Ten thoughts after yesterday’s depressing game
(1) The Start: To say that UK has started poorly against Florida in the last two years would be like saying that you wouldnt let Rick Pitino date your daughter…it is beyond obvious. But 59-0 over the past two seasons is still unbelievably atrocious. For the first quarter, the Cats looked as if they didnt believe they belonged on the same field as the Gators. It caused poor tackling, penalties and odd play calling, all of which led to an embarassing 15 minutes. Rich Brooks said afterword that he had to do a better job getting his team ready to play in games like this…he is certainly correct.
(2) Hartline: The talk amongst most UK fans I have spoken with since the game has been all on Hartline. He cant do this, he cant do that, he isnt an SEC quarterback. While he undoubtedly had some bad plays yesterday, he was not the cause of the 31 first quarter points allowed and most of the penalties had little to do with his play. He made a couple of terribly bad passes and was certainly not sharp. However to hang a 41-7 drubbing on him, seems a bit harsh to me. What was your best case scenario for points UK could put on the board against arguably the best defense in America? Mine was 17…blame Hartline for not getting those extra 10, but the Cats werent going to score over 41 no matter what.
(3): Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes: After the game, Rich Brooks had a revealing statement that only someone as blunt as he would make. He said the first quarter looked as if he had never coached a game before in his life. For 15 minutes, UK football has never looked dumber…6 first quarter penalties, most of the “illegal formation, false start, illegal motion” varities. One longtime UK reporter told me after the Louisville game that he had never seen a Rich Brooks team play stupider. Well he only had to wait one more week to be topped.
(4) Wither the Wildcat?: Where was the creative “go for broke” play calling that is needed to win a game like this? Where were the multiple snaps to get your best playmaker the ball in a creative offense? Where was Randall Cobb in the gameplan? I like Joker, think he is a great recruiter and great for the program. Sometimes I do not get his playcalling (although I loved the call on 4th and 1 on the goalline).
(5) Secondary Problems: With the exception of Trevard Lindley, I have been critical of the secondary’s play this year. But Saturday may have been the worst yet. While the front four did get pressure on Tebow and the linebackers played relatively well (specifically Sam Maxwell), the secondary was one example of blown tackles and coverage, time after time. Lots of athletes in those positions, but if I have to see one more play that ends with one member of the secondary pointing at another for a mistake, I may cry.
(6): TEBOW has risen: The Tebow is a saint jokes are probably played out at this point, but you dont realize how true they are to reality until you spend a game with media members watching him. When he took the nasty hit in the 3rd Quarter, some media members from Florida actually stood in the press box, as if they wanted to somehow gravitate to the field to make him rise. He truly has a level of respect/adoration from media members that I have never before seen.
(7): Tydlacka Improving: Want to have something to cheer? Ryan Tydlacka is kicking much better…and he got a great deal of practice yesterday. While the blocked punt was a coverage issue (that is three in two years Mr. Ortmayer), Tydlacka actually had a couple of booming punts and kick coverage was solid. Hey its something…
(8) Taylor Wyndham: I always enjoy the “life is strange” moments in sports and the Tebow hit certainly was one of those. Taylor Wyndham, a redshirt freshman that most members of the UK media could not have picked out of a lineup, became one of the most talked about players in America in a matter of seconds. While it looks as if Tebow will be fine, Wyndham was mentioned on every talk show, newspaper and ESPN outlet imaginable last night as the guy who could have changed college football with one hit. Modern life is bizarre now and in a moment, everything can change (ask Eric C Conn). But Wyndham’s quick burst of celebrity for a perfectly legal hit is one moment that was quite unexpected.
(9) The Great UK Fans: Bob Davie mentioned on the telecast how amazing he thought it was that UK fans were still into it and cheering on the Cats dring their drive in the 2nd quarter to score their one touchdown. I spoke with him for a second at halftime, mentioned we had 3,000 people on our site for a live blog and he said “these fans are great.” He is exactly right…best football fans for a non-power program in the country in my view.
(10) Worst Matchup: Ultimately I dont read into a lot from Saturday. I knew Kentucky had zero chance to win for a variety of reasons. Kentucky had a severe talent gap, there was a speed problem, Kentucky has always struggled with mobile quarterbacks and the Gators are inevitably going to crush UK…it just happens. There isnt a program that Kentucky matches up with worse in America right now than Florida…and the fact we always play them before it gets cold doesnt help. So I am not into making grand remarks about this team, its players or its coaches based on THIS game. But the Alabama game is different. Alabama is more talented but they play a style UK can hang with. Last year, the Cats played well in Tuscaloosa. I dont think UK will or even should, win. But I do think they should play hard and keep it respectable. If they dont, lets meet and talk again at that point.
Hang tight and enjoy your Sunday…some basketball recruiting stuff tonight.