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Athlon Sports gets coaches to talk anonymously

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The idea CBS had to poll college basketball coaches around the nation anonymously has ruffled a few feathers in Big Blue Nation over the past week. The results of one poll, which named John Calipari the most “perceived” cheater in the game, haven’t gone over well with many. For others, it raised questions about the journalistic ethics of asking such a question.

Athlon Sports has noticed that “coach-speak” doesn’t always rake in the internet hits either — but get these same coaches to talk candidly and you’ve got something. That’s just was Athlon has done, and have done every August during pre-season football; asking coaches in the SEC to talk anonymously about their football opponents. What Kentucky’s conference foes have to say about the team could surely be considered bulletin board material.

“I don’t think Maxwell Smith is going to be the answer long term for them at quarterback. He came in and gave them a spark late in the year, but he is not a guy who is going to be a top-flight quarterback in this league.”

“CoShik Williams is a lower-level SEC back. He had some moments last year, but I think his best games were against Jacksonville State (148 yards) and Ole Miss (111).”

Their personnel just weren’t very good last year. They had higher expectations for Morgan Newton, who started off the season as their quarterback. He did some good things as a freshman a couple of years ago, but just didn’t pan out, for whatever reason.”

“They relied so heavily on Randall Cobb two years ago. He did everything for them, and they lacked that type of playmaker last year.”

Fans should have no problem agreeing that Maxwell Smith isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback. Smith is the best option they have this season, but freshman Patrick Towles is poised to be a big-time SEC quarterback for Kentucky in due time.

Various comments from other coaches on the personnel this season, claiming the skill positions aren’t up to par for the Southeastern Conference should be taken lightly. When you compare them to other elite SEC teams like Alabama, LSU, or even Florida in a down year that may be true. But for Kentucky, coming off the season they had one year ago, Maxwell Smith and CoShik Williams will undoubtedly be improved and help to lead the offense. Kentucky is in no position to be challenging for the SEC title this season, yet these coaches talk like that should be every team’s immediate goal. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk.

As for finding that elite playmaker, Joker Phillips has said repeatedly that he wants to open up the offense and let his young guys go to work. He talks about Demarco Robinson and Daryl Collins at wide receiver as players who can create those “explosion plays” that lead to big momentum-shifting drives. While it is going to be hard to ever fill the void Randall Cobb left at Kentucky, the team is certainly better equipped to do it this season than they were a year ago.

You can finish reading what the SEC coaches had to say about Kentucky at You can also see what they thought about the rest of the conference. And Ole Miss… yikes.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

15 Comments for Athlon Sports gets coaches to talk anonymously

  1. RYNO
    5:06 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    Sounds about right. Are true statements considered bulletin board material these days?

  2. RYNO
    5:10 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    “…Kentucky is in no position to be challenging for the SEC title this season, yet these coaches talk like that should be every team’s immediate goal. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk.”

    So other coaches should take it easy on Kentucky, lie, or sugarcoat the truth because UK’s football program is still stuck in the neverending “crawling stages”?

  3. BluSoTru
    5:15 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    What is bulletin board material it’s all truth. Besides UK has been crawling since the 70’s. You could have left this article in the

  4. Beatle Bum
    5:42 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    Sanders seemed to think Smith had potential last year. I am not sure how a coach could judge a true freshman on potential who was thrown into action for a team with little surrounding talent. We know these same coaches pass on players who become stars at UK and elsewhere, so their eye for talent is not perfect. Oh well, the good thing is that time will tell!!!

  5. Dave in Bangkok
    5:54 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky Football has been crawling for 60 odd years. Those knees must be worn out.

  6. Common Sense
    5:55 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    These sound like statements from Spurrier, in that case, IDGAF

  7. ATB (Always True Blue)
    5:57 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    Put Towles in and let him learn. I don’t think he can be any worse than the other two guys and I think he actually has an upside.

    If we do that then next season isn’t a bust as well.

  8. Dave in Bangkok
    5:57 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    The goal should always be to challenge for the SEC Title. Incompetence is no excuse, though, it is the reason that UK has not challenged for the SEC since Christ was a Corporal.

  9. test
    7:29 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink


  10. Head Bussa
    7:47 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    You don’t know what you’re talking about Stuart with your statement of “(Smith) is the best option at quarterback this year.” He may start because of experience, but I can almost guarantee that we try different quarterbacks throughout the season because our coaches will be unsure who really is the best option.

  11. jill
    8:09 pm August 13, 2012 Permalink

    I won’t be posting on here for awhile LOL because I am getting my STDs treated and getting my teeth replaced LOL. But I will be back LOL.

  12. JayCee
    8:43 am August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Head- Smith completed all of less than 10 total passes in the UT game simply b/c UT had no idea who the kid was and that ONE performance has somehow transformed Smith into the be-all, end-all QB for UK.

    Telling you, the fall is going to be especially hard this year for those choosing to buy in. Don’t fall for it. Just stand back and watch it crumble.

  13. RICK
    8:59 am August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Towles should be the starter. Other schools bring them in when they are freshman in the sec but no Ky has to baby them along .

  14. Is it right for Towles?
    10:24 am August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Aside from the fact that Freshman QB’s are overwhelmed learning a college offense, is it really fair to burn Towles’ freshman season when he’d spend 3/4 of it with no idea what he’s doing? Yes, he is undeniably the QB of the future, but he needs to get his feet wet. #12– who said Smith is the “be all end all QB for UK”?? What I read from the UK coaches is there are 4 qb’s competing for the job and Smith, thus far, has a leg up. #13–Can you name more than 3 Freshman QB’s that have thrived in the SEC? In the last 20 years?

  15. paducahfan
    10:35 am August 14, 2012 Permalink

    If Towles is as good as we hope, he won’t be around for 4 years, so let’s let him play now. Cal’s program proves that talent, not experience, wins. Towles has talent. Let’s see it.