Through the “Camp Crazies”

Mark Stoops is changing up the schedule to break the monotony.  The wide receivers are staying entertained the old fashioned way with “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

3. Two Guys who have a lot of Room to Improve

Two defensive players have the talent to be impact players, but are not currently where they need to be to get on the field.  Junior college transfer Lonnie Johnson has an excuse; he’s coming off a year layoff from football and is still getting acclimated to the daily grind.  Matt Elam is running out of excuses.  Here’s what House had to see about each of them on Wednesday:

Johnson: ““Yeah but he’s got a ways to go yet. He’s gotta keep getting himself into football position and finishing plays.”

Elam: “He’s improved. He’s got to continue to improve. I do think his pad level has improved from last year. He’s being a little bit more disruptive. But he still needs to be more consistent.”

It’s difficult to discern House’s intentions just by reading them, but those responses to questions from the media can best be described as “dismissive.”

4. Quarterbacks Split in Accuracy, Decision-making

For people sitting in the stands, the best way to measure a QB’s accuracy is their completion percentage.  Unfortunately, that number doesn’t take into account dropped passes, times they’re forced to throw it away, etc.  Darin Hinshaw measures his QB’s differently in the film room.

First, Hinshaw discerns if the QB made the correct decision (a.k.a. did he throw it to the open man?).  Then, Hinshaw grades there throw to see if it was on target, not if the receiver caught it or the defender made a great play on the ball.  Right now Barker and Johnson are almost even in both categories.  They’re on target about 80 percent of the time and make the correct decision 84-86 percent of the time.

5. No Separation at Running Back

“Who will be Benny’s backup?” was a questioned asked by many entering fall camp.  Through three weeks, we are not closer to an answer.

“I don’t see a separation there yet,” Eddie Gran said Tuesday.  He might have been more enthused after a good scrimmage, but that was not the case.

“I wasn’t excited about our running back play in this last scrimmage. They know that. They came out Monday and ran like grown men. We can’t dance. We can’t play.”

Gran was pleased to report improvement on Monday and Tuesday, but he was still salty about the scrimmage.  They have a chance to redeem themselves in two days.

6. Views from the Field

7. Freshmen Receivers Continue to Impress

Gran said that in 2016 Benny Snell “made me play him” by the way he performed in practice.  There are five freshmen — Clevan Thomas, Lynn Bowden, Isaiah Epps, Josh Ali and JaVonte Richardson — showing similar signs this fall.

“They’re pushing the older guys,” Gran said.  “I think we’ve got three or four guys right now that have a chance to get on the plane. This next scrimmage will be huge for them, to see how they react.”

All of the offense is installed.  If they show they’re capable, Gran foresees them playing this fall.  It might have to wait until game five for a few, but some could see action when the season starts in Hattiesburg.

8. T.J. Carter’s Improvements in Run Defense

Carter burst on the scene as a true freshman in the TaxSlayer Bowl, graded as UK’s top performer by Pro Football Focus.  Matt House said he’s taken giant steps forward as a sophomore.

“He’s getting firmer in the run game. You can tell he’s not a freshman anymore. That year in the weight room, spring ball, that summer. The experience of playing last year. He’s definitely improved.”

9. Who came up with “The Blitz Bros”?

Last year Josh Allen and Denzil Ware accounted for 12.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss.  Looking to build off their success, the dynamic duo came up with a nickname, “The Blitz Bros.”  A great branding strategy, it was something that came to Allen during this year’s poster reveal. “It sounds good, so we just kept it.”

Allen and Ware are great, but I still am unsure how they would fare against The Bash Bros.

10. Football Talk with Stingray Steve

Many think the mouth of the south is Paul Finebaum.  That’s an incorrect assumption.  The prestigious title belongs to Mississippi State superman Steven “Stingray” Ray.  Stingray Steve has a weekly show on Periscope that’s quite entertaining, and I’m not saying that just because I spent 10-15 minutes on it yesterday talking UK football.

