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We made it!

Is it just me or did it seem like this Thanksgiving weekend lasted a decade?  From the eating to the Christmas decorating to memorizing all the Presidents (Kige Ramsey) to the raging UK sports boner that lasted from midnight on Friday until about 1 am this morning (should I have seen a Dr.?), this weekend really kicked my tail.  But, as we all try to get ourselves back into our daily routines and get set for what is sure to be the longest work week of all-time, let’s try to recap what happened this weekend for our boys in blue.

For the football Cats, the story was all the same and Phil Fulmer rode off into the sunset by beating the Cats once again.  Kentucky looked great at the beginning of the year, and awful in the middle, but in the end, they’re basically the football team we all expected.  At 6-6 and heading to a bowl, you can’t call this season a disappointment and, if you take into account the massive injuries that mounted, you can even call it a success.  Now, it’s on to a bowl game – probably the Music City – and a month’s worth of extra practice, something that’s been extremely important the past two seasons in developing the team.  They might not have won, but it was a strong effort from the guys in a game where emotions of Senior Day, Phil Fulmer Day and expectations of victory were staring them in the eye.

Here are a couple of notes:

 – the defense really stood tall in the first half, but I knew it was over when Tennessee scored on 4th down right before half.  With the ball inside the 5-yard line, Kentucky stopped Tennessee on first and second down before a VERY LATE flag on a third down signaled pass interference on David Jones and gave Tennessee a first down on the two.  But, again, the defense stood their ground, stopping Arian Foster three consecutive times before a fourth down run by Crompton gave them the TD.  That’s just UK luck against UT.

 – Poor David Jones.  Jones isn’t a bad player and he’s a very tough, smart player.  But, he looked pretty bad a couple of times yesterday.  The pass interference call and then just getting completely burned and appearing to give up on the TD pass to Denarius Moore basically put the nail in the coffin for the Cats, but it’s definitely not a reflection of the type of player that Jones is.  He’s made huge strides at DB since moving over from WR and hopefully he can have a solid bowl game so this isn’t his last impression on UK fans.

 – Something must have been wrong with my TV yesterday as it appeared Mike Hartline entered the game and completed an 18-yard pass on his first attempt.  Hartline finished 5/7 for 74 yards and loooked confident under center.  The most interesting thing to me, though, was that I’m pretty sure he hasn’t seen a single snap since his infamous “others aren’t performing” statement.  Rich Brooks’ decision to essentially end the QB rotation at around the same time Hartline made that comment made me assume that Hartline’s time here was done.  Now, maybe not.  You have to wonder what kind of turns the QB position is going to take this off-season.

 –  here is some post game audio of Rich Brooks (courtesy of John Clay)

Then, there was the basketball team coming out and winning the Las Vegas Invitational.  Kentucky wiped away those VMI scars by knocking off a team that will be in the tournament discussion (KSU) and a team that will be in the tournament (WVU) in a matter of two days.  Jodie Meeks showed the ability to score in bunches, but also get to the line when he’s not knocking down jumpers.  Patrick Patterson had two double-doubles and played nasty.  Josh Harrellson looked to be the physical presence that Perry Stevenson isn’t and Ramon Harris, Darius Miller, and even DeAndre Liggins looked to be maturing after refusing to enter the game Friday.  This was a big weekend for the basketball team moving forward this year.  The rotations are clearing up a bit and Gillispie seems to finally be getting comfortable with which players produce with each other. 

Again, I don’t want to dive too deep into basketball because Matt will be bringing his take later today, but there are a couple more thoughts below.  All in all, it was a great weekend for basketball and not completely awful on the football side of things.  We just have to make sure we keep the momentum going.

Article written by Thomas Beisner