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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 8 Rules to make UK Football Successful

Below, I have broken down Kentucky football into “8 Rules to be Successful”.  And by successful, I mean TO THE FANS.  Some of these rules would not qualify as successful to Joker Phillips and the players.  Hopefully, they want to go 12-0 every season.  But to fans, especially at Kentucky, you don’t really have to do a lot for the fans to label you successful.  Some of them involve wins and losses, and some of them are simply about the kind of play you produce.  Tell me if I am spot on or what rules you would add:

1.  Pass the Football
-Call this the Hal Mumme effect, but even before Mumme and his Air Raid offense, Cats fans grumbled loudly about the poorly run option attack of Bill Curry.  And since Mumme left, Cats fans have at least been presented with offenses that are semi-pass happy.  Rich Brooks always asserted that the run setup the pass, but in the Andre Woodson years, that often wasn’t the case.  Last year, many fans once again were screaming about the lack of downfield passing, whether or not Hartline could make those throws.  I think Cats fans don’t care if there team is getting beat, they just want to lose in an exciting manner.

2.  Make a Bowl Game
-At the end of the day, as long as Kentucky makes it to a bowl game, Cats fans will be satisfied.  Sure, many would like to go to better bowls than the Music City or BBVA-NAFTA Bowl, but I also think they are realistic enough to recognize the limitations of the program in the SEC, and be happy in going to a bowl every year.  This has been a change from the early 2000’s, when a bowl every 2 or 3 years was acceptable.  Rich Brooks changed that attitude to where a bowl is a must to keep fans happy.

3.  Beat Vanderbilt
-Often times, beating the Mississippi schools determine just how good a season UK will have.  But, under no circumstances do Kentucky fans accept losses to Vanderbilt.  On a national scale, college football fans think of Kentucky and Vanderbilt as the bottom feeders of the SEC.  At an SEC level, we think of ourselves as better than Vanderbilt.  The only way to keep that opinion is to beat them EVERY year.  Kentucky fans may WANT wins over Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia more than Vanderbilt, but they will ACCEPT no loss to the Commodores.   

4.  No Blowout Losses
-I posted this a couple weeks ago, but I will say it again.  Kentucky football fans don’t care about winning as much as they care about not losing big.  Just don’t embarrass us on the field.  We don’t want to be the butt of jokes, from UL fans or others in the south.  Kentucky usually has enough talent on the field, especially in the last 5 years, to where even the elite programs like Florida and LSU should not beat the Cats by more than 14 points.  But when you lose to LSU 49-0 or Florida 63-5, fans begin to lose interest and grumble.   

5.  Make Season Progress
-The thing that might have pissed fans off most about last season was that the performance in the Pitt bowl game was no better than the performance in Game 1.  Kentucky fans, like all fanbases, want to see improvement on a game by game basis.  Not only in the play of the athletes, but also in the gameplan of the coaches.  We didn’t see that year.  Plus, if fans see progress as the year moves along, it gives them some optimism for the next season.  Hence why there is such a malaise coming into to 2011 season.

6.  Beat UL in In-State Recruiting
-Thanks to Steve Kragthorpe and his ineptness, Kentucky dominated the top talent in the state of Kentucky for the last few years.  But Charlie Strong has tried to turn the tide on that.  Because there is limited top talent in the state on a yearly basis, generally every top player in the state has UK and UL on their list, leading to many battles.  And as we all know, we have to beat Louisville in everything and everybody. 

7.  Avoid “Stupid” Plays
-On defense, it is missed tackles and blown assignments.  On offense, its dropped passes and false starts.  For whatever reason, and maybe this is just a myth, but it feels like Kentucky does this more often than most teams, especially on defense.  And it drives fans nuts.  There is no way there is an SEC team that has missed more tackles in the past 15 years than Kentucky.  So, when Rich Brooks attempted, and succeeded to an extent, in removing many of the stupid plays from his teams, I think fans really respected that. 

8.  Use the Players Correctly
-Using Tim Couch in the option.  Letting Randall Cobb only touch the ball 10 times a game.  Never using Ryan Mossakowski.  These are examples of when players were either poorly used or never given an opportunity.  And let’s be honest, fans don’t always know what is best.  Mossakowski might not have DESERVED a chance to play.  But it was quite obvious Cobb needed to touch it more.  And Couch shouldn’t run the option.  And Defender X shouldn’t be playing corner.  And so on and so on.  If the players are misused, especially at Kentucky where we don’t always have a roster full of 5-stars, fans will turn quick.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

43 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 8 Rules to make UK Football Successful

  1. chad
    9:06 am July 8, 2011 Permalink


  2. Thomas Beisner
    9:10 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    I disagree with “avoid stupid plays”.

