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We are all just Confused after Kentucky’s 20-10 Loss to Missouri

Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t even know how to feel about Kentucky’s 20-10 loss to Missouri last night. None of it made sense.

Usually, as a Kentucky football optimist, I feel some sort of emotion after the result of a Kentucky football game. But, after that dud of a performance, I genuinely can’t pinpoint an emotion about this loss, or this team.

Disappointment? Sure. Angry? Not necessarily. Pessimistic? You could say that. Expected? Yeah, a little. But what I am more than anything is, just like the rest of the BBN, flat out confused.

Let’s first address how the game played out. I feel like most Kentucky fans smelled this trap game coming ever since the schedule changed a week and a half ago, and it was more evident after Kentucky beat the brakes off of Tennesee a week ago. After a historic 34-7 win against Tennesee, you would like to carry that momentum into a Georgia game at home, especially after they’re licking their wounds from a loss to Alabama. Kentucky then becomes a trap game for Georgia.

Instead, after a historic win, you’ve got to travel to quite possibly the most boring place in the SEC: Columbia, Missouri. A place with no tradition, no history, a place that would get up once a year when their biggest football rival was Kansas. Oh, and you’ve got to do it in the middle of the day too. It’s so boring I found myself struggling to keep my eyes open a few minutes before halftime.

Of course, Kentucky was going to start out flat, but the bad thing is, as mentioned on last night’s post-game show, this didn’t play out like a trap game. Kentucky had their chances, and they blew it. Let’s start with confusing example number one, the obvious one.

Where in the hell is Chris Rodriguez?

Nick Roush touched on this last night, in great detail in fact, but it’s worth mentioning a second time. It is absolutely criminal that Chris Rodriguez is not the focal point on this stagnant Kentucky offense. Last week I sat here and gave the good folks of the BBN every reason why we should expect Chris Rodriguez to not only take over the workload in the backfield but that he should be the focal point. Instead, Rodriguez was only up to five carries just seconds before the start of the fourth quarter. He ended the game leading the team in carries with nine, but nine attempts for him is way too small. He has proven he can thrive in a Benny Snell type workload.

Aside from Rodriguez, there is no reason this Kentucky backfield should only be getting 14 carries in a game. Eddie Gran and Mark Stoops literally have the deepest Kentucky running back room in my lifetime, maybe ever, yet there has been an obvious failure to utilize them. I don’t care if the Cats only ran 36 plays, they probably could’ve run more plays had the run game been more prevalent, and if the run game featured C-Rod more than nine times. It’s been proven, when he gets the ball, good things happen.

The second thing that has left me confused, why is Gran and Co. trying to get cute with Terry Wilson? Two weeks ago I laid out why Terry Wilson can work in this offense, but that didn’t necessarily mean he should BE the offense. Terry can give you scrambling ability, he can hit the short passes, and looking back to Florida in ’18, Missouri in ’18, and on the only touchdown yesterday, he can even get you deep-play-ability when absolutely necessary.

Just look at that ball, it’s beautiful.

However, instead of playing to Terry Wilson’s strengths, it feels like the coaching staff can’t decide to go all-in on Terry or not. To make things even murkier, why would you put Joey Gatewood in that situation? It’s evident that it wasn’t a gameplan, and if it was, boy it was a bad one.

I think Gatewood can have a bright future for Kentucky, but this is not an offense he can thrive in. In my opinion. You’ve got to ride with Terry as your QB, give the ball to your backs, let Terry make the simple plays as he did against Tennessee, and DON’T COMPLICATE THINGS.

Of course, I don’t get paid to make these decisions, these guys do, so what I say is ultimately irrelevant, but every casual football fan knows if you have two quarterbacks you have no quarterback. Terry Wilson has been championed as the dude for two years now, and it’s about time he gets utilized like it instead of half-assed bubble screens and being benched for Gatewood when his receivers are dropping passes.

This gets me to another point, what is going on with the receivers?

Mark Stoops has actually had some solid receivers during his time at UK. Blue, Juice, Baker, Badet, Bowden, and now Ali. He’s had some capable dudes, and we can even pinpoint CJ Conrad if we want to go further. However, for some reason, these receivers are just struggling.

It seems like the only thing that happens on a pass play is a bubble screen or wherever Josh Ali is on the field, and that just can’t get it done. It feels like Allen Dailey has made a play here or there, Upshaw is a capable pass-catcher, despite his drop in Knoxville, and what has happened to Akeem Hayes? Hayes looked like a viable option for Wilson and an offense looking for a second pass-catcher, however, since Hayes tweeted his frustration about playing-time he hasn’t seen the field.

