Good morning. For once, it’s actually the morning. And, while it’s commendable that the opening line of this post is factually accurate for once, it also means that things have gotten going very, very late. So, let’s go ahead and get things going, making a quick stop to give a special birthday shoutout to quintessential 80s villian Billy Zabka, who turns 45 today. Zabka is probably known best as Daniel-son’s nemesis in The Karate Kid movies, but was also….umm…well, he’s always going to be known as Johnny Lawrence. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. So, in his honor, let’s put an attractive, sweet face on this post and operate under the assumption that it’s just going to fall short at the end. That’s what Billy Zabka would want on this happiest of birthdays. Well, he’d want that and for you to always to remember to sweep the leg. Just sweep the leg.
Now, onto some UK notes…
– On Tuesday, Coach Cal hosted a practice open to UK students for the second year in a row, though this year’s turnout is said to have been significantly smaller than last year when the John Wall Dance was all the rage and Cassidy Hubbarth was melting hearts. The reports out of the practice are similar to those that you’ve read already (Knight was awesome! Jones was great! Hood looks better! Lamb can stroke!) but the most interesting part was that Josh Harrellson apparently kept abusing Eloy Vargas to the point that Vargas’ team had to keep running. Atta boy, Jorts.
– After practice, Coach Cal retreated to his upstairs bedroom just like Mr. Belvedere and started poking keys as he drafted a letter to the fans. In the letter, which was posted on UKAthletics.com, Coach Cal deviates a bit from his usual coachspeak and repetitive one-liners and gives fans a glimpse into what he has seen at practice so far. He says this year’s team is “may be the worst rebounding team playing basketball” and that they have to get much tougher. Obviously, those are two areas that weren’t much of a problem last season. Cal also talks about the schedule and reiterates that he expects his team to struggle early as they try to find a groove.
– Attention all students: today is the day you’ve always waited for. Coach Cal is hosting a walk-on tryout on Wednesday at 2:00 and it is open to all undergrad students carrying 12 hours. And a jumper. It’s also a more appropriate way to get a spot on the team than I took when I was in school, which was just harassing David Hobbes and a graduate assistant named Kevin Murphy on a weekly basis for about a year and a half.
– This probably has little or no consequence on your life, but the Kentucky and North Carolina game on December 4 will kick off CBS’ basketball coverage for the year. And we love CBS around here, don’t we, kids? That’s what I thought.
– In case you hadn’t heard, Randall Cobb apologized on Tuesday. I know exactly what you’re asking yourself. Apologized for what? Being awesome?
– It’s amazing how much of a difference a win can make. After upsetting South Carolina and breaking the Curse of The Ole Ball Coach, Joker Phillips joined Jim Rome on his radio show and did the best to suffer through the unneccessary shouting and over-enunciation from Rome. Phillips actually said a few interesting things, including how he uses the basketball team as a recruiting tool, saying, “Who wouldn’t want to come watch DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall play?” He added that there has been no Twitter ban for his football players. I know you and Drew Franklin are both pumped about that.
– As far as the football game on Saturday goes, much has been made about the re-birth of the Georgia football team since AJ Green returned from suspension and later in the week we’ll get into how we might be over-inflating a couple of blowouts of the two worst teams in the conference. However, one thing worth noting is that South Carolina and Georgia are about as similar as any two teams in the conference could be. Both rely heavily on their running game to set up an increasingly efficient and potent-in-spurts passing games (behind former Tampa Plant quarterbacks) headlined by a superstar receiver. And, with the suspension of Caleb King, Georgia now has a one-back depth chart for the Cats to combat, much like the depth-challenged Gamecock backfield. Washaun Ealey is a similar runner to Marcus Lattimore, who gave UK fits and, if the Cats want to keep their momentum with a win against Georgia, they have to stop the run. It’s essentially the same story as its been with every game this season, but it’s one that I fear we could be underestimating given the comeback the Cats waged on Saturday. I wrote a bit about this after the game, but it bears noting again. Kentucky’s offense was phenomenal in the comeback against the Gamecocks, but the defense, though stout against the pass, was aided by some peculiar play-calling from Steve Spurrier. On South Carolina’s final 21 plays, Spurrier called only three carries for his running backs, which is a horrible recipe for closing out a game on the road. It’s hard to think that Mark Richt would opt for the same set of play-calling in the same situation, so Kentucky has to be ready to play four quarters. The comeback against South Carolina was improbable, but extremely impressive. However, I have to think that a massive comeback would be infinitely more difficult against Georgia. They must play four quarters.
– And, some-late breaking news (thanks to the comments section) comes as Karen Sypher will hold a press conference Thursday and has hired a new legal team. With this new legal team comes more allegations against Pitino and a request that the judge be removed on the basis that he has ties to U of L. Please. Go. Away.
– Finally, our good friend Bomani Jones will appear as a panelist on ESPN’s Around The Horn Friday. Much like when he appeared on First Take, Bomani has tried to get the Morning Jones Nation excited with a YouTube video, which Tony Reali Tweeted out late Tuesday and challenged the regular panelists to have their A game ready. Tim Cowlishaw responded with, “Who the hell is Bomani Jones?”, thus inciting a fierce rivalry. Make sure you support the Bomani nation.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we get you all set for the Georgia game and BTI writes something that will make your blood boil. It’s going to be a fun day. Make sure you stick around. See you in a few…