Help me understand Saturday’s game.
It has been almost two whole days since my football-loving heart was ripped from my chest and curb stomped outside Kroger Field. I woke up Saturday morning knowing it was the day the streak would end, and with one quarter left to play in the game, I could already taste the champagne that has been sitting on ice for 31 years.
You know what happened from there, and I need help understanding it all. But before we go on, a disclaimer on where I stand:
I am a big fan of Coach Stoops and his staff. I think he’s the man for the job and I still believe this will be a great season for the Wildcats. Kentucky has one of the best defenses I’ve seen since I’ve been a fan and recruiting is lightyears better than it’s ever been before. The program is in a great spot right now and the future is bright. I love the current state of UK football through four weeks of Stoops’ fifth season. Also, Stephen Johnson is the man.
With that said, I need some explanation of what went wrong because I am completely lost.
Help me understand why the offense was taken out of Stephen Johnson’s hands in the second half.
This may be the most common complaint among fans following Saturday’s loss. Once Kentucky got out to a lead, it completely changed its offensive game plan and mentality as offensive coordinator Eddie Gran switched to a conservative offense to run out the clock. The problem with that was, the ball was taken out of Johnson’s hands after Johnson picked the Gators’ defense apart to give Kentucky the lead in the first place. Johnson was 13-of-17 for 165 yards and three touchdowns when Gran decided to ground-and-pound, which ultimately cost Kentucky the game in the end.
Nick Roush did a nice write-up of this after the game, including some quotes from Gran that I didn’t love. Read more on that here.
Help me understand why CJ Conrad isn’t getting more looks.
It seems like every time Kentucky throws to CJ Conrad, something awesome happens. Conrad has only nine catches this season, but three of those were for touchdowns. (And if my memory serves me correctly, he was a yard or two shy of a fourth touchdown on one of the five catches that didn’t go for a score.) Plus he is averaging 21.7 yards per catch and it takes half of the opposing secondary to tackle him each time he has the ball.
So it’s pretty fair to say Conrad should be a go-to weapon with up to eight or nine looks per game. I can’t tell you how many times he has been targeted this year, but I’m certain it is nowhere near that number.
Here’s what’s going to happen in a couple years: Conrad is going to be living in the end zone in the NFL, and we’re going to be wondering why the hell he wasn’t used more when we had him in Lexington. Write it down.
Help me understand the high snaps.
Are they practicing with the basketball team?
Help me understand how this turned into a first down.
Help me understand how you get called for holding on that last play.
There’s a big debate about the holding call that knocked the Cats’ out of field goal range on the final drive of the game. Some say it was a hold; others say it was not. I say that, whether it was or wasn’t, you should never give the official a reason to even think about throwing a flag there. You’re already in field goal range and the only thing that can knock you back is a penalty. You have to keep from grabbing at all costs.
But in defense of Nick Haynes, who must feel awful, it was very, very close after he made a good block but held on a second too long. I don’t think that gets called in any other game but this one.
Help me understand how NO ONE SAW THE WIDE OPEN RECEIVER.
Florida’s Tyrie Cleveland was directly in front of the UK coaching staff for exactly eight seconds (count ’em) and no one noticed him. Nobody in the booth, nobody along the sideline he stood 15 yards from. For the life of me, I cannot understand how he went unnoticed and how a timeout wasn’t called to prevent the free touchdown on fourth down.
Help me understand how IT HAPPENED TWICE.
I need a drink.