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Out With The Old…

GreyJerseys
And in with the blue (and white, and grey, and black.)

Two years ago, as the college football season was about to begin, Michael Kruse wrote these opening lines for an article on Oregon football for Grantland, “There is next to no reason the University of Oregon should have a good football team. Eugene is a small city and is not near a major media market, there’s very little local college-caliber talent, and for literally 100 years the Ducks did almost nothing but lose.” Sound familiar? Replace Oregon with Kentucky and you have a very similar premise< – only we have the added benefit of massive television exposure with the SEC.

Seven months earlier, right before Oregon played in the BCS championship game, Michael Rosenberg tackled a similar idea. How did Oregon go from chumps to championship contenders? It began as all great football programs do, with Rich Brooks laying the foundation. Mike Bellotti would take the Ducks to the next level in the mid 90's, but it wasn't until recently that Oregon transcended from Pac-12 power to a legitimate player on the national stage. Both writers – and any fan with half an eye – came to the same conclusion. Branding.

Oregon went from a school with a goofy duck for a mascot, to one with some of the best facilities outside the south. From a 2002, $90 million dollar stadium face lift, to a rumored $40+ million dollar academic facility, Rosenberg noted that “kids would travel to Eugene just to see the facilities, even if they weren’t going to sign with the Ducks.” But it didn’t matter. The philosophy was – if you can’t get kids to look at you, they won’t sign with you. So get them to look, first.

Getting people to look was made a lot easier, too, when players went from wearing these, to wearing these. Roll those changes up, fit them in a mold of high octane offense, and let them trot their new found excitement out against traditional powers (USC, Standford) and you’ve got the recipe for a successful program where once there was nothing.

In other words, we should have seen this summer coming. For years there was a strong contingent of people saying – there’s no way Kentucky can compete with the Florida’s, the Alabama’s, even the Tennessee’s year in and year out in the SEC. There simply isn’t enough in state talent, there’s not enough attention paid to football, the facilities are a couple of picnic tables in Nutter Field House, and the style of play isn’t exciting.

And no matter what you think, those voices were right. There was no way Kentucky could compete at a high level, with those things all staying at the status quo. There was no way Oregon would have been in the BCS championship game a couple years ago without the influence of Nike, Phil Knight, and a gigantic rebranding effort.

This is where you have to give Mark Stoops credit. He looked at Kentucky and didn’t think – well, it’s a job I can go in to, perform better than their last coach by default, and jump to a better job in a couple years. Stoops came here, and he intends to win. In many ways, he has followed the Oregon model. He brought in an exciting offense – as documented, Neal Brown called 80 plays a game compared to Chip Kelly’s 77, and he wants to be one of the fastest tempo teams in the league. He found new ways to recruit in the short term by attacking Ohio and activating the BBN hype machine, and he is rebranding the program to get recruits in the long term. So when you see that Commonwealth is finally getting the $110 million dollar face lift, when you hear the new music on game day, when you see recruits tweeting pictures of new jerseys, and when you feel the excitement and party atmosphere surrounding UK football these days, embrace it. Change is good, when it’s change from something that stinks.

Will Kentucky be storming the door of the SEC title game next year? Not likely. Chip Kelly struggled out of the gate with his first Oregon team, before hitting his stride in Pac 12 play. Kentucky doesn’t have the luxury of playing in the Pac 12. Nick Saban’s Alabama went 7-6 in his first year. As good as Stoops has been, he isn’t a national championship coach (yet). As cool as black matte helmets are, they aren’t going to stop SEC wide receivers if our secondary cannot. But the foundation has been laid.

If you can’t compete with Alabama, don’t be Alabama. If you can’t compete as the old Kentucky, don’t be the old Kentucky. Embrace the change.

The Cats are coming.

Article written by Will Lentz

34 Comments for Out With The Old…



  1. Dwide Schrude
    8:07 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Great article, Will Lentz. Got me even more excited for the football future. Nice job!



  2. BCS
    8:23 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t like how you said Stoop’s is “attacking” Ohio. I should not have to be subjected to that hatred.



  3. Linda Taylor
    8:29 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    I do not like the gray uniforms. UK’s colors are BLUE and WHITE, not gray!



  4. Sweet
    8:33 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Looks great, 2 and 10.



  5. goUKats
    8:36 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    UK’s colors are blue and white,but there’s nothing wrong with jazzing them up to make the unies more appealing and exciting for the players,and and that’s what the program is all about.



  6. Will Totten
    8:43 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    3. Literally the whole point of this article was that whatever you feel like are “traditional” Kentucky things, for the most part suck. Kentucky football has nearly a half-century of losing to overcome and there’s no such thing as a bad idea at this point because everything that came before it is worse by default



  7. JohnW
    8:46 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    I bet just about every person who says they hate GREY…..has some type of Kentucky apparel that has grey in it lol…..You see grey shirts, jacket, etc.. at all types of athletic games….



  8. rainman
    8:50 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    UGH!!



  9. coreyt
    8:57 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    The whole our colors are blue and white argument is so stupid. Oregon’s colors are green and yellow but you know what they brought out black uniforms and silver ones and the recruits loved them. They’ve been to a national championship game. Would you rather have only blue and white uniforms and lose, or once in a while throw on black or gray uniforms and win. Were not changing the school colors, we’re just trying to get an edge in recruiting so we can compete in the SEC. If you want to only have blue and white then don’t complain when recruits go elsewhere and we finish without a win in the SEC, again.