I don’t know if it’s disciplinary or what, but if it’s out of sheer pettiness I can’t wrap my mind around it. If other players in the past have been able to put their frustrations on social media (ie Blake Bone, Lynn Bowden, and others) Hayes should be able to do the same on a wide receiver room that is down to the bare minimum. He may turn-out all that great, but when he was the only guy giving you production the first two games, it would be nice to see him get more than nine snaps in the last three games. Or, if Hayes isn’t going to get a shot let’s start trying out these other guys like Khalil Branham and Izayah Cummings. With a 2-3 record halfway through the season, what do you have to lose at this point?

Finally, situational decision making has been BRUTAL for this Kentucky team this season. Throwing the ball away on two-point conversions and third down, going three and out on drives to get back in the game, and a failure to get touchdowns on putaway drives. It has happened every single game this season, some have just affected the game much less than others. However, there are three glaring examples from yesterday’s game.

The first one was on the opening drive. Kentucky elected to receive to start the day (first of all, WHAT?) and decided to open the game with three straight passes. Now, again, I’m not an offensive guru, but I would like to think going to your least successful plays to start the game is not a recipe for success. Kentucky would go three and out, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Then, after Eli Drinkawitz gives you a GIFT by turning the ball over on downs after a 21 play drive, Chris Rodriguez doesn’t touch the ball once. In fact, Kentucky went Wilson-Gatewood-Wilson in that sequence. That is absolutely not a recipe for success and Kentucky would go three and out. But wait, there’s more!

Right before the start out of the fourth, Kentucky was undeservingly still in the game–somehow. Instead of giving the ball to Chris Rodriguez who kickstarted the last touchdown drive, he gets zero carries and Kentucky goes three and out again. Missouri kicks a field goal on the next possession to tuck it away, and now we’re all sitting here confused.

I know that’s a lot, so let’s review what Kentucky fans are rightfully confused about.

Why won’t Chris Rodriguez get the ball? Is Terry the guy or not? Where is Akeem Hayes? Where are the young wide receivers? Why is there a large number of bubble screens? Why does Kentucky choke in situational football? Are we good or not? What happens next?

Kentucky hits the toughest part of their schedule and is EASILY staring down 3-6 heading into the final week. We knew this was going to be a throwaway year, but this team has clearly underachieved through five games. There are a lot of questions being had, and right now is not the time to be having those questions. This offense looks lost, and it has all Kentucky fans dumbfounded. Something needs to change.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk, Go Cats.

Article written by Brent Wainscott

Twitter: @BrentWainscott_

17 Comments for We are all just Confused after Kentucky’s 20-10 Loss to Missouri

  1. Guinniemen
    9:12 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    I agree Rodriguez should be the main focal point in the offense. I don’t get why we don’t go back to a couple years ago when Wilson would throw the short passes for first downs and Benny would run all over everybody. To me it seems the coaching staff is trying to help Wilson out by making him stay in and make throws which he isn’t that type of qb and they are hurting this team. Gatewood for me should start also aslong as our wr’s make catches.

    • ibescootch
      11:40 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      Agree. They always reference a confidence thing with Terry, which comes by getting reps. Ok. But how many reps are we talking before we say, the dude ain’t gettin’ it. I love Terry, honestly I think he has so many weapons, but it’s like watching a NASCAR driver try to navigate Christmas traffic on Nicholasville Rd.

  2. BowdenQB4ever
    9:20 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    What’s confusing? Unless you bought the hype KSR was selling (baselessly), this is what you expect from CMS program. Last week was fun, but it had more to do with what’s going at QB for the vols than anything we were doing well. The offense has been incompetent all season, and mark stoops is being paid $500k/game for this effort.

  3. ziplock
    10:29 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Two quarterbacks not working isn’t always the truth. 2006 Florida national champs had Chris Leak All SEC second team quarterback and Tebow was All SEC Freshman quarterback and they blasted Ohio St 41-14 in the championship game

    • E11Q
      8:13 am October 26, 2020 Permalink

      The difference being is that even Tebow was a better thower of the football than Wilson is lol. Do you have any clue how hard it is to make Tebow look like a competent thrower of the football???? It’s almost impressive how Wilson has been able to defraud not one, but TWO Power 5 schools out of scholarship money by convincing them he could play QB lol.

  4. Southky
    10:32 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    You lost me at Terry Wilson can work in this offense.

  5. UKinIN
    10:36 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    The offense looks like the coaches are meeting the players for the first time every Saturday morning.