Even if it’s not your cup of tea, do me a favor and just watch the first minute.  It’s reminiscent of the early days of KSR, except without cowbells.



KSR’s Top 10 Tweets of the Day


The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its
own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen,
mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s
has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for
the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.

You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.

#10 Dustin Harper

Don’t mock bunk beds, they really are revolutionary.

#9 ginger ale

Never forget.

#8 Doug B

God bless your soul.

#7 Tyler Bacon


#6 Bucky Small Hooves

No offense Mitch, but that would be frightening.

#5 Evan Crane


#4 Alex McGarr

At least they’re shooting their shot?

#3 Heather Bartley

This is an instant classic.

#2 Will Mauck

Think about how legendary this would actually be though.

#1 Paul in Louisville

We don’t want to get KSR banned from the Kentucky State Fair.



KSR readers are sleeping on my UK Legends team

I’m appalled by the response to our UK Legends Game mock draft that went up on the site earlier today. As pretend general manager of the White team, I drafted what I believe is a solid squad for the upcoming game in Rupp Arena next week, but the results of the poll suggest otherwise as many of you sided with Tyler’s team in a head-to-head.

And it upsets me. I thought you all knew basketball.

My White team would run the Blue team out of Rupp. Not only do I think we’d win, I think we’d win by double digits.



Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Jeff Sheppard Julius Mays
Heshimu Evans Ravi Moss
Perry Stevenson Bobby Perry
Shagari Alleyne Andre Riddick
Marquis Estill Jon Hood
Lukasz Obrzut Jared Prickett
Goose Givens Jared Carter
Kyle Macy Kenny Walker
Dale Brown Kevin Grevey

I think too many people are focusing on past achievements and not taking into consideration the youth I have on my team. Take a look at the starting backcourts. With all due respect to Cliff Hawkins and Jeff Sheppard, two of my favorites to ever suit up for the Cats, Jarrod Polson and Julius Mays will destroy them at this stage of their lives. Hawkins and Sheppard are 35 and 42 years old, while Polson and Mays are only 26 and 27 and not too far removed from their playing careers. If we’re comparing these guys in their primes, yeah, the Blue backcourt is the better of the two. But not today.

Moving on to the frontcourt, I think the Ravi Moss/Bobby Perry combo is a great set of forwards because they’re both still in good shape and their games age well. They are pickup game nightmares. No. 1 overall pick Heshimu Evans is a tough matchup, but I like my guys to lock in on him and slow him down, forcing someone else to do the work. As for Perry Stevenson and Shagari Alleyne, I have no idea what they bring to the table. I do know Andre Riddick was still playing professionally up until a couple of years ago (unbelievable, right?), so we’ll call that a wash.

Then there’s the bench, where I have a 26-year-old national champion as my sixth man. Again, the youth I’m rolling out there is almost unfair. We can sub him for Riddick and go small ball, and this game is over immediately. Tyler bragged about her multiple seven-footers, but they won’t make five trips up the court at their age. If they play more than two minutes at a time, they’ll foul out because whatever quickness they once had is long gone.

So to all of you saying the Blue team will win this game, let’s get it set up and I’ll put money down against all of you. I’ll give you however many points you want too. I’m a huge fan of every single player on the Blue team, but it’s 2017. Polson might go for 40 against those guys.


Hey Kentucky! pays visit to Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland

Hey Kentucky! pays visit to Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland

Drew Franklin was on location at the Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland in Calvert City, Ky. for a field report for Thursday night’s show.

It was one of the most bizarre locations the show has ever gone, but Drew had a lot of fun touring the garden and hearing all of the owner’s best puns for each display.

Check it out:

See the full episode:


WHOOPS: Courier-Journal story includes unfortunate typo

WHOOPS: Courier-Journal story includes unfortunate typo

Either the Courier-Journal’s preview of Louisville’s receiving corps contains a typo or it is way too much information for the reader.

