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Governor’s Cup stayed true to trend: a second half disaster


Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Kentucky jumped out to a 21-point lead.

I didn’t think UK would win the football game.

The first half ended with the Wildcats leading 24-7.

I didn’t think UK would win the football game.

It’s been one of those seasons. After 30 minutes of score board dominance, where did the doubt come from? Guilt crept in by having little hope for a Kentucky win when all signs pointed to the Governor’s Cup taking up residence in the Nutter Center.

Following a 12-game body of work for observation, the following are engrained preconceptions that led to final score reservations:

— There was a complete lack of on-field leadership and team chemistry. For certain underclassmen, there was a comprehensive failure in followship. This imbalanced combination equaled a 5-7 record. Once Melvin Lewis was lost to an unfortunate injury, not a resemblance of on-field management existed. However, the offense is where the intolerable — and at times, unwatchable — leadership meltdown occurred.

In the second half and even before Louisville began to score at will, several offensive players showed the body language of an ailing patient moments prior to a root canal. There is a difference between the false bravado coming out of the tunnel and the gut-check realization when plays must be made. Unfortunately, this team was better exiting the locker room in a cloud of smoke than making a catch on 3rd and 7. It danced better before the game and between plays than it tackled opposing running quarterbacks.

— Immaturity. During critical game junctures, the Cats played and acted like adolescents in a man’s league. Hanging heads, not finishing plays, complaining about quarterbacks or playing time, catches/carries, and so forth. By the end of Saturday’s game, a disturbing internal question resonated: “Is this team likable?” I can’t honestly answer that inquiry. Not generalizing the entire 100-man roster, but a handful of counted-upon characters displayed appalling selfish actions.

— After starting 4-1 and somewhere on the schedule between EKU and Auburn, this team misplaced its fortitude. Courage to fight back and resiliency to counter adversity disappeared; in their absence surfaced erroneous and misguided self-importance. Again, mostly on offense.

— Other than the opening drive, Kentucky’s inept offense was manhandled by an above average defense that wasn’t as good as its performance indicated. Virginia scored 31 on it. Pitt ran up 42 in the first half for goodness sake. Following the disheartening loss of Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp, UK’s offensive compass lost its true North, South, East, and West. The identity-less unit wandered like a rudderless ship sailing along with dropped passes, errant throws, questionable play calls, missed blocks and penalties of the undisciplined nature.

Patrick Towles was not Kentucky’s offensive problem. Pat was merely the fall guy. Offensive woes ran much deeper than quarterback play. Up front, the offensive line was overwhelmed. An overabundance of holding calls prevented the second half from becoming a quarterback sack parade. The OL has been a point of concern from Louisiana to Louisville with brief flashes of positivity against South Carolina and Missouri. Its flaws were embarrassingly exposed in the 3rd and 4th quarter. In addition to the front five, UK’s receivers lacked. Its talent was evident in September, but it conspicuously lost its way somewhere on the road between EKU and Auburn.

Locker room divide: Older players vs. younger ones. Patrick Towles supporters against those that wanted Drew Barker. These unconfirmed rumors and leaked murmurings became nauseating and devastatingly tiresome. I’d argue that this team was divided into two categories: 1. Likable. 2. Unlikable. Typing those words hurts me to the core. While understanding ramifications, it had to be said. There were not enough battlers like Josh Forrest, Farrington Huguennin, Chris Westry, Jon Toth, Khalid Henderson and unnamed others that played their absolute guts out on every snap throughout the disappointing season regardless of score or situation.

The BBN doesn’t expect to win every game; however, it does demand indisputable high effort, passion, and a give-a-darn mentality from its participants. Instead of embracing the underdog role in the second half of the season, this team shrunk in moments against superiority.

— Halftime adjustments were made by Louisville. Kentucky grossly failed in this venture. Louisville’s true freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson can be used as an example. On a wet and soggy day, one would imagine that the opponent’s top rusher (Jackson) would be the offensive feature in the second half. The read option would be the prominent play call. Following intermission, he ran it and ran it well. The Cardinal quarterback finished the game with 17 rushing attempts for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The closest Cardinal in rushing statistics was RB Brandon Radcliff with 66 yards on 14 carries. I’m not a coach nor do I pretend to understand the game on a professional level, but I would assume that Petrino made the decision to win or lose the game with Lamar Jackson running the football.

— After halftime, Kentucky’s offense exited the locker room lacking urgency and a plan. Inexplicably, defeated body language became commonplace after the first series of the third quarter. It didn’t improve, nor did production. The Cats lacked tempo, execution, or a strategy to answer the Cardinals’ 31-point onslaught. One scoring drive may have been enough of a deterrent to force Louisville into certain passing scenarios. On UK’s last offensive series, Patrick Towles finally led the Cats to the red zone with a little over two minutes left in the game. An interception followed. Game over. Cup travelled back west on I-64.

