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Anybody optimistic yet?

Happy face

The news of recent football commits has be in a good mood and I’m getting more and more excited about the future of Kentucky football. Is anyone else feeling like that? Guys representing UK in the NFL right now like Jacob Tamme, John Conner, Stevie Johnson and Randall Cobb weren’t getting much love from the top flight schools when they were picking up offers. The Kentucky coaching staff was able to identify their potential and get the most out of it, despite the lower number of stars next to their name.

Now we’re getting better players on a more consistent basis. We are getting players from Kentucky and Ohio more frequently and we have established pipelines in recruiting hotbeds like Georgia and South Carolina. We may not be in the league of Alabama or Florida, in terms of recruiting, and we probably never will be. However, Joker has this program on the right track to start generating some conversation. With the right personnel and continued hard work from guys like Tee Martin, UK could be a team that is talked about for years to come.

I know a lot of people were disillusioned going into last season and expected something great, but some of those expectations were too lofty for Joker’s first season. We’ve got a new defensive coordinator in place and a slew of pieces with which he can work. Guys coming in like the Blaylock twins and Jonathan Reed are guys who play with their speed first. Another recruit we picked up a few years ago was the same kind of player and now Danny Trevathan is in the conversation as one of the best defensive player in the SEC.

On the offensive side, Patrick Towles was just named a four-star quarterback prospect and DeMarcus Sweat is generating a lot of buzz as a rising wide receiver. As much as some members of the fan base like to assume the sky is falling after every little thing and lament the fact that football isn’t on the same level as basketball, the future looks bright for UK.

If nothing else, the new guys are making sure that they prove we’re not like Ohio State. I don’t think Terrelle Pryor was ever ohw ta da library. Keep it up, Bookie:Love this guy

Article written by Matthew Hays

41 Comments for Anybody optimistic yet?

  1. AKA cold buckets
    11:33 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I agree. Good post. Bookie finna go HAM this year…or next year….or the year after. If Patrick Towles lives up to the hype he could be the next Tim Couch.


  2. Buzzard
    11:38 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Things are looking good for the Football Cats. I think we’ll have a better than expected season this year and I plan to attend every home game.
    Go Cats! Keep up the good work Joker! Looking forward to a great football season.

  3. Rockfield, KY
    11:40 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I hope Bookie explodes on the field once he gets a shot, because it seems like he is the kind of guy that is impossible to dislike. Like a combination of Cobb and Boogie. Instant fan favorite.

  4. Brewer
    11:43 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I will be more optimistic once Steve Brown is as far away as possible.

    Joker+staff are great recruiters. But coaching ability? We’ll see. He completely screwed this season up in an attempt to cover up for Brown’s ineptness. In the process he made a lot of people doubters

  5. lih
    11:47 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    They are heading the right direction. But it’s just not enough. Not in the SEC. We may get closer, we may pull out a marquee win here and there, but we won’t do better than 6-6 or 7-5 in our best years. Because the other teams in our conference are getting more than simply a few better players. The gap is huge.

    Not getting Lamar Dawson was a statement loss as well.

  6. Big O
    11:49 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Being optimistic usually fades following a few SEC games. The usual on-the-schedule-so-we-can-win-a-game teams do make for some celebration. However, the highs from those wins turns into “oh well it is after all UK football” and we start the count down to October 15 – BBM.

  7. Joe
    11:51 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Little did ‘Cat fans know that Theltus Cobbins’s nickname, “Bookie” is a result of his high literary tastes and photographic memory. After throwing a game winning pass in one game during his high school senior season, Cobbins told a local reporter that he felt a lot like Deweydell in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. He specified that his team’s triumph was fraught with obstacles, much as Deweydell had faced in warding off her insoucient father, her masochistic half-brother, her brother with a penchant for horrific bodily injuries, her brother who was going insane, and her brother who once thought he was a fish. The reporter begged Cobbins not to explain further.

  8. Ben
    11:58 am June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I hope our fans do not expect too much this year! Judging from Buzzard’s comments, that is not the case. The future does indeed look bright! I think we will struggle the next two years and I hope it does not put a damper on the whole program.