We’re a family site, so I won’t elaborate, but check out what sophomore wide receiver Seth Dawkins could be for the Cardinals, per the story:

A viable what?

The Depth Chart Podcast: Two Weeks till Southern Miss


There are just two more Saturdays without Kentucky football.  Freddie Maggard and the Depth Chart crew are here to help you reach the finish line.  They discuss all of the training camp storylines, do a little Southern Miss preview and…

—  Back-to-school advice.

—  Freddie drops a KNOWLEDGE BOMB on Lynn Bowden.

—  The controversy that’s tearing the locker room apart.

—  Question marks at QB and running back for Shannon Dawson and Southern Miss.

—  The Depth Chart Podcast’s High School Games of the Week.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Behind the Facemask: Dorian Baker

Dorian Baker is my surprise pick to finish 2017 as an All-SEC performer. I can distinctly remember watching film of a young Baker shredding offenses while playing for Cleveland Heights High School four years ago. Much like now, he was a physical freak projected to re-write Kentucky receiving records. Both time and the gifted pass catcher’s career have flown by. I caught up with Dorian for our third installment of “Behind the Facemask.”

The Baker File

  • Has played in 32 games, starting 24.
  • Collected 88 receptions for 1,015-yards and 6 touchdowns.
  • Had a career high 8 catches including 2 touchdowns vs EKU in 2015.
  • 98 receiving yards from 3 catches vs. Louisville in 2015 are a career high. His 53-yard reception vs. the Cardinals is also a career high.
  • Baker is 41 receptions shy of Derek Homer’s 129 which is good enough for 10th best for career receptions.
  • Ranks 27th in UK history for most career yardage with 1,105.

By the Seasons

  • Freshman: 19 receptions, 199-yards, 1 TD.
  • Sophomore: 55 catches, 608-yards, 3 TD’s.
  • Junior: 14 receptions, 208-yards, 2 TD’s.

Dorian Baker the Senior

As I wrote earlier, I feel that Baker will have an All-SEC type season. Call it a hunch or gut feeling that he starts and plays 13 games in 2017 as he did during 2016’s season ending contests vs. Louisville and Georgia Tech.

Today’s Dorian Baker is mature, focused, and has welcomed a leader role by taking many freshmen under his wing. 2017 is a contract year; it’s now or never for the senior to impress NFL scouts. However, based off our conversations during fall camp; I can sense that TEAM is taking precedent over his future of Sunday football. In other words, it’s taken time but Baker has finally “figured it out.” I’m excited to watch his career finale play out.

Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium has a Chic-Fil-A… but they won’t open on Sundays

Similar to the Atlanta Falcons in the second half of Super Bowl LI, the newest Chic-Fil-A restaurant located in Mercedes-Benz Stadium will not operate on Sundays.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Chic-Fil-A was happy to open a store in the new home of the Falcons, but will not make any exceptions to their six-days-a-week schedule implemented at all stores across the nation.

The company’s Christian beliefs are well known, with their policy posted all over the official Chic-Fil-A website.

‘‘Having worked seven days a week in restaurants open 24 hours, Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose – a practice we uphold today,” the site reads.

Seven of Atlanta’s eight regular season home games will be played on Sunday this season, with the exception being a Thursday night matchup against the Saints in December.

So why open a restaurant that doesn’t open on Sundays in a building that operates (for the most part) exclusively on Sundays?

Chic-Fil-A’s headquarters are located in Atlanta, and the owner reportedly wanted to make his mark on the new stadium.

There will also be various events such as concerts, college football games, and soccer games every once and a while, but nothing on a remotely consistent basis.

But what if you’re craving a chicken sandwich during a Sunday game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium? Former ‘‘Top Chef’’ contestant Kevin Gillespie has you covered.

Gillespie will be selling a sandwich called the COS (closed on Sunday) at a food stand in the concourse.

