Of all the storylines that have surprised me the most this year in college football, it has been the emergence as a national title contender of Texas Tech that has been the most shocking. It is not that I am shocked that the Big 12 school is good, or that a team from off the map can come and win a national title. Instead it is the fact that for the first time in recent memory, a gimmicky offense is on the verge of a national title. Unlike basketball, where being ahead of the curve can give you a ton of success, football tends to have a maximum output for teams that go against the mainstream. An option team, a Run and Shoot team or any other type of non-traditional football method tends to work well against average teams, but is shot down against talent. However now, the Mike Leach offense, which in various forms can be seen as a spread or a modified West Coast look, has taken the day in college football. Every team that is good now throws the ball time and time again and the Red Raiders are in the hunt for a national championship. And the man behind all of this is a former UK coach under the absurd Hal Mumme. Add to it that the head of all this is friends with Donald Trump and has been profiled in the New York Times in the sports and business sections and…..well, what can you say? Sports never cease to amaze you.
To the news…..
(1): The Cats loss to Georgia still is difficult to digest, but it did show that the Cats have found an offensive groove. Specifically, the Cats have realized that to move the ball, they have to rely on the legs of their Freshman quarterback and their depleted Running Back corp. That means in part, running the option, an offense last seen at Kentucky when Bill Curry was trying to get it to work with Tim Couch. It caught Georgia’s defense off guard, likely because they had not gameplanned well for it. It will be interesting to see if it still remains an intergal part of the offense this Saturday as Vanderbilt. Regardless of what happens, you have to give some credit to Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips for showing some signs of versatility…..one of the pass happiest offenses in America last year, and the option this year….quite a duo.
(2): It just cant be overstated how important Trevard Lindley’s injury was on Saturday. The moment Lindley’s tendonitis took him out, the game changed. Georgia all of a sudden was able to open up both halves of the field in their passing game, find players down the middle and the Cats were unable to double team a second receiver consistently and leave Lindley single covering on the other side. From the moment he left, Georgia really moved the ball without hinderance, and it was only two turnovers that kept the game within reach. Lindley is expected to be back next week, but as Saturday showed, a defense without Trevard is simply in trouble.
(3): Very sad news today about the end of Demoreo Ford’s career. Due to multiple concussions, he has been advised not to play football anymore, a decision that had to be difficult for the young man. Ford has never quite hit his stride here at Kentucky and every time he would come close, injuries would cut in the way. The WR slot has been difficult this year and the less Ford played, the more you knew that something had to be wrong. IT will be difficult to not see Ford out there for the rest of this and next year, but the kid’s health is the most important thing and we do wish him the best.
(4): On the basketball end, the season begins on Friday against VMI. The last exhibition game told us very little and was actually quite difficult to watch, due largely to the unbelievable amount of fouls called during the contest. Perry Stevenson had the odd problem of playing very well on paper, but having the coach call him out afterwards as having one of the worst games on the team. Josh Harrellson saw only three minutes of action and Patrick Patterson saw foul trouble throughout the contest. OVerall it was a very unsatisfying game, thus making the test against VMI, the first real chance to see what Gillispie will do with this team. All week, we will get you ready for the VMI game, but also get a look at what UK is going to do all season, including some predictions by those in the know. It should be interesting to follow.
We will have more all day, including a look at Kentucky’s bowl horizon, some more basketball notes and other goodies. Stay tuned…..