Normally I would just give this thought in the Sunday night post, but since tonight’s version will be a recap of our interview with John Calipari, I thought I would add it here. It is very easy when things are going poorly or when you are not a fan of a particular person, to then assume that everything they do is bad. We see it a lot in the two areas of life where people’s passions are the most inflamed, politics and sports, as individuals who are disliked are seen as universally failing. But sometimes even the person that you think is the absolute worst, does undertake actions with which you agree. If you are on the left, you might despise George W Bush, but can recognize the huge work he did for Aids relief in Africa. Or maybe if you are on the right, you cannot tolerate Michelle Obama, but appreciate her efforts to push legislation to provide aid/care and governmental support to veterans’ families. Rarely is anyone universally good or bad, although sometimes it may feel that way to the viewer.
The same thing has occurred a bit with the segment of the UK football fan base and Joker Phillips. Because they believe that he should no longer be the coach at the end of the season, some of them refuse to even acknowledge one positive attribute about a game of which he is a part. Take last night. It was hard not to watch last night’s game and feel positive about the good young players in UK’s program. Kentucky is in the top 5 in the nation in the number of true Freshmen seeing the field, and many are making plays from the outset. Last night, Kentucky got contributions from Freshmen and a host of other young players who could be huge SEC contributors in the years to come. In addition to Jalen Whitlow, who while thrown into a very difficult situation, handled himself well and led the team to a tremendous first half, the UK Wide Receiving corp is full of players who will make big contributions in the future. Darryl Collins, Demarco Robinson, Demarcus Sweat and AJ Legree have all shown flashes of greatness and have led the UK WR corp to be among the most improved in football. On defense, Khalid Henderson, Bud Dupree and Cody Quinn are becoming the centerpieces of UK’s back 7 and look to have All-SEC potential for the future. And if a big play is going to happen (like last night’s punt block), then chances are a young Freshman like Daron Blaylock will make it happen.
I have noticed some reticence by a few fans to acknowledge this positive fact. Perhaps they believe that suggesting a stock of young talent is in the program, might mean that people think the current regime should be back to coach them. But the two have nothing to do with each other. Regadless of who is manning the helm, next year’s UK team has the potential to be good based on the young talent that is stockpiling. Is that talent enough to contend for the SEC title? Probably not. But what it does create, is a strong base upon which some regime can build and upon which a return to a bowl game next year is distinctly possible. If the South Carolina game taught us anything, it is that UK’s best players are almost all Sophomores or younger. That can be frustrating and is probably the reason for the team’s poor second half. But it is also should provide a needed dose of optimism in an otherwise pessimistic time. South Carolina showed us that the future is bright, regardless of who is commanding that future.