Regardless, the popular chicken sandwich restaurant chain has closed its doors on Sundays since 1946, and they sure aren’t changing the rules for a fancy-schmancy NFL stadium.

WATCH: Channing Tatum tours Harlan County coal mine, vows to help Eastern Kentucky

WATCH: Channing Tatum tours Harlan County coal mine, vows to help Eastern Kentucky

As I shared earlier, last week, Hollywood star Channing Tatum traveled across Kentucky on his press tour for his new film Logan Lucky. We’ve seen footage of his stops in Lexington and Morehead, and a few minutes ago, he posted another video of his time in Harlan. The visit started as a light-hearted adventure, with Tatum biking up a mountain and sampling the local moonshine, but it took a more serious turn when “Spanky,” a Kentucky state trooper, took him on a tour of Clover Fork Coal Company in Harlan County.

“The industry just left. The government just told people to leave because the coal industry, specifically there in Harlan County, isn’t coming back,” Tatum said. “People are in a very desperate situation and there is no real light on the horizon.”

The tour had such an impact on Tatum that he now feels compelled to help the area recover.

“It was a really sobering note. These people are smiling through the hard times. It’s really tough. They don’t want to leave because they love their home. They want to make their home better, just like anyone else does.”

“Harlan County really affected me. I think I’m going to go back and I want to try and do some stuff there. I feel somehow called to try and figure something out, to at least take a step in the right direction.”

Tatum posted the video of the trip on Facebook with this caption:

“I had a particularly moving and inspirational visit with the people in Harlan County and have been the maybe the most eager to share Episode 2 of #JimmyLogansRun with the world. Thank you Spanky for the tour and sharing your story with us. Enjoy.”

IG: @evargas30

Eloy Vargas wins another championship

IG: @evargas30

Eloy Vargas just got another championship to add to his trophy shelf. Last night, Metros de Santiago took home the LBN Championship, Eloy’s second title with the team in the Dominican Republic’s top basketball league. Eloy is the starting center for the squad and averaged 11.5 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. Also a member of the 2012 Kentucky National Championship team, he clearly knows a thing or two about winning titles.

As you might imagine, the scene in the arena when the buzzer sounded was wild:

Otra visual de los ultimos segundos del juego! METROS Campeones 2017 5ta🏆 Envianos tus videos por DM!

A post shared by Metros De Santiago (@metrosdesantiagolnb) on

Eloy didn’t hesitate to show off his moves during the postgame celebration:

Que empiece la celebración 🤣🎉🤣🎉🤣🎉🤣🎉 @evargas30

A post shared by Metros De Santiago (@metrosdesantiagolnb) on

Congrats, Eloy.

Southern Miss’ Plan to Stop Benny Snell and UK’s Post Route

Southern Miss’ Plan to Stop Benny Snell and UK’s Post Route

Picture of Xavier Thigpen by the Hattiesburg American

Southern Miss will execute a version of the 4-2-5 defense in its attempt to slow Benny Snell and prevent Stephen Johnson from connecting on the Wildcats’ most threatening pass play which is the deep post route. Let’s review how defensive schemes are numerically labelled before we take a headfirst dive into X-and-O Land:

  • 4 is the number of down defensive linemen.
  • 2 is the number of linebackers.
  • 5 is the number of defensive backs. In this case; the 4-2-5 continually operates with a Nickel base set.

