We spent much of Monday evening watching the Dolphins defense chase New England’s receivers all over the field, so it’s only appropriate that we dedicate Tuesday’s News and Views to Yeremiah Bell. Bell is the starting safety and first-year captain for the Dolphins, but he’s more than that to all of us back in the Bluegrass State; he’s one of us and he’s living the dream. Yeremiah Bell was born in Winchester, Kentucky where he was a three-year letterman at George Rogers Clark High School. But unlike most NFL pros, Bell didn’t move on to a successful NCAA career right away after high school. No, Yeremiah Bell worked in a Kentucky steel mill for $8 an hour. He did that for two years before trying out for the football team at Eastern Kentucky. Bell would make the team and eventually earn a scholarship, along with an OVC Defensive Player of the Year Award and Associated Press All-American honors in 2001. He was drafted by the Dolphins in 2003 and spent the last eight years in Miami, starting at safety over the last three seasons. I’m sure that pays a little bit more than the steel mill. Steel mills don’t come with News and Views, either.
To a football edition of the Tuesday News and Views…
— Joker held his usual Monday lunchtime press conference with the media. This week’s edition featured more confidence in Newton, unfortunate injury news for the o-line, and a whole lot of praise for Josh Clemons. Clemons and Stuart Hines were also on hand for the media and our KSR student intern took some video of those guys that you can find on the South end of this post. I’ll hit the main points from the presser right now…
— Joker said the offense will look to get Morgan Newton on the run some more. They’ll spread things out with the shotgun formation in order to do so. He said Morgan is a lot faster than he looks, and he is big, physical runner, especially when he gets into the secondary. Louisville likes to stack the box and make team’s throw, so Newton will have to consistently hit guys (and they’ll have to catch it) to open up the defense to create room to run.
— There are a few changes as far as who will be catching Newton’s consistently thrown balls on Saturday. Brian Adams, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, was bumped ahead of Matt Roark on the depth chart. Roark is listed behind Adams in a spot he’ll be sharing with Aaron Boyd. LaRod King will start in front of E.J. Fields and Gene McCaskill will start in front of DeMarco Robinson at the other receiver spots. At tight end, Tyler Robinson gets the nod over Jordan Aumiller, who started in the first two games this season.
— In the backfield, look for more friendly competition between Raymond Sanders and Josh Clemons. Sanders will start at tailback but Clemons will get just as many, if not more carries throughout the game. Joker said he didn’t even realize Clemons was as fast as he looked against Central Michigan, and he complimented the freshman for being the only back who shows up every day.
— Speaking of the young ball carrier, Clemons was named Co-SEC Freshman of the Week for his 126-yard performance against the Chippewas. Get used to this award coming in, especially once the offensive line gets rolling.
— In order for the o-line to reach its potential, a couple guys need to get healthy. Starting center Matt Smith has still not taken a snap this season and he won’t practice on Tuesday. Joker said Smith has been dealing with personal problems off the field and that has kept him from working on getting back out there. Billy Joe Murphy will also sit out of Tuesday’s practice to rest that knee he injured against Western Kentucky. The backups have played well in place of these two, but Smith and Murphy are two veteran guys Kentucky needs out there on the field. They’re both questionable for the game Saturday.
— On the other side of the rivalry, Charlie Strong is either playing mind games with us or he isn’t very confident in his Cardinals. “We’re going to go face a team now that is a very good football team,” he said. “I don’t know if we can beat Kentucky right now.” Obviously, Charlie Strong hasn’t been watching the same Kentucky team I have. But, then again, the Cardinals suck pretty bad right now and I’m not just saying that in our usual “Louisville Sucks” way. They really do.
— Next season Kentucky may have to play a team that does not suck. Texas A&M’s official move to the SEC was all but confirmed on Monday when SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said the conference is working on a 13-team schedule for next season. Slive added that the SEC has no immediate plans to add a 14th team and the conference isn’t thinking in even numbers. A&M was added because it is attractive as an institution. Slive had this to say at a speaking engagement in Birmingham: “As I said over the past year or so, the SEC has had no particular interest in expansion. We were, and are, happy with 12 teams. If Texas A&M’s President, Dr. Bowen Loftin had not called me in late July, we had no plans to explore adding an institution.”
— The time and channel(s) for the September 24th game against Florida were announced on Monday. The Cats and Gators will play at 7:00 PM on either ESPN or ESPN 2. The primetime slot on ESPN has become the regular spot for this game over the past few years, which isn’t good for UK as they always catch a beat down in front of the entire country. This is the week when many of the SEC’s powerhouse teams are playing cupcake games so Kentucky vs. Florida is one of the best options for ESPN. Maybe one year the Cats will actually compete in this game instead of getting blown out on national television. Maybe that one year is this year. Maybe.
— One person who will be watching that September 24th game on ESPN is Dee Finley. Florida’s sophomore linebacker was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with driving with a suspended license and resisting a campus officer with violence. The best part? Finley was on a scooter. The officer pulled him over when he rode around a barricade on campus and Finley tried to take off when he was asked for license and registration. The report says the officer stopped him by “grabbing his left wrist” and then drawing his taser when Finley pulled his arm back away. To make this story even funnier than it already is, I’m going to say the officer was on a segway. Wearing a helmet. Doesn’t this sound more like a Tennessee arrest?
— Is there a better way to kick off #LouisvilleHateWeek than a Wesley Woodyard and Michael Bush matchup on Monday Night Football? Yeah, I’m sure there is, but it’s still fun to watch. Woodyard seems to be involved in a shoving match with the Raiders after every play. I love his intensity and it doesn’t get old seeing him out there playing well in the NFL. #BBN
— Jaws said a bad word in the first Monday Football Game. It shouldn’t be a big deal but it is. There will probably be lots of bad words in Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
— The NFL has a Super Bowl, NCAA basketball has a Final Four, the PGA has The Masters, and KSR has Louisville Hate Day – and it’s this Thursday. Mark your calendars, folks. I don’t plan on sleeping until Friday afternoon.
That’s all for now. Hurry to the comments section to complain about the lack of basketball news. As always, Matt Jones and Mark Krebs will be on Talk Radio 1080 AM at 10:00 AM.
These videos from Rashawn Franklin should hold you over until then. Go Cats.