  10. Sugar Bowl
    9:02 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    We are going to whip your candy [email protected] regardless of what trash uniforms you wear .



  11. Stoops Sausage Link Fingers
    9:04 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Somebody gonna get they [email protected] kicked. Somebody gonna get they wig split. Uk sucks!



  12. Linda Taylor
    9:08 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    How good is UL going to be when the NCAA declares Tipsy Bathwater ineligible? You do know that Clint Hurtt gave him improper benefits when Miami was recruiting him and that makes him ineligible right? How will it be when UL has to vacate their Sugar Bowl win?



  13. NCAA
    9:19 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Cal and Wes have bought almost every player that has played for uk. Davis received 250K. We even looked the other way when cal signed a retarded kid a few years ago. So, we will also likely do nothing to uofl. Plus, Bridgewater has already been investigated by us and cleared. In fact, Hurtt, will be back with uofl in a couple weeks. Suck it [email protected]!



  14. TDog
    9:20 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Gonna be honest. I could care less about our uniforms; as long as recruits like them and we can win big games I’m happy. For all I care if we had pink and purple rainbow uniforms but we still won games and attracted big time recruits I would be a happy camper.



  15. PhilUK18
    9:21 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    12 & 14.

    Trolling KSR at almost half past 9 on a Friday? You guys (I’m being kind and assuming you aren’t the same retard) must live the most sad existence ever. Tell Mommy to be quicker with her Hot Pocket deliveries, she’s clearly doing a bad job at it now if you’re this mad.



  16. NCAA
    9:21 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    I lives in the ghetto with my “baby momma” and drinks me mines Colt 45.



  17. rainman
    9:28 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    I haven’t seen it mentioned here before but,
    LOSERVILLE SUCKS!



  18. Catlover
    9:32 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Ricky P was told to “Lockup not Knockup” Oops



  19. Hal Mumme
    9:38 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Love the new look-let’s change our past! Is that Matt Elam’s arm we see?



  20. Bobbum man
    9:46 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Neon blue and chrome helmets with claw marks !



  21. Bdog
    10:05 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Nike



  22. SoCal Will
    10:10 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    Great premise. Any Kentuckian who has been to Oregon sees the similarities everywhere. The largest city is on the river; the second largest is a beautiful college town; and the citizens of both are polite but proud. Oregon has the most micro breweries of the States and Kentucky has bourbon. Oregon gets most of its kids from neighboring California and now UK from Ohio. Both are elite Nike schools. If you have to play the real USC or Alabama you need to out quick them. Both schools are figuring that out.



  23. NineWillBeFine
    10:22 pm July 26, 2013 Permalink

    21.

    That theoretical helmet you’ve designed sounds pimp. Email Barnhart? I’m not even being sarcastic, might as well.



  24. chris
    2:14 am July 27, 2013 Permalink

    The BENGALS were a pitiful team, WAY BACK b4 they became the BUNGELS. Their helmut was an uninspired Orange with Bengals written on the side. They were 4-10, and changed the uniform, and more importantly the HELMET. it went to the orange and Black Stripe, and in 2 years they went from the bottom of the league to one last minute Joe Montana touchdown drive from being SUPER BOWL champs. Black Helmets are 1. Cool, and 2. They are telling these new recruits that this isn;t the old UK, the old mentality. It’s symbolic, it’s psychological, and it WORKS.



  25. jimbo
    4:13 am July 27, 2013 Permalink

    Cool Unis.

    Shut up old people.



  26. idontflinch
    5:58 am July 27, 2013 Permalink

    “If you can’t compete as the old Kentucky, don’t be the old Kentucky.” I couldn’t possibly type a comment that makes more sense than that. Well said, Mr. Lentz.



  27. Elkattio
    8:58 am July 27, 2013 Permalink

    I’m fairly certain that I wrote this exact same article in a previous thread, just with less words. I want royalties for this.



  28. INCatfan
    9:08 am July 27, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t wait for this season! I know that we aren’t supposed to be expecting much this season but I can’t help but be optimistic and think that we’re going to be better than everyone is thinking. Joker was terrible in every area of being a head coach. He was terrible at in game decisions, terrible at recruiting, and he obviously couldn’t evauluate talent. It seems like it always took injury to get the best players on the field ahead of who he had picked as a starter. The whole team was an unorganized dysfunctional mess. Now that these boys are being coached, they’re going to be better in every area. I know we have the toughest schedule in the country and that wins are going to be tough to come by, but they better not come into a game overlooking us! We might shock some people!! GO CATS!!!



  29. KSRIdiots
    9:31 am July 27, 2013 Permalink

    It’s Stanford, not Standford and they are hardly a traditional power you mindless dimwit.



  30. KevinM
    10:56 am July 27, 2013 Permalink

    31-brief but effective.



  31. ukcats42301
    1:49 pm July 27, 2013 Permalink

    I may be in the minority on this but I hope Stoops will drop our infamous catch phrase: “and the gain is good for another FIRST DOWN KENTUCKY”!!



  32. Linda Taylor
    3:29 pm July 27, 2013 Permalink

    I see the impostor is at it again. Ho hum.



  33. Linda Taylor
    3:33 pm July 27, 2013 Permalink

    And btw, the real Linda Taylor likes the new unis especially if the players like them.



  34. k2da
    8:52 pm July 27, 2013 Permalink

    I think we should have a grey football field. Black uniforms.