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Saturday Night’s Depression Lingers On


While the above t-shirt (made after the game by a set of Louisville fans) may showcase that spelling is not a Card fan strength, the theme of the shirt still rings true. After Saturday night, the collective mood of the state of the Big Blue Nation is one of depression. With Charlie Strong’s supposed pre-game sentiment to his players (“Once we beat these guys tonight, they will never beat us again”) unfortunately shared by much of the UK football fan base at this point, the level of pessimism in UK land seems at an all-time high. Thus in lieu of the regular News and Views, an overview of why that depression exists and whether it is justified seems in order.

1. Performance So Far This Season: Depending on who you ask, the performance thus far this season has either been the worst since the first year of the Brooks era or a flashback to the darkest days of Bill Curry. There is no getting around the obvious. The Kentucky offense has been downright embarrassing for most of the first three games. Yes, there have been errors on defense and in the special teams, but in general, those performances have been fairly strong. But the defense has been so bad that it has become painful to even get through a game. Atrocious offensive line play, unfathomable drops from receivers, mediocre quarterbacking and miserable play-calling has led to an offense that has combined the dreaded twosome of “below-average” and “boring” in ways virtually never before seen. Kentucky has played three games against opponents it should have handled with ease, and has struggled against each, dropping the game to the Cards. And when not playing Kentucky, those opponents have been awful, Central Michigan getting destroyed by Western Michigan, the Cards losing to Florida International and Western Kentucky losing 44-16 to I-AA Indiana State. No Kentucky team has played lower competition and few have looked worse. To watch a team lose is one thing, but to watch it play below par for 11 out of 12 quarters can almost be too much to take.

2. The Rest of the Season: It only gets worse. There is virtually no chance Kentucky wins any of its next three games, meaning it will go into a bye week 2-4. What follows will be a lowly-attended home game versus Jacksonville State and then a five game stretch in which Kentucky must pull off three upsets to make a Bowl Game. Coming into the season, we thought Kentucky would beat Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, could beat Mississippi State and Tennessee and had a puncher’s chance against Georgia. Now none seem safe and only Ole Miss seems potentially likely. The Cats seem destined for 4-8, a record that prevents what this team needs most (the practice that comes with bowl preparation) and an off season of malaise when the the program needs fresh excitement. The rest of the year looks bleak, a feeling that seemed to weigh heavy on Kentucky fans as they exited Commonwealth Stadium last night.

3. The Future Against Louisville: While some Kentucky fans were upset about Charlie Strong’s comments, upon reflection it does not bother me. Strong was just motivating his team and he was saying publicly what most of us think. Louisville looks to have the upper hand going forward. This Cardinal team still isn’t very good, but they are young and have many Freshmen playing important roles. Whether Clint Hurtt stays or goes, the Card recruiting has improved and is likely to continue to do so. Kentucky recruiting has been very good under Joker, but one of the strongholds has been the city of Louisville. Controlling the city has been crucial to UK success and with this loss, and the rise of Strong, it will clearly be a competition once again. Most importantly however, this game feels like two programs passing each other headed in opposite directions. Even if Louisville is not likely to be great any time soon, they have a potential star Freshman QB and positive momentum. We have an experienced defense and offensive line and lots of questions about the future.

4. The Future in the SEC: It ain’t getting any easier folks. Texas A&M is the 13th team in the league and we will likely see 14 very soon. The conference expansion makes a potential 9th conference game likely, and suddenly the path to 6 wins becomes much more difficult to find on a yearly basis. I won’t go into detail again on the structural impediments to SEC success for Kentucky, but needless to say it is an uphill climb. Recruiting has improved SIGNIFICANTLY, but it will still remain 10-12 in the SEC. That is not a recipe for a rise in conference fortune. If the state of Kentucky becomes more difficult to control in recruiting (and it will), the process only becomes harder. Maybe getting a Missouri or West Va on the schedule every year is a positive…but the rest of the schedule will never be any easier and the fan base certainly realizes it.

5. The Future of Joker: Joker Phillips will be the coach of Kentucky next year. And absent a complete disaster, he should be. Most of the fan base (non-message board screamer edition) knows and accepts that. But it doesn’t mean that it inspires confidence. The fan base wants to see a coach with a plan and see positive upward momentum. It is hard right now to find any signs of either. After the game, Joker Phillips talked about “committing to the run” and “simplifying the playbook”, both of which strike the average fan as being exactly the OPPOSITE of what is needed. A team that runs up the middle every first down and runs a QB keeper 7 times during a game does not seem to have a playbook straight out of Boise, Idaho. But for Joker, going back to the Tecmo Bowl basics and trying to beat the SEC at its own game is the plan. Everyone wants to see positivity and those around the program insist that next year’s group of newcomers is special. But one has to wonder their future, after the biggest night of recruiting saw one of the biggest duds of a performance. An offseason of griping after the first non-bowl game in six years doesn’t seem pleasant, and a fan base that has come to accept more will not grow happier. It simply isn’t a bright prospect and everyone knows it.

