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UK Fans of the Day Want Five Quick Takeaways from the Game

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I will be honest with you. That was quite depressing. Losing to Western is one thing, but getting totally manhandled is another. Truth be told, the 35-26 score was somewhat deceiving. The Cats were beaten at every position by the Hilltoppers and were fortunate to be in a position where the missed extra point was even meaningful. If Kentucky football is going to follow Drake and being able to one day that they “started from the bottom and now we’re here,” we reached that bottom on Saturday night. So while almost everyone who went to Nashville all had the same reaction (“Damn that sucked”), it is still worth noting a couple of things:

(1) Defensive Line Disappointment:

I expected the back seven of UK’s defense to be poor (although I didn’t expect the Linebackers outside of Avery Williamson to be unable to wrap up and make tackles. But I believed, as everyone else did as well, that the strength of this team would be in the front four. Well after game one, that is most certainly in question. The Defensive Line was completely dominated by a WKU offensive line that they outweighed by an average of 30 pounds a player. I am not exactly sure why this was the case, but it was extremely disappointing. Zadarius Smith was a nonfactor most of the game, Bud Dupree’s name was rarely mentioned and the interior Defensive lineman did little to clog up the middle and disrupt the rushing attack. Simply put, the group that was supposed to carry the team didn’t even carry its own weight. That is the most troubling fact going forward for this UK team.

(2) I am not worried about Quarterback play:

The reality is that most people don’t understand football. We think we do, but if you have ever actually sat down with a coach and listened to them talk about a game or break down film, you will realize that you probably don’t. But we all think we can understand Quarterback play (in part because it is the one position where the television camera showcases every decision made) and thus a QB’s play is the most dissected on the team. I didn’t think Jalen Whitlow played terribly on Saturday. He did some good things, had some great runs and generally moved the ball well. But he also didn’t look particularly comfortable throwing in the Air Raid system. Now whether that was due to play calls or his own timidity is hard to say, but it is troubling going forward. Max Smith looked better, but he was playing against a prevent defense and thus it was much easier for him to find open passing lanes. My guess is that he showed enough in the 4th quarter to get the nod versus Miami (OH) and to me, that makes sense. But of all the positions where UK struggled on Saturday, Quarterback is the least of my worries. Until the offensive line improves (they were toasted by the Western front four), whoever is behind center is going to have some problems. No matter who the Quarterback would have been, unless they could also make plays on defense, Kentucky was not going to win.

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This guy enjoyed the game either way

(3) The Young Guys Impress:

If you are looking for some positives from the game, take a gander at the young guys. JoJo Kemp and Ryan Timmons both were offensive sparks (although both had major problems on the blocking part of their duties) and showcased some big play ability that we haven’t seen since Randall Cobb. Blake McClain may have had the best performance of any of the players on defense and he looks to be a potential big time contributor here for years to come. We saw some young receivers make plays, and JUCO transfers Stephen Borden and Nate Willis all had an impact. Joker Phillips left UK with little in the way of talent, and until Stoops can have a roster full of his players, we will see talent mismatches. But if you look at the guys who seemed to be the best athletes on the field, most were young and that is a good sign,

(4) Timidness:

Is it just me or did we look unbelievably timid on both sides of the ball? I freely admit not to be a playcaller, but I was suspecting a team that threw it around, took chances, brought the heat on defense and played like a hungry, exciting team. Instead what I saw was a lot of playcalling that recalled the Joker Phillips era. A sweep on 3rd and 9? Draws on 2nd and 14? Field goal on 4th down inside the ten? Only a couple of blitzes of the quarterback? Possibly we will see more of those types of calls as the probability of beating the opponents goes down and there is more of a “what do we have to lose” mentality. But it sure seemed like last night that what I saw was a timid group afraid to lose, instead of the swashbuckling, take no fear group that I have seen absolutely dominate and destroy on the recruiting path up to this point.

(5) The Fans After the Game:

I freely admit that I was nervous after the game for what the postgame show might bring me. Even though it had only been one game, I was worried fans would be angry, start calling for major changes and lamenting that Bobby Petrino wasn’t hired. I saw and heard none of that. Instead it was just a large group of fans disappointed and surprised at the performance. I think that is a good sign. Fans should be disappointed. That was not the effort we needed and 9 months of positive mojo hit a major wall. But people seem to know this is a process…and a process that is clearly going to take some major time. The talent level is very low…we knew that but I am not sure we really KNEW that. What matters is keeping the team’s confidence and keeping together the recruiting class. If that happens, this is a successful season. Saturday was a reality check for everyone…from players to coaches to the fans. But I don’t get the sense of anyone yet abandoning ship.

