We made it. It’s been a long 6,696 hours of anticipation since the Kentucky football team walked off the field of Neyland Stadium and out of the Joker Phillips Era following a 37-17 loss to the Volunteers last November. Enter Mark Stoops, who has taken what was a crumbled program that finished 2-10 a mere 2 years after concluding a streak of 5 consecutive bowl games, and turned the team into the talk of Lexington over the course of the last 9 months. Now, the frenzied anticipation will finally have an outlet as tomorrow night the Wildcats will start the Mark Stoops Era with a revenge game against Bobby Petrino and Western Kentucky in Nashville. Despite the excitement around the program there are still more unanswered questions than not, but tomorrow night will be the first stepping stone in the rebuild of Kentucky football. Who will be the starting QB? Which of the talented freshman class will shine? How red will Bobby Petrino’s face be? Tons of questions, but in approximately 20 hours, we will FINALLY find some answers.
The University of Kentucky continued their social media and marketing campaign in a big way earlier today with the announcement of 2 new websites dedicated to the football team. UKStoopsTroops.com and UKCoachStoops.com both launched early this afternoon and I have to admit, I’m impressed with what the school has put together. The website’s main goal is to capitalize on the huge social media and internet following of the Big Blue Nation by providing them a social media hub with all the crucial information necessary to become well versed in UK Football. The push by the University to market the football team now is equally as impressive a change as what we’ve seen on the recruiting trail, I’m starting to think those things may be connected somehow. Hmmmmm…
For those of you who saw the KSR Minute on WKYT last night or on the site earlier this morning, you know that the UK secondary is very light heading into the season opener and is one of the more major concerns for Mark Stoops entering his 1st game at Kentucky. Those worries may have expanded a little more after a twitter exchange between Sophomore CB Cody Quinn and JUCO transfer CB Nate Willis seemed to indicate that Quinn, who is listed as a starter on the official depth chart, did not make the trip to Nashville with the team as he recovers from a lingering high ankle sprain that has bothered him throughout camp. With Quinn unable to play, the task of stopping the WKU passing attack will fall more on the shoulders of Willis, Sophomore Fred Tiller, and true Freshman CB Jaleel Hytchye, especially the latter 2 of the 3 who have been taking the majority of the first team reps in practice while Nate Willis catches up to speed.
Aside from Quinn, Kentucky’s depth chart looks to have remained mostly intact through training camp. Za’Darius Smith is recovered from his ankle injury that kept him in a boot for a short periods of time and redshirt Freshman C Zach Myers was upgraded to “Probable” today for the WKU game and will more than likely split snaps with former walk-on Max Godby at the Center position. On Western’s side of the field, starting Safety Kiante Young was listed as doubtful for tomorrows game while dealing with an undisclosed injury. Also, 2nd string RB Leon Allen is listed as questionable with an ankle injury, so expect the Hilltoppers to ride Antonio Andrews for most of the game.
For a preamble to tomorrow nights season opener against Western, Kentucky Wildcats TV released a mini feature film profiling Mark Stoops and the Stoops family’s blue collar background growing up in Youngstown, Ohio. Although it is 25 minutes long, it is definitely worth a watch before we see the football teams new leader roaming the LP Field sidelines tomorrow night.
That’s all for tonight, Nick Roush and I will be with you tomorrow to guide you through your pregame festivities in the lead up to the game. Don’t forget the KSR Live Blog of the game that will start around 6:45pm (30 minutes before kickoff) so come join the fun, and also don’t forget to listen in to the KSR Pregame Radio Show starting at 3:30pm on WLAP. Goodnight all, but before we go….Ohhhhhhhhhhh C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS!!!