I root for Joker because I like him a great deal. The program he has created in the last two years is better structurally than prior to his ascension to the helm. There are very good assistants and the facilities around the program are greatly improved. As a matter of fact, everything except the performance on the field would seem to be on the upswing. But the reality is that the performance on the field is only going down. We want it to change and we hope it will change. But the path to a turnaround, especially in the short term, is hard to construct. Commonwealth Stadium was as depressed as I have ever seen it on Saturday night after the loss. I just worry that it is only the beginning.

More on this topic and much more in the morning at 10 am on radio….

Article written by Matt Jones

100 Comments for Saturday Night’s Depression Lingers On

  1. JokerOUT
    12:13 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Joker is not going to be the guy to help us turn the corner so we need to go after a great coach as much as i dont like the guy Jim Tressel he is what we need now…..But UK wont put the money necessary to get him

  2. Catsincebirth
    12:15 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Winning !

  3. Gogh Big Bleu
    12:27 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Count me NOT SUPRISED by the misspelling!

  4. The Rock
    12:28 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    1- Screw Sweater Vest. I’d rather Kentucky suck under Joker than have any sort of success under that hypocritical, lying cheater Tressel. If you think Joker’s offense is boring and annoying, you’d kill yourself watching TresselBall.

  5. LongTimeCatFan
    12:29 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    While Joker seems like a likable guy, so did Steve Kragthorpe. Kragthorpe also improved the facilities at Louisville, but he was a detriment to Louisville’s overall program. While I believe any coach should be given 4 years to get an entire base of players under their system, I can’t help but feel we are headed down and unless we have 7 wins in the 2013 season, I have to say I don’t see Joker staying as a long-term coach, which is sad because he does seem like a good guy. We also need to have butts in seats to afford facilities improvements. We also are more talented, but less well-coached then Vanderbilt, and if I were Barnhart, I would be telling Joker his seat is getting warm.

  6. The Warden
    12:29 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Matt: Why does Joker “deserve to be” the head coach next year after 2 straight losing seasons? Few people agree with that notion. The right move is to fire him now and make Rick Minter interim head coach until the conclusion of the season and bring in Mike Leach.

  7. rolly
    12:36 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    If I hear the name Mike Leach one more time I’m gonna..I’m gonna…well, please stop saying it. It ain’t gonna happen.

  8. mashburnfan1
    12:43 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    #8 Mike Leach….had to do that…I don’t know who should be the UK coach but I finally admit that Joker should not be. I have been for him but the start of this season has changed my thinking. 3 very poor games with horrible play calling. I do believe Newton can be a very good qb just not in this system. My next thinking is we will get no good offensive recruits because who would want to play in this system.

  9. Jd
    12:53 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    How about Bob Beaty from Trinity. The guy can flat out coach. I know he can dial a better play up than 5 yard pass play or QB draw up the middle. I’m not sure UK could beat

  10. Common Sense
    12:53 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Joker is not a good coach, great guy but not a good coach. THERE IS TALENT ON THE FIELD. Newton was a 4 star, the o-line is 3-4 stars, we all see what Guy and Trevathan can do. Even the receivers (as bad as they are) are 3-4 star players. Joker can’t think 30 seconds ahead of himself and the play calls are atrocious. WHY do we run draws on 3rd and 20+. It just seems like the obvious stuff needs to be fixed.

  11. big tim
    12:57 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    joker didnt do to bad last year and this year new qb and when you have a new qb with a o line that need alot of work it going to take time i remember when everybody was saying get rid of brook then look what he did he turn it all around. i have faith that joker will get the team better. and you all excepting us to win a national championship get over your self were in the sec where you mainly have to go undefeated against lsu flordia georgia sc alabama to get to the championship so get over it

  12. Reality Check
    1:01 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    UK fans get their hopes up by listening to people like Messenger. Messenger is Frank Cassidy foot doctor who lives in Iowa yet UK fans are dumb enough to consider him a great source, xame guy that worked with Brian Poe and got UK into probation at Big Blue Nation magazine hope Sandy Bell doesnt find this out.

  13. anthonyeppsdrivingschool
    1:06 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    I love Kentucky football. However, these play calls remind me of the days when Ron Hudson was the offensive coordinator and Jared Lorenzen was running the option…. I’m sorry Joker, but morgan newton is not built for designed running plays. If he is running a pass play, and it is broken, then he can scramble. The game I saw Saturday night reminded me of Brooks first year. I hope we can progress.

  14. Uk has a football team?
    1:12 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    When can uk fans stop pretending that they care about football other than to drink beer and bourbon??? All that matters is hanging banners…

  15. really
    1:18 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Good thing we locked Joker up and named him coach in waiting. God knows other schools had to be knocking his door down. Worst hire Mitch has made, including Gillispie. Most didn’t see the BCG hire being a failure initially, but hardly anyone thought a mediocre coordinator being given a major promotion would pan out. He’s in over his head and has no idea how to swim. Allowing Sanders to call plays out of Notre Dames 1965 playbook is just further proof he’s clueless.