    Joker cannot do miracles and it takes time to build a program. I look for a 5 win season and the first major setback for Joker. If he can keep things going in positive direction through the next two years, I think that Joker will be very successful!

    If our fans set themselves up for a big season this fall, the disappointment may be to big to overcome! I hope we do well, but reality says that 5 wins is more realistic. Here is hoping that I have to eat my words.

  9. Buckets
    12:00 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Kentucky football stinks. It always will. 6-6 is about the best we can ever hope for year in and year out.

  10. ebell55
    12:04 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    The problem with most people today is that they have to blame somebody. Steve Brown is a hell of a coach! Our secondary play has been the best it has ever been since he has been here. You can’t get blood from a turnip! We had no Corey Peters or Myron Pryor type of players last year. We started Luke McDermot for gods sake (that’s not a shot at Luke who deserved to start and played hard). Last I checked Steve Brown didn’t fumble one ball last season. Turnovers is what killed us last year. Fumbles by some of our best players in crucial situations. As bad as the Defense was it was the turnovers that killed us last year.

  11. C-Bone
    12:06 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Vol streak ends this year. Period.

  12. Don
    12:07 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Q: Anybody optimistic yet?

    A: No

    I will still go to games and have fun, but my expectations are extremely low. Just being honest.

  13. stevem
    12:10 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    To be optimistic about UK football is a annual rite of passage which slowly fades soon after the season unfolds. I bet most of you were “excited” last year after those thrilling games against Akron and Charleston Southern. Well, then I bet you can’t wait until we suit up against those titans Central Michigan and Jacksonville St. Then after our annual shellacking by the powerhouse SEC teams and our certain loss to Tennessee, we will be taking on the likes of Vanderilt to try to salvage a .500 season so we can crawl our way into a no-name bowl game. I’ll get excited if and when UK decides to commit to a competitive program by hiring a big time coach who will be able to bring in SEC caliper players. Until then, I’ll content myself to observing the excitement of others.

  14. .
    12:14 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink


  15. Brandon
    12:22 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I had a great time at the games and am a huge fan, but there is nothing to be excited about in this next recruiting class except for Towles… all we’re doing is getting the scraps that UGA and UT don’t want. I feel like Joker could be a great coach, but he’s trying to sell a brand that no one will buy. Kentucky football will never win the SEC or even contend for it late into the year, and that’s a fact until we start actually winning battles for guys like Lamar Dawson. I’m not even optimistic about keeping the streak alive against UL with Strong kicking our ass in-state for the top recruits.

  16. docrobcat
    12:30 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I disagree with the pessimist’s opinions even after following UK since the 60’s. I am a realist and don’t expect us to compete year in and year out with the upper echelon SEC programs (tradition, in-state talent, money, etc). But I do see a difference between winnng seasons, bowl bids, competence on the field, competitiveness against good teams, and always beating teams we should AND dismal years with horrible losses to bad teams and blowouts against good teams and no bowl bids or expectations whatsoever. I am satisfied and proud of the Clairborne era, and Morrison’s at the end, and how Brooks turned us around after probation, and have well-founded optimism that Joker can maintain or build on that tradition — and the right way (unlike Curci or Mumme) … and most importantly will stay loyal to the program. Any big name hot coach that we could hire to “raise our profile” will just as soon leave when another bigger school comes a calling (or won’t succeed anyway — Curry). Joker is legacy. Give him a chance. Don’t destroy his, or his staff’s or the team’s momentum by naysaying. You’ll regret it.

  17. walter sobchak
    12:31 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    15. Time and time again Joker and Co prove that these guys they get to commit early who have “meager offer lists” turn out to be 3-stars or more, with the big boys calling before the end of their HS seasons. This conversation questioning the recruiting abilities of Joker and Co are growing tiresome….

    Also, we lost Dawson but got Rancifer…..who played HS football in Florida, not Kentucky. That’s a big difference in talent each and every Friday night.