  3. Bryan the Intern
    9:20 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    2) Then why do you read it? You can just stop coming to KSR then, stupid person.

  4. Nathan
    9:27 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    spot on, following those 8 will lead to more wins over time.

  5. duhville cat
    9:31 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    2&3) Slap-fight!!! … Alright, you girls break it up and give each other a hug.

  6. prognosticator
    9:35 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Pretty sure you are right about one thing – “we don’t always have a roster full of 5-stars”. Not always for sure.

  7. RYNO
    9:35 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    “especially at Kentucky where we don’t always have a roster full of 5-stars, fans will turn quick.”

    should have read- especially at Kentucky where we get one 5-star football recruit a decade, fans will turn quick”

    Sorry, I know most of the rest of the country is starting to get pumped about college football, but at UK, we just don’t have the juice. And let’s face it UK fans, we never will. It’s true that upstart programs like Boise and TCU have burst onto the scene in lesser divisions. UNC even had about 5 or 6 guy drafted. But most of them didn’t get to play because they were suspended for accepting inproper benefits. AND THAT’S IN THE ACC!! We’re in the SEC and we’re relegated to the basement, permanently.

    And no, I’m not trying to rain on everybody’s parade, because there is no parade. I’m raining on the Madison County High School Marching Band (no offense, I’m sure their great), and two rednecks riding wheelies in wife beaters. Some football schools can become great in basketball for a time, but its infinitely harder for basketball schools to become great in football, especially in the SEC, especially in Kentucky because of recruiting. We can all watch and cheer at the games, but we all know deep down that the 7-6 seasons, maybe 8-4 if we get really lucky with some recruits is the best we’ll ever do.

    That’s why I laugh every time someone mentions Joker being on the hot seat. Really? 6-7 w/a bowl appearance season in his first season at UK and he’s on the hot seat after waiting years for the HC job? Who’s UK going to get to come into the second worst team in the toughest conference in the nation. Who are they gonna get that’s more committed to this team and this state than Joker? That’s right, nobody. If you read all of this you must be as bored as me. Thanks.

  8. donny
    9:37 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Have good tailgating, that’s really all that matters

  9. donny
    9:39 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    But seriously to be successful, we have to start owning the cincy area in recruiting

  10. Big Cat
    9:40 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Wow BTI, I pretty much agree with everything you just said. Good post for once!

  11. melikey
    9:42 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    “I think Cats fans don’t care if there team is getting beat, they just want to lose in an exciting manner.”- SAY WHAT! That’s the most ridiculous statement. If you can’t run the ball and stop the run, you’re in trouble. Do what it takes to win, not look pretty. The problem is many Cat fans don’t even understand football.

  12. Riptide
    9:50 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    I’d trade a loss to Vandy for a win over Tennessee. We haven’t beat them in a QUARTER OF A CENTURY. My kids have never seen Kentucky beat Tennessee.

  13. bung
    9:52 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    i watched a football game three or 4 years ago and we never even got to bat…

  14. invisibleink
    9:53 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    is “bowl appearance” even something to check off a list as “successful” how many teams DON’T make a bowl appearance?

  15. Yesterdays
    9:56 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    I want to be entertained. Also, give me one or two “great” moments per year. Last year we beat So. Carolina. That was awesome and worth the misery of several other performances- i.e. Ole Miss

    Also, If we dont keep beating UL, then Joker will be on the hot seat. Without that game as a W, your looking at a max of five wins per year.

  16. The Office
    9:58 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    For me, just being a fan and having football is enough. I love this team and will always root for them no matter what. I do love the fans who think they do no better than the coaches who get paid to COACH the team. Maybe to make our program better some of our fans should shut up and just cheer for once instead of cry about not catching every pass or only getting two to three yeards a carry. One fan from last year I sat next to, every time we touched the ball was “Fire Steve!” I looked at the guy and had to remind him we were on offence. So I guess my point is, the fans should be the first rule.If we can make the enviroment rocking as some places then, our team has something to play for besides a draft spot…..but what do I know.

  17. ebell55
    10:01 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Last year did we not have the second leading passer in the SEC!?! Wasn’t Chris Matthews the 2nd leading WE in touchdowns in the SEC! We lost games last year because our star offensive guys couldn’t hold on to the football and our Deffense couldn’t produce enough take aways! Turnovers killed us not coaching!

