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A Quick Look at Impactful Numbers

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

This week will be packed with theory dealing with focus and motivation questions as well as other intangible discussions with intent to describe UK’s recent football struggles. Here’s a quick look at some numbers that provide perspective:

Tackles for Loss (TFL)

  • UK SEC Ranking: Kentucky ranks 14th and last in the conference by only creating 37 TFLs. Momentum is a loosely-used term. However, TFLs are momentum killers or boosters. The Cats have been on the wrong side of this number for the entire season.
  • Allowed: The Cats’ offense has surrendered 58 tackles for loss, good for 11th in the league.

Meaning: Offensively the Cats are getting whipped up front along with lack of a disruptive front seven. TFLs are drive killers and field position indicators.


  • UK SEC Ranking: Cats have sacked opposing quarterbacks 13 times, good/bad enough for 13th in the conference. I understand the “well, we lost Bud and Z” rhetoric. With Smith and Dupree, UK finished 9th in the league with 27 total sacks.
  • Allowed: 23 quarterback sacks is 11th in the SEC and has factored in drive-killing plays as well as leading to losing the field position battle.

Meaning: Defensive front seven aren’t pressuring opposing quarterbacks while Patrick Towles has all too often faced immediate defensive influence. Again, line of scrimmage under the magnifying glass. This can also be attributed to pass catcher’s drops and quarterback indecisiveness. Sacks are drive killers and field position indicators. Wash and repeat from above.

Run game

  • UK SEC Ranking: Cats average 135 rush yards per game, 13th in the SEC.
  • Allowed: Defensively, UK is giving up 195 yards on the ground per game, 12th in the conference.

Meaning: Line of scrimmage again and circumstance influence both rankings. UK isn’t creating space/run lanes as opponents are dictating outcome by dominating at the point of attack. Lack of 1st down effectiveness combined with tackles for loss consistently puts the Cats behind the chains. Thus, declining likelihood of 3rd down conversions. What follows 3rd down failures? Inconsistent punting. As you can see, Kentucky’s slide is circular, touching all three phases in its spiral.

Total offense

  • UK SEC Ranking: 12th, 364 yards per game.
  • Allowed: Defensively, the Cats are 11th with opponents averaging 411.9 yards per game

Meaning: Not getting it done on either side of the football, yet the discrepancy is only 47 yards. That number is not glaring, but a telling description of a downward offensive while opposing offenses have steadily trended upward.

What does all this mean?

Offensively: Inconsistent quarterback play, dropped passes and ineffective offensive line play have limited play calling options. UK has been predictable due to personnel, circumstance, and execution deficiencies. Instead of having the luxury to open up the playbook, pages have been folded due to the influence of sacks and tackles for loss.

Defensively: UK is not talented enough to read and read. Its only chance is to force the issue with exotic blitz packages and coverage. Problem is, by allowing close to 200 yards on the ground, opponents have dictated tempo instead of feeling pressured. Also, when a defense is forced to blitz, it opens up youthful liabilities in the secondary.

The sum of all three phases have contributed to Kentucky’s woes. Unproductive special teams play has negatively affected field position. First down ineffectiveness is limiting drives and point production. Lack of defensive pressure against both the pass and run has enabled the score to get out of hand in a hurry.

What can improve? 2015 personnel is what it is. There is no free agency in college football. Kentucky is not in the position to overwhelm by skill. It must dominate the intangibles. Kentucky must out-hustle, hit, care, and effort their opponents.

How can Kentucky turn it around?

Coming off a difficult stretch in schedule, UK’s final three games are deemed somewhat winnable. Go to Nashville, beat Vanderbilt and the narrative slightly alters with Charlotte making its initial voyage to Lexington on the following Saturday. However, given recent performance, the Cats are underdogs against Vanderbilt and most likely will also be in the Governor’s Cup.

Is there an instant fix? Yes, just win. A football season is to be judged from a twelve-week body of work. Ebbs and flows happen.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

15 Comments for A Quick Look at Impactful Numbers

  1. secrick
    4:53 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Not sure we can beat Vandy . I ‘m not sure what’s wrong with this team unless they are just not that good.