  18. GhostofBearBryant
    12:32 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    As long as the school keeps spending SEC Football kind of money on basketball, and SEC basketball kind of money on football, it’s hard to get too excited about the gridiron prospects. But Joker is getting some higher quality kids to come aboard.

  19. Moses
    12:35 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    13. Couldnt have said it better

  20. slappy
    12:37 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    The people who bitch about going 7-5, 6-6 crack me up. Guess you don’t recall the glory days of going 1-10 or 3-8 and getting beaten by 70 points by Florida and Tennessee. Take our 7-5 and like it.

  21. walter sobchak
    12:38 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    15 – there is also a long way to go between now and February. What if Adolphus Washington eventually commits, or the WR from Cincy (both are 4stars) who are coming down to visit next weekend….

  22. thankfulCat
    12:39 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I’ll tell you what Joker should do. He should be crawling on his hands and knees begging Russell Wilson from NC State to come play for UK for 1 year.

    If he goes to Auburn, you are looking at another 1 year hired gun being the difference for them in 9 or 10 wins versus 6 or 7.

    Most folks think he is going to Wisconsin but has Joker even asked?

    I’m sorry but Morgan Newton is NOT the answer

  23. Kwildcat
    12:50 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    The last game I saw was in Birmingham and that was a lousy effort by players and coaches. Joker has his hands full in this job, he is persuasive and personable one on one but a head coach is so much more than convincing kids to come play for you. And in the SEC he is going up against experienced winners, savvy coaching staffs and more talent, speed and size. Love the Cats, love the players and the games but reality sucks.

  24. KyTom
    1:32 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I have been a UK football fan for almost 50 years. I have seen hope, optimism and bad football. What worries me with Joker is, he coaches scared. He is terrified to let players make a play. When I watched the national title game between Auburn and Oregon, it made me sick. The coaching staff of BOTH teams pulled out all the stops. When they both left the field, at least they knew there were no more bullets left in their guns. Not once last year, or several years, did I ever feel UK had left it all on the field, like that title game……nope, not even the South Carolina game. As long as the administration is happy with mediocrity and full seats, we will participate in cream of the crap bowls. Just think, guiding Pitt to the Compass Bowl last year got Wanstatt fired…….

  25. Bg Cat
    1:33 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Cant Get Real Excited When They Are 11th Out Of 12 In Recruiting Every Year. Any Winning Season Is A Good Yr.

  26. Vick
    1:53 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I’m going to watit till the season gets started before I start getting excited. Every year the coaches and media start talking about how much improvement the team has made and how this year is going to be different. Then, by the end of the season it’s the same thing. 6-6 or 7-5 with a medicore bowl. Granted, I’ll take any kind of bowl every year. I think that is a standard we must continue to meet. I just think we are going to stay on the same level until we hire a big name coach and the school starts supporting football with more money. I hope I’m wrong on this but I don’t think Joker is the answer. Can he keep us winning 6 to 7 games a year? Probably… but taking it to that next level of winning 8 to 9 games consisently and maybe throw in a great season of 10 or more wins I don’t know if Joker can do it. I think that’s what we need to shoot for. A consisent 8 to 9 game win season with an occasional 10 or more win season. I think that’s the best UK can do in football. Also, having said that I think we have the support to have a great football program. There is no better fans than UK fans. The perfect example is UK softball. They sold out their super regional games in a few days! UK fans will support any program that wins. That’s why I don’t understand why UK athletics don’t put more money in football than they do. Football is where the money is! So a long answer short is that I bleed blue more than about any body but until will hire a big name coach and get the money behind the program we will never be much better than we are now.

  27. Holden McGroin
    1:55 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Tailgating is my favorite part of football. Good thing it happens before the game.

  28. Drew
    2:25 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Cobbins just now tweeted “Just got thru signing autographs… Put dat on everything” Maybe that’s a little more like Pryor for ya?

