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The LEACH REPORT: A Look at the WKU Game


Before and after every game this year, Tom Leach will join us here to give us his thoughts on the games. Here is his breakdown of what happened in Nashville

Each Sunday this fall, we’ll use this space to the break down the highs and lows for the Cats and looking back on Saturday night’s disappointing start to the season, I found myself thinking back to 2003. In the opener that year, a big and much more physical Louisville team whipped Kentucky. And that UK team had Jared Lorenzen at quarterback and wasn’t having to rely on nearly as many rookies or inexperienced players.

Western Kentucky won the battles in the trenches, most glaringly against the Cats’ D-line. The stat sheet really doesn’t reflect the degree of that difference, which is noteworthy because it means the UK offense finally made some of the “home run” plays that had been missing for way too long.

Kentucky’s young wideouts will become better blockers on the perimeter, guys like Ryan Timmons and Jo Jo Kemp will make more explosive plays like the ones we got glimpses of in this game (and other young WR’s will join in, too) and I’m hopeful a quarterback will take ownership of that position. When those things happen, Kentucky may be able to put enough points up to have a chance to get some wins. And anyone who looked at the big picture and didn’t recognize that this team would have to rely on its offense didn’t understand what they were seeing. The way UK’s defensive line was pushed around for much of this night was really the only surprise on that side of the ball, given the expectations for that veteran group.

It’s been a nice several months of a honeymoon between Mark Stoops and the UK fans. Now, the marriage had its first “fight” with the team’s showing in the opener. That’s normal in the heat of the moment but rest assured there will be “ups” to go with these kinds of down moments. Back in ’03, when Brooks took over, the UK program had not hit bottom yet, because of the scholarship cuts that would lead to even less talent on the field the next season. Now, the talent curve is already turning dramatically upward for UK (and you’ll see some of those players emerge as this season unfolds)–but it will just take time to fully reap the benefits of that recruiting.

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The way WKU’s O-line was winning the battle in the trenches, it was going to be hard for the Cats to prevail and so there was no one single play on which the outcome swung. Still, a failed third-and-short on UK’s second drive of the second half was a momentum-turner.

Kentucky had the ball on Western’s side of the 50 with a chance to take the lead for the first time with a touchdown. But when the ‘Toppers two linebackers came blitzing up the middle, they hit Jonathan George at virtually the same time Jalen Whitlow handed him the ball and the play at no chance to succeed.

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WKU’s defense produced 10 tackles-for-loss to UK’s three.

Getting at least four yards on first-and-10 plays is crucial to keep an offense in rhythm. Western did that 18 times Saturday night to UK’s eight–and in the first half, it was 12 to three.

Those numbers fed into one of the biggest’s differences on the stat sheet–the Hilltoppers ran 75 plays to the Cats’ 60.

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There’s not much to reward from this performance but a couple of guys merit recognition:

Demarco Robinson, for a sensational tightrope-walking catch for Kentucky’s last touchdown and two big punt returns. It’s been way too long since UK got some of those hidden yards in punt and kick returns.

true freshman Blake McClain, for making some noteworthy plays on a night where there weren’t many of those for the UK defense. He forced a fumble, made a big hit late to force an incompletion and had to step into a much bigger role than he had expected to play after the injury to Kory Brown and he finished with seven tackles.

–listen to Tom each weekday morning at 9:06am eastern on “The Leach Report” radio network; and follow him on twitter @tomleachky and via “The Leach Report” page on Facebook

–check out for more of Tom’s coverage of the Cats

Article written by Matt Jones

12 Comments for The LEACH REPORT: A Look at the WKU Game

  1. Pat_Wren
    7:08 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Some welcome perspective Tom….thank you!

  2. What was that?
    7:50 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Can someone answer the question: What happened to the air raid 2.0? Will someone please ask Stoops?

  3. BBB
    7:52 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Face it……We got killed and it wasn’t close, how embarrasing….Face it…..We have a long way to go…..Face it….,,,The air raid was MIA, the toppers passed more than us, WTF?…..Face it…..That was a must win game…..Face it…..We looked a lot like last years Joke(r)…..Face it…..We should have hired Petrino and he proved it today……… Face it…..I told you so…..Mitch, you missed it.

  4. kramer
    7:58 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t dislike Petrino, nor WKU, but face it if UK would have hired him he wouldn’t be here long, or ever consider coming here. HE HATES UK. He will be gone from the state after this year anyway. Watching UL today good lord, it won’t be pretty…….. Go Cats!!

  5. 49blue
    7:59 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    well Mr.Leach / Jones you boys are in the know about the wildcats ? not the was the worsted one sided whippen to come this earily in a long time………. you guy can put the UK spin on it any way you won’t.

  6. This stinks
    8:27 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Awesome article……..extremely true. Mr. Leach is the man…….

  7. Steve Fitts
    8:29 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    U of L destroyed Ohio U., 49 to 7, this afternoon, with Bridgewater going 23 for 28 with 5 TD passes. Hate to say it, but we are going to get KILLED in 2 weeks. Our defense has no answer for Teddy.

  8. Tinsley
    8:37 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    This game wasn’t a must win. No game this year is a must win. If he goes 0 -12 so, be it. We’ll look at the comments 2 or 3 years from now and think what idiots put him on the hot seat for losing to Western, who’s better than what their reputation is and probably going 9 -4 and going to a bowl game. We can look past losing to Western. But the one thing you promised us, the one thing that is inexcusable you didn’t run the f—ing air raid, if anything you ran the run raid. An uptempo running offense. Which was semi – interesting, but I want the F—ing air raid. We get it Jalen can’t throw, but he can run, and our O line is bad. They can protect for 3 – 5 seconds (if there’s no biltz) put Maxwell at QB. If he was at QB we would’ve won. Because Western – much like any team – can only protect against the pass so much, until someone gets open. And Maxwell is the next good/great UK quarterback (if he doesn’t get hurt again).

  9. Reality
    10:16 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    If UK goes 0-12, they will have no major recruits come signing day. Good players want to win.

  10. Fake Tom Leach
    10:31 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I asked Matt if he’d rather me write a trip report to the Nashville Genesis, but he said he’d rather I write about the game…

  11. Old Teacher Report Card
    8:21 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Cat Performance: D
    Leach Report: A+
    Comment : As Joe Friday used to say “Just the Facts, ma’am” and Mr. Leach has done that with just enough analysis about the KEY facts.

    KSR including Leach Report: A+

  12. S. L. Ramey
    1:04 pm September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Honestly, I am upset with myself for reading these comments after a loss because it always fires me up and makes me angry. As usual, the REAL BBN showed it’s face after the Western loss. At least the most vocal faction; the haters, the whiners, the ones that are so very clever with the personal insults and the gloom and doom prognostications. I don’t get you people! Why do you continue to follow and comment on a team for which you feel such contempt? What satisfaction can it possibly give you? You like Bobby Petrino so much, Western is right down the road. I will NEVER be sorry we didn’t hire him. I am a UK fan and supporter. Have been for 37 years so, I’ve been through and seen it all. But, social media has changed the way people relate to modern day athletics and not in a good way. You guys are entitled to,your opinion. You have every right to express it. However, do the rest of us that are truly interest in this team and this staff, and just go away!