SEC football teams should be prepared for attrition, especially at an injury-prone position like running back. Understandably, losing both Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp lessened UK’s explosiveness; however, UK commenced a three-and-out procession that repeatedly and quickly gave the football back to Louisville and Lamar Jackson. It was a recipe for disaster. Catastrophe came in the form of 31 unanswered second half points.

What’s Next?

Mark Stoops must evaluate his football program in its entirety. From coordinators to assistant coaches, practice schedules to calisthenics, the Kentucky Football program is in need of an overhaul; what that looks like lies within the mind of Mark Stoops.

At no point in 40 years of fandom have I witnessed a team worsen more so than the 2015 Wildcats. From a 4-1 start to a 5-7 finish, week by week, Kentucky lessened its on-field prowess while facing the friendliest schedule in decades. College football is unforgiving. While the Cats are home for the holidays, its opponents will enjoy 15 additional days of bowl practice as well as an extra game. While UK is Christmas vacationing, future foes are strengthening. For returning players, that should sting. I’m not convinced that it does. I hope I’m wrong.

From now until National Signing Day, Stoops and staff will be in living rooms convincing teenager prospects that progress is being made. 2015 was stagnant at best.

In closing, thank you for reading. I honestly am honored and surprised you do so. I’ve tried to be as objective as possible, but disappointment and frustration led to hard truths and realities being discussed. This post was incredibly hard to write. Uncomfortable and disappointing would be more descriptive. Objectivity and fandom mix like oil and water. As a lifelong UK fan, nothing would please more than for Mark Stoops and this football program to succeed.

It’s been a blast, and we’ll continue through National Signing Day and beyond. I’d like to thank Matt Jones and the entire KSR organization for the privilege to write and talk about football.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

102 responses to “Governor’s Cup stayed true to trend: a second half disaster”

  1. Kyreds

    I think they should do away with the Football and put a roof on The stadium & play Basketball inside it! The Football program is doomed since they got rid of Bear Bryant & Fran Curci!!

    1. UK Big Board Update

      An even bigger arena to celebrate the greatest college basketball team in history? Hmmm…. I’m for it.

    2. scorpiocard

      I don’t think UCLA is going to play their games in Lexington.

    3. UK Big Board Update

      If thats how you wanna play it, then Louisville isn’t as great historically than UConn!!

      Nice try, though. 😉

    4. scorpiocard

      I’m playing it real. You want to talk about greatest teams championships comes first. But UCLA has more than just the most. They won 7 in a row. Get real bbn delusional fan.

    5. UK Big Board Update

      Greatest programs don’t trail 41-7 at the half.

      And they don’t get owned by their rival seven games to one in 6 years. 😉

    6. scorpiocard

      Oh my bad. I thought you said in history. UK will never match UCLA’S run of 7 in a row and may not catch them in overall titles. I don’t know about that. If you think uk has never laid an egg though you are goofy. They went 3 for 33 in the second half against Georgetown once in the NCAA tournament. Werect we talking about football? No wonder yall suck at football. Freddie must love this talk about basketball on his post. You’re young and dumb. I get it.

    7. UK Big Board Update

      Your idiotic response makes me laugh.

    8. Jester

      Scorpiocard you display a laughable knowledge of basketball if you think UCLA is the greatest team in history because of their championships. If we are going to pick only one category with which to judge which team is the greatest, why don’t we pick most overall wins. Or first team to 2000, or most conference championships?
      That’s not how it’s done. You have to look at the total picture, not just cherrypick one statistic.
      And when you do that, it’s obvious to any real basketball fan that UK is the greatest ever.

      School’s out. You’re dismissed.

    9. cats paw

      seems everyone on this entire thread is pissed off with the football program!! everyone except Big Board… he is still predicting UK will break into the top 4 playoff if Oklahoma were to lose.

    10. UK Big Board Update

      You’re senile.

  2. keiths

    Fred, this team lacks discipline terribly. Your team captain makes a great play, then throws the ball in the stands? Give me a break! Hatcher suspended twice for pot, that we know of. he should have been booted OFF THE TEAM when his second chance happened.

    I think Stoops need to start thinning the herd, get rid of the trouble makers, send them packing! Next year the shedule is tougher, the wins are going to be even fewer, and that makes me sad.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      You think its bad now? Just think – some people wanted us to hire Petrino!!