    • goteam94
      11:48 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

      People want to keep bringing up Terry’s record as starter as why he should stay QB1 but don’t want to mention he has had some of the best players in our programs history playing with him. Gatewood should start and finish next game. If he tanks consider Allen or back to Terry but you have to give gatewood a week of prep and a whole game

  6. WKY Cat
    10:47 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Where’s all the Stoops troops?? Where’s all the Wilson supporters?? Maybe, just maybe you were wrong. Lol

  7. LexWildcatFan15
    11:47 pm October 25, 2020 Permalink

    Since we’re going to go 3-7 or 4-6 and go to a bowl game, because basically every team will make a bowl to fill out the schedule, I say focus on the future of team: C-Rod and either Gatewood or Allen and the younger WR’s. Terry is a nice guy, wonderful human being, but without a plethora of playmakers around him (and Gran’s seeming unwillingness to feature C-Rod) he can’t be a game manager that he excels at. He is forced into the role of playmaker, which he just isn’t. His skillset worked great in 2018 when there was more talent around him for him to lean on, and for him to manage. Now this year he only has 1.5 consistent players (C-Rod, who the aforementioned Gran doesn’t use which doesn’t help Terry at all, and the 0.5 being Ali because he makes great plays and then makes drops and fumbles it too often) to manage, so he is forced to be play maker, which just isn’t his skillset.

    If we’re all in agreement that C-Rod needs to be our featured offensive player…why do we need Terry to hand it off to him? Just let Gatewood or Allen hand it off and then learn what both of them can do in live-ball situations; to see if either one of them can be a playmaker. Because a game manager, which i’m a big fan of that role, only works with a supporting cast, which UK doesn’t have for Terry unfortunately. So instead of trying to fit the square peg that is our game-manager QB in the round hole that is our incompatible offensive system this year, let’s see if any of the younger players are playmakers. Again, not saying players aren’t good or aren’t trying; I know they’re giving it their all.

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to fit, and sadly the offensive pieces (while good individually) just don’t fit together this year.

  8. Pensacola_Cat_Fan
    12:52 am October 26, 2020 Permalink

    No way we should get Terry Wilson the rest of the year. Nothing against home btw. We have to start thinking about next year b/c this season is over as far as being a successful year. Try to build on Gatewood and hopefully next year will be better.

  9. BigBluSoTru
    6:23 am October 26, 2020 Permalink

    Gatewood is no better than Terry why he couldnt beat Nix whom is not setting the world on fire either. We are clamoring forJ-Gate and i’m afraid this is going to backfire and cause Beau and any other recruit to transfer or not pick us.

  10. E11Q
    8:11 am October 26, 2020 Permalink

    I’m not sure what exactly is so confusing about this game. We know Kentucky is solidly mediocre. Bad QB and bad WRs, plus a completely arrogant coaching staff who decide this is going to be the game where they prove the fan base wrong (well, those with eyes anyways) that Terry can, in fact, play the QB position (which we all know he can’t) and it cost us. Imagine how much worse this would have looked against UGA when we ran this game plan out there!

    But, nothing will change because UK football has accepted mediocrity as its goal. Have one ten win season and then right back to mediocre for the next five. But anybody who complains about the state of the program is considered “disloyal” and “not a true fan” because we simply want to see UK football continue to progress. We’ve regressed the past two seasons but again, anybody who points that out gets beat down by the “if you are going to be negative, then just don’t watch crowd”.

  11. DoubleB65
    8:58 am October 26, 2020 Permalink

    What is confusing? It’s totally apparent this team was over hyped from the start and it starts with Terry Wilson. All we’d heard all pre-season was how much better he was and how he’d improved. But not just him -‘we heard about various positions and teams that were going to be better.

    The fact is KY is still KY. We are what we are. In a normal year 6-7 wins is about all we can expect with a few 8 and maybe 9 win seasons sprinkled in. But until this Coaching staff gets their heads out of their hind ends in game situations we will continue to have embarrassing games.

    Maybe next time the coaches will get their team to focus on football and not social issues during the pre season and teach them NOT to buy into the hype as well.

    3-7 here we come. Vandy is the only team left that we will beat.

  12. bramstoker
    8:58 am October 26, 2020 Permalink

    I agree that the coaching staff isn’t getting the most out of this team. I still think they can and will surprise some people at some point this season. But the lack of playmakers is easy to see. I think they were being aggressive to build.momentum and willing to risk having a dud offensive performance that came to be.

  13. Looother
    9:59 pm October 26, 2020 Permalink

    Mu sources say this is KY football and no one should be confused…