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The Leach Report: Looking at Kentucky and Louisville


As always, Tom Leach joins us on Sundays to breakdown the game and let us know the thoughts of the Voice of the Wildcats:

When trying to pull off an upset, you don’t have to be perfect but you do have to take advantage of opportunities. Facing an outstanding quarterback, Kentucky deployed a defensive strategy that kept Louisville off its game for almost the entire first half. But a combination of dropped passes, inaccurate throws and two lost fumbles kept the Cats from possibly taking a lead into the locker room. If you do that, you might limit the Cards’ ability to get their running game cranked up and make them play with a fear of losing and then who knows? More than any numbers can illustrate, I think Kentucky fans left the game with just a feeling that their program is back on the right track. And here’s why–JoJo Kemp, Ryan Timmons, Javess Blue, Jeff Badet, Alex Montgomery, Za’Darius Smith, Jason Hatcher, Blake McClain and Nate Willis have each done some impressive things in the first three games and all of them are Stoops-era recruits.

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It was that late-second-quarter fumble when the Wildcats were marching toward a potential game-tying touchdown. Instead of the heavily-favored Cardinals having to head to the locker room worrying about the season goals slipping away, they could relax a bit and take solace in knowing they had the ball to start the second half. Long TD drives by UofL on either side of that fumble is when the Cards gain breathing room and put an inconsistent UK offense into a two-touchdown hole.

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—- 5 three-and-out drives in the first half for UK. Some strategic moves kept Louisville’s offense out of sync until late in the first half and had Kentucky managed a few more first downs, the Wildcats would have benefitted from a big edge in field position–and might have been able to build a lead.

—- 17/37 passing. Eight of those incompletions came on first-down pass attempts, negating Kentucky’s ability to fully deploy its uptempo pace. OC Neal Brown has constantly preached that this offense is built on stringing plays together but between the dropped passes and inaccurate throws, the offense never could find much rhythm for most of the day.

—- 6 TFL’s by Louisville. Kentucky had only one sack so the other five tackles-for-loss by the Cards came on running plays. The defensive lines UK is about to face are going to be better than anything they’ve seen thus far so whether it’s missed blocks upfront or bad reads by runners, the Cats need to reduce the negative running plays.


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—- JoJo Kemp (80 yards on five carries). Coach Stoops made it clear in his postgame remarks that we’ll see more of this guy, who averaged 16-yards-per-carry Saturday. Even if you take out his 47-yard run, Kemp still averaged just over eight-yards-per-carry.

—- D.J. Eliot. Kentucky’s defensive coordinator knew Bridgewater excelled at pre-snap reading of the opponent so UK had to disguise its tactics until the snap, while balancing the desire to not give young players too much to have to think about it. The inexperienced Wildcats executed beyond the years and Louisville had one turnover and only three first downs in its first six drives.

—- Avery Williamson (15 tackles). If you’re in a fight, you want this guy on your side. It’s much easier to do one job’s when things are going well, but Williamson’s production stays consistent when adversity hits, too. Most of his 15 tackles came in the second half when things weren’t going as well for Kentucky and I’ll always remember his 20-tackle effort in that Vandy game last year when his team was getting blown out.

—-l isten to Tom each weekday morning at 9:06am eastern on “The Leach Report” radio network; and follow him on twitter @tomleachky and via “The Leach Report” page on Facebook

–check out for more of Tom’s coverage of the Cats

Article written by Matt Jones

10 Comments for The Leach Report: Looking at Kentucky and Louisville

  1. linebeard
    7:30 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    Much improved team, this year’s version beats last year by at least 14. Not as big as gap between UL and UK as I thought. Trade qb’s with them and give us Bridgewater and we would be very close to them. Hopefully QB play improves next year with the Freshman coming in. Timmons/Kemp reminds me of a young Cobb/Locke duo.

  2. Indiana Tom
    7:37 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    My usual thing every morning. Get up, make my coffee, and turn on 1080 am and the Leach Report at 906 am. Tom does one heck of a job.

  3. Are you for real
    7:39 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    Impressive things?
    Impressive players make BIG plays.
    8 dropped passes.
    0-13 on third down conversions.
    2 huge fumbles.
    Players getting hit in the head with passes when they are wide open and don’t turn around.
    UK may win one more game this season, and I use the word may.
    Anyone that has ever coached football would not define impressive as not making the big play.

    Loserville came in and unfortunately did impressive things and got the job done.

    This isn’t IMPRESSIVE.