      Treat women with respect

      No drugs

      No stealing

      No guns

      THIS HAD TO BE POSTED WITHIN THE FACILITY AT LOUISVILLE

      http://wdrb.images.worldnow.com/images/3689760_G.jpg

    2. scorpiocard

      Not sure, but I think Hatcher may have been your leading tackler yesterday. I know I kept hearing his name over and over on the PA. Maybe your whole team needs to smoke a joint now and then (your kidding yourself if you think they don’t already do). I used to get stoned with Mike Philips and the Blonde Bomber. Two stones an uk’s 78 national championship team. So what? It was the 70s

    3. UK Big Board Update

      Cool story, bro. Marijuana is also legal in some states now.

      Like Colorado, where Chane transferred to. 😉

      Now, on to the guns, stealing, and treating women with respect….

      (Making it rain on whores doesn’t count…)

    4. theSkinny81

      Yes, Jason Hatcher, who was caught in James Quick’s apartment, where Quick had 39.5 grams and Hatcher had 2.5 grams.

    5. scorpiocard

      Last 6 years? I thought you said in history. My bad I guess lol If you think uk basketball has not had flame outs ever you are delusional. They went 3 for 33 in the second half of an NCAA game against Georgetown. UK cannot touch UCLA’s run of dominance in the game. Never will. You’re young and dumb. That’s cool.

    6. UK Big Board Update

      I agree, all teams have a flame out – kind of like Louisville in that SWEET Sixteen game the year before last. 😉 That had to hurt, huh? You almost had us! lol

      We get it, UCLA had a good run way back in the late 60’s-early 70’s.

      Kentucky is the most successful NCAA Division I basketball program in history, holding both the most all-time wins (2178) and the highest all-time winning percentage (.764). Kentucky also leads all schools in total NCAA tournament appearances with 54, is first in NCAA tournament wins with 120, and ranks second to UCLA in NCAA championships with eight. In addition to these titles, Kentucky won NIT in both 1946 and 1976, making it the only school to win multiple NCAA and NIT championships. The Wildcats have played in a record 54 NCAA Tournaments and 167 NCAA Tournament games, and hold the records for most Sweet Sixteen appearances (41), most Elite Eight appearances (36) and most total postseason tournament appearances (63). Further, Kentucky has played in 17 Final Fours (tied for 2nd place all time with UCLA and behind North Carolina, with 18), and 12 NCAA Championship games (tied for most with UCLA). Kentucky also leads all schools with 59 20-win seasons, 14 30-win seasons, and is the only school with 5 different NCAA Championship coaches (Rupp, Hall, Pitino, Smith, Calipari).

      Meanwhile, the Cardinals have won three NCAA championships (1980, 1986, 2013*) and have been to 10 Final Fours (6th all time) in 40 NCAA tournament appearances (5th all time) while compiling 72 tournament wins (6th all time).

      *title under investigation for using ineligible players

    7. scorpiocard

      Actually Chanel did not end up there, but I thought it was funny when it looked like he would. I’m going 🙂

    8. UK Big Board Update

      Good luck after flaming out this year, going on probation next year(s), VJ King transferring, and finding a new coach when Pitino resigns!!

      😉

    9. UK Big Board Update

      I’d say we would like to have VJ King next year, but we really don’t need him. 😉

  3. barn

    very insightful mr maggard. best written piece i’ve read all year about the sorry state of ky football.

  4. scorpiocard

    Where is dshwildcats? Freddie Maggard is here. dsh had SO much to say about this game before the season. In fact, so much to say about this game for a couple of years. Now? Nothing. Freddie is here. Where is dsh? I don’t understand it.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      People are wrong sometimes, like yourself:

      scorpiocard says:
      December 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm
      No one! turns down Texas? How ridiculous. Cracks me up how simple minded folks always think they know what someones else’s career priorities are.

      Jim Tom you know what else comes with the Texas job? CRAZY fan base expectations. If a new coach had one bad season their life would become a living hell. Charlie Strong is also a devoted family man with two daughters in their final years of high school. He’s not going to move them for ANY job. He may leave after they graduate. Sure its possible. Before they do? No way.

      Your idiotic response makes me laugh.

      😉

    2. scorpiocard

      Granted I thought Charlie Strong was too smart to go to Texas. Look at where he is now. A minute from being fired. I could see it wasn’t a good move. Many in the media and everywhere could see it wasn’t a good move. TJ was gojng to match the offer.. One more year was it?… and he could have probably had Florida. A good move for him. Yeah I was wrong. I thought Charlie Strong was smarter than to go to Texas. I don’t have a problem admiitting that. But where is dsh? Card hater and smack talker extrordinaire. MIA

    3. UK Big Board Update

      Cracks me up how simple minded folks always think they know what someones else’s career priorities are.

      He’s not going to move them for ANY job. He may leave after they graduate. Sure its possible. Before they do? No way.

      Your idiotic response makes me laugh.

    4. scorpiocard

      Actually Chanel did not end up there, but I thought it was funny when it looked like he would. I’m going 🙂

    5. UK Big Board Update

      Your idiotic response makes me laugh.