Southern Miss Defensive Season Review

It’s important to take a look back at USM’s defensive standings on a national scale before we can project its outlook for the September 2 opener. Last year was an abnormal statistical season for the Golden Eagles’ defense. It disproportionately failed to force turnovers but excelled against the pass and in explosive play categories (QB sacks and tackles for loss). The following are 2016 national rankings:

  • Pass Defense: Surrendered just 174.9 yards per game (10th nationally)
  • Rush: Allowed 149.92 ypg (46th)
  • QB Sacks: 34 (28th)
  • Tackles for Loss: 94 (21st)
  • Turnover Margin: 125th, forced just 5 fumbles and intercepted 10 passes

UK’s 2016 Offensive Production vs. Southern Miss

Below are Kentucky’s statistical numbers from last year’s season opener:

  • Scoring Offense: 35 points
  • Number of Plays: 50
  • First Downs: 14
  • Rush: 25 carries, 96 net yards, 3.8 yards per rush
  • Pass: 16/25, 303 yards
  • Total: 409 yards
  • Red-Zone: 2/3
  • 3rd Down: 3/9


The Departed (Lost starters/key contributors from 2016) provides a look at Golden Eagle players that significantly impacted last year’s game.                              

– Nickel D’Nerius Antoine: 86 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 QB sack
– Nose tackle Dylan Bradley: 64 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 8.5 QB sacks
– Rover Devonta Foster: 44 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INTs
– Sam Linebacker Elijah Parker: 43 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2.5 QB sacks
– Mike Linebacker CJ Perry: 26 tackles, 2.5 TFL
– Wolf Defensive End Ja’Boree Poole: 25 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 7 QB sacks
– TOTAL: 288 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 19 QB sacks. Although the number of returning starters vary, it appears as if USM lost 5 from 2016 to go along with a ton of production.

Projected Starters Vs. Kentucky per the Hattiesburg American’s Jason Munz:

Bandit End: Xavier Thigpen, 6’5 240 Sr. Finished 2016 season with 12.5 TFL and 5 sacks.
Defensive Tackle: Draper Riley, 6’4 305 Sr. 3.5 TFL in five starts.
Nose Tackle: LaDarius Harris, 6’1 280 Jr. 6 starts, 30 tackles, 5 TFL.
Wolf: Paxton Schrimsher, 6’3 225 Soph. Played in 10 games made 7 tackles.

Linebacker: Sherrod Ruff, 5’10 215 Sr. 11 TFLs in 2 starts. Played in 12 games.
Linebacker: Jeremy Sangster, 6’0 233 Jr. Played in 13 games, made 7 tackles.

Cornerback: Cornell Armstrong, 5’11 180. 2nd leading returning tackler (47).
Cornerback: Curtis Mikell, 5’8 170 Sr. Started 4 games, produced 2 INTs.
Safety: Tarvarius Moore, 6’2 190 Sr. Picked off 2 passes in 2016.
Safety: Demetrius Market, 5’8 168 Soph. Played in 12 games as true freshman.
Nickel: Picasso Nelson, 5’10 195. Leading returning tackler (48)

Pic by Blitzology

Slowing Kentucky’s Run Game

USM’s 4-2-5 defense has the capability to stack the box and run blitz its linebackers while relying upon immediate edge support from both the Nickel and or safety. Adjoined by four defensive linemen shooting predetermined line-of-scrimmage gaps with intent for disruption and clogging running lanes; this concept can present a serious challenge for opponents that are not fond of the physical run-game. Kentucky does not fit that description. The term “8 in the box” is also applicable above. Expect a version of this defensive philosophy to be frequently applied which will aim to force momentum stopping drives and prevent Benny Snell from establishing run game rhythm. Also expect to see a form of this scheme when Eddie Gran goes to the Wildcat formation.

UK can counter this front/coverage with an effective play action passing plan and by quick-hitting screens. A simpler mode of attack would consist of a direct run game. Stay with me here; running straight at crashing, incoming defenders may sound crazy. But, with little time for run support from the second level, a missed tackle could lead to an explosive play. Much like other attacking defensive styles, the run-blitz from the 4-2-5 can cause a high number of tackles for loss. It’s a high risk/high reward system. Long wording to say that the Cats merely can remain “status quo” and eventually a long run will pop.