  2. bigblueforever
    5:04 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Great work putting those numbers. However, we know the “meaning” of the stats. 2015 personnel not there? Not what we’ve been told. Recruiting has been historical, at least that’s what we are told. For three years. Not seeing it on field. Rolled. ROLLED three games in row in the weakest SEC in my lifetime. Dogs to Vandy! Didn’t think we would be Alabama but we are still one of the two bottom feeders in SEC. Statistically. Wins. Losses.
    I’m gonna say the emperor has no clothes. Our coaching, top to bottom, is not good enough. I’ve watched UK since Freddie was there. Even before. This staff is incompetent. In so many ways. What would this team, with the talent that is there right now, do with a real coaching staff?
    This won’t change until and unless we get a competent OC, DC, special teams guy. And if Stoops can’t or won’t do that, he needs to go. I guarantee you can do better at 3.5 mil a year. 11 wins over three years! Insane

    • kyjohn
      9:29 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Great comment ,but you left out the youth and inexperience excuse that plays so prominent when discussing UK football.Of course UK has been on a youth and inexperienced movement since freshmen eligibility began.

  3. jman3715
    5:24 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Meaning…we suck again

    • Basteballer
      7:57 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Same as it ever was…

  4. BbnGroveStreet
    5:32 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I understand that KSR has to continue to follow football, I just think it’s time to stop with the 10 posts a’s basketball season! Let’s roll! Change it to 10 bball posts and 1 football’s just such a let down..

    • Long Dong Silver
      5:35 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      I agree. Especially when so many think there is nothing wrong on the football side.

    • whatwasthat
      5:55 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Basketball season doesn’t start until March, everyone knows this, regular season is a bore except for about 4 games. Football pays the bills and if you are not interested in football why are you girl sport lovers posting here.

    • BbnGroveStreet
      6:17 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Whatwasthat, are you really trying to hate on me when everyone in Kentucky knows that the basketball team is the main focus of all kentucky sports..and I would say that nearly 99 percent of the people who get on this site watch every basketball game and do not wait until March to watch not be ridiculous

    • whatwasthat
      7:30 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Couldn’t disagree more, Kentucky is a football state, many more attend Friday night lights than regular season high school basketball games. It’s just UK has not been very good in football, the fact is Kentucky produces many more D1 football talent than it does D1 basketball talent, see UK’s basketball roster. I didn’t see the exhibition game against K state but from news rump looked half-full, Kentucky is great at basketball, but I’m not staying up to watch them play Miss State or buffalo, but I will tune in for March madness. Everyone knows that Rupp arena lower sections are full of the well to do, good for them, that just go to be seen or they wouldn’t be sitting on their hands for two hours. More football post KSR especially, recruiting post.

    • whatwasthat
      7:51 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Point is, how many on here watched the Arkansas vs Ole Miss football game or the Alabama vs LSU game, a lot I bet. Now how many are going to watch those same schools in basketball, not many I bet. Some on here may watch UNC vs Puke in basketball but probably because they are closet Puke fans and/or rat face fans. Go cats in football and basketball, but it’s football season, so wh can’t we just give this group as much support as possible and hope that Stoops gets it turned around soon.

  5. tippytoe
    5:56 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    What does it all mean? There better be some staff changes next year:

    1.Fire Elliot and Stoops take over defense. Is that not why we hired him?
    2.New offensive and d line coaches
    3.Oh yeah, and hire a special teams coordinator! Even backwards hat guy now looks better and better-

    • whatwasthat
      7:16 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      I would be surprised if there were no changes in the staff, but anyone with football knowledge knows that we just don’t have the men in the trenches we need. Sadly finding and developing SEC lineman is not a overnight fix, and not a three year fix as well, considering the players available when Stoops took over.

  6. dano
    7:21 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Not sure if Freddie reads the fan posts, but I would like to know where the O & D rank in total plays on the field including yardage gained and given up.

  7. bbn84
    9:52 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    It’s tone at the top. Year 3 we are no better than Stoops first game. That’s a lot of money and 3 more years of losing to Florida and Tennessee when those programs have been at historic lows. It’s clear major change is needed or we are looking at more 2 SEC wins and 5-7 seasons