We have reached unfamiliar territory.
For the first time since Mike Hartline rode the momentum from a 2009 Liberty Bowl victory into the offseason, there is a clear choice for starting quarterback. The summer of Calipari and John Wall didn’t involve much football talk, but whatever football was being talked it was about extending Kentucky’s winning streak over Louisville to three games.
Now, we got nothing.
Drew Barker has been named the starting quarterback, putting that topic (mostly) to rest. Through the early years of Mark Stoops’s tenure, recruiting excitement dominated the scene, but that storyline has become fatigued after consecutive five-win bowl-less seasons. The mood has transitioned into a “show me” attitude from the fans. Unfortunately, they can’t show the fans anything for 130 days. So what do we talk about until then?
After gazing into my crystal ball, here is what I foresee to be what fans will want to talk about when Kentucky football enters conversation.
Can Receivers Catch?
Probably. I mean that’s why they were recruited to Kentucky. However, it’s something that can’t be talked about too much because the menial, yet extremely important, task can only be accomplished in a game. For all of the “show me” people, nothing is of greater importance.
Freddie Will Watch Southern Miss ~ 25 Times
He’s already done it once, but Freddie has a problem. He’s a football junkie that just can’t help himself. Somebody’s got to do it, and nobody’s better at it than Mr. Poke Salad.
The New Practice Facility
It will often be a brief conversation, but “How bout that new facility?” could actually turn into a divisive one. I can imagine some crotchety fans responding with anger, “What do they need it for if they can win in the game facility?” Don’t be discouraged. You can never win with those people.
Lamar Thomas Louisville Tweets
Only internet people will understand, but if you follow @LamarCoachT, the man doesn’t stop bringing the ðŸ”¥. The targets he hits the most are the easiest — salty Louisville fans.
Matt Elam’s Conditioning
People with beer guts will love to spend the summer fat shaming Matt. Does he need to get into shape? Duh. But do you have to be mean about it? No. Yet people will still act deplorably when his name comes into conversation.
Chris Westry Hyperboles
Except when you make bold statements about Westry’s potential, it probably isn’t an exaggeration. A next level talent, we saw Westry excel as a freshman, but he was just getting started. He’s gotten even bigger and he knows his position better. If there’s one thing to brag about on this defense, it’s Westry and the exceptional group of defensive backs.
Is Charles Walker a Heisman Contender?
Don’t laugh. If you talk football with Drew Franklin this will surely come up and you better not laugh.
Can We Go to a Bowl?
I will be asked this question more than any other question. My response will be the same as it has been since Stoops’ second year: “Yes, but some things are going to have to happen.” The schedule is daunting, but the SEC East has a lot of unknowns heading into 2016. Alabama is out of the question, but Mississippi State won’t be what they’ve been since Dan Mullen took over.
At the end of the day, it is quite simple. If you beat Louisville, you’re playing in the postseason. If not, you’ve got to surprise some people. With many expecting more poor play, Stoops’ only option for success is to surprise the Big Blue Nation.