The most advantageous factor that Eddie Gran will have on September 2 will be a deep and versatile offensive line. Run/pass blitz heavy defenses consume a considerable amount of energy especially during a 4:00 p.m. kickoff. It’s going to be hot. Is USM deep enough along its front seven to go toe-to-toe with the Cats in a battle of line-of-scrimmage attrition? The answer to this question will have serious W/L implications.

Stopping UK’s Post Route

Pic by Football Toolbox

Stephen Johnson completes a high percentage of attempted post routes. The post is a difficult pass to throw and even more challenging to complete. Johnson has shown the propensity for consistently converting in these explosive play connections. In the above graphic you can see that a FS (Free Safety) is solely dedicated to not allow an offensive player to beat him over the deep middle of the football field. This would be a smart move by USM to ensure that at least one safety is assigned to that sector of the field at all times. UK’s threat for the home-run throw could prevent USM from playing a number of snaps in man-to-man coverage. But, the Cats will have to prove that it can hit the long-ball.

The above example also highlights specific pass coverage responsibilities of its five defensive backs and linebackers. Cover 3 is the most simplistic look that college quarterbacks will see in a game. The “Courage Throw” against this coverage is in front of the safety and behind the linebackers. When you hear Eddie Gran describe Johnson’s needs for completing short-to-intermediate passes, this is the area of the field in which he is describing and wants to attack.

In our last graphic example below, you can see a receiver route tree. Numerical route identifications may vary but names are fundamental. A post route is as simple as it sounds. The receiver runs vertical for a specific number of yards and then angles towards the goal post in the end zone.

Picture of Receiver Route Tree. Picture by National Football Post

What in the Heck does all this mean?

Southern Miss effectively slowed the Kentucky offense in the second half of last year’s matchup after the Cats roared out of the gates on its way to a 35-10 lead. Untimely turnovers, sloppy execution, and a low number of plays as well as time of possession lamented the Cats as it limped through the third and fourth quarters before eventually falling 44-35. It’s also important to remember that RB Benny Snell and QB Stephen Johnson did not factor in last year’s contest.

Kentucky’s offensive personnel is built to handle the 4-2-5. UK has shown historical success against this scheme and saw it often against multiple opponents across 2016. USM lost impactful starters and key defensive contributors. It will be banking on energy, momentum, and tempo to counter the Wildcat’s size and power advantage. Road-game composure will be paramount. All the fall camp talk about Kentucky’s offensive experience and veteran presence will be invaluable assets. It’s close.

UK Legends Game: Mock Draft

UK Legends Game: Mock Draft

In looking ahead to the UK Legends Game next week in Rupp Arena, we thought it would be fun to hold a mock draft of the 20 confirmed participants for the game.

We were each assigned to a team (Tyler picking for Blue, Drew picking for White) and a coin flip determined the first overall pick, which went to Tyler and the Blue team. Selections were then rotated back and forth from there.

Read each pick (1-20) and then place your vote for the better team at the bottom of the page.


Blue Team, you are on the clock…


1. Heshimu Evans, Blue Team

Tyler: Heshimu Evans may be 42 years old, but he was still playing professional ball as recently as 2013, which is more than 98% of the players on this list can say.

2. Julius Mays, White Team

Drew: I have no idea what Julius Mays is doing these days. I originally thought he was playing pro ball somewhere; turns out, he is not. I’ll still gamble on the fact he is in good shape though, considering he is only three years removed from retirement. Plus he shot 39.5 percent from three-point range in Rupp Arena, and the long-ball will decide this game.

3. Cliff Hawkins, Blue Team

Tyler: A good team needs a good point guard, and Hawkins is my favorite of the bunch. As far as I can tell, his playing career ended overseas in 2012; here’s hoping he can still ball.

4. Ravi Moss, White Team

Drew: I’m getting away with robbery here picking up Moss at No. 4 in the draft. I would’ve considered him at No. 1 overall had the ping-pong balls bounced my way, and you’re telling me he slipped to fourth? What a steal! MVP candidate right here.