  29. Really?
    2:29 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    It happens about this time every year when someone comes out and says, I am really excited about UK football. At that time all the dreamers get on board and take it to another level. By this time next week we will be a 10-2 team next year. At some time reality will set in and a few will realize 6-6 would be good. But the dreamers will dream on that someday UK will play in a BCS bowl. Football at UK will always be a game for the dreamer, if you don’t want to be disapointed. Never root for the Cubs or the Football Cats, both are dream busters. Sorry, it is what it is.

  30. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater
    2:57 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Sorry but judging from the past few seasons i don’t see where we’re heading anywhere. If anything it’s very stagnant. Last year especially didn’t give me any confidence that things were heading in the right direction. There were a ton of discipline issues last season and some of the decisions from Joker were mind boggling. I saw some Kragthorpe-like coaching last season. The day we don’t get blown-out by Florida and finally beat UT is the day we have actually done something. Until then we’re the same UK we’ve always been.

  31. og68
    3:14 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Is this website turning into a football site!Almost a 50/50 positive response to your topic.Remarkable!!

  32. .
    3:19 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

  33. .
    3:19 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    The comment section is one big frustration.

  34. ribin
    3:31 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Three more months and I’ll have my tickets and parking paid for – hope the results on the field are worth it. Agree with 24 – need to coach to WIN – not just stay close and hope the other team makes a mistake – If you are aggressive in football, over the long run, good things happen for you.

  35. JBR
    3:34 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Good posts 24 & 26. I would love to be positive about our football program, but I am a realist. It angers me to see the people that just blow off football for basketball, as I am a huge football person. But, all we have to do is look at the only site dedicated to only UK football..BBK. Now, I think Aaron does a real good job over there, but a few of his contributors just don’t get it. They are these eternal optimists that shoot down people that look at things from a reality point of view. They don’t understand that to be successful, we can’t compare what we are doing to what UK has done in the past, but compare to what other SEC programs are doing NOW. They get all excited about all these recruits that we are getting (which I truly hope they are good recruits, and some will be without a doubt), but then, at the end of the season when we go a mediocre 6-6, they throw the players under the bus by saying that UK just does not have the talent that the rest of the SEC does. It is a constant web of excuses for the program. Joker has come in and proven that he is good at what was advertised…recruiting. He is raising the profile of the program somewhat, but the only lasting way to do that is to win. Everybody seems to be forgetting the absolute horrible job he did last year actually COACHING and managing this football team. Unless he learned lessons, and steps up and proves he can actually coach and inspire players, then this little blip of success will quickly fade. I am pulling for him, and I think having Minter will absolutely help, but he still has a lot to prove. I would love to see UK get a realistic, good UK football site.

  36. RidgeRunner
    5:14 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    Optimistic? Weeeelllllllllll…nah, not yet.

    It’s well…….there’s still that sideline coaching thing. ya know?

  37. Wscomb0
    5:42 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    U.K. Football 2011 = 5-7 record!!! thats something to get excited about. joker phillips will never acheive more than five wins(assuming he continues the weak schedule cupcakes) as long as he is head coach. If they decide to go up against a non-conference foe worth talking about, the chances of a winning season decrease dramatically.

  38. Brandon
    7:53 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    17 – Thank god we missed out on the third ranked inside linebacker in the country and instead got the 44th ranked outside linebacker in the country! Keep accepting mediocre results, idiot.

  39. Football Man
    9:08 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    I’m just a fan… yes I’m only a fan…. and I’m stuck up here on Wildcat Hill… Well, it’s a long long journey to the joga capital bldg. it’s a long long journey will we sit in the middle…. But I hope and pray that we will ( @ least in my lifetime ) But today I’am still just a fan

  40. roosterrocks
    9:26 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    5-7 at best. Football is just something to do until basketball starts. Newton can’t throw. Steve Brown sucks. And Joker is still learning. BUT, Cal is not. All I care about is 4 all americans coming in. I dont even know why were posting about football…

  41. radtech04
    11:23 pm June 9, 2011 Permalink

    We will suck worse than last year. Not being disrespectful to the kids,but your coaches suck. For the exception for RockO. I like him.