  5. shelby

    First off, Freddie i have immensely enjoyed your insight this season, you’ve done a fantastic job my friend.
    Second, i think you hit the nail on the head with one word: IMMATURITY. I went to the UK athletics website a little while ago and perused our current roster. I find it amazing that we started only one senior (Swindle) on offense. That is simply unheard of in major college football today. In all honesty, i think having an EXTREMELY young offensive line is our BIGGEST problem. Poor QB protection, poor run blocking, poor continuity in an area where unity and togetherness are essential. Only experience changes that. Mark Stoops took the reins of a football program that looked more like a high school team than an FBS team. All that being said, i’ll be in the stands next year, screamiing until my throat hurts. I do think we need a special teams coach, starting field position was rarely in our favor. Also, i think we may need to reexamine the WR coaches methodology as these talented kids seemed to regress during the season. I’m also not sure Schlarman is getting it done, but again, youth may be the problem.
    Finally, if next year we have kids who slack off, or pout because they disagree with coaches, i hope the coaches kick their asses: all in or off the team in my opinion.
    Again, thanks Freddie for the great work.

    1. Kat 308

      I agree I think OL coach and receivers coach need someone new. They just have not performed at all.

  6. Boydcat

    Freddie I have enjoyed reading your posts this year.You tell it as it is and it is bad we got our hope dashed and as UK football fans we should know better.I hope they can get it turned around but I am not going to hold my breath.

  7. scorpiocard

    Hey Freddie. As a huge college football fan (never played the game), I can relate to your first paragraph. Charlie Strong called it “fake juice”. How discritive. UK football does not seem to know the difference in fake juice and real fire. Will they ever step up and give us a real fight? Even in the four year run they had during our Kragthourpe debacle the scores were close all but for one game. And we were HORRIBLE. UK owns the biggest blowout in the series, but look who owns the most blowouts and big wins. UK football…????

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Congrats on finally tying up the series!!

      Last year, you only beat us by 4 at home, and we were HORRIBLE. 😉

    2. Kat 308

      I agree I love Kentucky Wildcats football but they just do not WANT IT like U of L and I really dislike U of L but it is true

    3. scorpiocard

      Hey Big Board. I been going to uk football games since before you were born. I was there in Knoxville the last time they won there in 84. I was there in Neyland when Art Still, Derrick Ramsey and Co won in 76. If you need your diaper changed I can do that too.

    4. UK Big Board Update

      You been? Cool.

      I’ve never been to a Louisville anything (other than vs UK), because they suck. I also recall your fan base likes to refer to UK fans who attend Louisville games as “slapdicks”….

      https://twitter.com/SlapdickReport

      Are you a slapdick?

      Just because you’re 30 years older doesn’t make you ANY smarter than me.

    5. scorpiocard

      I went to uk (probably unlike you). No. Bobby made a referee to the slapdicks not scoring when he puked uk 28-0 one year. Needless to say we were amused.

    6. UK Big Board Update

      Currently at UK. Again, nice try, old loser. 😉

    7. scorpiocard

      Punnked…not puked lol

    8. scorpiocard

      Lol. Okay…good for you. I had a blast there. Hope you do too young lose lol

    9. UK Big Board Update

      English, please.

      You’re falling apart.

    10. scorpiocard

      I’m tired of trying to do this on my phone. I’m old remember? Have a good one. Sorry your football team sucks so bad lol

    11. UK Big Board Update

      Hey, we suck just a LITTLE more than you. Be glad!

  8. UKinIN

    Can Freddie or anyone explain why 80%-90% of offensive holding calls were against the same player and he started every game when he was available and also played major minutes?

  9. OR CATFAN

    Freddie, I feel your pain. I so want a competitive football team. My husband and I enjoy your view on the team. You state the facts as painful as they may be to hear. Hope springs eternal for us UK football fans and here’s hoping for better results next year.
    Work on that Diet Coke addiction on the off season.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  10. badbrad

    With Kentucky Basketball we re-load, with Kentucky Football we need to un-load. An offensive line coach, Offensive coordinator and Defensive coordinator for starters. I still wonder how you can hire an offensive coordinator who doesn’t call plays? I also wonder how a defensive coordinator can’t make any adjustments to stop the read option. I would think at a minimum with Stoops background as a defensive coordinator he would have the experience and skill to at least show some progression with our defense throughout the season. (Look no further than Derek Mason at Vandy for an example). It’s going to be very hard for this coaching staff to sell this team, this program to any quality recruit. I’m as frustrated and discouraged as a fan can be.