    1:33 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Joker has made some changes for the florida game:


  17. UKGoBigBlue
    2:00 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Everyone needs to shut up about Joker; UK isn’t going to fire me, no one should be surprised because we knew what we were getting: which is why everyone knew this was going to be a disaster, which is also why the fan base didn’t want Joker in the first place. Matt is 100% correct, Joker has lost the fan base. The majority of the fan base hates Joker, they never wanted him in the first place (which makes this problem now even worse), he is never going to get the fan base back, sadly nothing is going to get better, and the fan base just needs to suck it up.

    I for the most part usually agree with Matt; but if UK wanted to really spend the money, they could get a better coach. UK would have to massively over pay, take a huge risk, but we could get a better coach. We play in the freaking SEC, and we have nothing but potential; it would really really cost us, but we could get a better coach. UK admin doesn’t want to spend the money, but more important, they aren’t willing to take the risk; the risk isn’t worth the potential reward. UK admin wants a nice boring simple coach that won’t cause problems & won’t rock the boat; its called status quo.

    Football brings in more money than anything else, it should’ve been a bigger priority years ago, unless the UK Admin stops making really stupid avoidable hiring decisions, nothing will ever get better. Like I said, status quo.

    UK will win 3 games this year.

  18. UKGoBigBlue
    2:05 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Everyone needs to shut up about Joker; UK isn’t going to fire him, no one should be surprised because we knew what we were getting: which is why everyone knew this was going to be a disaster, which is also why the fan base didn’t want Joker in the first place. Matt is 100% correct, Joker has lost the fan base. The majority of the fan base hates Joker, they never wanted him in the first place (which makes this problem now even worse), he is never going to get the fan base back, sadly nothing is going to get better, and the fan base just needs to suck it up.

    I for the most part usually agree with Matt; but if UK wanted to really spend the money, they could get a better coach. UK would have to massively over pay, take a huge risk, but we could get a better coach. We play in the freaking SEC, and we have nothing but potential; it would really really cost us, but we could get a better coach. UK admin doesn’t want to spend the money, but more important, they aren’t willing to take the risk; the risk isn’t worth the potential reward. UK admin wants a nice boring simple coach that won’t cause problems & won’t rock the boat; its called status quo.

    Football brings in more money than anything else, it should’ve been a bigger priority years ago, unless the UK Admin stops making really stupid avoidable hiring decisions, nothing will ever get better. Like I said, status quo.

    UK will win 3 games this year.

  19. Justin G.
    2:40 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Its hard to believe in this years team, when there are so many problems on the field, that get magnified by Joker’s play calling. The next 3 games are going to be interesting! I’m not talkin about on the field, but after the harsh reality that we are 2-4, and have gotten our but whipped each time. UK fans, are not just about winning more and more games, but more about being competitive and not folding so easily. Yet, how are this years problems, going to change next year? Do we really think that the blowouts we are going to experience this season, are going to help recruiting, especially when our offense is boring and predictable. The bad thing, is that we will give Joker another year after this horrible year, and after another horrible season, the UK administration might have the substance to let Joker go, and go after a real coach. The bad thing is that the UK that has been built over the past decade, will be gone.
    Its not about us losing, but more about how we are losing that is making every UK fan, highly worried!!

  20. I Shoot 4s
    2:44 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    16. I’d like to see:
    Teague – rb
    Lamb – qb
    Davis – wr
    Gilchrist – Safety/LB hybrid
    Miller – db
    Jones – de

  21. Justin G.
    2:47 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    14, the fact that UK has been in the Top-25 in attendance the last 4 years, shows that UK fans care about football. Go wait in your corner for basketball, and we will come join you when football winds down. We would like to see UK get stronger, and know it is difficult within the confines of the SEC, but UK has done better then many other programs who do not for-fill expectations in crap conferences.

  22. CATS25
    3:04 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    can we get the Cal version of a football coach?????

  23. JDaws
    3:06 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    #19 at least get your facts right. Joker does not call the plays.

  24. SouthBeachWildcat
    3:07 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    committing to the run is not running QB draws and QB sneaks. Its lining up in the I-formation and giving it to your stud freshman running back 25 times in a game. Its on 1st and goal from the one, lining up in goal line formation and powering it up the gut 3 times, if not 4…………….definitely not being in the shotgun! And then guess what, the defense eventually starts biting on the run………….and a play action pass to LaRod King or E.J Fields goes for 70 yards and a score.

    Give Clemons the damn ball. He falls forward for 2 yards every time. Control the clock like we did with Pinner. Give our Defense a breather. Sorry still not over this loss yet.

  25. Daniel
    3:11 am September 19, 2011 Permalink Referral up to $250 which is a 25% Bonus when you send name and email address to [email protected] and then u will be sent email with info needed on new account sign up

  26. Justin G.
    3:30 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    23. Yes, I know he does not make the ‘actual’ play calls, yet, he is the one who designs the play book, and he reviews the strategy with Sanders prior to the game (he is the HEAD Coach). He even talked about how UK needed to” run the ball more” in the UL post game conference. UK had accumulated a total of 35 yrds on 32 carries! It seems Joker knows best! So please connect some dots for me.

