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Despite Loss, ‘Cats Gave Recruits Reason To Believe


With upwards of 100 recruits expected to be attending the UK-UofL game earlier today, Mark Stoops and his staff had obviously had this game circled as one that would highlight all the positive things the UK Football program has to offer. I don’t blame him for that. In front of a packed house at Commonwealth Stadium, the Wildcats showed something that had departed the program for the last couple of seasons: hope. No they didn’t win the game, but that’s not the only thing that matters.

What the recruits did see was a team that showed life against a Top-10 ranked opponent. They saw the way the Kentucky defense rallied throughout the majority to keep their team in the game. They saw a coaching staff capable of drawing up a solid gameplan that frustrated the QB that some consider to be the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft for a good chunk of the game. They saw the Kentucky fan base in all its glory, from the tailgate, to the Cat Walk, to the intensity in the stadium. With a large contingent of UK’s 2014 recruiting class also at the game, they got a glimpse of the “family atmosphere” that Stoops and Co. have worked hard to foster between the current and incoming players.

More importantly though, they definitely saw opportunity. UK’s leading rusher and leading receiver were both freshman, a strong message of “If you’re good enough, you WILL play”. They saw the areas where the Wildcats need help, particularly when it comes to catching the ball. They saw the Wildcat defense get wore down in the 2nd half, but that it wasn’t for a lack of trying, instead a lack of depth that they will be invited to fill. Watching the Kentucky defense in the first half, you could see why Mark Stoops has been heralded as a great defensive coach. The same team that was gashed on the ground and through the air by Western Kentucky 2 weeks earlier was suddenly filling gaps properly, getting off blocks quicker, and making tackles on the initial contact. That’s coaching. 

Yes, a win over the Cardinals today would’ve been a monumental leap forward for the program, but a loss doesn’t make it a leap backwards either. In defeat, Kentucky showed flashes of the skills that are necessary to elevate the program out of the cellars of the toughest conference in football, something that could rarely be stated last season, if at all. With all that being said, the Wildcats will need to bring that same intensity throughout the rest of the season to continue the momentum the program has gained in the last 9 months, and with 3 Top 25 teams up on the schedule over the next month, they will have plenty of opportunities to showcase it to the world. Don’t get hung up on the final results, because the full production of UK’s recruiting pitch was on display today, right down to the black jerseys. 

Article written by Will Totten

Born in Indiana and raised in Louisville, I am the unlikeliest UK fan.

19 Comments for Despite Loss, ‘Cats Gave Recruits Reason To Believe

  1. ribin
    8:55 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    Like many, I don’t like the loss but am so proud and happy to see improvement game to game along with a group of young men who are ‘competing’.. We’ve lacked that over the past couple of years — proud of the kids who’ve hung in there – shows what heart and desire they have that has been brought out by a different coaching staff.

  2. RandyB
    9:07 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    Has anybody seen any feedback from any of the recruits? Tweets?
    They had to be encouraged, as many of us were, that the Freshman
    are getting to play significant roles, and they could, too.
    Stoops needs to play his Troops even more!

  3. Will Totten
    9:10 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    2. They did account for 74% of the offensive production today, so there’s not really much more that they can do

  4. Willie, you GOTTA use the moniker “Willie ‘Satellite’ Totten”!!! 🙂

  5. Oh, and go Cats! I’m not in to moral victories, but the future looks bright!

  6. Petey
    9:24 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    Nice article

    Go Cards!

  7. Will Totten
    9:25 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    4. HAHA thats funny you say that, I played QB for my intramural team at UofL and I had the name “SATELLITE” on the back of my jersey. Nobody got it which made it even better

  8. Cats47
    9:30 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    FIRE STOOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FIRE STOOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FIRE STOOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FIRE STOOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FIRE STOOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FIRE STOOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Will, you went to UL??? Sorry if I should have known that, but I don’t get a chance to read the site every day.

  10. UKats1996
    9:48 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    Besides the great play by the freshies and much improved D play, another thing to be optimistic about is that a lot of Cards were brought back to reality. I’ve talked to some and they now realize that they are not even close to a NC team.

  11. Rob
    9:49 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    #8 You’re already wanting Stoops fired?? oh nevermind i know why, you’re a looserville fan and you seen a glimpse of the futrue, while it’s looking bright for UK, UL not so much….Your #7 team just got by beating a down, and rebuilding UK team..hahahaha..Sucks to be a Cards fan for the future while Stoops is building a dynasty in Lexington….Go Cats…

  12. And for those of you too young to remember who “Satellite” was, he was the college QB who threw for like 800 yards a game to Jerry Rice.

  13. Fill it Up
    10:05 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    There were 7,000 empty seats for a home game against our biggest rival. UL brought close to 8K fans. The players did their job, the fans did not.

  14. JJ
    10:36 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    #13 – The fans have had 30 years of smoke and mirrors from the UK athletics department regarding UK Football. The cause of a lack of butts in the seats remains squarely on Mitch’s shoulders. Mitch has made great strides to make amends, but there still may be a bad taste in the mouths of some of the fan base and I don’t really blame them. It’s certainly not the fault of Stoops or Brown, it’s just that they’re honeymooning in a relationship filled with decades of alienation of affection from the athletics department toward the long suffering UK football fan.

  15. UKBlue
    10:57 pm September 14, 2013 Permalink

    I thought the crowd was great! The stadium was full for the most part. Its gonna take a year or so for the seats to fill completely up.

  16. Rixter
    12:21 am September 15, 2013 Permalink

    Cats have to feel good about themselves (overall) after this game.

    Louisville has to feel pretty bad.

    And that makes me giddy

  17. Louisville
    8:54 am September 15, 2013 Permalink

    Oh I don’t feel bad…we did not play our best and still beat you by 14… Moral victory my ass lol ky sucks. I think you are allowed to have a bad game especially if you still win…..1-10

  18. bob
    5:03 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    #16…really same outcome as last year. We won by 18 last year and 14 this year. with homefield advantage this year for UK about even with last year. So, why would UK feel better?

  19. bob
    5:07 pm September 15, 2013 Permalink

    #11 Stoops building a dynasty…so was Curry,Mumme, Morris, Brooks, Phillips…..and you guys keep drinking the Blue Kool Aid….