  11. Lets Roll

    People please remember this. As Freddie has stated in the past he wasn’t at pracrice or in locker room so he like us is going on rumor Stoops as most people in the state of Ky know that few trust him. Fact. He stated that Dawson called players at WV last year when two coaches at WVU said that he never did. One of those coaches is from eastern Ky. Fact!
    Please don’t believe him as he has a grudge because he wasn’t allowed to have access to the team. Fact!

  12. Northfork

    Thank you Freddie and keep up the good work.

  13. apocalypse

    Freddie, I understand exactly what you said and agree with it 100%. At no time during the game Saturday did I even feel like we had a shot to win, and that’s when we had a 21 point lead. What really turned me off on this game was the ending of the first half when our HC couldn’t make up his mind if he should call a T.O. with 30 seconds left and we had the ball at the 3.

    When he finally decided to call it (we had TWO) there were only 11 seconds on the clock and any shot of pushing momentum was shot. It was heart breaking to watch the offense stand on the field looking to the sidelines while the coach’s just stood there with those blank looks on their face’s.

    Patrick Towles has decided to transfer and I cannot blame the kid. Our OL was horrible, not much a QB can do when your running for life every time you take a snap and I do not blame the offense on him. He played as well as could be expected and I wish him the best at wherever he decides to go.

    Now, onto what really concerns me the most. Lack of in game adjustments or adjustments at the half. Our coach’s do not seem to know how to do either and that concerns me the most. Had UL put in their 3rd string QB I could understand not knowing what he would do and take some time to figure it out, but EVERYONE knew Jackson would play and exactly what he would do and we had ZERO answers for him.
    I’m at a loss as to why our coach’s find it so hard to figure out a way to stop the read option or at least keep the yardage under 20. You play UK, you run the read option and your guaranteed a win. It’s crazy, but it’s also the facts.

    Our offense is bad from the front 5 all the way to play calling. I despise the fact that we line up one of our best players in the backfield (C.J. Conrad) and do not challenge the middle of the field at all. You would think since our WR’s couldn’t catch a cold you would engage the best hands on the team, but again, nothing. I would like an explanation from the OC WHY he will not target this kid.

    I could go on and on as I’m sure everyone could but you have covered most of it. I’m truly disappointed in this team and the coaching staff for their ultimate failures to motivate and teach these kids to play this game. They all look lost and confused, and that is a direct reflection of coaching.

  14. Kenny P.

    This team was just flat out hard to watch! I would love to know what they do during a typical practice on a daily basis. That’s on the coaches – not the kids.

  15. dean winchester

    Freddie i agree with you. Painful year, maybe the team grows up in the next few months.

  16. cdeventing

    I agree with everything you wrote. Both last year and this year resulted in 5-7 finishes. As a fellow student who knows a bunch of these guys, I have to say I really didn’t like this team. I got frustrated eith the lack of effort, lack of caring, and the absolute selfishness a fair number of them displayed. I loved last year’s team. In the past 2 years I’ve missed 3 games away and home combined. I went to LSU and watched last uear’s team get beat fown. Yet there were a few specific guys on the aideline keeping everyone’s heads up and fighting til the end. That never happened this year. The team I saw win in S Carolina never appeared again. What it comes down to, IMO, is the 2014 team had a lower ceiling and tried their guts out. This year had a higher ceiling and horrible effort. I’ll take the less talented team that tries ever single day.

  17. keiths

    You cant let the inmates run the asylum. When boom quit the team, they should have SENT HIS ASS PACKING! same with Dorian baker, when he started doggint it. SEND HIS ASS PACKING. When Hatcher got suspended for the SECOND TIME, SEND HIS ASS PACKING! the problem was no discipline whatsoever

    1. UK Big Board Update

      You think THATS bad? Just imagine if we had that scumbag Petrino as our coach…

    2. trojancam08

      So that’s what happened, boom “quit”?

  18. Lets Roll

    Lots of fans agree with Freddie but what do they all have in common? Guessing

    1. dean winchester

      Whats your beef with Freddie?

    2. UK Big Board Update

      Jealousy.

  19. Hermes

    The UK football program appears to be a rudderless ship at the moment. Every game seems to evidence a lack of preparation, a lack of planning, and a lack of execution. Too many men on the field. Too few men on the field. Poor clock management. Poor decisions. No in-game adjustments. No player development. No team improvement. The bottom line is the CEO, Stoops, has a number of incompetent managers and few, if any, leaders. No leaders on the field. No leaders on the bench. The only positive for the program has been a surprising improvement in recruiting, which is going to be very difficult to maintain now (witness last year). Next year is going to be painful to watch, as we will have next to nobody to man our front 7 on defense. SEC (and other D1 offenses) will run through us like a knife through hot butter. Our offensive line will have some new talent but young and inexperienced. Our receivers can’t hold on to the ball. Our QB situation is questionable, at best. I see no more than 3 victories next year. Freddie, if you read these comments, please tell me where I am wrong. Please…

  20. Smyrna_Cat

    Stoops has lost the fan base. This is one of the most disappointing seasons I can remember. Stoops has to do some serious changes this off-season to convince us that he is the guy to move us forward. Frankly, this coaching staff hasn’t done much to instill confidence in us. I hope they change that.

