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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 8 Rules for a Good UK Football Program

I remember back in the beginning of the Joker Phillips era, I put a post on KSR talking about the ways that Kentucky football can be successful both on the field and with the fanbase.  I came up with 8 rules and was looking at them again.  And amazingly, I feel like these 8 are still a good barometer of what can make a successful program.  So below I list my 8 rules for a good UK football program, and how it can work under Mark Stoops now:

1.  Pass the Football
-Call this the Hal Mumme effect, but even before Mumme and his Air Raid offense, Cats fans grumbled loudly about the poorly run option attack of Bill Curry.  And since Mumme left, Cats fans have at least been presented with offenses that are semi-pass happy.  Now Mark Stoops and Neal Brown appear to want to install an offense that is more geared for the pass.  In the WKU game, there were 31 pass plays compared to 28.  Of course, this team might not necessarily have the skill people for tons of passing.  Nonetheless, it seems a good passing attack can often be the equalizer for the less powerful BCS schools.  Plus, the higher profile recruits want to see the pass.

2.  Make a Bowl Game
-At the end of the day, as long as Kentucky makes it to a bowl game, Cats fans will be satisfied.  Sure, many would like to go to better bowls than the Music City or BBVA-NAFTA Bowl, but I also think they are realistic enough to recognize the limitations of the program in the SEC, and be happy in going to a bowl every year.  This has been a change from the early 2000′s, when a bowl every 2 or 3 years was acceptable.  Rich Brooks changed that attitude to where a bowl is a must to keep fans happy.  Certainly a bowl game seems unlikely this year.  BUT, I would say UK fans would like to sniff one next year, and by Year 3 be in a bowl every year.

3.  Beat Vanderbilt (or Missouri)
-You might be able to substitute Missouri in for Vanderbilt in the near future.  Often times, beating the Mississippi schools determine just how good a season UK will have.  On a national scale though, college football fans think of Kentucky and Vanderbilt as the bottom feeders of the SEC.  At an SEC level, we think of ourselves as better than Vanderbilt.  We haven’t played that way over the last few years, but I still think most fans think Vandy is beatable.

4.  No Blowout Losses
-Kentucky football fans don’t care about winning as much as they care about not losing big.  Just don’t embarrass us on the field.  We don’t want to be the butt of jokes, from UL fans or others in the south.  Kentucky usually has enough talent on the field, especially in the last 5 years, to where even the elite programs like Florida and LSU should not beat the Cats by more than 14 points.  But when you lose to LSU 49-0 or Florida 63-5, fans begin to lose interest and grumble.

5.  Make Season Progress
-Kentucky fans, like all fanbases, want to see improvement on a game by game basis.  Not only in the play of the athletes, but also in the gameplan of the coaches.  Plus, if fans see progress as the year moves along, it gives them some optimism for the next season.  Hence why there was such a malaise under Joker Phillips.  He never seemed to have the team moving in the right direction at the end of the season.  Mark Stoops needs to have the team playing better in Game 10 as it was in Game 2.

6.  Beat UL in In-State Recruiting
-Thanks to Steve Kragthorpe and his ineptness, Kentucky had dominated the top talent in the state of Kentucky for a few years.  But Charlie Strong has tried to turn the tide on that.  Because there is limited top talent in the state on a yearly basis, generally every top player in the state has UK and UL on their list, leading to many battles.  And as we all know, we have to beat Louisville in everything and everybody.

7.  Avoid “Stupid” Plays
-On defense, it is missed tackles and blown assignments.  On offense, its dropped passes and false starts.  For whatever reason, and maybe this is just a myth, but it feels like Kentucky does this more often than most teams, especially on defense.  And it drives fans nuts.  There is no way there is an SEC team that has missed more tackles in the past 15 years than Kentucky.  So, when Rich Brooks attempted, and succeeded to an extent, in removing many of the stupid plays from his teams, I think fans really respected that.

8.  Use the Players Correctly
-Using Tim Couch in the option.  Letting Randall Cobb only touch the ball 10 times a game.  These are examples of when players were either poorly used or never given an opportunity.  And let’s be honest, fans don’t always know what is best.  But it was quite obvious Cobb needed to touch it more.  And Couch shouldn’t run the option.  And Defender X shouldn’t be playing corner.  And so on and so on.  If the players are misused, especially at Kentucky where we don’t always have a roster full of 5-stars, fans will turn quick.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

22 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 8 Rules for a Good UK Football Program

  1. beavis606
    9:15 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Until they actually win a game, can we talk about something else?

  2. UKBlue1!
    9:21 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    You can add another to #6 Recruit Ohio and Florida. UK has not done this in the past. It appears that this staff is doing it.

  3. Big Blue Coming At You
    9:24 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    This is the same loser mentality that has plagued this program for decades and why many fans abandoned ship last year. We’re not wanting to just make a bowl game. If we did, we would have just gotten another coach past his prime that would have plateaued at 2 SEC wins a year. We’re wanting to compete in the SEC and it can be done. It’s going to be a few years of great recruiting until we can get there. For now, we’re going to suck. You can’t build a winning football program in one off-season. Stop with the over-reactions to losing to WKU and move on. Stoops doesn’t have much to work with right now.

  4. Add to #8: not letting Randall Cobb touch the ball when we’re inside the Miss. St 5 at the end of the game with a chance to win.

