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The Slide Continues

Photo by UK Athletics

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

  • Mississippi State 42, Kentucky 16
  • Tennessee 52, Kentucky 21
  • Georgia 27, Kentucky 3

Starting with an underachieving overtime win over EKU and followed by a disappointing loss to an average (at best) Auburn team, the Wildcats have experienced an alarming, downward spiral.

What’s gone wrong? One could argue that competition level has increased. I could maybe buy that against Miss State and UT, but the Georgia shellacking was downright disgusting. The Dawgs wobbled into the game coming off a ten quarter touchdown drought and a program in total disarray. A sixty minute tango with the Kentucky Wildcats was just what the football doctor ordered for Mark Richt.

Offensively, Kentucky is a hot mess. The Patrick Towles tenure is in question as is the lack of offensive line progression. More dropped passes occurred as well as third down pass routes ran short of the first down marker. When the Cats had success running straight at the athletic Georgia defense, it would throw questionable first down passes that all but ensured a 2nd and 10 would follow. No rhythm, no sense of urgency, no chance for the offense.


Much discussion will focus on special teams. As it should, but a Special Teams Coordinator can’t catch the football for Ryan Timmons, nor would he not block in the back on kickoff returns. Realizing there is a strong argument for such a coach to assume that title, but last year’s result was significantly worse with a ST Coordinator who is now coaching at a Top 25 team (Houston) that’s in the middle of the college football playoff hunt. UK’s woes run deeper than an office nameplate. Special team holding calls don’t account for more yards than the same penalty that occurs on offense. A missed special team’s tackle is no different than those missed on defense. The openness of the situation and potential for altering field position magnifies the errors. For the past three weeks, this team has lacked focus and execution in all three phases. Question still remains, would a special team’s coordinator help the situation? Sure as heck couldn’t hurt but again, UK has more troubling concerns.

Fan frustration in personnel decisions are reasonable and justified. Sticking with Patrick Towles for more than three quarters was baffling. The fact he wasn’t given much help has to be addressed, but going 8-21 for 96 yards and 2 interceptions just isn’t getting it done, especially from a redshirt junior. Going back to special teams, the persistence to have Ryan Timmons return punts is also debatable.  A quarterback change in week 10 is not the norm. However, it certainly needs to be discussed and at a minimum, strongly considered. A spark needs to be found or this team is staring down another 5-7 season. Is Drew Barker that spark? I don’t know, but the current status quo has resulted in unsatisfactory results.

For the day, the defense was continually placed into problematic circumstance. Drives on a shortened field due to interceptions and punt return fumbles were frustrating. So did the offense’s three and out parade. However, surrendering 27 points to a team that hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown in 29 possessions isn’t above scrutiny.  IF there was a bright spot for UK on Saturday, its defense would get that mark. At least it fought back. Granted it was on the field way, way too long. But still, UGA didn’t exactly execute an exotic game plan. Line up, run the football, stop us if you can.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

This team is in trouble. Where does it go from here? Kentucky’s next opponent, Vanderbilt, took a 7-6 lead over Florida late into the 4th quarter. The Gators finally won the game with a late field goal to clinch the SEC East. That same Florida team battled Kentucky to a challenging 14-9 road win in what seems like nine months ago. Getting past this atrocious three game stretch is nearly impossible. What’s happened to Mark Stoops’ football team?

Truth of the matter is this team has regressed while facing a gracious schedule. Reality check; Vanderbilt and Louisville’s defense is as good as or better than the unit that totally manhandled the Wildcats in Athens.

Will UK go bowling? Possibly, but I can’t answer that with a resemblance of confidence. But even if it does, will the BBN be able to move beyond three embarrassing losses? Not sure. Becoming bowl eligible has only one benefit for this team, and that’s extra practice time. UK needs to mature, in a hurry.

I’m not a coach nor do I pretend to understand how to right a wayward football ship, but something has to change. Players-only meetings are fruitless attempts in hopes of altering outcome. The time for talking is over. Go to work, fix problems, and play football. The same effort and execution the Cats displayed against Georgia will lead to an all-out destruction against Vanderbilt and Louisville. Charlotte, I can only hope that the Wildcats can out-talent a D-1 newcomer.

