If you are under the age of 40, male and have HBO, then chances are you were excited about the season premiere tonight of “Eastbound and Down.” Even though its first season went only six 30 minute episodes, Kenny Powers became an icon that is one of the best characters on television. Loosely based on John Rocker, Kenny Powers is a Southern former baseball player with a mullet, potty mouth and a set of one-liners that is as good as anything from a sports movie or series since Caddyshack. I have seen nearly ever episode of the first season a half-dozen times and every time I watch one, I find something different that makes me laugh. Tonight’s episode wasnt great but did have two monologues that were top-notch and it set up for a season of storylines in Mexico that I think will pay off big time. Kenny F’n Powers may not be a real person, but his Twitter feed is brilliant and his personality should exist in the real world even if it does not. If you havent seen the show, check it out and if you have, well then get me a copy of his rookie card as soon as possible…I mean it is worth 5 dollars.
To the news:
— The #1 topic on nearly every UK fan’s mind today seemed to be the evaluation of the job performance of Defensive Coordinator Steve Brown. Fans have been criticizing Brown’s playcalling for a lack of aggression and some are even using statistics to wonder whether he should be kept on as Defensive Coordinator. The latter point is premature and I think doesnt give enough credit to last season’s relatively solid defensive team. But the first point surely has some validity after the showing on Saturday in Gainesville. Even though all indications were that the Florida QB didnt like pressure, Brown almost never sent more than four to rush the QB, preferring to sit back and watch the Gators hit crossing routes underneath for big gains all night long. It was part of a greater overall problem with the Cats in the game, as they played timid and not to lose, rather than to win. But the focus seems to be squarely on Brown, who has seen almost no production from his front four all season long. The Ole Miss game is important for the team, but at least as it relates to the fans, it is also important for Brown individually as well.
— I have been pleasantly surprised to see that outside of a few hard-core haters, the criticism of Mike Hartline has not been nearly as vicious as I suspected it would be. Hartline had a couple of bad series, leading to two interceptions and a pick six that was a game killer for the Cats. But he then calmed down and played ok the rest of the game, but not nearly where he needed to be to win. It was an overall poor performance for Mike, but he was certainly not the reason the Cats lost the game. For me, the judging of Hartline becomes much more important next weekend in Oxford, where he faces a decent defense, but one that a good SEC QB should be able to manage. If this is the Mike Hartline who can go get wins, then Oxford on the road versus this Ole Miss team is one of those wins. A good performance there wont silent the harshest critics, but will ensure he keeps the average fan…which he has now, but barely.
— After we talk about the football game, I will likely spend a good deal of time on the radio talking about the culmination of the absurd Eric Bledsoe saga. We have already said a number of times on here just how useless the entire investigation ended up being and my dislike of Pete Thamel has hit unprecedented bounds. But now my thoughts do turn to Eric Bledsoe and what, if anything, his next step should be. Put me firmly in the group that believes he should sue no one and gets nowhere through any legal action. There is first the question of whether he even has a cause of action (Eric Crawford went into this a bit and his analysis wasnt perfect but generally was correct in saying it is very unlikely) and even if he does, it makes little sense to go forward. Ultimately this is the case of a New York Times reporter who decided he would publically embarass a kid, simply because he could. Knowing that the “crime” he accused of him (a) could not be proven and (b) is done at every school in America, Thamel still chose to make Bledsoe look like a poor student nationally. Unfortunately there is little Bledsoe can do, which is part of why the entire situation so infuriates me.
— If you havent yet seen it, take a minute to read this Demarcus Cousins story from the Sacramento Bee. The writeup goes into some detail about Boogie’s past and his high school career in Alabama. It isnt anything that you may not have known before, but the writer makes the case that Cousins’s is misunderstood, something those of us that got to know him in Kentucky have always said. Definitely worth a read.
— Finally, a bit on recruiting. 2011 prospect Tony Wroten visited Louisville this weekend and tweeted throughout. He seemed to enjoy his visit, the UL coaching staff and his meal at Porcinis (kidding about that last part) and is now back on his way home to Washington. Wroten said on Twitter that he is still considering 5 schools, one of which is Kentucky. It is thought that his two top choices are Louisville and Washington, and I am still very much pulling for him to become a Cardinal, as the entertainment value for his personality at UL would be off the charts for future humor. He will decide within the next two weeks.
We have another Monday coming today….getting ready for Ole Miss and the realization that we are only three weeks from Midnight Madness…and I will probably blast Thamel as well. Stay tuned….