  21. tippytoe

    Freddie, why are you saying you never thought UK would win, even after a 21 point lead to open the game?
    I listened to the pre game show and YOU picked UK to win. At no point during all of the analysis did anyone mention the ultimate determining factor: No UK coach has beaten Petrino. Why? Because he is a better coach than anyone UK has had, and makes ADJUSTMENTS! Also, when a player is not performing(dropping passes), Petrino will find someone who will. And not continue using unperformer as option number one.
    Sorry, Fred UK will never beat Petrino or Florida in our lifetime.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Um, UK has beaten Petrino….

    2. dean winchester

      Brooks beat Petrino when he was coaching Arkansas….

  22. 62Bluedog

    Freddie I would like to thank you for all your blogs over this past season. As painful as many of them were to write, I really appreciated the wealth of knowledge that you brought to this sight. I also really enjoyed the weekly podcasts. Hope that you return next year.

  23. ReedyCreekBuc

    I am tired of people saying the schedule is tough next year. 7 teams in the SEC West played very difficult schedules this season, and every one of them are going to bowls. We played in the weaker division, and could barely beat EKU. No excuses next season. We better be in a good bowl, and not one in Birmingham, Shreveport or at home.

  24. Badboy

    You are all missing the bigger picture. With the exception of hiring Cal two years too late, every single Barnhart hire has been a disaster. I would hate to add up the millions that he has cost UK with poor judgment. Yet we pay him more each year. Change starts at the top and Barnhart must go before we can ever expect to resurrect the football program.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Do you vote in KY?

    2. Jester

      If he was smart he voted for Bevin. Who would want more of what Beshear brought us?

      But it’s completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. He’s right, Barnhart getting his dumb ass kicked out of Kentucky would be a step in the right direction. He has one good hire to his credit, and he missed it the first time it was available, forcing us to endure Billy G. Sure, there’s the Lady Cats coach, but come on, that’s girl’s basketball. The important hires at Bball and football have not been there with Barnhart. He basically was forced to hire Cal to save his neck after his other disasters. Then he rested on the success of Cal and tried another “hire a coach with no head coaching experience to coach in the toughest league in college football.” I hope it costs him his job, but unfortunately we’ll most likely have to wait another three years to find out.

  25. Badboy

    What difference does that make?

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Just a simple question.

    2. Badboy

      Just a simple answer–doesn’t matter.

    3. UK Big Board Update

      Just wondering if you voted for Bevin, that’s all.

    4. UK Big Board Update

      Have a good night. 😉

    5. Badboy

      Still doesn’t matter.

    6. UK Big Board Update

      Meh, you live in Virginia. Never mind.

  26. FunkyMonkey

    Thanks Freddie for keeping it real, despite the discomfort in doing so. There will be absolutely zero optimism unless Stoops makes some major changes in the off season. Not only will the fan base be lost but he’ll lose the confidence of the team. He’s got to show that underperformance whether from an arrogant OC or a player won’t be tolerated and they’ll be shown the door.

  27. 3 fan

    Great write up Freddie. It’s easy to see that you share the pain of the fanbase. At this point Simeon just needs to name the players who hurt the program.

  28. inside info2

    Freddie, thanks for your posts this year. Very informative. Very objective. I hope you stay with the site.

  29. carrico

    thanks for writing and for your work on the podcast, Freddie.

  30. JohnnyWoo

    Freddie: You brought 2 things that KSR desperately needed – football expertise and a humble, gracious attitude. That is not meant as an insult for KSR, but a sincere compliment for you. I hope you continue your work as an analyst.

  31. The Professor

    Freddie, I usually agree with most of your commentary. However, I think you lay too much of the blame on the players and not enough on the coaches. It is evident that they are in over their heads. Stoops’ sideline deficions are as bad as I have ever seen. How do you let an inexperienced QB go 1-14 for -1 yards without making a change before he did? UK has had worse coaches by position before,, such as Mike Major as DC, but this might be the weakest group as a whole. Outside of running backs and maybe the secondary, is there a position that looks competently coached?