The Georgia game was so incredibly frustrating to watch. Changes need to start the moment the team arrives back to Lexington. No, I stand corrected, changes need to take place on the bus ride to the airport. This recent display of ineptitude has disintegrated a once promising season and challenging a loyal fan base to keep caring.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

29 Comments for The Slide Continues

  1. The Rest of the story
    12:18 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    The pic of Stoops says it all, one of bewilderment and hopelessness. He is way over his head to be a head coach.

    • cats paw
      1:49 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      I know you’re just a prikk but I totally agree with what your saying…

  2. wildcat502
    12:19 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    I think they can win out and go 7-5, but I said 8-4 prior to Saturday. But they can go 5-7 just as easily. The last 3 games have been disasters and I too believe they have given up on the season. I also believe some take offense to Towles and have under performed because of it. Maybe they dont like the way he has been handling himself, flinging his hair around or his underperforming on the field. I hope a change occurs here on Saturday and it shakes them up a little and their play improves. Barker was a vocal point in many of the 2014 recruits coming here, maybe they will play better for him.
    The coaching staff is young and all are learning their responsibilities and that could be one of our issue`s. Maybe a change or 2 in assistants needs to be made after the season. Bring in more seasoned coaches to have experience around a first time head coach. I`d love to see Mike Summers and Bud Foster come here, but we`d have to pay for both.
    I`m in my fifties now and I have seen a lot of Kentucky football, mostly bad. I want the football team to win, just as badly as basketball. But, this team looks apathetic, their not showing any heart, disorganized and not prepared. I`ve seen no in game changes schematically and they come out of halftime and play worse then they did during the first half. No fire has been lit in them.
    We have beaten a bad South Carolina and Missouri, a 1AA (yes I still say 1AA) Eastern Kentucky (we had to come from behind) and they are only average at that level and a bad Louisiana-Laf. team, barely. So, just how good or how bad are we??? In the last 4 games we have played bad football, not because we have lost, but just bad football. Dropped passes, poorly thrown passes, no blocking up front, no pass rush, poor tackling technique`s (not wrapping, just hitting people), bad assignments, I can go on and on. Every week, we hear positions are going to be evaluated. Well……………..I thought that was done during Spring and Fall practices, not 8 or 9 games into the season and its not just 1 position, its several.
    Our 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes have hurt this team, 90% of them are gone. Recruiting the last 3 years as given us, older guys some hope, but I haven`t seen the development after they get here. I understand it takes 3 years in a college weight room to get your body ready to play, but at least have our guys in position to make a play.
    I really dont mind a loss, I do mind BAD FOOTBALL and thats what were now seeing.

    • The Rest of the story
      12:28 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      Every single thing you point out is due to nothing buy bad and I mean really bad coaching. Stoops is not the guy plain and simple. This team is not bowl worthy regardless of how we finish which will be another 5-7. I am 67 and this is the worst coached team I have ever seen here with this talent. Joker was a joke but his staff was way better than this one.

    • timer2
      8:06 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      Chuck Smith put a lot of undersized linebackers in the NFL. I still don’t know why they didn’t turn the defense over to him….

  3. The Rest of the story
    12:22 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    Vandy will totally manhandle the Cats next weekend. They do not need to throw a single pass to win the game as the Cats have no clue how to stop the run. Worst coaching I have ever seen with the weakest schedule Stoops will ever get. You snookered us Stoops you were never cut out to be a head coach especially in the SEC. Anyone who blames the players as much as you do needs to leave and leave ASAP.

