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This play made me want to rip my hair out on Saturday


Can we talk about a play from Saturday that was really infuriating?

It was 4th-and-1 and the Cats decided to go for it over testing MacGinnis’ leg from 50+ yards. Eastern Kentucky had just taken the early lead with a touchdown, but Kentucky drove the ball 44 yards into EKU territory, so Stoops rolled the dice, needing only a yard to keep the drive alive. Good call. If you can’t get a yard, you don’t deserve the ball.

Then came the Wildcat.

The same Wildcat that hasn’t worked once through the first two weeks.

Now I’m no Bill Belichick, but I think I know a bad decision when I see one. And this play falls under that category. Why Wildcat? When needing one singular yard, why set yourself back another five yards to start the play? Line up and have Stephen Johnson fall forward for a yard and if he doesn’t get it, kudos to the OVC defensive line that held its ground on a pivotal play early in the game.

And look at the coverage up top. You’re now playing 8-on-10 football between the lines.

Then came the snap:

Who didn’t see that coming?

Obviously, Kentucky didn’t get the first down as fans shouted “NO MORE WILDCAT!” from all corners of the state.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

36 responses to “This play made me want to rip my hair out on Saturday”

  1. USMC5150

    It’s very OBVIOUS that EKU knew there wasn’t going to be a pass from the wild cat.

  2. ukjaybrat

    maybe stoops is pretending to be incompetent so that when other teams come out with the scouting report they will stack the box just like eku did and he will actually pass it to one of those three wide open receivers up top….. maybe? hoping? praying? i dunno.

    1. foamfinger

      I think it is likely. Last year they said Benny could throw decently out of the Wildcat. Plus, they are playing very vanilla on offense. It seems they are just hoping for good fundamentals and technique to overpower these teams they should dominate.

    2. CottonMash

      That would be Trump-like. We will know soon.

  3. Sentient Third Eye

    Snell is good enough in the Wildcat that it doesn’t matter if the other team knows what he’s going to do. The problem is with the snaps. When that’s ironed out, Benny will again be unstoppable in the Wildcat.

  4. timer2

    Agree with USMC. Even Mike Archer would have figured out that we aren’t gonna pass from this formation.

    1. TBW3011

      4th and less than a yard it doesn’t take a genius to know a run is coming. The formation is irrelevant here.

    2. USMC5150

      Crazy to go for something ambitious and unpredictable

  5. Jayy

    Jeez, I thought I was the only one. Worse play under the Stoops era since we had 7 guys on special teams when Auburn punted instead of easily running for a 1st down to ice the game. I don’t know why we line up 3 WR’s when running the wildcat. We have not been putting anybody in motion for the sweep or doing the read option out of the Wildcat. It is just Hike and run up the middle with a loaded box. EKU was the 1 team on the schedule to throw it on out of the wildcat so other teams have to somewhat defend against a throwing possibility.

  6. az1006

    One of the things that made the Wildcat effective last year was the different looks we ran out of it…Jet sweeps on the direct snap, Johnson in motion at least showed some pass threat…It worked because the defense had to account for multiple options. This year that’s not been the case. Coupling that with an offensive line still trying to find its identity, and you get what we’ve had so far. I won’t say to totally scrap it, because it has proven to be effective, but they have to make some adjustments in order for it to be a weapon again.

  7. FinnaGoHAM

    Last fall when the Wildcat was working MOST of the time, I mentioned several times on the LoveBlog that UK will have to pass out of the formation occasionally just to keep the defenses honest, or at the very least, run it outside. My comment – and the similar comments of others – was always quickly debunked by one of the KSR staff that there was no need. It keeps working, that person said. Fast forward to this season… Why shouldn’t an opposing DC stack the box against the Wildcat? It’s the same thing every time. If UK would pass the ball just one time per game out of the formation, defenses would have to start respecting the possibility it could happen again. I agree Kentucky should scrap the Wildcat, until such time that they can figure out how to do something other than running it between the tackles. I’m surprised coaches didn’t load the box last year.

    1. TBW3011

      You don’t have to pass from the Wildcat for it to work. You actually have an extra blocker. Execute it properly and it will work fine, just like it has on several plays this year already.

    2. memphis

      Just curious, who was the KSR staff member who debunked you because more often than not, KSR staff are too smart to reply to anything in the comments section.

    3. FinnaGoHAM

      TBW3011, look at the picture. They have 10 defenders to our 7 blockers + Snell.

    4. FinnaGoHAM

      Memphis, it was on the LiveBlog during the games. I’ll leave it like that.

