I honestly don’t know what the mindset of the coaching staff and players is right now in the UK locker room. I am sure they are discouraged by the Louisville loss, and a tad bit nervous about their upcoming slate of games. But I am not sure if they realize how much the fanbase considers this a LOST season. I can not remember the last time the fans were this low on the program. I don’t even think in Rich Brooks’ worst moments the fans were this bored and uninterested. But, the great thing is this season is still relatively young. The Cats still have 9 games, maybe 10, to go this season, which gives them plenty of opportunity to bounce back, both on the field and off.
So, how exactly could Kentucky save this season? Below are things that could be done that would get the fans back on board, and hopefully get the program rolling back in the right direction (in no particular order):
1) MAKE A BOWL
-I know the fans are tired of going to mid-major bowls, but this season I think fans would call going to a bowl an overachievement. This team just doesn’t have the big-time players of the past. There is no Woodson, Locke, Burton, Johnson, Cobb, Lindley, Woodyard, or Little. Maybe Trevathanis at that level, but really nobody else on the roster is there yet. The depth may be all that and a bag of chips, or so we have been told, but the playmakers are just not there. Hence why, a bowl may be a good result for this year. Especially now that the fans don’t expect it.
2) DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
-This is where Joker comes in. Running smashes up the middle and QB sweeps is not creative. The Wildcat is creative. Halfback passes are creative. Fake punts are creative. There is no need to go crazy in creativity, but give something that makes fans always unsure of what is coming next. I honestly don’t remember a single “deep” pass against Louisville. A deep pass would be a pass that travels 25+ yards in the air. Something has to change, and that something needs to be outside the box. Surprise onside kicks. Going for it more on 4th down. I don’t care. But I do not want to be able to predict the plays 75% of the time.
3) PULL AN UPSET
-Say what you want about the 6 and 7 win seasons, Kentucky has a knack for pulling upsets over the last couple years. Georgia in 2006, Louisville and LSU in 2007, Auburn and Georgia in 2009, SouthCarolina in 2010. The Cats will have several options this season, starting with Florida this weekend. South Carolina, LSU, and Georgia would also be considered large upsets if the Cats can pull one out. It is amazing how one upset can re-energize a fanbase. Think about the 2006 team that was floating along then beat Georgia for the first time in 13 years. The pretty much got the fanbase on board for the rest of the season. This team could potentially do that if it can pull a big win out that the fans don’t expect.
4) BEAT TENNESSEE
-I firmly believe that fans will get off Joker’s back, no matter what the final record is, if he can beat Tennessee this year. The fans so badly want that win, and Tennessee is down enough, that it is reasonable to expect UK to be competitive in that game. I said before the year that for 1 season, I would take a 1-11 record if that 1 win was Tennessee. And since this season is not looking promising, maybe a UT win would save the year. It would leave a good taste in the fans mouth coming into the offseason.