  18. DJ
    10:12 am July 8, 2011 Permalink


  19. Delk4three00
    10:15 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    I disagree that you say Couch shouldn’t run the option. He played the option in high school and was effective at times running the option in college. Maybe you should argue they ran it too much, but he was a good enough athlete to run the option.

  20. Mammakin
    10:16 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    rule 9 – Move university to Florida and we may actually become a good football school

  21. Ballhawk
    10:25 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    We lost games last year because we had a Div. 3 defense. It seems like we either have a good-to-stellar offense and no D or a middling offense and decent defense. One always seems to be rebuilding when the other is doing well. I would say consistency on both sides of the ball is key. Randall Cobb would do something amazing last year and then our d would immediately end up on someones highlight real.Did anyone notice how many of Cam Newton’s clips are him dragging our secondary around? Hopefully Joker’s recruiting and planning for the future will insure we don’t have such an imbalance. I’m optimistic…but, Office, get off your high horse about fans being critical. Being a fan of a usually mediocre football program gives you some license to gripe. I love it when people try to tell me how to root for a program I’ve followed through some of the most dismal, waste of time games/seasons/decades you could imagine. The defense last year was laughable and Brown was getting paid to make them compete in the SEC. You don’t have to be a COACH to see how abysmal we were on that side. There is a clip they (over)play on ESPN radio stations from Mike and Mike where they give their “Just Shut Up” award to some player complaining about fans not knowing when to cheer. The punch line is basically we know when to cheer: It’s when you do something worth cheering. I know negativity creeps in too much sometimes, but come on. The environment is always rocking for big games until we give up 300+ yards and four touchdowns in less than a half. As always, though, I am pumped for the season to start and will be in the stands most Saturdays. Go Cats.

  22. Bluenwhite
    10:27 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    What is meant by Kentucky fans don’t care about winning….. C’mon, that is ridiculous! Kentucky fans are the best in the country, as we all know. I don’t travel to bowl games and hope that we don’t lose to big!

  23. Billy Clyde's love child
    10:40 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Settling for mediocrity is never a good policy.

  24. word
    10:45 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    As a UK fan, I don’t care about any of these bowl games…at all; don’t even watch ’em. What I care about is ONE big win from a ranked team and beating Tennessee. For the love of God, can we please beat Tennessee?!?!?!?

  25. millwooded
    10:53 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    good post. but i think you should’ve listed PLAY TO WIN! how many times have the cats had a chance to win, and get conservative, play NOT TO LOSE, and not come back to bite us?

  26. RAR
    11:06 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Screw Rule #6, it should be Beat UofL in recruiting PERIOD. The state of Kentucky produces so few BCS talent level players each year, I could care less if we get the best in-state talent! We need to focus on getting SEC caliber talent and that’s it. If the best in-state is SEC caliber, then by all means go after them, but that’s what one maybe two players per year?

  27. Owen
    11:09 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    I think #5 is what has bothered me most the past few seasons. Maybe we have even been making progress but it doesn’t translate into SEC wins much of the time which we’re usually playing late in the season. The season we beat LSU we had a ton of momentum heading into the final stretch and then we just totally dropped the ball in a number of close games. That team could’ve easily been 9-3 or even 10-2 if they played at their highest level or made some proper adjustments in those games. That’s on the coaches to motivate and make those adjustments.

    Late in the season we just haven’t had much momentum going into bowl games at all. That’s what’s most frustrating about the bowls we get. If we started out 2-4 then went 5-1 and got the Music City bowl it sure would be a lot more exciting than going 5-1 and then 2-4 with wins over Miss. St and Vandy and another season ending loss to Tennessee.

  28. Buzzard
    11:16 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    # 16 and 21 both have good points. I would like to point out that considering the quality of our football team UK has perhaps the most loyal fans in all of college athletics. I became a UK fan because of UK’s football fans.
    In the mid ’70’s UK football sucked, but they still had a full house almost every game and they cheered like crazy each and every time they did anything good. At the time I was a WKU student and a UofL fan. I transerfered to UK and have been a Big Blue fan ever since. Go Football Cats!! UofL sucks…because their fan SUCK!

  29. Baker
    11:49 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    What about joker doing more risky plays…. Like going for a 4th and 2 every once and a while. That could be a game changing play

  30. chris
    11:57 am July 8, 2011 Permalink

    some valid points made in this article. I just want to win, I dont care who we beat as long as we continue to win more games going forward.

  31. Buzzard
    12:08 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    can someone please tell me why I can’t ever see my posts?