    1. The Professor

      “decisions”

  32. Nolecat21

    First let me say I’m also a huge FSU fan. So, needless to say, I was pumped when we got Stoops. He was a great DC at FSU. Unfortunately, not all great coordinators transfer to great head coaches. This seems to be one of those instances. There’s really no excuse at this point other than poor coaching. Our talent level (on paper) is way up compared to previous years. However, UK did much more with less (on paper) under Brooks. If the locker room issues are true, this falls completely on the coaching staff. There’s really not a single thing they’ve done well other than raising the level of recruits. Benching Towles, and the timing of it, was a complete cop out. A weak ass move by the HC trying to point fingers at one kid, running a crappy offense, instead of pointing at himself. Stoops has proven to be a bad hire thus far. So bad he lost his locker room. Mark Richt was ousted with a 15 yr, .740 winning percentage. Until LSU beat Texas A&M, Les Miles was all but out. We demand such excellence at UK that you can go 5-7 two years in a row and get an extension.

  33. kampus korner

    Excellent points Freddie. I have seen no improvement in the players or the team Stoops assembled since he arrived. If he doesn’t win at least 6 games next year, the recruits he was signing will start to look elsewhere. He is going to have to pull a “Rich Brooks” to save his job next year. I also blame Barnhart for giving Stoops a huge raise and an extension to his contract. It will cost UK millions to terminate him. Stoops is losing credibility fast among the recruits and their families. I have been a UK fan for more than 50 years. I’ve seen a lot of losing football.but it appears this coaching staff has no clue how to operate a successful program. The games against Vanderbilt and Louisville were embarrassing.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      LOL at the people who think Stoops’ contract is going to bankrupt the university… Just stop.

      The contract (and all of the extensions) are the least of our worries. Please stop using it as some point for debate.

      I think people fail to realize just how much the SEC Network pays us – not to mention there are always boosters willing to pay up.

    2. The Professor

      UK Big Board,you are an apologist. The post says nothing about bankrupting the university. However, it was a really dumb move to give a large contract extension to a coach who has not won anything. If he fails next year it will cost the university several million dollars to buy him out. There was nobody knocking down Stoop’s door to hire him away from us so there was no reason for the extension. It will be a needless waste to pay a guy that kind of money for failure. If you cannot see that then you are beyond help!

  34. wildcat502

    If Forrest comment is true, then thats further proof that Elliott needs to be replaced. Our defense was embarrasing this season, not the players, but coaching. We had to call timeouts after coming onto the field after a punt, we had 8 guys on the field for a play, players not staying in their gaps, arm tackling and hitting with the bodies instead of wrapping up the offensive player. Players were taking the wrong routes to tackle. We were still shuffling the line-up 7-8 games into the season. Just poor player and call management.
    Offensive line coach needs to go, too many holding penalties by the same guys for 2 years now.
    Receivers coach may be able to recruit, but why were we playing guys who were dropping passes the entire season??? Sit them for someone who cared enough to hold onto a tough pass and not be afraid to be hit.
    Stoops has some tough decisions to make, but they need to be addressed and before the first of February.
    I`d love to see us hire Bud Foster or Pelini for DC. I`d love to see Mike Summers brought back. There are several receiver coaches available now, from coaching changes and we need to start checking them out before someone else does.

    I dont mind losing, but I do mind being embarrassed and the coaching this season was embarrasing to us as fans. We were too out of sort and we could see coaches on the sidelines questioning each other with anger.
    Great post Freddie, I love reading them all season.

    1. Long Dong Silver

      Exactly. This coaching staff was an embarrassment.

  35. jr1122

    So heres a breakdown
    To the offense (players)-you have work to do. Block better, read coverage better, CATCH THE BALL!!! If it hits your hands, youre supposed to catch it.
    To the offense (staff)- you all deserved to be fired. FORGET THE AIR RAID, its not working. Get a Pro Style
    To the defense (players)-work on dealing with dual threat QBs. Its your kryptonite. Line should not get blown off the ball
    To the defense (staff)-youre an SEC Defense, act like it
    To the Special Teams-HIRE A COACH!!!

    Im tired of fighting for 6-6. I would actually like to at least attempt to play with Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee once in awhile.

  36. Long Dong Silver

    Freddie, great coverage from you this year. I like that you were the only one on KSR that would call out this team and its coaches when they deserved it. Anything I might say has already been said, and said again. Let’s just hope Stoops gets rid of all coaches and players who need to be gone, and shows better judgement with their replacements. If not, next year will be his last.

  37. maximsm

    Hypothetically if Charlie Strong got fired, then UK should hire him immediatley

    1. keiths

      and you are an idiot

    2. Catsby80

      I think Charlie would probably go to Miami before he’d come to UK.

  38. maximsm

    ur dumbasss keith(s)

  39. fairplay

    Great job this year Freddie. Did anyone mention that you can change just one play in each of Kentucky’s wins and this team is 0-12. Look one the bright side.

  40. roundball fool

    Thanks for all your work this year, Freddie. It’s all been said above. We are truly frustrated with the state of UK football. We need some major changes.

    Go Big Blue!

