CJ Conrad. The name alone is enough to get the BBN fired up, especially this season. The senior tightend has star potential, and it’s very likely he could find himself playing on Sundays in the coming years. But for now, No. 87 is struggling to even get his number called at Kentucky.
Against Tennessee, Conrad caught the ball just two times, both of which were huge receptions for the Wildcats. He may have only recorded two touches, but he finished with 39 yards – his catches were for 19 and 20 yards each. One resulted in Kentucky’s only touchdown of the night. But clearly, two touches weren’t enough to satisfy Conrad, and it certainly wasn’t enough to secure a Kentucky victory.
“It’s very frustrating, especially being one of the leaders on the offense,” Conrad said of the team’s performance against the Vols. “We don’t want to have the results we’ve been having… We’ve been trying extremely hard to find something that’s going to work for this offense.”
They haven’t found that yet. Although the Cats’ offense seemed to be clicking in the first half of the season, that hasn’t been the case lately.
For the third time in the past five games, Kentucky failed to reach 300 yards of offense. Last night, the Cats finished with 262 yards, which is actually impressive when you realize they had just 68 yards in the first half.
“We’re just really killing ourselves offensively right now,” Conrad said. “On offense, you need all 11 guys to be on the same page. All it takes is one guy [on a different page] and the play doesn’t work, and we’ve been having a lot of that lately.”
Last night marked the last time Kentucky’s seniors would ever compete in an regular season SEC game. The loss was a bitter way to end a season with some of the more-celebrated victories of the past decades, worsened by the fact these seniors have been through so much throughout their time as Wildcats. Conrad called the Tennessee defeat “obviously not the way [he] wanted to go out.”
“We’re going to have to have a meeting. I know some of the older guys are extremely frustrated right now, myself included, because this is our last go-around here and you don’t want to end it like it was tonight,” Conrad said after the game. “We’re going to have to pull it together, have a meeting Monday and address the team about what we need to do to not let this happen again. But you can only talk so much – we have to do it.”
They’ll have to do it, indeed. Middle Tennessee State should not be a formidable opponent, but Kentucky is in no position to overlook their competition at this point in the season. The Cats have plenty to work on in practice this week, and maybe it needs to start with figuring out how to get CJ Conrad more involved. The hopes of a 10-2 season are dead, but the idea of a special year is still very much alive. They just have to find a way to get there.