Did the Cats overlook Eastern Kentucky? No. I always found that statement to be a bad excuse. How can an entire team with a short 12 game schedule overlook an entire game, easy win or not? However, I believe there is also a difference between overlook and underestimate.
Did the Cats underestimate Eastern Kentucky? Completely. Eastern Kentucky sounds like a weak opponent based on name alone. That’s where the underestimation comes from. However, with transfers from UK, Ohio State, Kansas State, Cincinnati and more the talent really starts to stack up.
“We talked all week about handling success the right way. If you want me to be completely honest with you, I think we’re a really young team, and I think our immaturity kind of popped its head up tonight.” — Shannon Dawson to Vaught’s Views.
I would have to agree with Shannon Dawson on that front. Immaturity can explain a lot. Kentucky hasn’t been a successful team in years, so obviously no one on the team knows what it is like. The players got a taste for success last week after the Cats took down a ranked team and obviously did not know how to handle it properly. It went straight to their heads and that was obvious by all the winking Towles was doing on the field. For the record, I have always been 100% team Towles, but I think a lot of us were annoyed by that.
Looking back at the first five games, it’s obvious the Cats can play. They have the physical part of the game down, but not the mental. But maybe that will come with age.
The Cats also had no seniors starting on offense for the first time since 1993, according to UK. As an adult, it’s hard to be mad and tell 20 year old kids they need to be mature. I know I wasn’t at that age.
The good news is, there is NO WAY the Cats underestimate any other team this season. That includes the match up vs. Charlotte late this season. In a way maybe the Eastern game needed to go the way it did to put the Cats back into the right mindset to focus on what is important this year. A winning season.