Good morning and a happy Wednesday to you, my KSR brothers and sisters. With the rising of the sun this morning, we’re hopefully now all finally at peace with what happened on Saturday in The Swamp and fixated on what is a a big opportunity for the Cats to take another step toward their post-season goals on Saturday in Oxford. But, before we proceed with all the SEC football excitement, let’s pause and pay a quick tribute to former Cat Mark Krebs. Krebs, who was in studio again with Matt and the Big EZ on Tuesday morning, won’t be celebrating a birthday until next weekend, but earns our recognition this morning for the impending release of his book, Beyond A Dream, which is now available via pre-order on BeyondADreamBook.com. The book, as I’m sure you’re aware, chronicles not only his basketball journey which saw him play for three different coaches at America’s finest basketball program, but also the private struggle of a young man whose mother was courageously battling cancer. You can get a signed copy of the book for only $21.95, $2 of which will go to the Terri Krebs Foundation, and, in doing so, help give back to someone who spent four years giving so much to the program we all love. Please help support Mark and the fight against cancer by purchasing a copy.
Now, onto some UK news…
– Again, for what seems like the 23,532,46oth time this summer, the big news involved Eric Bledsoe and his high school grades. Tuesday evening, the good doctor Jerry Tipton wrote that, the Eric Bledsoe grade situation is a non-issue to the NCAA. The NCAA told Tipton via email (yes, Tipton has email) that they spoke with the Birmingham School District, who, based on the findings of the independent law firm, will not pursue any further actions and that, because of that decision, the NCAA will stand by their initial eligibility issues. So, after four months of Bledsoe speculation and rumor-mongering, it appears that besides the $10,000 given to the independent law firm and the gift basket I assume they sent to Thamel for essentially handing them a five-figure check, we’re exactly where we were before. Thanks, Pete! Can’t wait to catch up again after the Enes Kanter ruling, buddy!
– Getting back to the sport that is actually in season, Kentucky’s football team returned to the practice field and had what Joker Phillips called an “upbeat and physical” practice. The focus of the session, which took place on a FieldTurf surface similar to what they’ll play on in Oxford, was to improve tackling on defense. However, the Cats, already with a few players banged up and looking to avoid any further injuries, did not allow players to tackle all the way to the ground. So, basically, they re-enacted the Florida game. Just kidding, Coach Phillips. Kind of.
– When Kentucky faces Ole Miss on Saturday, they’ll square off with an opponent whose season has been supremely disappointing to this point. After bringing in a troubled quarterback with some Heisman hype, the Rebels have lost their first two home games in disappointing fashion, falling to Jacksonville State and then allowing Vanderbilt to snap a 10-game SEC losing streak. However, the Rebels are not a team that can be taken lightly. Their offense, which ranks as the SEC’s fourth-best in terms of yards per game, has effectively moved the ball in all games this season, thanks mostly to the conference’s third-best rushing attack. Their achilles heel, though, has been a horrible turnover margin. Ole Miss is the only team in the SEC that has yet to record an interception and their three forced turnovers rank dead last in the conference. When you factor in their nine turnovers, five of which have come on Jerimiah Masoli interceptions, you get an absolutely abysmal -6 turnover margin. Football isn’t a game that can be simplified into one “if we do this one thing, we win” bullet point, but the Cats’ efficiency on offense coupled with the Rebels inability to force turnovers certainly looks favorable for UK.
– If there is one player who could break the Cats on offense, it’s Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden. Bolden, who is fresh off of 228 yards against Fresno State, is not particularly fast, but has become a reliable ball-carrier for the Rebels this season. Plus, he’s developing into a reliable pass-catcher, and you would have to assume that part of Houston Nutt’s plan is to get him isolated against a linebacker on a passing route. If Kentucky continues to struggle in stopping the run and covering backs in passing situations, Brandon Bolden could be another name for Kentucky fans to curse.
– On the recruiting front, the 2011 Cats got another boost thanks to the commitment of defensive lineman Shaq Love. The 6’5″ 280 pound Love had offers from basketball powers Kansas, Vanderbilt, Duke and Memphis and had gained interest from Tennessee. He becomes the Cats’ 19th commitment and the first to carry the name of a possible reality tv show.
– Don’t forget that this Wednesday also ushers in the official start of the Midnight Madness camp-out session. Feel free to get their bright and early this morning and get your spot in line starting at 7am. The tickets are free and will be handed out Saturday morning.
– Finally, congratulations to the Cincinnati Reds for clinching a playoff berth and potentially presenting me with the only scenario in which I can’t root for the Rays in the World Series. The seven year-old in me who still has every member of the 1990 team memorized couldn’t be more excited. Let’s hope they make a deep run.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we write some stuff and post it on the site. See you in a few…