  41. StevieGotLoose

    I have absolutely no confidence in the coaching staff any longer. Top to bottom they are clueless. How many times have we seen a running QB? We still don’t know what to do. Stoops was a defensive coach and yet one player was quoted as saying that they ran the ball more than expected. This team is dysfunctional due to a lack of leadership and coaching from the coaches. You can’t give this bunch another year, the entire staff needs to go.

  42. Howdy Doody

    I want to thank you for being the voice of reason when Matt and the Boys were shaking Pom Poms whe we beat EKU in overtime.
    I am so sick of the Blue Smoke KSR pumps EVERY losing season in football.
    Man up and admit it, we ARE the doormat of the SEC…and UL in Football.
    Heck, WKU is developing a better program than ours.
    Sigh…

  43. kampus korner

    Freddie, I just listened to your comments on the Tom Leach Show and I want to add a postscript to my previous post in this thread. I heard you mention many times how much you believed that Mark Stoops could do the job as head coach at the University of Kentucky. However, I also heard you repeatedly state Stoops needed to make changes in order for the program to improve. You discussed the need for changes to be made in offense, defense and special teams. These are all obviously valid recommendations. However, all of these recommendation for change depend on someone having the requisite good judgment to make these changes. Do you actually believe Mark Stoops has the ability to make these changes? If you do believe he has the necessary judgment what is the basis of your belief?

    As for me, I have not seen any basis, in the 3 years Stoops has been the coach, to believe he has the necessary skills to serve as a head coach in the SEC. His poor decision making in the Vanderbilt and Louisville games highlight his ineptitude. Thus, I would be interested in reading the specific reasons why you think Stoops has the requisite ability to be a successful head coach. I think UK will just biding its time until Barnhart is forced to let him go. He will be here next year for sure. If he doesn’t win 6 game, I don’t see how Barnhart can keep him but he might. If he does this means that for the next 2 years, UK will have a coach who, in all probability, will be terminated.

    Given the current state of affairs our ability to recruit equal or better players than Stoops has signed is in serious jeopardy. There is little to no appeal to Stoops’ motto of, “Why not UK?” Stoops has no credibility to sell anyone on the notion that “things will get better”. I see recruiting dropping off for as long as Stoops remains the coach. I hope I’m wrong. Again, please tell me why you believe Stoops can turn things around given all his errors in decision making for the last 3 years.

  44. Blue Raider

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and the information like 90% of the people who comment on your blog I have never played organized football. So I can only say I don’t think we should jump off the bridge here. Are there major issues that need to be fixed? Definitely. Should we clean house on the coaching staff? Definitely not. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the U.K. Football program won’t be either.We have a young team with a lot of raw talent. What this team needs is stability not a revolving door of coordinators.

  45. BluKudzu

    Any faith I had in this staff was lost after the first game of the season. We struggled to win against a bottom feeding SunBelt team. I knew right then, this season was going to be a very disappointing campaign. It wasn’t so much that I had doubted the skill level of the players, it was the skill level of the coaches. I agree, we have little quality depth. I agree we even had little quality in talent. But that is why Stoops and company were here, to coach up these guys. There is zero improvement in what we saw last year, and the argument could have been made that it has taken a step back.
    The more I watched this season unfurl, the more sorry I felt for Joker. Joker turned in the same record, with absolutely zero support from UK and Barnhart fired him, while Stoops had everything he had asked for plus stupid money raises for nothing, zero results.
    Now, Barnhart has to do something. Keep it as is, the heat is on him for throwing stupid money at a coach that has done nothing, and is the laughing stock of the SEC.
    This has to be an embarrassment to Mitch. I know it would be to me. I would be fired if this was one of my employees, I had hired gave this money to, and got these results.
    Folks, the proof is exactly what you witnessed this year. No leader. No head coaching skills. No program, no strategy, no plan, no adjustments, just riding the gravy train, putting on the field an unprepared team, with no discipline, no hope.
    To me it is easy to see why this year’s team, and this program is a failure. It was the hire of another feel good story, without any head coaching experience, to compete in the most difficult league in College football. He did it with Joker. It was a miserable failure. He did it again with Stoops. I am sorry to you UK “never say die” faithful, but this man is not the coach to build this program. Neither is Mitch. It was Mitch that said in order to be competitive in the SEC, we must have a strong defense. Well, we are waiting.
    You want a football team at UK? Go get someone that knows how to build a program and a team. This AD has been here how long, and our football program remains at the bottom? For a top revenue sport, just about any other AD in the SEC or any other league, would have been fired.

  46. steveinal

    Dead on Freddie. UK deserves better. Stoops may be “Youngstown tough,” as he likes to remind everybody, but if it doesn’t translate to a better program, he needs to find a new gig. If there isn’t substantial improvement next year, I hope CMS will do the right thing and resign.