It can be hard to keep up with all the changing trends in Kentucky sports these days. Therefore, in order to keep you informed on the latest happenings in the Big Blue Nation, I chart the trends of the week, from basketball to football to every ridiculous little thing in between. Keep up with what’s hot and what’s not with KSR’s Trend Watch!
Rising faster than Kevin Stallings’ cholesterol count
Mark Stoops — Who would have thought that we’d be itching to turn back to football news in late November? Mark Stoops was named Kentucky’s new football coach on Tuesday, sparking a firestorm of football fever across the Bluegrass. Stoops, Florida State’s former defensive coordinator, has an impressive football pedigree, proven track record as a coordinator, and the passion Kentucky needs to rebuild (or dare I say it, #rise). Stoops was the one to initiate contact with Kentucky, which shows he is eager for the challenge. Even better, it seems he’s bringing some friends with him…
The Florida State pipeline — Both James Coley and D.J. Eliot, Florida State’s offensive coordinator and defensive ends coach have been offered jobs at Kentucky. If both come, it will be a huge coup for the Cats and further proof that Stoops is going all out mere days into his job.
Kentucky football — It’s been a long, long time since the Kentucky football fan base has been this united and energized. Football talk dominated the blog and radio show this week, which is unheard of during basketball season. Stoops lit a fire under the Kentucky football program, and already has fans excited for next season’s opener against Western Kentucky in Nashville, a game that had almost less appeal than Karen Sypher until now. Even more, UK says they took over 400 calls on Wednesday alone about football tickets.
Mitch Barnhart — With many fans on the “Petrino or bust” bandwagon, this coaching search could have been disastrous for Mitch Barnhart. But, by keeping everything under wraps and landing one of the rising stars in the game, Mitch Barnhart made as close to a home run hire as Kentucky could get. Including former UK great Tim Couch in the process didn’t hurt, either. It’s almost enough for me to forget that “Sad Mitch” pic from his Open Letter to the BBN.
Julius Mays — The “old man” Julius Mays put the team on his back last night in Notre Dame. So far this season, Mays has steadied the team when seas got rough, but against the Fighting Manti TeÊ»os, Mays was the only thing that kept the Cats from further embarrassment. Pulling at his shorts and looking exhausted, Mays continued to call for the ball to spark some offense. We knew Mays would be a calming presence on this team, but it’s looking like he’s the heart and soul of the squad.
Nerlens Noel — Noel was the only freshman that showed up on Thursday night, scoring 10 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Those numbers may not sound glamorous, but Noel showed some passion and toughness late in the second half in an ill-fated comeback attempt. For that, I will #PatTheFlat(top)
KSR’s cred — Who broke the news that Stoops was the new coach? WE broke the news that Stoops was the new coach! Kudos to Matt for the
stoop scoop, which not only bolstered KSR’s cred, but pissed off almost every media member in Lexington. #haters
Falling like the Cats in South Bend
The point guard situation – We went over this earlier, but for the Cats to succeed this season, they have to find a solution at point guard. Cal said earlier in the week that Archie was the team’s PG, but after his abysmal play last night, it’s clear he’s not comfortable in the position. Ryan Harrow is back, but is far from where he needs to be to lead the team. Unless Archie figures it out or Ryan improves, it may be time to look for another solution (Julius Mays?).
Kyle Wiltjer — Wiltjer’s woes continue on defense, and when he’s not hitting his shots like last night, having him on the court becomes a problem. The Cats either need to design more plays for Kyle or he’ll continue to be a non-factor.
Kentucky against the Zone — Cal’s teams have always struggled against the zone, but the Cats looked dreadful against it last night. Cal said that haven’t studied zone as much in practice lately because they’re still mastering man-to-man (a result of having to teach a new batch of freshmen every season), but they’ll have to study harder or it will become a legitimate Achilles’ Heel in the conference season.
ESPN2 — Last night might as well have been the Digger/Manti TeÊ»o Show. Approximately half the broadcast was dedicated to interviews with the two and gratuitous shots of the football team and campus. We get it: Notre Dame is a beautiful place, their football team is going to the National Championship, Touchdown Jesus, etc., but is it too much to ask for some basketball during our basketball game?
Greg Stumbo — Mark Stoops accepting the job as Kentucky’s head coach was contingent on the program doing major renovations to Commonwealth Stadium and Nutter Field House. For that to happen, the University needs funding from the State Legislature. Everything seemed to be looking up until KY Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said Stoops would “have to win a football game first” to get the funding. Let’s all hope Stumbo, who is apparently a longtime UK football supporter, was just joking.
TREND OF THE WEEK — Stoops Puns — The minute we found out Mark Stoops was our new coach, the puns started flying. Not Jerry Tipton was the first to break out “Stoops! There is is,” which was quickly followed by: Stoop Life, Stoops’ Troops, Stooping Ice Cream, Stoopified, Hoops and Stoops, etc. etc. Judging by the wordplay alone, the Mark Stoops era is off to a booming (stooping?) start.