    • cats paw
      1:56 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      This blame lies SOLEY with this homer fanbase that approved of hiring a FIRST TIME coach and was so enamored with winning more than two games begged Barnfart to bump his salary to 3.5 million/yr so he would stay. Ole cats paw told you fans we should have hired Petrino 3 yrs ago at half the price and without all the rumors of him leaving. But you all had to believe in your God (Matt)… You know, the guy that GAURANTEED we would own Tenn and Louisville from this yr forward because he has seen so much improvement from this team

  4. wildcat502
    12:29 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    I cant remember his name, but we had a quarterback in the eighties. He took a hit to the face and his lip was badly cut. He went to the sidelines, was sowed up and he went back into the game. Thats playing with heart and thats a quarterback that I would go to war with.

    • The Rest of the story
      12:37 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      UK has no quarterback on the team if Towles is the best we got. Cannot hit a wide open receiver at all, high throws, throws behind the receiver, or an interception. Keep shaking your hair you OVC rated wanna be.

    • CATandMONKEY
      12:53 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      Towles isn’t getting it done but neither is ANYone else. We generally suck from left to right, top to bottom. Even our once very competent kicking/punting game has become C- at best. I have supported our coaching staff until yesterday. The stupid suicidal penalties show a total lack of discipline…and that is ALL on our highly compensated coaching staff. The blame for our pathetic football belongs with the drivers of the bus…the coaches.

      Please win-out and prove me and a huge portion of BBN wrong. I will not be risking my mortgage in Vegas, or even my milk money.

    • timer2
      8:07 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      Billy Ransdell

  5. BluKudzu
    12:47 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    You should have written this after the EKU game.

  6. Smyrna_Cat
    1:03 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    Where is our Air Raid offense? This is the most conservation, predictable offense in years. It is not getting it down.

    • cats42301
      2:20 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      Agreed every team we play knows what plays are coming they are so blatantly predictable. A lot of times defenders already have Boom and Jojo in their grasp as soon as they get the handoff. We heard all summer since spring practice about how fast our receivers are, how we now have all these players who can run over 21mph and when Stoops got here we only had two. Why can’t these speedy recivers get open? Why do we not take advantage more of Bone and Bakers height? How many teams have smoked us with tall receivers catching passes over our 5’8 dbacks in years past, we are not taking advantage of the strengths our players do posess. I wonder if the coaches even know what each player’s strengths are sometimes. Losing complete faith in these guys. We must be some of the dumbest fans in the world to keep believing the hype, coach after coach, year after year we keep the faith only to have our hopes shot down yet again. And if one more dumbass posts Oh well at least basketball is starting on here I’m gonna have a freakin fit!!!!

  7. jaws2
    1:18 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie with all due respect, you could have made the same observations after the 1st game. Towles has been saved by the receivers making catches of bad thrown balls all year, he”s never looked off of ‘his’ primary receiver all year, and he still makes poor decisions throwing the ball into multiple coverage. Yes, receivers have dropped a few, but they’ve saved his rear more than they’ve dropped.

    Both sides of the line have been whipped since the first game as well. We’ve struggled all year to stop teams on 3rd down and make the other teams offense look great when they are struggling otherwise. The offensive line is porous at best, and has no discipline.

    Special Teams, well, not very ‘special’.

    We have been out coached in every phase of the game, every game. EVERY game. The coaching staff has lost this team, and we will be very fortunate to win another game. Very, very, sad indictment of where this staff is .

    • Yahtzee
      1:48 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      Agree with your observation. There have been some great catches making Towles look better than he is. Diving catch by Badet in the end zone. One handed catches by Juice. Great game winning catch by Baker against EKU on a risky 4th down play call.

      Yes, receivers have dropped a few, but they’ve saved his rear more than they’ve dropped.

    • Yahtzee
      1:56 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      A wealth of good receivers. Good running backs. Biggest, most experienced O-Line we’ve had in years. And we still have trouble moving the chains and keeping the defense off the field. We live in third and long. Go figure!

  8. bbn84
    1:34 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    Is this team any better than the Stoops first year team that opened with a loss to WKU?
    3 years later the on field performance says no. I had a feeling after WKU loss we were in for more of the same and that’s what we have. He was a big part of the facilities upgrades and improved roster but we are no better on field. AD extends contract after win streak last year and what are results? If there is a change can we hire prior HC experience ( Brooks).

