As we here at KSR struggle to recover from our diligent gluttony, woebegone Maui Invitational, and this, it’s time for our loyal reader’s to strut their stuff. Today, and continuing throughout the weekend, I will be publishing the words of you, fellow Cats fan, should you impress me with your prose. If you feel compelled to write about anything, UK related or not, and want to see it up here for the world to critique (ok, like 30 people), than this is your weekend. Email the intern at: [email protected]
The first guest post comes from the frankly named “Gotti.” When it comes to Mike Archer, Gotti is “mad as hell” and I think this is his way of saying “And I’m not gonna take it anymore.” Take it away, Mr. Gotti:
UK Defense PAINFUL to watch…
As I sat watching our defense on Saturday I had flashbacks of my first kiss… I was nervous, I was clueless and frankly… She was ugly. That is what our defense is, we look nervous, our coordinator is clueless and the product of our efforts are very ugly. The bright side to this is that I’ve improved over the years and I think I’m doing ok now… But sadly, or defense through this year and the last four has improved absolutely NONE and the future doesn’t seem bright under our current regime. We need a regime change, and in this case, it is a worthy cause.
Mike Archer needs to go and fast. I think we have, eh, Will Smith talent, but the leader is going after Rosanne results. Clearly our talent on defense warrants at least a late career Meg Ryan result. Seriously, we have decent talent on this defense, enough talent to be a, say, top 70 defense in the country. But week in and week out we come out in the same vanilla look doing the same things. I know a little bit about football playing and coaching a tad and the one thing I can tell you is this, we do the same thing, over and over, and we show it without disguising any AT ALL. It’s almost comedic to watch. If we are in cover two, our two safeties split the field perfectly on every down and our corners are up, but cocked slightly inside to shot that they are obviously not in man coverage. Our linebackers refuse to walk up the line of scrimmage to MAYBE, just maybe give the QB or opposing Offensive Coordinator the idea that we MIGHT blitz. It’s obvious what we are doing on EVERY down whether it is a blitz or a zone or man to man. We disguise nothing… I learned in high school that you never show what you are going to do until just before the snap. If the offense knows what you are going to do, they will win almost every down. I think UL Monroe proved that Saturday.
The next thing that absolutely pains me about this defense (does it deserve to be called this?) is that we NEVER, EVER make adjustments. We all know what the zone read is. It’s the play that UL Monroe ran some 60 times against us on Saturday. They probably got about 85% of their yards from the same play. Every down, we had the same assignments. Our end was responsible for the QB, and he ran up field creating a massive running lane. From my playing experience part of stopping a running qb in an option offensive is to “play games” with your assignments as my coach said. Who was coincidently a Frank Beamer disciple. Sometimes the Defensive end would be responsible for the qb, sometimes the outside linebacker, sometimes we would even bring the safety up to throw a wrench in the opponents blocking scheme. This is obviously all way above Archer’s head.
Moral of the story, we have decent young talent on defense. It’s a defense that we shouldn’t expect to shut people down, but at least put up a fight. We often hear that it’s about “Jimmy’s and Joe’s not X’s and O’s” Well I respectfully disagree in UK’s case. Our X’s and O’s aren’t giving our young but talented Jimmy’s and Joe’s a chance.
Here’s my theory on why Archer is having such a tough time. I listened to a Chan Galey (GT head coach) interview about three weeks ago. He was talking about why his team has improved so much over the last year. He said it wasn’t necessarily a talent thing, it was him being willing to adjust to the college game. You see, Galey turned over the play calling duties of his offense to Patrick Nix. Galey went on to say that the college game and pro game are totally different. Without going into too much detail he said in college you have to simplify and attack more whereas the pro game is more about building drives on the short passing game. This also translates to defense he said. You have to attack and simplify allowing your players to make plays on the fly. The 20 hour rule forces you to simplify.
Another Coach who I greatly admire, Bill Belichick, gave us a glimpse of his TERRIBLY complicated defensive philosophy in his book, Patriot Reign. All kidding aside, it’s simple. In short he said, “We try to force our opposition do something they are not comfortable doing”. What does this mean? Well, it simply means that if a team tries to run the zone read 15 times in a row, Belichick is going to do everything he can to force them to throw the ball. He would take it away. Belichick is willing to create a weakness in his defense if it means that they stop the offense from doing what they like to do and force them to do something they aren’t comfortable doing. We’ve seen this when they play the Colts and we saw it executed to perfection by his teacher Bill Parcells Sunday afternoon– he forced Peyton Manning to get rid of the ball quicker than usual.
Maybe archer is trying to run a pro scheme? Maybe he expects too much out of his players? In the end, we can’t expect a decent answer from Archer because he clearly hasn’t figured it out in his 4 years at UK. The good news is that we have a month after the UT game to make some changes before our bowl. Something tells me Archer will refuse. Will Brooks make the change? Stay tuned.