  27. JDaws
    3:47 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    #19 at least get your facts straight. Joker does not call the plays.

  28. JBR
    4:25 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Good work 12…we need to “out” these keyboard heros that think they have the high ground on all football knowledge. Messenger/Frank is a disgruntled, ugly, nasty old man that has no idea of what makes success in a football program. Our only “dedicated” UK football site is full of apologists and yes men that could sugar coat and make excuses for Adolf Hitler if need be…I swear I think that Frank guy is autistic or something. But, I guess with a pathetic program, you get pathetic internet coverage. That kind of apologetic, weak minded, blind defending enables this program to be bad…somebody has to step up and take responsibility.

  29. Red Lobster Girl
    4:29 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    One thing is for sure; the next game is going to suck!

  30. BigPerm
    5:13 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    The UK/UofL game is on the U right now. I think we have a shot at redemtion.

  31. CatsHomer
    5:21 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Bottom line: Kentucky will never be good in the SEC. Going 6-7 every year is not considered good! Going to a bowl game every year is not considered good! With the likes of Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, and the addition of Texas A&M, and even Miss. St. and Ole Miss on the rise, it looks as if we will always be the bottom feeders. Kentucky has to fork up some money and buy a big name coach like Gruden or Meyer or Tressel or someone that can coach but most of all recruit!

  32. sluggercatfan
    5:22 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Matt Jones not upset with what Charlie Strong said..Of course not!!..After all this is only FOOTBALL and let’s hurry up and get it over with so I can quit talking about it….Pitiful

  33. HackRichards
    5:39 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Quite simple. Louisville HATE Day motivated the cardinals. They read this site as well as us UK fans.

  34. cornbreadmafiacook
    5:40 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    this will probably be our last year w/ season tix…they’ve priced themselves out of my business w/ the product they’re putting on the field

  35. Ready4bigbluemadness
    6:07 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Which of the next three teams will be the first to score triple digits on UK? Fla, LSU, or S.Carolina

  36. el homrbe juan
    6:33 am September 19, 2011 Permalink


  37. pizzinmneoff
    6:34 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Some say Joker is a great recruiter, but if we were in a 1AA league , they would be correct. You can’t win in the SEC with 3 star players , and that is what Joker gets. I like him , but if he wants to compete, he needs to get a coaching staff he can rely on. That will never happen.

  38. Old_Pogue_Bourbon
    7:06 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Matt gets his panties in a wad when someone says that Joker is in over his head….so I won’t mention that.

    However, I will mention that what we have witnessed the first three games of this season is a team and coaching staff that is ill prepared, unmotivated and uninspired. The head coach is responsible for overall team preparation, motivation and inspiration. This is not a delegated task.

    I posit that an individual may be a great position coach, or a great coordinator, or a great recruiter or all three but that that individual may not have what it takes to manage the whole program. Unfortunately we never find that out until that individual is given the opportunity to be the head coach.

    In today’s highly competitive business climate there is absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing ineffectiveness and taking quick, decisive corrective measures, in fact those measures are a necessity for businesses who want to remain competitive. Sluggishness on these matters results in the loss of competitiveness and ultimately profitability.

    Ticket sales, game attendance, concessions sales, contributions and other profit generating activities are moving in a negative direction at this time. The UK Football “Brand” is at a 5 year low. Please don’t let it slip further.

  39. Juan4UK
    7:17 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    This years group is supposed to be special. Remember, we passed the eye test for the first time. “This is the first time that we have had an SEC sized team on both sides of the ball”.

  40. Juan4UK
    7:18 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    And so far, Minter is the only coach worth his salt.

  41. bluristhurr
    7:22 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Sorry but if you thought that was an upset you must of missed the first 2 games of this season. We will be good to put 21 points on the board any game. I thought it after the WKU game we won’t go bowling this year.

  42. Whistle Dude
    7:28 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    I’m selling a t-shirt too, to help pay my fine. If you were wondering…yes, it is in camo.

  43. ibleedblue
    7:30 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    We shouldn’t worry about Strong and Louisville as the job is merely a stepping stone for him. We should however be worried about the playcalling, Clemons 12 rushes……Newton 14 rushes. That makes no sense, he isn’t Cam Newton. But he has done a nice job not turning it over and putting the receivers in a position to make a play. EJ Fields was a pleasant surprise as well. If you know someone jumping off the bandwagon, hold them accountable when they try to get back on.

  44. true blue through and through
    7:30 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    On the up side Everybody got drunk and had fun. It’s all about the pregame party anyway. We all know Kentucky football is trash, people need to stop trying to hide that. Until some money is put into the program like it needs to be….It’s just not gonna happen. Defense doesn’t win games. Money and talent win games. I think there is talent on the team. They just need some leadership. I mean really, our hopes for our football team is to win a lucky 6-7 games and make it to the potato chip bowl. Come on people, lets get real here!!!