So that’s that. Now we have another week before the home opener against Miami (Oh). They were drilled by Marshall, so we can hopefully feel good about our chances. Let’s do our best to erase the feeling of Saturday and move forward, while not focusing on the fact that four games against top 10 teams await over the next six weeks.

And by the way, a major shout out to those of you who sent me pictures of our Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife people making their presence known in Nashville: BTCVws2IYAA66Y0

Article written by Matt Jones

40 Comments for UK Fans of the Day Want Five Quick Takeaways from the Game



  1. Goose
    8:38 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    My take away. It can’t get any worse. So it’s got to get better… Right? Young kids that will need to grow up quick.. The SEC will eat these puss’s alive if they don’t.



  2. schwing
    8:38 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    now that picture is something positive from last night. well done.



  3. Lori Finke
    8:38 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    BIG BALDY on KSR!!!



  4. blitzedanddazed
    8:46 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    There is two main take aways from the WKU game: Mark Stoops talks a big game before the game but has nothing when the game starts. Neal Brown is over his head and coached like he was a scared to death last night.



  5. Danny
    9:00 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    #4 Neal Brown was the OC at Texas tech. I don’t think that playing western is over his head. I agree the play calling was bad but he’s not out of his league



  6. Ridge Runner
    9:05 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Uofl is going to stomp a mudhole in us.



  7. Steve Fitts
    9:06 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Since I live in metro Louisville, I went to the Louisville/Ohio game today. Louisville absolutely killed Ohio, 49 to 7. It could have been worse had Strong not called off the dogs in the 4th quarter. Bridgewater had absolutely pinpoint accuracy on his passes. He went 23 for 28 today, with 5 TD passes. Our secondary is going to be picked apart by Teddy, exactly like he picked apart Ohio U’s secondary today. Our secondary simply has no answer for Teddy. None. Just saying….



  8. numnuts
    9:20 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Basketball is coming soon!! Midnight madness next month!!! That’s what I took away from this game. UK will be lucky to win 2 football games this year.



  9. SevenT
    9:27 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    STEVE.FITTS

    Louisville plays a very weak schedule. Unfortunately they will not play in the ACC until next season. Your big talk will quite down very quickly when Louisville lines up with Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and many other quality ACC teams next season.

    Just Saying



  10. Beatle Bum
    9:29 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    What is the motto of the site?



  11. Chaz
    9:35 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    My take away: Matt needs to talk to KDFW about that logo. The official logo includes a deer, a Ky spotted bass and a cardinal. that photo only shows the cardinal. Since it’s against state law to hunt cardinals and one of the main functions of KDFW is to sell hunting/fishing licenses, Matt needs to lobby to have it removed before someone’s arrested for harvesting the dirty bird in the same manner as deer and Ky spotted bass.
    My selfish reason for this post – the fewer cardinals I see in a day, the happier I am.



  12. Pokey Chapman
    9:44 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    All the analysis, preparation and work into picking a QB and they picked the wrong guy. Then Stoops claims he expected them to play better. Was he just toeing the company line or did this coaching staff completely miss the mark on both sides of the ball in preparing a team that was supposed to be energized, hard nosed and maybe a little competitive for a change?



  13. Tired of Being 1 of 12 Games
    9:55 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    How does a Air Raid (?) offense have a QB pass for 16 YARDS in the first half, and 78 yards for 3 quarters? Max Smith passed for 125 yards in 1 quarter. If UK is going to run a Air Raid they had better have Smith in as QB. How can anyone say that a QB in a Air Raid was good if he passes for 16 yards in a half?



  14. BBN
    10:01 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Matt: How does the UK coaching staff get the QB position wrong for the WKU game when they had 8-9 months to get it right? It stinks of bad judgment. Now I need to be convinced the coaching staff knows what they’re doing and and are suitable for the SEC before I get behind their rebuilding effort. I will continue to support the players.



  15. Lee Kerr
    10:05 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    It’s one game. I was there and they will get better. This is a long term view, they are recruiting well and are doing things well. There is no majic wand to make the team from last year a conference contender. If we were judged in this short of time in our jobs, we would ALL be looking for jobs every six months.

    Support these men and let them work their program.



  16. ibrunswick
    10:12 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I was very frustrated Saturday, not the least of all by the fact that the players conditioning seemed in question. All that cramping! Also, the advantage of having two quarterbacks is that they can both be used. I was pretty happy with Jalen but think that Max should be mixed in for series earlier in the game to give more of an Air Raid look. Believe that 3 wins, a a more competitive team is the best we can hope for this year.



