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Some Optimism Going Forward

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With all the negativity following the end of the football season, I wanted to remind everyone of the good things we have going forward. It’s a long year, making it easy to only remember the bad. With the way the season ended, it’s not uncommon to forget the good things so that’s why I am here to remind you. So let’s begin.

Chris Westry is going to be a star

It’s not easy to cover some of the very talented wide receivers in the SEC as a true freshman, but Chris Westry did. Westry had a quiet second half of the season, but showed what will likely be a tremendous four years at Kentucky. Westry won SEC Defensive Player of the Week following Kentucky’s win over South Carolina. He was the difference maker in the game, intercepting the Cocks’ on their final possession of the game to seal the victory. Westry also broke Dak Prescott’s interception record by picking off the Mississippi State QB off in the second quarter of the Bulldogs’ win over the Cats. Westry was targeted a lot due to his inexperience, but he showed he can hang with some of the best receivers in the SEC.

The secondary will be much improved moving forward

Derrick Baity, Mike Edwards and Darius West are all freshmen that worked their way into staring roles this season over veteran players. Instead of giving up and conceding to backup roles, they battled in practice to earn a starting spot. That shows a lot of determination and character from young players that we haven’t seen the field before. Before Stoops arrived, Kentucky’s secondary struggled to keep up with lengthy SEC receivers. The experience that these freshmen encountered this season will only help them in the long run. The four names listed will be key for the defense moving forward and defending the pass.

The offensive line is only losing one starter

Left tackle Jordan Swindle is the only member of the offensive line that will be graduating this year. Zach West, the backup left guard behind Nick Haynes, will also be graduating. Let me remind that it is very rare to see a true freshman play on the offensive line. Kentucky had to do that with George Asafo-Adjei (Big George). Big George played well at times, but also made some rookie mistakes while battling injuries. Things will only get easier for the young offensive lineman (and the whole OL) as he becomes more accustomed to the size and scheme of SEC defensive lines.

Even though the offensive line looked like they couldn’t block someone’s grandma, I refuse to believe that will be the case next year.  With hard work and more reps with Drew Barker in the offseason, things can only go up from here.

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The incoming recruiting class 

Many people are worried that how the end of the season went, recruits are going to reconsider their decision to come to Kentucky. Thankfully we have not lost a recruit due to the end of the season (knocks on wood). It appears that most, if not all, of the recruits are still ALL IN.  With back-to-back 5-7 seasons, the coaching are still recruiting some of the best talent around the country (Thank you Vince Marrow!).

According to 247 Sports, Kentucky’s 2016 recruiting class is ranked 24th in the nation and 9th in the SEC. Look at the full list of commitments here.

 

It might be hard to be optimistic going forward, but hopefully this helps. This season wasn’t entirely a negative.  Hopefully the young players have learned the lesson and will not have to experience it again. Go cats.

 

Article written by Kindsey Bernhard

Lover of dogs, sports and beer. @kindseybernhard

21 Comments for Some Optimism Going Forward



  1. psacatfan
    3:49 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    The biggest problem with this years team was desire and attitude. Southern Miss’s head coach passed out a survey to his team last Jan. asking questions about his team. One question was, “Who is the laziest player on our team?” another asked , “Who was the most selfish?” He also asked who they trusted and distrusted the most. All players were required to fill out the form anonomously. A few weeks later the coach revealed the answers to whole team in a team meeting. How would that work at Kentucky?



    • Long Dong Silver
      7:09 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Maybe our 2 coordinators could tell them it’s a football thing, they wouldn’t understand it.



  2. david8577
    4:27 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    I guess Swindle leaving is a reason for optimism.



    • Dubowski
      4:35 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      addition by subtraction



  3. Stopover
    5:03 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    So you’re thinking having the same offensive line back is a positive? Wow.



    • WeareBBN
      6:28 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Sadly I was thinking the same thing but now I figure there is no way the Oline could be worse, right?



  4. buzzard
    5:13 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    now all we need is good coaching



  5. cats paw
    5:19 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    One can’t imagine just how pumped up this article has me for next season. Eastern doesn’t stand a chance!



    • UK Big Board Update
      8:22 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Louisville plays Eastern next year?



  6. The Rest of the story
    5:46 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    The Cats may win 3 games next year at the best. Mark this down I said it. Stoops and this pathetic staff couldn’t out coach a high school team. No O line and no D line so what is there to be the least bit optimistic about, oh and no proven quarterback or receivers that can catch a ball. Yeah I am really excited for next year.



