Never in my life have I been more disgusted with the Kentucky football team. I’ve seen awfulness from the program before, but that’s because I knew they were terrible and lacked talent. What makes this year’s season finale performance sickening (I thought I might puke in the press box in the 3rd quarter) is that this team has talent, but they lack execution, direction and development.
I’ve tried dressing this thing up throughout the year, but all I can do now to cope with the loss is make a long list of the disasters that made today’s Governor’s Cup a dumpster fire. It may not be cohesive or carry a common theme because I’m pissed off and frankly I don’t give a damn.
Getting Spotted 21 Points isn’t Enough
For the second year in a row, our rival has handed us 21 points to start the game. I’ll grant you, the first offensive drive was pretty good. I just can’t get over the fact that the script was similar to last year: go up 21, they put in their backup QB, Kentucky loses. At least last year’s team showed more fight down the stretch, displaying a mental toughness this team did not have.
What can the Offense do Without Boom?
There’s some things you can’t just can’t plan. UK had the upper hand in the running backs department, but they were all hurt at some point. Jojo for a big chunk of the first half, Mikel’s hand was crushed on the fumble (so much so the media relations staff asked us not to shake his hand after the game) and Boom Williams was lost for the game. With receivers dropping passes in the rain, there was virtually no shot at a big play of any kind without Boom.
I tried to hold on to my hope for a win, but that quickly vanished after halftime.
Kentucky’s 3rd Quarter of Offense
11 offensive plays will get you nowhere fast.
UK Will Never Learn How to Defend the Read Option
Defensive football is more complex now than it ever has been, but it’s astounding to see the lack of fundamentals displayed by Kentucky’s defense. In its most basic form, defense is about gap responsibility. Each hole is covered by a defender. Defensive ends are responsible for outside containment. Playing against option teams should be the most fun for defensive ends because you know what their job is? Hit the quarterback. Every single play. Is Lamar Jackson an elite athlete? Yes, but he’s not a good thrower. The ends didn’t force him to do anything out of the ordinary, they stayed at home and were too hesitant to lay a lick on him. I know that offense can create big plays with an elite athlete, but I don’t understand how high schools can figure out how to defend it but Kentucky can’t. Until proven otherwise, I’ve lost all hope that they ever will be able to defend the read option.
Bobby Petrino Did this After the Game
– Kent Spencer (@WHAS11Kent) November 28, 2015
Second Half Passing
In Drew Barker’s career as a starting quarterback, he’s had -1 passing yards in the second half of play. His second half stat line: 1-14 for -1 yards.
Two Stats You Can’t Rely on with this Kentucky Team
In the Governor’s Cup, you could rely on whoever won the battle in the rushing department to win the game. Last year that trend changed (it did not today though). You could also count on one team only winning four games in a row. No team had ever won five in a row, until today.
Tobias “Cash” Gilliam might reconsider
Stoops said this loss wouldn’t hurt offseason “momentum,” but one of their best defensive back commitments seemed to be wavering before the game was even over.
Life decisions coming up .
— Cash Gilliam7âƒ£ (@Tob7as_) November 28, 2015
Where Do We Go Now?
It’ a question that I don’t have an answer for, a question I don’t think anybody, including the coaching staff, has an answer for.
They tried to remedy the offensive woes by playing Drew Barker instead of Patrick Towles, but with an inept offensive line and receivers prone to dropping passes, the quarterback was only part of the problem, and getting a new one was not the solution. The same goes for Shannon Dawson. Getting a new offensive coordinator would give the offense three OC’s in three years – that makes things worse before it makes it better.
With a team heavily relying on young guys, we knew it was going to be struggle this year, but nothing THIS bad (10 TD passes and 16 INTs, I mean COME ON). Kentucky has recruited the talent, but the coaching staff must prove that they can develop players, and they must do it quickly. The players don’t have to transform into world beaters, they must consistently make the simple, routine plays.
Things must change in Year Four of the Mark Stoops Era. Until then, enjoy an annual Kentucky tradition: forget football by enjoying basketball season.