  32. Emmert still sucks
    12:21 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    A lot of great points but I am not sure I agree that we are the second worst team in the SEC. Historically, maybe so, but in the last several years we have or HAD passed up Ole Miss and Miss State. Ole Miss had a horrible year last year but we gave the game away to them. Miss St may be turning things around because they have an offensive minded coach but they have been a coaching graveyard for the last several years and have sucked.

    Everything is cyclical. Tenn and GA are down right now and Florida did not have the type of year in 2010t hat they expect. The West has surpassed the East for the moment. South Carolina won the EAST last year for the first time EVER for heavens sake!! So shy can’t we?? We have competed mostly well for the last several years and had several chances to beat both UF and UT. But we always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! We could easily have been 9-3 (10-3 if we handle Pitt) last year with a couple less turnovers,penalties and dropped passes and a little more creativity on offense.

    But no one is going to dominate the SEC EVERY year anymore. It is just too hard. UK is close to turning the corner but Joker needs to get us to the next level, both in recruiting and better bowl games and that starts with style of play. I love the CATS but won’t be back to another bowl game with only 6 wins.

  33. Jimmy Buffett
    12:36 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink


  34. UhWhat?
    12:50 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    #32–“Everything is cyclical.” Then please explain UK versus Florida and UK versus UT. If, if, if. If a frog had wings, it wouldn’t bump its ass on the ground. Brooks was fine in what he did–for a while. But now it seems that UK and its fans are fine to wallow in mediocrity. I know we’ll never get championship-caliber teams every year, but it would be nice not to have to worry every year if we’ll be able to beat Vandy in order to go to a “who cares” bowl.

  35. Coach K
    2:19 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Duke Sucks! I Suck!

  36. UKGrad04
    2:47 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, you make me laugh because you’re dumb.

  37. Moses
    2:57 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    You have to be kiddin right? Screw settling for. Hire a big name coach and quit settling for beating Vandy. And as far as Joker goes, I’m so dedicated full of passion and down right in love with playing music but that does not mean I’m always the best guy for the band

  38. ribin
    3:23 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    If Mossakowski was ‘even’ with Newton all year (reported several times) – then why not use him – (we would have done no worse against Pittsburgh) and redshirt Newton – if so, we’d be looking at 2 redshirt sophomore qb’s intead of a unproven junior and younger /unproven backups.

  39. OWL-CAT-00
    4:45 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Football is a waste of time…. Just soomething to kill time with till a real sport starts (BASKETBALL)!!

  40. OWL-CAT-00
    4:48 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink


  41. SweetTeaMob til I DIE
    5:00 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    Owl cat.. Go die in a fire. Football is far from a waste of time. If you don’t like football, you are un-American & you have no genitals. While I agree, basketball may be a more fun sport to watch, football requires more hard work, heart and dedication than any other sport. Show some respect to our cats. And no.. you weren’t last. Douche.

  42. poe
    5:46 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    i think !

  43. dan marino
    8:46 pm July 8, 2011 Permalink

    BTI is really Oscar “base-kit-bawwwl” Combs!!

    1. UK fans don’t care if the team loses, just as long as the team loses by throwing the ball?
    2. Just make a bowl game, we will all be peachy-shit-dipped happy!!
    3. We accept yearly beat-downs by UT, UF, UGA, etc, just as long as we beat Vandy! Yay Team!
    4. We don’t care if we lose (?), as long as we keep it close!!
    5. Hard to argue with that one, other than the loss of our starting QB.
    6. As an out of state fan, I slightly disagree with beating UL at everything. Ole Hal had something right: we play in the SEC. Not to say losing to them is acceptable, but losing a Louisville recruit to UL is not the end of the world, as long as we beat them on the field.
    7. I tend to agree, but has anyone watched a UGA game? The most talented, most penalized team in the nation? Agreed, we took a step back last year, but may be due to wet feet more than anything else. We’ll see…
    8. Somewhat agree. RC should have gotten the ball more, but how many times was his number called and the QB audibled out of it due to the defense? How many times was he used as a decoy successfully to distract the defense? Hard to blame anybody for Mossakowski’s lack of passing attempts. How many attempts did Tyler Sargent have? Maybe the coaches saw more in practice than we obviously didn’t get to see?

    Anyway, BTI sounds like the typical UK bball fan: football just needs to mottle along and pay the way for the “base-kit-bawwwl” program. The fans will never care either way.

    That is not the feeling I get at Commonwealth, or the other away games I attend. BBN needs to wake up and support the Football Program if they expect it to rise from their current lows.