Just in case you were at the Rays-Blue Jays game with the UK Alumni tonight, here are a few things you might want to get up to speed on….
– The big story out of the football scrimmage today was the emergence of one Michael Hartline. If you only read message boards, you might not recognize that name without “bench” or “sucks” attached, but Hartline was actually UK’s starting quarterback this year and, for better or worse, will hold that spot entering this season too. As Matt tweeted earlier, the UK staff is very pleased with where Hartline is at this point and he is clearly ahead of the two freshmen, who have started to struggle lately. While it’s entirely possible still that one of the newcomers takes over at some point (I’d think Newton would be the more likely of the two), this growth from UK’s incumbent is certainly outstanding news.
If you followed this site last year during football season or listened to any of my outstanding appearances on the pre-game show with Rob Gidel, you know that I believe Hartline has the ability to win ballgames at the position. He had the size and arm strength. He had the coaching. He had the right offense. However, what he didn’t have working in his favor last year was the luxury of an experienced group of receivers, which put him at a disadvantage early on. Hartline was delivering a lot of balls throughout the first several games of the season, but his wideouts simply were not catching them. An experienced quarterback often has the resolve to continue to deliver the balls and let his receiver have the opportunity to make a play. But, with Hartline, he seemed to get rattled and balls started sailing high or getting batted down. He started getting into the “don’t screw up” mode instead of the “win the game” mindset. His season hit the rocks when his confidence was shot and it went from questions about his physical abilities to uncertainty about his leadership. To hear the coaches are starting to have faith and that he’s starting to develop a good rapport with an improving receiving corp is a very good sign. You can read the full report at UKAthletics.com.
– On the other side of the ball, Brooks said the the defense is behind where it was last year. I’d say this isn’t really much of a surprise and shouldn’t be a reason for concern. The line is breaking in newcomers, the linebackers will likely have some freshman contributors and even junior corner Paul Warford (who hurt his groin) can be considered a fresh face to be worked in this season. I’m sure that everything will come into place just fine by the time September 5 rolls around. I’m not concerned in the least.
– Meanwhile the whole Rick Pitino-Karen Sypher story continues to get more and more unbelievably ridiculous. As I’m sure you all saw today, the New York Post interviewed one of the junior Pitinos about whether or not a divorce was imminent and published more absurdity from a now bikini-clad Karen Sypher. While this story has become something that is so insane that it couldn’t be written by Aaron Spelling on Ecstasy, count me out on it now. I was glued to every scandalous detail on the initial reports, but I think I’ve reached my breaking point. Regardless of whatever happened between Sypher and Pitino (who might need web help) and regardless of where this heads, I hope for her kids’ sake, she takes a page from Pitino and imposes a gag order on herself. I really teed it up for you on that last line, huh?
– Also, we need to send out a big congratulations to the Little League childrens from Logan County. The youngsters smacked around the Indiana kids so badly, I wouldn’t be surprised to find George Mitchell sniffing around the dugout. They did it with pitching and they did it with power. Unfortunately, they also did it with one dad cheering from the stands with his boy’s name and number painted on his cheek. Gentleman, I don’t care how proud of your son you are, leave the face paint to the ladies. However, with that being said, I found myself rocking the picture button at a few games last season, which became a debate with the fiancee. What are the rules on that?
– Also, it was a big-time evening at the Casa de Beisner as my favorite Cheaters episode of all-time made another appearance on the fuzzy local channel. Take a peek as Rick Moranis from Ghostbusters finds his spouse is cheating. The future Mrs. Beisner enjoyed the second half more.