  17. FED UP WITH THE HYPE
    10:13 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    21). It would be different if we got beat by an SEC, ACC, Big10 team… BUT NO, WE GOT BEAT BY A SUNBELT (vomit) TEAM!!!!! This is not acceptable. Stoops was flat OUTCOACHED by a Bobby Petrino from kick-off til the end of the game. Max Smith played against a PREVENT Defense…. this



  18. JDH
    10:17 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I agree 21. It’s hilarious how people think a 2 and 10 team and a bunch of true freshman and jc transfers playing in their first bcs game can all of a sudden magically be great. Has anyone seen the players that this staff is recruiting. It WILL get turned around but it wont happen over night.



  19. Hicks
    10:29 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Williamson did look pretty bad. He took bad angles, missed tackles and looked lost in coverage. I feel like we anointed him Trevethan because he made a lot of tackles last year but either way he didn’t look the same. The d line did get manhandled, the only play they ever got penetration was the screen pass thrown over their heads. Watching the defensive tape, there really wasn’t anything good to take away. Guys playing zone coverage stood there while receivers ran through their zones, we got physically outplayed at every position and a lot of the problems seemed like mental mistakes as well. As far as QB goes, Whitlow can run the read option and has decent strength to throw down field but accuracy is going to be an issue. Smith can be accurate and make the right decisions but he struggles with arm strength and if we’re not completing passes he will hurt the run game because he can’t run the read. It almost has to be a split time situation but I would start Smith and bring Whitlow in for change of pace. In the end none of it matters if we’re terrible at the two most important things on the football field, blocking and tackling. If you can’t block or tackle you won’t win many games and we proved that last night.



  20. blitzedanddazed
    10:36 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    #5 Did you even watch the game last night? Neal Brown had no answers. Air Raid? More like Air Choke.



  21. Front Four????
    10:47 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    We don’t have a front four on defense, we have an “open door”. That being said, it could have been that we didn’t have any linebacker play to stuff the gaps.



  22. UK Wildcat34
    11:10 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I sure love how all of these so called UK fans turn on these coaches after one game. This rebuild will be a long process. They can’t turn jokers 2-10 team into a contender. Sure I was disappointed last night but I know it will get better in time.



  23. FedupwithQBdebate
    11:28 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Why does everyone keep down playing Max Smth’s play by saying what he did was against a prevent defense? Since when do prevent defenses give up 30 yd TD passes over top the secondary in one on one coverage? Remember he stood on the sideline for 3 hours, lost a series to a fumble, and yet, looked poised and moved the ball. I’m tired of reading all these articles making it sound as if his play wasn’t significant and that a running QB, not dual threat, is our best option when it is pretty much the only option we have seen. And by whose own admission, according to a previous post, was affected by nerves.



  24. Mike Ditka
    11:42 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    So, Western played a prevent defense for the whole 4th quarter of the game, did you watch the game? They did not play a prevent defense the whole 4th quarter, please do not repeat it as a fact. STOP IT! Max Smith throw more passes over the top of the defense in 1 quarter then UK had thrown in the first 3 quarters combined.



  25. tippytoe
    11:43 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    If you didn’t hear any remarks about us hiring the wrong coach, then you didn’t read the replies to any of the articles right after the game on your own website. Obviously, Western had the better coach .Bear Bryant said it long ago, UK only cares about basketball. Why else would they refuse to even interview Petrino due to his baggage, but hired Cal with all of his?



  26. blitzedanddazed
    11:51 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    The Coaching Staff has no one else to blame but themselves. The players were put in a position where they had no chance to win the game. It was clear that UK was poorly prepared to play the game by
    midway through the first quarter.



  27. Funky Monkey
    12:09 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Matt Jones may not be concerned, but I sure am. I admit, I watched Louisville today,… wow, if this HAD been the first game of the season,….? it could have been like 85-7. I’m being for real. UK better ramp up quick.



  28. Big Papa
    12:17 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    You better rethink about your comments on Timmons. Touched the ball 3 times. One run for 5 yards, one dropped pass, and one fumble. This is the SEC, call it like it is!



  29. Sgt Jimmy
    1:31 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    On Matts show Friday, a called lamented about how great the Cats Defenisive Line is and how he would take a top SEC DL over top rated linebackers and defensive backs. I seriously wonder some times if BBN knows less about football than they do basketball.



  30. Andrew
    1:39 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Who gon love you like me… Big Baldy



  31. The English Language
    1:40 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    You butchered me. Do you proofread? Half of what you have said in this post makes no sense whatsoever. “take no fear”? Is that some sort of Jonesian combination of “take no prisoners” and “have no fear”? And you give Ryan Lemond a hard time about his slippery grasp on his native tongue???