  8. sardiscat

    The Wildcat was also a major factor in UK’s first scoring drive becoming a field goal instead of a touchdown drive. Johnson was moving the offense smartly down the field until UK went Wildcat on first and ten, which then became second and eleven. Neither Snell nor Herschel Walker nor OJ Simpson are/were good enough to go against a ten man front with only seven blockers when the ten know exactly what is coming. Cobb did great in the Wildcat because Derrick Locke was always running the jet sweep and actually getting the ball from Cobb maybe 40% of the time, often for big gains, plus Cobb was a threat to throw the ball so opponents couldn’t defend three wideouts with one guy.

  9. Daddyof3Ballers

    I love Benny, but if you’re soooo infatuated with the Wildcat…why not give Lynn Bowden a look? He can clearly run and throw the football. Or better yet, maybe run a triple option with Benny….?

  10. TBW3011

    It has worked more than once in the first 2 games. Also, it didn’t work because of the snap. I have plenty of complaints about coaching, but giving it to Benny with an extra blocker when you need a yard isn’t one of mine.

    1. Mc12

      Why go 3 wide? My math says if you go twins and hand it off, you have the same number of blockers. Hell, why not bring in 10 lineman and position them accordingly, then run the wildcat.

    2. CATandMONKEY

      This is the same guy that guarantees Barker will earn the starting spot later this season.
      Fail on multiple levels.

  11. harvardale

    There were reports last year that Benny can throw the ball. If he can hit one of those three receivers that’s a touchdown. Even if you throw it once, all of a sudden the defense has to cover those receivers. Running the ball isn’t going to be successful if you’ve got 7 players trying to block 10 defenders.

  12. ArmyCatFan

    I am not convinced that this wasn’t a bust play. The WR turned to take a bubble screen, he did not try to run block. There was a high snap to Benny there, I think t was a busted play. I was as angry at first as well but after rewatching it, I think it just a busted play. Wonder what Freddie would say about this?

  13. burntlungs

    I think if it were a better snap he would have had the first down and more.

  14. gokycats33

    If you look at the defense, you can see them all going to the middle, once Benny gets the ball. Even the linebackers, are heading to the middle. I would think that with 10 in the box, Benny would have been able to run it to the outside and out run their linebackers, for at least 1 yard. So maybe they need to work more on getting outside than running the wildcat up the middle.

  15. david8577

    When you have one DB on three receivers, why not throw it? 80% of adult males can make that throw to the receiver. Made a one step fake toward the line, then throw it. Hell even lateral it and the receiver can catch it on the bounce and it still likely goes for a TD.

    1. Mc12

      80% of adult males now or 20 years ago? I’d go with about 45% now.

    2. UK Big Board Update
  16. maximumscott

    Simple math 10>7

  17. Catcasey1

    Worse call in stoops era

  18. inside info2

    Paraphrasing from a former (genius) UK OC, you would have loved it if it had worked.

  19. BluKudzu

    Yeah the 4th and one.

    I don’t understand why they would line up 6-7 yards off the ball to take a slow snap.

    I agree with Drew, horrible play call. The worst for that situation with this offense.

    A quick hitter with the QB, under center, on the first sound, should have been the call. I would think it easier to get one yard, by going one yard, than trying to go 6-7 yards after gvining everyone on the defense a chance to react and stop the ball. It seems to be the standard play, at every level, from little league to the NFL, on 4th and 1.

    Why the wildcat was used, on this 4th down play, is beyond me. Especially so, in the shotgun formation, that gives the run defense the advantage of time to react.

    I am not the OC, or HC, but c’mon man, 1 yard. Why turn it into a slow moving play?

  20. Angelo

    Fantastic post Drew! Two still shots, a gif and a closing video clip!! Wow. Concise writing in the inverted pyramid style. Great way to get your point across. A+

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Angelo is a child molester.

  21. AllBlueAllDay

    Once Bowden starts getting some pt, the wildcat will take off again. Even the coaches said they have wildcat packages just for him. His ability to run and throw, will have the wildcat a thing of beauty to see by the end of the season.

  22. Lori M

    A pass would have been a TD. Guaranteed it’s in the playbook this week.

  23. jch67

    I”m a huge Benny fan but, with a play drawn up to gain 1 yard and a snap you have to jump for and corral with 1 hand, you have to expect to “ad lib” the rest of the way.

    When he lands, and kuddos for even getting to the snap, he should have recognized the original play was busted and needed to look for alternative ways of getting the yard. It was easy to see he had nowhere to go; maybe stretch it to edge and see if you can get a yard….

    Yes, it was a busted play but, you got to play the hand you’re dealt.