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7 Things I Need to See from Kentucky on Saturday

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

After two blowout losses, it’s been a little harder to get back on the Kentucky football horse this week. Last night, Drew Franklin gave you his reasons why Kentucky will beat Georgia in Athens on Saturday, and I commend his effort; if I didn’t have to drive back to Nashville and get on with life, I’d still be sitting in the Commonwealth Stadium press box, shaking my head at the Cats’ piss poor performance.

Right now, I’m not as much concerned with whether or not Kentucky will beat Georgia than I am seeing Kentucky pull itself together and look like a respectable football team. Here are few things that need to happen for that to happen.

Fewer missed tackles

One of the most frustrating things about watching Kentucky play in the past few games has been the number of missed tackles. It’s like we’ve been transported back in time two years. I realize there have been injuries on defense, mismatches, etc., but poor tackling is a fundamental issue. On his first touchdown run, Joshua Dobbs eluded so many Kentucky defenders he might as well have been covered with butter:

To what do you attribute missed tackles? Poor fundamentals, poor effort, or mismatches? I’m no football expert, so I asked Freddie Maggard, who said Mississippi State and Tennessee were two of the best offensive teams in the SEC, and as such, have better talent; however, whatever talent gap there is between Kentucky and other programs can be narrowed with intensity and drive. There seems to be a lack of both those things across the board lately.

Patrick Towles getting more than three seconds to throw the ball

Complain about Patrick Towles all you want, but no quarterback, not even Drew Barker, can succeed without a decent offensive line. Tennessee and Mississippi State manhandled Kentucky’s offensive line, giving Patrick very little time to do much of anything. Fortunately, Patrick’s pretty good at scrambling, but after watching the tape, on average, he only had about three or four seconds to get rid of the ball before the opponent was in his face. Coming into this season, there was confidence Kentucky’s offensive line would be much improved; coming into game nine, they’ve given up an SEC-worst 22 sacks.

Again, there’s not much you can do about the talent on the line until a new recruiting class comes in, and UK’s offensive line face another athletic SEC defensive line in Georgia. Hopefully, Jordan Swindle, Nick Haynes, Jon Toth, Ramsey Meyers, and Kyle Meadows can hold it together so the offense can get off the ground.

Better accuracy

Patrick’s been especially inaccurate the past two games, completing 55% of his passes vs. Mississippi State and only 48% against Tennessee. A good part of that can be blamed on his offensive line not giving him enough time; however, even on some of throws he’s had time to make he’s been off. Through eight games, Patrick’s thrown ten interceptions, more than he did all of last season. Looking back, I’d say maybe half of those were his fault, the most recent being a hurried screen pass vs. Tennessee that would have been a pick six had Patrick not pushed the guy out of bounds.

Again, hard to make good decisions when you have very little time.

Receivers hanging on to the ball

Of course, it hasn’t helped matters much that whenever Patrick does get the ball to his receivers, they have bad habit of dropping them. Even the most consistent receiver in the corps, Garrett Johnson, dropped a few against Tennessee.

More CJ Conrad

The freshman tight end scored his first touchdown as a Wildcat against Missouri, and ever since, the UK fan base has been like Christopher Walken begging Will Ferrell for more cowbell, except, you know, Conrad. Conrad has 13 catches for 139 yards this season, good enough for fifth on the team in receiving, but he’s quickly become one of the most reliable targets. Yet, he only got the ball thrown his way once against Tennessee? Shannon Dawson, this offense has gotta have more Conrad!

A sign of life on special teams

Last week’s game was not one to remember from a special teams standpoint. Tennessee scored on both kickoff and punt returns, both cringe-worthy moments that underscored Kentucky’s issues with tackling. On the other side, Kentucky hasn’t showed much pizzazz in its return game. Remember when we predicted Sihiem King would run one back? Me too. It was a long time ago and we’re still waiting.

Thankfully, Austin MacGinnis is back and getting balls through the end zone. Landon Foster’s still inconsistent, but had some good punts against the Vols. Unfortunately, right now, special teams seems to be working against the Cats instead of for them.

Competitiveness

Saturday’s game is looking more and more like the Battle of the Dysfunctional, with both Georgia and Kentucky coming into the game with baggage, more the former than the latter. I don’t really care about any of that. If Kentucky ends up winning because Georgia’s turned into a dumpster fire, that’s great, but I’m tired of hoping for other teams to screw up enough for us to win.

More than anything, I want Kentucky to show some competitive fire on Saturday. Georgia hasn’t scored a touchdown in ten quarters, but say they get their act together (as teams so often do against the Cats) and go up by a few scores. For the love of the new Commonwealth Stadium and $45 million practice facility, do not panic, Kentucky. There’s still a lot to fight for this season. Don’t become the shruggy little emoticon and throw in the towel; if you do, it makes it that much easier for fans to do the same.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

17 Comments for 7 Things I Need to See from Kentucky on Saturday



  1. Ron Jarboe
    9:07 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

    AT LEAST 4 seconds to throw the ball? Do you even know what you are talking about lady? If Towels cannot find a receiver or his checkdown in 4 seconds then thats his problem. The O-line is a issue no doubt, but I have yet to seem Towels climb a pocket properly this year. Same story as last year….as soon as he sees the rush in his periphery he panics and gets happy feet and takes off (sometimes into the pressure.) Kid doesn’t know how to slide in a pocket…….also Towels may be the only QB in history that half of his interceptions are not his fault (according to tyler thompson). It isn’t like his ints are bobbled balls….they are bad misses (usually high….i.e. florida game opening drive) or way behind the receiver (i.e. auburn game)… I love the comment “it would have been a pick 6 if patrick didn’t push him out of bounds”…….thats the least he could have done after he threw it directly to the UT player on his own 20 yard line on A SCREEN PASS!!!!!!! I have a idea…..why don’t you go make Patrick Towels a sandwich and just give up covering football.