    • Leroy Bird - 00
      10:26 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

      Consider it marked down. Come on man – you really think SC, Vandy, Mizzou, are in a better spot than we are right now? Even if you lean that way, you think we lose all those games? C”mon man. C’mon man. Are you a Cats fan? do you go into the season thinking we lose to Vandy? Really? Are you a f’in Cats fan and you think that?

      I’d love to tailgate with Cats Paw, Rest of the Story, and Stopover. they’d have Nick Saban and Bill Parcells under contract, with Tom Brady under center and AJ Green catching passes – all before kickoff of the first game. man we’d get drunk and the Cats would be great under their watch.



    • Craig Sagers Suits
      1:12 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

      I’ve been one of the few with you Rest of the Story. I still haven’t gotten my bet settled from prior to spring. Can we also not hype up football until the usual late spring/early summer KSR? Optimism my ass. We’re going to finish in the bottom of the SEC in recruiting once it’s over with. Great talent coming in my, by great do you mean 3 star athletes as opposed to 1 or no star athletes that were coming prior?

      Oh and football players rated 4 stars from the state of Kentucky is a misnomer. They’re really 1 or 2 star at best because 4 star players from Ohio, Texas, Florida, Georgia and California trump these kids by leaps and bounds. The recruiting meter is really skewed and needs fixed as well, Scout/Rivals.com



  7. TheGhostOfShipwreckKelly
    6:27 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    So our O-Line is so bad we have to use a picture of a Joker era O-line?

    That’s either just lazy writing, or indicative of this sites opinion on Stoops’ O-Line to date…



  8. Jaxson
    6:30 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Stoops needs to fire two coordinators to make me optimistic.



  9. Jiminy Crickets
    7:57 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    so let me get this straight:
    Our O-Line will be basically the same, minus Swindle but Plus a JUCO.
    Our WRs will basically the same without real game changers in the incoming class
    Our defense is losing the two best nose tackles we have and were to believe Elam will be inshape and ready to contribute.

    But hey our recruitng class, most of which will (or at least should) redshirt is pretty good, will finish 11th or 12th in the SEC after late signing period attrition takes place

    Not to mention we sold our soul to get 8 home games, and didint play any of the good SEC West teams last year. So our schedule next year will be At Florida, At tennessee, At Louisville, At Alabama, and At Missouri along with home games against Georgia, and Mississippi state.

    Southern Miss, NM State, Austin Peay and theoretically Vandy (although they have OWNED us in the last 5 years) are the only “gimmies”. However Southern Miss just played in the C-USA championship game and would have beaten us by 2 TDs this seson. meaning were looking at a 3-9 season next year.

    Im pumped



  10. The Rest of the story
    8:13 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    Watched the SEC championship game. Saw 2 team UK will never beat again. When I say never I mean like a long time with no end. Stoops and his staff of jokers will take UK nowhere.



  11. Pete
    9:48 pm December 5, 2015 Permalink

    It’s a shame so much money is going into a program with no hope. We could’ve used that $200 million on a shiny new basketball arena. Our 5-9 point guard has more heart than anyone on the “football” team, if you want to call it that.



  12. Howdy Doody
    10:27 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    All the Blue Smoke and Blue Kool Aid will not change a thing until the Wizard behind the curtain is shipped back to OZ..



  13. KTower
    11:04 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    I can not believe the sea of negativity on this thread.

    Kentucky Football fans should be irritated for sure. But not at the current coaching staff. The finger should be pointed at the previous staff that gutted the Football program. Joker took a very solid roster that Brooks handed him and ran it into the ground. Now they are starting over



    • scorpiocard
      12:05 pm December 6, 2015 Permalink

      OMG…you went into overtime against EKU in year three of Stoops with good recruiting classes three prior years in a row. You are three seasons removed from Joker now.

      You must have gotten and extra big dose of the Kool-Aid, or…

      sarcasm? Right?



  14. FunkyMonkey
    11:19 am December 6, 2015 Permalink

    I believe Stoops is stubborn to fault, won’t admit that Dawson was a bad hire and wasn’t ready, so will stick with him to the end to the point that they’ll all go down in flames but he’ll be ok with that as he’ll be loyal to Dawson (more than to the program) and leave here having gotten more than $20 million dollars for lifetime security to his family from our fan base of donors. My prediction. I hope I’m wrong, but frankly I don’t think so and see more suck ahead.