  9. dr_eric
    1:40 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    I really like Ryan Timmons, but he should never field another punt in his career. Surely we have someone else to put back there.

  10. cats42301
    1:52 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    Every one of you is missing the real person to blame for our problems! Damn Toby Keith!!! Ever since he came to the sidelines during the Auburn game and gave Stoops a man on national TV hug our season has gone to crap! Think about it, we’re driving down the field to win the game and bam Toby Keith puts a curse on Towles and he can’t even pass the ball and gets sacked! Game over! And of course I don’t have to talk about the last 3 games, we all know how awful it’s been. So we don’t need to worry about who to play at QB or how to fix our offense we need to find out how we get rid of this damn Toby Keith curse!!

  11. bluecat15
    2:00 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    This team is pathetic. Coaches are terrible. Jim Bunning must be controlling things because there is no other reason towels is playing. Elam is pathetic. Offensive line can’t compete. Defensive line can’t compete. Stoops says gotta work harder coach better etc.,broken record. Say what you want about my post, but this team sucks and so does the coaching staff.

  12. cats42301
    2:01 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    Seriously though I think even Stoops knows he is in over his head by the way he paces up and down the sideline like a lost puppy or keeps glancing at the video screen to see if he’s on TV or not. Every other headcoach is looking at playlists, talking to coaches on the headset or in person not even caring if they are on camera or not. I believe Stoops and company are just overwhelmed and are doing all they can to just get plays in before they get a delay of game. They have no method to their madness and sure as heck can’t make adjustments to counter what the other team is doing. The smartest person was probably Neal Brown getting out of town while he could, he probably knew this catastrophe was coming.

  13. 2thepoint
    2:23 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    cats42301, perhaps you are correct on all points. Neal was a former player who cared a lot for the team and maybe he did get out of town for that reason, but he did want to be a head coach and he had connections to the Troy job meaning that may have been it. Truth be told, though, very few people were happy with his play calling. I am not a Dawson fan now, but I was at first, because he tried to open up the offense and then found out his qb couldn’t hit an open receiver in stride, ever. So now he can’t think of it which highlights his poor play calling. That leads us to Stoops who has resisted the obvious for whatever foolish reason. He knew last year that Towles was a very flawed qb. Perhaps we will find Barker to be as bad, but we won’t know until he has a real opportunity to show his skills rather than hopeless situations.

    I want Stoops to make it. I fear if we lose him we lose recruiting, but even so he needs to man up, admit mistakes, and then make proper decisions wherever it leads.

  14. Jeremy D
    3:20 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    I think this team Knows that this coaching staff is in over their heads, and they have mailed it in. We win against Charlotte, but that is it.

  15. shelby
    3:56 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    Tg cards d is goodcagainst a dg shit schedule: they are nowhere near ou last sevral oponents in terms of tslent, speed, skill, size, athleticism, etc… Neither is vandy’s for that matter. Vandy stayed close to florida because the gators turned it over four times.

    • CATandMONKEY
      4:39 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      You may have a good point in there…maybe. +1 for spelling athleticism correctly.

    • Rob
      5:11 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

      Yeah Vandy’s D had nothing to do with those turnovers. Vandy’s D ranks in the top 25, that’s what happens when a real coach takes over himself. If you don’t realize how tough Vandy’s D is then maybe basketball should be your thing.

  16. kyjohn
    4:59 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink write excellent articles.However,i feel with your background as a former player at UK,undergoing the same circumstances (losing) as this team,that you can give us a little better idea about whats really going on with this suddenly pathetic football team.
    With all the money that the university has poured into the program since Stoops arrival,and the fan support surely something can be said about the real problems facing the program.I can’t help but believe the issues are more than what we responders are saying in this blog.

  17. Leuther
    8:06 pm November 8, 2015 Permalink

    This is bad, but not nearly as bad as when we had Joker. Don’t you remember the 40 – 0 whipping Vandy gave us – at home – under the Joker?