Webster’s Dictionary defines OVERREACTION as:
-a reaction with excessive emotional behavior
And almost by definition, fans of sports teams are required to overreact to every one of their team’s losses, poor plays, and disappointments. Certainly after the very bad loss to Florida on Saturday, we saw lots of emotional reactions on this website and others about this football team. Most of them were expressed directly after the game and many of them were along of lines of what I was thinking too. This guy should be fired and that guy should be fired and this guy needs to be pulled. But now that we are 2 days removed from the game, let’s take a little perspective going into this week’s HUGE game against Ole Miss:
1) Mike Hartline had his worst game of the season, without question. His two interceptions were not only poor throws, but also poor decisions. But to call for Hartline to lose his starting job is a snap decision and an overreaction. First and foremost, Morgan Newton did not show enough last season or in the spring to earn the job. Second, I do not want Ryan Mossakowski to take his first significant snaps as a college quarterback in an SEC game. Here are two stat lines from Saturday:
21-39, 242 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
25-38, 357 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
One of those stat lines is Mike Hartline’s and one is Ryan Mallett’s, the supposed best QB in the SEC. And Mallett had his less than stellar stats at home. But does it seem reasonable to call for Mallett to be pulled? No. And it is not reasonable to call for Hartline to be pulled considering he is the best option. That may hurt some people to admit, but he is the best option.
(AS A SIDE NOTE, IF YOU ARE ALREADY GIVING UP ON THIS SEASON, AND WANT TO “PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE”, THEN NEWTON/MOSS IS THE BEST OPTION. BUT IF YOU ARE ALREADY GIVING UP ON THIS SEASON, THEN I WOULD CALL YOU A BAD FAN)
2) Kentucky is currently 3-1 this season. Before the season started, what did you think Kentucky’s record would be at this point? That’s right, 3-1. Nothing has changed. We are right where we wanted to be. I agree that both the players and fans had hoped for a better showing against Florida. But it still only counts as one loss, and its a loss we had all considered a guarantee before the year. So, nothing better we can do but accept it and move on.
3) As far as the play calling, I was greatly disappointed in the defensive play calling. A complete lack of pressure and a complete lack and attempting to put pressure on Florida. But more than that I was STUNNED that Kentucky never made an adjustment in the middle of the field. How many times did Florida complete passes over the middle, especially on 3rd down?
But on the offensive side of the ball, I am a little confused at the anger over that play calling. The only complaint I have is the inability on 3rd down to not throw the ball past the 1st down marker. But besides that, I felt that Kentucky was just as aggressive as it had been the rest of the season, and the same as it has been ever since Rich Brooks took over. Short passes with an occasional long throw in there, and running backs who get 20-25 carries. Derrick Locke carried the ball 23 times. Randall Cobb had 9 touches in the game. Chris Matthews had over 100 yards receiving. Mike Hartline threw the ball 39 times, which is more than usual, but in large part due to the Cats being down. Point being, if you are against the style of offense Kentucky runs, then that’s fine. But I did not see any difference in the offensive gameplan on Saturday as I have in the last 5 years. The only difference was it’s success.
4) Lastly, and I am not even sure this needs to be said, but ANYBODY who is already questioning Joker Phillips as coach, and debating whether he was the right choice is a moron, plain and simple. Phillips is 3-1 and beat our primary rival on their home field. He is recruiting better in Year 1 that Rich Brooks ever did in his time in Lexington. And let’s not forget that Brooks only played Florida within 10 points TWICE in 7 seasons. And I would say it worked out OK for him. Joker, and every coach for that matter, gets 2 full seasons before you can question his job. It is amazing that there are some (a small number I would admit) who are part of a fanbase that almost canned Rich Brooks too soon, and yet are already starting to give up on Joker. Maybe the worst example of OVERREACTION.