    Here is a stat from an article by Kyle Tucker:

    Third-and-4 (own 24): Sanders run for 3
    Third-and-1 (own31): Whitlow run for minus-4 (fumble lost)
    Third-and-10 (Cards’ 44): Sanders dropped pass (preceded by Smith incompletion on first down, Legree dropped screen pass on second)
    Third-and-14 (own 20): George run for 9
    Third-and-6 (Cards’ 20): Montgomery dropped pass over middle
    Third-and-1 (own 29): George run for 0 (preceded by Blue dropped pass on second down)
    Third-and-3 (own 20): Sanders run for minus-2
    Third-and-5 (Cards’ 41): Blue dropped pass
    Third-and-9 (Cards’ 28): Whitlow interception in the end zone
    Third-and-4 (Cards’ 13): Badet dropped pass in end zone (albeit a low throw from Whitlow)
    Third-and-9 (own 46): Whitlow to Kendrick for 7 (preceded by Sanders dropped pass down field for would-be first down)
    Third-and-13 (Cards’ 25): Whitlow incomplete, skipped pass at receiver’s feet (preceded by chop-block penalty on first down for minus-15)
    Third-and-10 (Cards’ 18): Whitlow incomplete pass, broken up at the goal line (preceded by two incomplete passes: both foiled screens)

    NOTE: D.J. Warren also dropped a pass on third-and-1 but defensive holding bailed him out.

  4. just saying
    8:04 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    I dont want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but our defense played really well, keeping Louisville off balance. BUT..I have NEVER seen a more inept offense in my life. I was at the game, actually had 50yrd line tickets, and on many of those plays, especially in the first half when Whitlow was playing, that I was calling the play before the snap. If I can do it, you know a defensive coach like Strong, can too. For an “air raid” offense, the play calling seemed as if Joker was calling in the plays from Gainesville. Secondly, I thought Stoops said “were going to do whatever it takes to win this game”. Someone show me where chances were taken. We’re an unranked team unlikely to win 2 more games all year, and the offense was very PLAIN, that being said, when a guy did break open, either Max Smith/Jalen Whitlow would miss them by a mile, or the receiver would straight up drop it.

    I did not walk away thinking UK wa on the right path. I walked away saying UL was overrated, but NOTHING about that game made me think UK was improving

  5. Arnie
    8:05 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    I get a chuckle after every UK football game.

    Louisville media is interviewing a QB who makes a great pass to the corner of the end zone while his wide receiver out jumps two defenders for the catch.

    UK media is interviewing QBs that are hurt and fumbled three or four times, running backs who made crucial fumbles, and wide receivers who made one or two decent plays, but dropped passes in crucial situations and/or ran terrible routes the entire game. The attitude is they will get better with more practice and playing time. This is the SEC. If you don’t make big plays, stand on the darn sideline.

  6. CatsFan12
    8:05 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    I think that our best option at QB is Max Smith. If he is hurt it should be Towles. Whitlow should only be used in the wildcat, if not utilized at another position. Whitlow is a run first QB and not an accurate passer. I have faith in this coaching staff, but we need to have this QB situation figured out. I don’t believe Whitlow is the answer. Heading in the right direction, Go CATS!

  7. Pat_Wren
    8:34 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    #6….How can it be Towles when he can’t break the 3rd string nut? Oh….the deck must be stacked against him cause Lord knows HCMS would never ever play the best players….shucks he loves losing! Get a grip on this Towles bit…..IF the kid could do it….hr would be freakin’ doing it!

  8. kyjohn
    9:23 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    If you can’t throw the ball,and you can’t catch the ball,you’re not going to win many football games.
    Max had a bad day with receivers dropping passes ,not running their routes,and the fumbled exchange with Sanders was a big blow.Whitlow is the second coming of Shane Boyd and Newton,and so far has shown he is not the qb needed for the “Air Raid”offense.

    The Cats have two weeks to get ready for their next game,here’s hoping Stoops and his staff can find guys who can compete and step up their game

  9. Georgia Blue
    10:37 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t try to sugar coat the 5 tackle for loss on 3rd and 1. You knew we had trouble blocking their no.94 Lorenzo Mauldin. He stayed in our back fields. He was hitting Sanders and George as soon as they got the ball. So don’t say the RB miss read their block when there wasn’t any blocking on them 5 plays that we couldn’t get one yard or 2 yards to keep a drive going. Next time just give the ball to the fullback DJ Warren on short yardage. I am sure he can get 1 or 2 yards because the defense want be looking for him to run the ball. Then again put your QB UNDER THE CENTER IN SHORT YARDAGE SITUATION

  10. Sgt Jimmy
    11:36 am September 16, 2013 Permalink

    I just have to respond to some of these post. As a football season ticket holder since 1976 and Fran Curcie, I was appalled at the lack of progress. The DL cannot occupy a double team allowing the OL to get to the second level. That’s why our LB’s can’t make a lot of tackles. I was looking at program Saturday and noticed the Cats had more seniors than Louisville.