  32. Andy Martin Always Bleeds Blue
    2:28 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    I saw a lot of positives personally, and I’m not just saying it to keep on the sunny side. I watch every game I can every year, and frankly, despite the loss, I still feel like our team looks better from last year. Yeah, I know we lost worse this year than last year to WKU, but I feel like that has more to do with how much better Western is. Demarco Robinson really impressed me with his progression from last season. Maxwell Smith looked poised with the exception of one forced pass that was nearly intercepted. The freshmen made mistakes, but showed promise, especially McClain, Timmons, and Kemp. I expected to see Hytchye out there with our thinness in the secondary, but my guess is Coach Brown and Stoops didn’t think he was ready…I’m excited to see him—-the kid has jets, folks! As for the D-Line, let’s hope this was an outlier…Cobble, Dupree, and Rumph played better than that last season, so I’m confident they will find their stride along with Zadarius Smith who should come along as well. I’m predicting 3 wins this season, but certainly improvement on both sides of the ball by year’s end.



  33. Andy Martin Always Bleeds Blue
    2:36 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Oh…and btw guys, I hear so many of you say “Coach Stoops talks a good game, but when the game starts he has nothing”, but really guys lets take that to heart ourselves, concerning our own fanbase. Stoops has done great things for the future of our program already to deserve our admiration and support. We are the ones who talk a good game—we say we want a competitive SEC team, but we can’t show restraint from giving up on our team in the first game? Even when we have a promising future to build on? Guys, Western is a good football team—we are not there yet. We will be! Having an SEC logo on your jersey doesn’t automatically qualify wins against ANYONE, even if it’s a Sun Belt team…we need to be looking for improvement, not reasons to kick our program while its down.
    #TRUE BLUE #BBN WE’RE COMING UP



  34. Tyrus
    5:25 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    F&W, hope u personally paid for those tix.



  35. NL
    8:17 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Most of you guys with the negative comments are morons. Cramps have nothing to do with conditioning and everything to do with humidity/fluid/electrolyte levels. If you have ever played any sport at all, then you know that some players perform very well in practice but not very well in games. This was our first game and Jalen may be that type of player. The play calling could have been more aggressive, but when you run a draw against a team with a weaker line than your own (supposed), you would expect to pick up 3-5 yards on first down. That changes what you do on 2nd and 3rd down. I’m sure the coaches were surprised WKU was beating us in the trenches just like we were.

    Bottom line is #4 and its extension is why we lost the game. Timidity from the players, a lack of aggressiveness, a lack of fire/desire to win is why we lost. This program has a losers mentality and it is hard to change the culture of losing overnight. Stoops biggest challenge is teaching players who are used to losing and comfortable with losing how to have the will to win. The guys simply don’t know how to win and Stoops has said that more than once this spring/summer.



  36. classof68
    10:10 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    What’s with all these comments about football. After all, “the reality is that most of us don’t understand football”. But have no fear, Matt tells us a “couple things” he’s noted which turned out to be 5 things.



  37. Kevin Jones
    11:13 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    If Stoops coaches his team similar to FSU’s “D” this will be a conservative team. He taught read and react not attack. I hope there is a coach on staff to adjust Stoops mindset or you will see games 2-12 as you saw in game one (1)….timid and no aggression! Good luck Wildcats!



  38. Hollahollaholla
    11:35 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Jalen Whitlow is not the answer at QB. He is a runner. He cannot pass with accuracy. Max Smith looks much better.

    Neal Brown’s offense was a MAJOR disappointment. I saw nothing out of Stoops and crew that made me think they were any better than Joker.

    Petrino and WKU were far superior.

    UK is looking at 4-20 over the past two seasons. Who wants to watch that?



  39. Clif Maehr
    12:47 pm September 2, 2013 Permalink

    All you need is two takeaways from that game. 1. We still have the same basic players from last year and it will take a few years to rehab from Joker’s tenure here. 2. WKU is a GOOD team!!!! They had a winning record last year and returned the vast majority of their team. I think they would give UL a run for their money. WKU has NFL draft picks on their team. How many NFL players does UK have right now? Likely, zero. Petrino walked into a much nicer scenario than Stoops did.



  40. Paul Stone
    11:13 pm September 2, 2013 Permalink

    BBN needs to take a deep breathe and exhale slowly.

    Top 5 reasons why you can’t blame Coach Stoops for Saturdays loss.

    5. The air raid offense isn’t something you learn overnight. These players are having to adapt to a new staff and new offense and defense. It is unlike anything they have done before
    4. We have some very talented players but not enough of them yet.
    3. Western has a very good football team. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were to beat Tennessee this Saturday
    2. Our coaching staff has several Quarterbacks but it isn’t easy to figure out which one will give us the most success. Mumme had Couch. Stoops and company have no clear standout
    1. Joker Phillips- Do I need to elaborate? He ran this program into the ground!