  45. what a joke
    7:36 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Ok, I’ve had a little time to process all this. My observation – THE BUM HAS GOT TO GO!!!

  46. Brew Crew
    7:38 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Honestly, I didn’t notice the feeling of depression among the fanbase. It seems more of a malaise, as you have termed it. Who cares?

    Big Blue Madness. One month.

  47. U of Florida
    7:41 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    My gawd, we’re gonna put it on y’all like the Curry days. Y’all should keep Joker forever – you’ll never beat us again.

  48. Dini
    7:43 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    You know, I realize we are probably a lock to stay in the SEC and all but one has to wonder what will happen with a 64 team super conference set up that centers around football. If we become less and some of those other schools that got left out become more, is it possible we would be cast out for a TCU or BYU down the road?

  49. Slick Willie
    7:58 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    My biggest problem is that this team is just unwatchable. Boring to the highest degree. My biggest concern is that it seems to me that nobody cares. No emotion, no excitement.

  50. scott
    8:18 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Joker is trying to be their friend, not their coach. Why else would he let the entire team out the night before the game to party at the Campbell House? How did they expect to win when there were football players up till 5 AM the day of the game? Would Brooks have put up with that? I think you know the answer to that

  51. awesometron
    8:27 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    The fanbase isn’t being pessimistic…they’re being realistic. You could sense the uneasiness all day long leading up to the game. I would never imagine a week after UofL lost to FIU that majority of UK fans would think the game would be a toss up.

    Kentucky is playing like they are completely unprepared. The crowd was pushed over the edge when UK was inside the UofL 5 yard line and the offense had no idea what play they were running. Newton kept looking to the sideline and doing the “I don’t know” gesture while receivers linemen moved every which way. It ended up with a run up the middle (shocker!) for a loss.

    Enough of the excuses and the vague “we have to get better” quips. Sadly, it reminds me of Billy G postgame interviews. With the next few games, it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The sad fact is Joker has lost the confidence of the fanbase and barring a miracle, that confidence isn’t coming back.

  52. hersheyisabear
    8:32 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Kentucky football has fallen apart. Joker does not know whether he is coming or going. We will give them as much support as we can.

  53. Coyote Hunter
    8:32 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    #4 OK…so Tressel protects his players and he is a “hypocritical, lying cheater” Interesting take on the sweater vest…so what is your opinion of Coach Cal?

  54. Mr Schwump
    8:38 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    This doesn’t change. An admin who has tolerated massive losing streaks to UF and UT could care less about the fiasco Sat night.

  55. Is it Randy Sanders?
    8:40 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Is it Randy Sanders that is running such a conservative and predictable offense or is it Joker? I don’t making the playbook more simple is the answer, not in the SEC. Predictable run up the middle and QB keeper (with no proven QB backup) are as basic as they come.

  56. Is it Randy Sanders?
    8:42 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Is it Randy Sanders running such a predictable and conservative offense, or is it Joker? I think the offense is already to simple and predictable and he wants to make it more simple? That won’t cut it in the SEC.

  57. Cody
    8:42 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    LOL @ “suprise”…Cardinals fans really are the epitome of idiocy. SuRprise, jackasses.

  58. BlueCat_75
    8:45 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Why doesn’t anyone blame the OC? Fire Randy Sanders!

  59. George Patampkin
    8:52 am September 19, 2011 Permalink


  60. jdneedstoknow
    8:55 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Skip Holtz???

  61. Ms. Sypher
    8:56 am September 19, 2011 Permalink


  62. Al's IndiCats
    9:01 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    We’ve been cellar dwellers since the early 70s, nothing going to change. The last few years we’ve really had a gradual rise in both talent and in coaching. We still have the personel but to be honest the play calling has just been horrible in the last two years.
    Even if Joker doesn’t call a great game I feel we need some fire on the side lines, I want to see a coach with the demeanor of a coach, not some stoic figure on the side that looks like the Cheshire Cats after a meal. The team takes on the attitude of it’s coaches……. if not, just 44 days until the “MADDNESS BEGINS”

  63. LOL'er
    9:02 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Hey 11? 6-7 is a losing season, not sure of what your interpretation of “not too bad” is? Hell they got beat in the bowl game by an interim coach. Who didn’t have Derrick Locke, or Randall Cobb. I think it’s glaringly obvious that every time UK stepped onto the field Cobb was the best player on either side of the ball! And the best Joker could do was 6-7…If Cobb had played for Saban or Spurrier he would have been an All-American! Maybe even a Heisman candidate!

  64. Major
    9:05 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    It’s still possible that thing will improve. That’s certainly not guaranteed, but it is very possible. O-lines sometimes gel overnight, especially when their problems are similar to ours – mainly confusion reading the defensive line. If the o-line did gel, Newton would be fine. If he had a solid pocket every play, most of his poor decision-making would go away. If the o-line could create a little running room, we would have the semblance of a ground game, because Clemons does have speed once he gets through the line.