    • inside info2
      10:15 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

      i think her point was he has never had MORE than 3 or 4 seconds to throw the ball. some of our opponents have had all day. very rarely, if ever this season has Towels had all day to make a throw.

      not that it would matter because Towels is not an SEC level QB. but the O line is not helping him at all.



    • Mc12
      11:26 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

      4 seconds really isn’t too bad in this system. If he can hit quick hitters accurately, and get through to his second progression quicker the offense should work. His completion percentage is extremely low in this system. If they’re worried about the pass rush, run more draw plays, screens-both wr and rb, and set up double moves off the quick hitters. AND oh yeah, watch some Bengals game tape. You have a qb like Dalton who is notorious for 1-2-3 throw to his first option that struggled when good dbs jumped his rotes. Now they’re using a tight end in Eifert using the seams. This keeps linebackers on their heels, which in turn will allow quick hitting slants to have more space as well as the running game. I guess my point is to use the middle of the field, and when Towles does scramble l, stop tucking it so soon losing the ability to throw if someone gets free.



    • Le Docteur
      8:15 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

      I read this piece as saying “I guess if our OL doesn’t give Prince Towles enough protection, we’ll lose.” UK isn’t the first football team to struggle with pass protection. One thing a reasonable football fan “needs to see” is some creativity on offense to minimize and eliminate the need to have 2 or 3 seconds of protection. Quick passes; dink and dunk; quick dumps in space to the RB’s. Making the reasonable assumption that Shannon Dawson is a bright football mind, it’s fair to say he’s already thought of that. So why doesn’t he do more of it? Hmmm. Maybe because those sorts of passes require a quick release and accurate passing? Hmmm. So, this statement “no quarterback, not even Drew Barker, can succeed without a decent offensive line” is rubbish. Everyone acts like we had a bunch of future NFL All Pros on the OL under the Hal Mumme regime. Uh, we didn’t. And we still succeeded on offense. I don’t know whether it’s Drew Barker, but “One Thing I Need to See” is a QB who can quickly and accurately pass so as to help the offense move the ball notwithstanding the problem our OL has in maintaining protection for long periods of time. “We suck if Towles doesn’t get 4 seconds.” I realize that even Rick Pitino needs 15 seconds to get one off but in football 4 seconds is more time than you need.



  2. bigbluetrue
    9:20 pm November 5, 2015 Permalink

    Would love to see the offensive line get it turned around but it isn’t going to happen at Georgia.



  3. Angelo
    12:11 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are!



    • BigBlue2U
      8:26 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

      This comment wins the internet today! Hahahahaha. Someone should put together a montage of Towles and his terrible decision making with that song playing in the background. Last scene is when Towles said earlier this year on the Finebaum show that his eyes were set on getting to Atlanta.



  4. chris47601
    12:17 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    What the funk?

    More than 4 seconds? What are you talking about? The best in the NFL get 3 – 3.5 seconds to throw the ball on average.

    The SEC is supposedly NFL-LIGHT right? Well, if he gets more than 4 seconds to throw the football then he’s playing some Eastern Kentucky High School football teams.

    Wow.



    • BigBlue2U
      8:28 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

      Most halfway intelligent football fans stopped reading when TT said “at least 4 seconds.” That’s preposterous. I don’t have 4 seconds to throw playing Madden!



  5. Angelo
    2:00 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    When is our next basketball game and on what channel? Ok I can look it up myself…



  6. StevieGotLoose
    8:26 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    I agree, 4 seconds is an eternity in the NFL. I think Tom Brady averages about 2 seconds before he lets it go. If Towles is such an elite NFL prospect, he should be able to manage a little better than he is doing. I have said from the beginning that he does not have any pocket presence. He never steps up into the pocket, he bails out left or right. He is also too slow in his thought process/progressions or else he just can’t read a defense.



    • uk-blue
      12:26 pm November 6, 2015 Permalink

      I hate to break it to you, but Towles is nowhere near an elite NFL prospect. In fact I’m pretty positive the kid won’t even make the league. Not saying he is a terrible QB, but the attributes you need to make it in the league are not the ones he has.



  7. symphonist41169
    8:36 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    3 seconds, 5 seconds, blah blah blah. How about having some damned PRIDE in yourself? Instead of yukking it up with your sycophant buddies when you make a horrible pass how about being as PISSED OFF with yourself as the fans are?? If Towles worried more about his performance as an SEC quarterback than about how good his hair flows and realized that there are some things in life that must be EARNED rather than handed to us on a silver platter maybe his performance would man up.



  8. Stives
    8:56 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    No one cares about football anymore. Basketball is here…



    • satcheluk
      9:19 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

      Actually, many of us don’t really care to think about basketball until after the last football game. Feel free to skip the football articles.



  9. Pot Calling The Kettle Black
    9:48 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    WOW! Pretty funny how the post is now updated to say “getting more than THREE seconds” now….



  10. Poppschmidty
    10:29 am November 6, 2015 Permalink

    The comment asses are out in full effect today! A lot of us still care about football and want to see the team do better, but it’s a building process and this is only year 3. Give it time! Towles is not an elite QB; we all know this by now. I am glad I haven’t seen him wink to the sideline in a few weeks though.