5. Shagari Alleyne, Blue Team

Tyler: Shagari is in his 30s now, but he’s still 7-feet tall and thanks to his salsa career, his footwork is better than ever:

6. Jarrod Polson, White Team

Drew: We’re handing the keys over to Polson as our staring point guard. As was the case with Moss, I see this as a steal given the position in the draft. Polson was the top PG on our big board and we got him. Last time I saw him (Fayette Mall food court, couple months ago) he looked to be just as game-ready as he was during the 2014 Final Four run.

7. Perry Stevenson, Blue Team

Tyler: If only to see him flex those bones again.

8. Bobby Perry, White Team

Drew: Our front office was worried about Perry’s focus and commitment to basketball, but we’re taking a chance here despite him spending way too much time on the golf course these days. If we can get him to put the sand wedge down, we think he’s in good shape for 32 and can still play both forward positions.

9. Jeff Sheppard, Blue Team

Tyler: Crap, I really need another guard. I’ll take Jeff Sheppard, because even at 42, I bet he’s still a pretty good shooter.

10. Andre Riddick, White Team

Drew: SLEEPER PICK! If you’re a casual fan, yeah, you’re thinking Riddick is old and out of shape because it’s been over two decades since he left UK. But do a little research and you’ll find Riddick played professionally up until a couple years ago and he is the ULEB Cup’s all-time leader for rebounds, steals and blocks.

And he’s down to throw hands if any of the opposing legends want to mix it up like Rasheed did back in ’95.

11. Marquis Estill, Blue Team

Tyler: The 6’9″ Estill still holds the Kentucky record for field goal shooting percentage (60%). I’ll take that any day.

12. Jon Hood, White Team

Drew: Hoody still available at No. 12? No brainer here. He has title experience and he’s only been married a couple weeks so he probably hasn’t let himself go yet. He could be the Draymond Green of this draft.

13. Lukasz Obrzut, Blue Team

Tyler: Woo, just remember it was me that drafted you and not Drew.

[White Team offers remaining four picks for rights to Lukasz Obrzut.]

[Trade declined.] 

[White Team offers remaining four picks and cash considerations for rights to Lukasz Obrzut.]

[Trade declined.] 

[Drew texts Obrzut, begs him to pull a Kobe and refuse to play for Blue Team. White Team then offers remaining four picks plus first picks in 2018, 2019 and 2020 UK legends drafts for rights to Lukasz Obrzut.]

[Trade declined.] 

(First reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski)

14. Jared Prickett, White Team

Drew: We now have the CEO of the KBA, which means we have our own practice facility. It doesn’t hurt that he was an All-NCAA Regional and All-SEC Tournament selection, as well as one of the best rebounders in school history.

15. Goose Givens, Blue Team

Tyler: Goose is the youngest looking 60-year-old I’ve ever seen, and my team of giants needs some more scoring.

16. Jared Carter, White Team

Drew: Carter is our counter to Shagari Alleyne and Lukasz Obrzut. Our only concern is we now have three Jared/Jarrods on the team.

17. Kyle Macy, Blue Team

Tyler: I’m really digging the 60-year-olds on my squad. Did you see Macy’s moves in the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships last month?

18. Kenny Walker, White Team

Drew: I don’t see any Slam Dunk champions on the other team.

19. Dale Brown, Blue Team

Tyler: Dale Brown may be approaching 50, but I bet the head coach at Eminence still has some moves.

20. Kevin Grevey, White Team

Drew: Remember, Isaiah Thomas was the last pick in the 2011 NBA draft and he was a finalist for the MVP award this past season.

Which is the better team?



Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Jeff Sheppard Julius Mays
Heshimu Evans Ravi Moss
Perry Stevenson Bobby Perry
Shagari Alleyne Andre Riddick
Marquis Estill Jon Hood
Lukasz Obrzut Jared Prickett
Goose Givens Jared Carter
Kyle Macy Kenny Walker
Dale Brown Kevin Grevey