  5. Dick Johnson
    9:30 am September 5, 2013 Permalink


  6. Bobby P
    9:34 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    What do John Ritter and UK football have in common?

  7. Bobby P
    9:36 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    They both peaked in the 70’s and are gone now.

  8. SeaCat
    9:38 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Stoops/ Brown blew the game with
    their QB choice.

  9. Kristen Geil's Abs
    9:47 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Joker lost this game for us, and many more this season.

  10. JP
    10:09 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    How about decide you want to compete for SEC championships and not just a bowl game? Then stop making excuses and commit to whatever it takes to get there. I absolutely hate this loser mentality.

  11. Pfunk
    10:22 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    This list is awful and part of the problem. Sorry but UK football fans aren’t satisfied with 6-6 bowl games. We’ll take one this year but we won’t be satisfied until we are playing with and beating teams like SC, UF, LSU, GA, UT on a more regular basis.

    We aren’t satisfied with ‘not getting blown out’. Sounds like a list a UK basketball fan would put out; they’d rather lose 52-48 than win 3-2 cause they want basketball on grass.

  12. theWilkman
    10:49 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Some solid points by the commenters. I disagree that this list from the Joker-era still applies. When we hired Stoops and his recruiting prowess, we set our sights on the SEC East title. Of course that won’t happen in years 1-3, but that should be the desire of any true football fan. Goals like “Not getting blown out” and “Beating Vandy” keep us in the bottom-dweller mindset.

    And SeaCat, if you think the QB choice is what lost us that game, I’m not sure you paid much attention. An inept defense with absolutely no pass rush and terrible performance by the offense on first down are what lost that game.

  13. Lazy, Stupid Post
    10:57 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    This is a loser’s list. It may have been a good list before Stoops but it is trash now. Crappy posts like this explain why you are a perpetual intern.

  14. kadizkat
    11:00 am September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Curry using Couch as an option QB v. Joker not letting Cobb have the ball in crucial situatons. Worse one of these two?

  15. Free hot air for UK fans
    12:24 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Use the players correctly.Not happening.
    UK not playing their best players.
    Playing Stoops freshman above everyone else.
    Why, because he recruited them, no other reason.
    The freshman got blown out last week. Boring and big time mistakes that cost the game.
    UK will win this weekend.
    Then prepare for blunder after blunder against Louisville, Florida, SC, and Alabama.
    Who wants to hear week after week, we are getting better.
    WKU destroyed your freshman.
    Defense was horrible and offense was nothing except for the running game (non Stoops players).

  16. jpg
    12:26 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    I am like some on here, in that I think this list has the feelings of a ‘loser mentality’. This post should not be even written, for it seems like a knee jerk reaction to a single game (like some of our unreasonable fans this past weekend).

    This staff was not hired to just go through the motions. UK is not putting +110 million into our facilities to just be average. Just like we will tell those bandwagon fans that jumped on during Stoops early successes, ‘Stoops is trying to build a contender not a pretender. Everyone knows this year is a building year, but some just do not want to accept it’ Just like those fans that wanted Bobby Petrino and his bag of lies. People are not willing to wait for things anymore.

  17. jpg
    12:32 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    15, Charlie Strong lost to FIU and Marshal in his 2nd year. Go make some noise about that.

    Stoops is playing his freshmen because not only do they have more talent then most of his experienced, but they also have not been tainted by the under-developing previous staff.

    Oh, and freshmen will get beat by more experienced players, especially if those players had a coach that actually developed them (Willie Taggert).

    One other thing, Stoops does not sugar coat anything. This is not the previous staff. Go read some Cardchronicle or something.

  18. blueblooded
    12:43 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    #7 is the biggest one on my list. I’ve watched UK football since the ’80’s, but that is the one thing that amazes me. UK has always missed more easy tackles and has had more stupid penalties than any college, high school, or even middle school team I’ve ever watched. It’s pure discipline and I whole heartedly agree that the only time I ever saw it change was under Brooks. Sadly, it reverted back under Joker and I hope last weekend was just because of the first game, but it looked like more of the same.

  19. UK Freshmen
    3:07 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Hahahahaha. Have to beat UofL in everything. Hahahahaha.

  20. Edited: #1 UK must be able to run the football AND play defense.
    6:01 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    In the past 15 years, UK has had success when it could run the football. Yes you have to pass, but your #1 rule should be running. Thats why when all those “Air Raid” attacks that teams from other conferences run, (with better athletes than UK), go up against SEC teams, they get ran off the field. They avg 50 pts a game in there weak ass conferences, then core 10 against mediocre sec teams. As far as defense, well when you give up 45-60 points to teams, it doesnt matter how much you throw the ball, we can’t score like that on Today’s Sec defenses that figured out the Air Raid 15 years ago, and why not 1 team runs it in the SEC. DEFENSE! Look it up!! Do people that write for this site even watch football? And yea, we all played football in high school so you get no credit there.

  21. Beat UL in recruiting
    6:02 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Better hope we beat UL in recruiting, cause we aint beating them on the field!

  22. Go Big Blue
    9:25 pm September 5, 2013 Permalink

    Agree…. Total loser list. #15 is correct. I hope we can take advantage of some of the experienced full scholarship players on the team now and start trying to win games. Any freshman that prefers PT over the W has a freshman mentality and needs to sit.

    I think you could add play defense based on WKU game.