  65. Ghostofbearbryant
    9:07 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Ole Miss….’potentially likely’. ?!?! On what basis? They aren’t significantly worse than last year, Vandy is just much better. Ole Miss BEAT us last year. When you fire coaches who the players really respected and don’t fire the one they dont respect, just demote with same pay, then you get this type of pride-less performance from the team.

    Name 3 BCS teams worse than UK right now? I can’t find them. Shameful management from the new president, thru ukaa and MB right thru the entire staff.

  66. Cash Money
    9:08 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    So why the no to Mike Leach?

  67. HIRE ME$$$
    9:10 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    JOHN GRUDEN for coach. Come on UK you have the $. Tubby Smith was a nice guy but in the end you need a coach.

  68. UKGrad83
    9:16 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Yet again, an outstanding display of how NOT to have a team ready to play a college football game. We hear that the team didn’t take advantage of their opportunities. How could they – this team is miserable. But it all comes back to coaching, or lack thereof. Face it folks, we laughed at UL during the Kragthorpe debacle but now the birds have come home to roost. Let’s hope the AD has the courage to do for football what he did for basketball but I’m not holding my breath.

  69. crackerhillbilly
    9:41 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Wow. So much self-delusion going on here. Face it, folks. UK administration believes there is no way we can compete in SEC football without crossing the line in recruiting. There is no history in the last 50 years to support any other conclusion. So, they give up and hire Joker who will suck as a head coach, but will keep us clean at an affordable cost. Well, that is all bullshit. Maybe we won’t be Alabama, but we can be better than a JOKE. The only way to alter this….THE ONLY WAY….is to complain with our wallets. I am sorry for the young men that would be emotionally hurt by this, but Commonwealth Stadium needs to see empty seats until we have a coach that can build a respectible program.

  70. JokerOUT
    10:09 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    To all those people saying that we cant win the SEC why not? Florida is good at football and basketball and we have the money we can do it we just need a coach like Cal on the football end who can recruit and take risks and isn’t Joker I’m all for giving him 4 years but i can tell he wont get us and SEC championship and to want anything less than that is a joke our goal should be a championship not just a winning season. There is no reason why UK cant turn the corner and, until we do, those seats are going to stay cold.

  71. Carl
    10:13 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    I said it Sunday and I’ll say it again. UK does not come in mentally prepared to take control of a game.
    We find ourselves fighting from behind in the 4th quarter on a regular basis. THIS is a coaching issue.
    The opposing defense never gets challenged until we’re down 2 touchdowns. THIS is a coaching issue.
    The offensive calls are predictable and easily contained. THIS is a coaching issue.
    We are consistently unable to stop the opposing offense. THIS is a coaching issue.
    The pattern has been established and is not going to improve under the current leadership unless they are willing to evolve and change. We have talented athletes but the need strong leadership. THIS is a coaching issue.

  72. SweetTeaMob Til I DIE
    10:14 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    No talk of E.J. Fields’ breakout performance?? I tried to say it all along, the kid needs to be in the lineup. They put him in and HE PRODUCED!!! I’d say we found our #2 receiver. #capcity

  73. JokerOUT
    10:15 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Tressel isnt my favorite but he could get the ball rolling and ya the cheating thing happened but Vick screwed up so why not a second chance and you could get him cheap for atleast a year

  74. BernieCorvette
    10:19 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Season ticket holder for alomst 30 years. I have seen a lot of bad and some good football during that time. The 3 things that concern me the most this year: 1) lack of enthusiasm on the field. UL was jumping around all night. All UK players on the kick off team did was dance during the kickoff. 2) Clock management. Wasted 2-3 minutes in the red zone and Newton with the “dear in the headlight looks.” 3) Offensive line is “offensive” and defensive backs do not look back and play the ball…IMHO. What changes these 3 things? In my mind there is only one answer.

  75. Pistol Pete
    10:19 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Depression? Only for those who had their heads in the sand going into this season. And, Matt, would you please stop wearing out the redundant phrase “going forward”?

  76. ATB (Always True Blue)
    10:20 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    All I can say is don’t live or die by one game. If the team that lost to UL would have played WKU, they would have won by 40. Point being is there is improvement. The defense is doing better but still is struggling against the run. I don’t understand why we didn’t get after Bridgewater and take our chances. It’s clear that Newton when thinking more instinctively is a much better QB. Hey, Big Ben is making a pretty good living in the NFL being an intinctive QB. Newton, forget the pocket passer mantra. Get through yoru progressions quickly, if it isn’t there get moving and move to look for a pass first and rush second. Your O-Line sucks and you get 3 seconds from ball snap to get rid of the ball. Hey our receivers actually caught the ball. Thank you Gene and EJ. We saw some improvement from the 3rd down back position as well (can’t remember the kids name off the top of my head). We are not going to run the ball in the traditional pro set, lets get it out and pass the ball get 5 recievers involved and use Morgan’s athleticism to buy time and make plays. Run the 2 minute offense we have had success all season, its making the team not overthink the game. I saw enough improvement to still believe in this team. I also saw Vandy destroy Ole Miss (basically the same team they had last year so don’t tell me coaching doesn’t matter 🙂 If we are a Fan, let’s be a fan this year because a coaching change doesn’t happen until the end of the season. During the last game or two let’s let the grumbling begin if it is required. For now, let’s believe we can turn it around. Newton I am convinced is the real deal and there is enough weapons to make this team good not great.

