Buenos dias, mi KSR familia, and bienvenidos to a very revolutionary Friday, October 8th. This fine morning brings an end to a week that was heavy with the fallout from Ole Miss, some more Free Enes Fever and NBA pre-season debuts. Fourty-three years ago today, though, this day brought more than just an end to the week. It marked the end of the Che Guevara era in Latin America as the Argentine revolutionary was captured in Bolivia and ultimately executed the next day. In 1967, the death of the world’s most famous guerilla was probably a big deal and a lot of people probably cared about it. But, it was only the beginning of Guevara’s most notable work – finding a way to be plastered on the wall of half the dorm rooms in America, most likely only a foot away from a bag of weed and an extensive collection of Dave Matthews Band CDs. It’s a legacy that I’m sure Guevara is damn proud to have fought for.
Now onto some UK news….
– After limping their way into the game with Ole Miss last week with an awful practice, Joker Phillips seemed much more positive about his team’s showing on Thursday, saying that the practice featured more intensity and focus. That focus, according to Phillips, will be crucial on defense where they will face multiple sets and use misdirection and pre-snap movements to confuse a young UK defense. He also said that focus is what made Kentucky successful against the Tigers last season when they had, incredibly, no penalties and no turnovers. It’s clear that the plan is for the Cats to play patient and play smart. But, for the entire game plan, there’s always Joker’s words at Cat Scratches.
– For Kentucky, who is amazingly only a 6-point underdog, to have a shot to win the game, they have to keep Auburn quarterback Cam Newton from going absolutley nuts on them. Newton has demoralized his opponents in a variety of ways this season, but it’s apparent that they key to everything is his mobility out of the nation’s 8th-best rushing attack and the way they move the pocket and create movement in the passing game. Newton has been described with a number of non-human analogies this week and they are all certainly applicable. He has the potential to break the Cats and break them often.
– As it seems to be every week, the eyes of the Big Blue Nation will be on starting quarterback Mike Hartline, who is not only playing with the 500-pound monkey on his back that he’s carried since he became a starter over two years ago, but also with the added pressure of knowing that this team beat Auburn last year when he didn’t start. Working in Hartline’s advantage, though, is the opportunity that facing Auburn’s pass defense presents. The Tigers rank as the nation’s 89th-ranked pass defense and 11th in the SEC, which has, hopefully, caught the eyes of the UK coaches. I saw a stat on Thursday that Hartline is the only quarterback in the SEC besides Ryan Mallett to throw for 300 yards in a game this season, so there’s that. Feel better yet? That question was for Mike, not you. Mike, are you listening? This is your week, baby! You there?
– And, just to be fair the the rest of you who want something to fuel your anti-Hartline rage, I saw this stat in an Alabama newspaper on Thursday: “Randall Cobb has run 14 plays as a Wildcat QB this season, and Kentucky has averaged 8.7 yards with two TDs on those snaps.” So, there you go. Rage on, my brothers and sisters.
– While the Cats got positive news this week that the state’s top 2012 prospect, Zeke Pike, will visit Commonwealth on Saturday, word also broke that Kentucky’s top 2011 commitment, Jon Davis, will take another unofficial to Louisville this weekend. Davis, who gave his verbal to Operation: Win just days after Charlie Strong was introduced as the head coach of the Filthy Cards, is seen as the most prominent example of the recruiting war that will be waged in the city of Louisville between Joker and his friend/counterpart. Davis said over the summer that he was very committed to the Cats but planned on taking his visits still. It appears he is a man of his word.
– On the basketball front, there really wasn’t any news. Except, of course, for the continued spreading (and now copying by Kansas) of the Free Enes movement. On Thursday, Erin Andrews sent out a Free Enes tweet, though it did have a picture of Matt Jones attached, so it lost a little bit of credibility. But, it did provide some excitement around the KSR Compound, which was painfully quiet besides BTI’s constant buzzing about the Brett Favre pics.
– On a non-UK recruiting note, former Kentucky recruit Tony Wroten provided some great comedy on Thursday as he spent the hours leading up to his announcement asking Louisville fans on Twitter to cheer for him and ask him to become a Card and then showed up decked out in red and black (below). After making it briefly appear like he was going to sign up to play for Rick Pitino, he remembered that he planned on being eligible and picked up his Washington cap. The messages from Louisville fans to Wroten on Twitter were hilarious and ranged from general well-wishes to insults and multiple “guess you didn’t want a national championship” lines. Well done, Tony.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we continue to give you all the optimism you want as we get closer to the Auburn game and we keep building the hype for this year’s Big Blue Madness. Make sure you stick around for some stuff. See you in a few…