  77. catsincebirth
    10:23 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Kentucky has a football team?

  78. Dent43
    10:23 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    This is what happens when you have a coach who strives for mediocrity!

  79. Ben
    10:28 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    6-6 or 7-5 is about all we can hope for at KY. Joker will probably have 6-7 : 4-8 : 3-9 and that is not acceptable! If you want to get rid of Joker, quit going to the games! Go tailgate and have a fun time. Just do not go in the stadium! Attendence and revenue is all that Mitch and Company care about. If Joker comes back next year, then do not renew your season tickets! Fans have the power! The question is will they use it? We will see! Do not accept this or it is all on the fans shoulders! Don’t blame Mitch, when we have the power.

  80. Ben
    10:34 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    What Joker is trying, has been tried for the last 50 years with no success! Why is everyone surpRISEd that it is not happening now! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results! No wonder the KY fans are going crazy. Rich Brooks would not have been successful, if the fans had not demanded the change in his staff! Love Joker, just not as coach of KY!

  81. Bigbluecalizone
    10:42 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Bottom LIne, Until we get a coach that’s going to be able to pull in top level talent, we will not be a top level program. There are Great Coaches who are capiable of taking 3-4 star talent and overachieving,,Joker is not one of them. It’s going to take a Tresell, a Wise or someone like that to change the landscape. Like it or not, This Is Fact..

  82. Major
    10:45 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Maybe Randy Sanders needs to go back to being just a QB coach, where he is one of the best in the country. Maybe he should not be an OC.

    10:46 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Will someone at this website please tell me what in the world before the season with what this team has on paper would possess you to believe we could win 7, 8, 9 games, beat Miss St who is a top 20 team, beat UT which NEVER happens and never WILL, and DEFINITELY beat Vandy and Ole Miss? When is the last time we even beat Vandy, Miss St and/or Ole Miss in the same season? The ’07 team didn’t even do that!! Based on how the program has continued to slide downward little by little each year since ’08, included in that stretch two miserable bowl game performances, what gave anyone the thought this group could do something the ’07 team didn’t even do? I’d like to know what those idiots think now about their big predictions….every year it’s the same with you guys. You pick all these games we will definitely win, should win, could win, that WE NEVER DO, and say we’re going 8-4 or 9-3 which WE NEVER DO…and again based on what talent level? You even acknowledged our recruiting will always be 10-12 in the SEC, which is the only thing you got right, so with that, how does that translate into an 8- or 9-win team?

  84. Actually
    10:56 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    this loss did not sting like I thought it would. I am settling in to a realization Kentucky does not want a powerful football program. I have to be honest, I was not expecting a “strong” performance by UK. We play like our head coach, nice and easy. The problem is we are in the SEC and everyone else will be playing mean and tough. They will kick our butt and make us like it. We have the program our fans demand. The UKAA knows we are suckers. They know I will buy season tickets and a parking pass so I can enjoy a weekend tailgating with my son and grandson. So I am the sucker. I should spend the weekend walking in the park like the liberal elite UK professors do. UK football will never change, nor should it. We get what we pay for and everybody knows we are not willing to shell out $3 million for a football coach who could make the university $10 million a year with an SEC contender and a team that would treat UL like Pikevelle College when they show up at Commonwealth. But it is not to be. So keep Joker and pass another cold one. Joker is the man who can continue a UK football tradition. Let’s raise his salary

  85. Cat50
    10:56 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t understand why some people are so against Mike Leach. He would be exactly what we need. But, if it isn’t Leach, how about current Texas Tech OC Neal Brown as an OC at Kentucky? This is a guy that was the youngest OC in all of college football. Played receiver at UK and won a state champtionship at Boyle County. His teams at Troy and TT flat put up the points.

  86. dukesuX
    11:05 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    the last (full) paragraph is, at best, contradictory, as it states how good the assistant coaches are, yet freely admits the team’s on-field performance is only going downward……

    if the coaching was of any quality, then the on-field performance would reflect that &, thus, improve…….

    UK is in a lose-lose situation in the SEC, as it can reasonably Xpect to win 8 games approX. once every decade, as it most recently did in 2007…….
    then the fanbase is deluded into “believing” that the program has turned some mythical/magical corner, & such grande’ 8-win seasons will now be the norm……

    truth is, 6 wins is FAR more the reality (coupled w/a minor-bowl trip & 50-50 chance @ victory there, & thus a sub-.500 season w/a loss), & any other notion is nothing more than delusional thinking…..

    & going forward, w/the SEC Xpan-shun, 5 wins will become the realistic norm…..

    so, in the not-to-distant-future, these current 6-win seasons of mediocrity will come to be seen as “glamour-daze” of the past

    p.s. the notion of the so-called recruiting-base of Louisville being important, too, is highly over-rated, as UofL has beaten the ‘Cats in Commonwealth Stadium, yet hasn’t necessarily dominated the River City’s recruiting in recent years……

    if a prep player is “talented” enuf to be labeled all-city in Louisville, or all-state in KY, this type of awarding needs to be kept in perspective, for if a player is all-state in KY, he VERY likely would only garner honourable men-shun status in states where “real” high school football talent Xists, e.g., Florida, Georgia, Alabama, etc…….

    NOT suggesting that UK will ever compete in those states for the top-tier talent against the big-boys down there, butt a 3rd-team selection there, or even honourable men-shun, is THE equivalent of a top-tier lad here in the Commonwealth……

  87. Matty Bangs
    11:10 am September 19, 2011 Permalink



  88. Big letdown
    11:20 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Matt u need to pull ur head out of your a–. Joker may be a great guy but for at least the last 4 years the offense has been boring and predictable. Even under Brooks it wasn’t that exciting to watch but we did improve. Now we are going backwards. The search should begin now for a replacement. Another year could be very detrimental in salvaging what little football still exists. A coach is needed that can inspire a team and we don’t have one.

  89. bluesince66
    11:31 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Like a lot of people have said I really like Joker, but I’m starting to believe he’s not the man for the job. He’s made two staff changes offensive line coach and we see the results of that. I think one of the others was d-line coach who haven’t played a whole lot better than the o line. Just very dissapointed the team really doesn’t seem to have any fire to it and emotion is valuable in football. A little early to talk replacements,but I’m on the Skip Holtz train myself. Mike Leach hasn’t been hired with a lot of jobs open, so I think we need to pass on his crazy ass. Haven’t decided if I’m even going to watch the Florida game, because it’s going to be extremely ugly.

  90. BlueFins
    11:41 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Coach Strong is right about us “not beating them again”. With the conference realignment, we may never play them again.

  91. Bill Stewart
    11:59 am September 19, 2011 Permalink

    The Joker hire was pure convenience and emotion, and it projected the message that UK really doesn’t care about football–which is truly a sad message for a team that’s S’posed to be SEC.

    Bringing in an untested non-coach into the HC position may make sense in the Big East, CUSA, or other no-count pseudo-conference, but if we are really committed to this stupid “Rise” slogan, we’ve got to be kidding ourselves if we think that’s going to happen on a fluke savant hire in the SEC. Either commit to improvement by slinging enough money at the right people, or concede that we’re forever a “basketball school” and stop trying to generate interest in our cesspool of a football program.

  92. wesley woodyard
    12:07 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Has anybody noticed that I had 13 tackles yesterday?

    12:09 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink




  94. Dan From Fully House
    12:13 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    At least they spelled surprise wrong

  95. kybigblue
    12:13 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    It appears that the first real chance at another win is the Jacksonville which is one week after BBM. It they do go 2-4 entering that game how will that effect attendance. The fans didn’t really turn out for the first two games, one in Nashville and the other one at home.

    Like most fans one hopes that Joker will succeed. If not UK needs to go after a big time coach like Mike Leach or Urban Meyer. Not sure UK would pay enough for Urban Meyer or most big name coaches. To get UK into the upper half of the East Division and into something other than one of the lesser bowls. Joker or any other UK coach will have to be able to recruit big time out of state because unlike Fl., Tx., etc. Kentucky doesn’t have as a lot of in state football talent. UK basketball can compete for the top out of state players because of it’s winning tradition.

  96. Cash Money
    12:40 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Skip Holtz?

  97. Coyote Hunter
    1:13 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    #85 Great…no…Fantastic choice. Great offensive mind…put him and Minter together and you just may have something

  98. PerryStevensonIsntWalkingThruThatDoor
    2:10 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    > Phillips talked about “committing to the run” and “simplifying the playbook”, both of which strike the average fan as being exactly the OPPOSITE of what is needed.

    Does this remind anyone of Gillispie’s post-game comments after the NIT loss that maybe we need to schedule weaker schools? We all know what happened next.

  99. wildcatMIA
    2:30 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    What is the problem with not being able to catch the ball? If it was one or two players, that would be one thing, but it seems the whole dang gum team can’t catch the ball or does not know what to do to protect it once they catch it. Since it is the whole team having this problem what can be done coaching wise to improve this essential skill?

    I think the problems catching the ball may be a result of not calling enough passing plays during games which is different than catching balls during practice. But I just dont’ understand why this problem persists among the whole receiving core and if you consider the last two years the problem of dropped passes is a cronic issue. therefore it must be something the coaches are doing.

  100. Mario Cristobal
    6:39 pm September 19, 2011 Permalink

    Please hire me. I am the coach at FIU, I beat louisville with FIU talent… just think of what I could do for UK. Better get me now though, I am getting several nice offers.