If you’re not watching “Breaking Bad” by this point, you’re really just punishing yourself. I’ve been a fan of many TV dramas in my lifetime–“The Sopranos,” “Mad Men,” “Game of Thrones”–but right now, “Breaking Bad” is on another level. The series returned for the final eight episodes three weeks ago and since that Sunday night, we’ve been on a non-stop freight train to the finale (presumably one carrying methylamine). I love the show way too much to spoil you guys, but I do have to recognize the birthday of one of the actors that makes it so great: Aaron Paul.
Paul plays Jesse Pinkman, who, at first glance, didn’t seem like a leading character. In fact, Pinkman was supposed to be killed off in the first season, but after seeing the chemistry between him and Bryan Cranston, series creator Vince Gilligan decided to keep him in. Since then, he’s become the heart of the show, and unbelievably, the moral compass. Paul’s acting has earned him two Best Supporting Actor Emmys, with another likely on the way next year.
It seems like just the other day he was on “The Price is Right”:
Happy 34th birthday, bitch.
The UK/Western game is less than four days away, and with that in mind, here are four story lines from the day.
Blake Bone keeps the Stoops Train rolling
The biggest news of the day was four-star wide receiver Blake Bone choosing Kentucky over his home state school, South Carolina. Bone is Kentucky’s eighth four-star commitment in the 2014 class (eleventh since Stoops took over), and along with Thaddeus Snodgrass, one of the highest rated wide receivers to ever pick the Cats. He’s the fourth wide receiver in the class so far, and also the second recruit to pick Kentucky over South Carolina, something I’m sure Steve Spurrier just loves. Bone told Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal that he wouldn’t have considered Kentucky under the previous staff, but that “the new era and the new feel for the program kind of lit up my eyes.” At 6’5″, Bone is the big target that the Cats need, and he’s already established a relationship with Drew Barker and the other commitments.
Bone also said that Neal Brown’s Air Raid offense made UK a better fit for him than South Carolina, telling Rivals’ Justin Rowland, “It came down to Kentucky being the place where I can catch the most balls. It was the offense for me. I can have success in that offense.” Can we get that on a t-shirt?
Bone’s commitment means three things: 1) UK will finally have a big, athletic target in the red zone; 2) There will be awesome puns in our future; and 3) Even if Braxton Berrios goes elsewhere, the Cats are set at wide receiver in 2014. Word on the street is that South Carolina, Oregon and Miami now lead for Berrios, and while Kentucky’s still very interested in him, if he decides to go elsewhere, it won’t be the end of the world.
Here’s @CMD_77’s awesome chart of UK’s current 2014 commitments:
One step closer to Western
The team is entering the last stages of preparation for the Western game. To begin tapering down, they went through one last hard, physical practice on Tuesday, and Stoops said the group was “one step closer” to being ready for Saturday. They’re now focusing on the nitty gritty details, like third down situations and two-minute drills. Stoops said he’s noticed that his players have turned it up a notch leading up to the season opener, with better focus and attention to detail. As far as the hot and humid conditions predicted for Saturday, Stoops isn’t worried; he says Erik Korem’s conditioning program has the guys well conditioned.
Hope springs eternal in late August
It happens every year: as kickoff inches closer and closer, hopes for the season inevitably rise. There’s no denying that Kentucky has a tough road ahead of them; they play five of the nation’s top ten teams, and that’s just scratching the surface of the SEC schedule. However, with each day that goes by, I can’t help but sense some growing optimism in the fan base, whether it be from the coaches’ encouraging comments or sheer excitement. On Monday, Mark Stoops said that he thinks the Cats can be a very good team and “shock a lot of people.” Now, that may just be Stoops’ spin to get his players pumped up for the opener, but on Tuesday, defensive coordinator DJ Eliot had some equally positive things to say about the offense, specifically Raymond Sanders and some of the wide receivers, who he said “really gave [the defense] fits.” The pessimists among us would point out that’s because our secondary is so weak, but hey. Kickoff is Saturday. The glass is half-full for me.
Don’t worry, I’m working on a huge KSR Guide to Nashville post for later this week with updated flowcharts to help you figure out where to eat, drink, and party Labor Day weekend. Stay tuned.
Brian, Howie and Kevin of the Backstreet Boys visited Alabama’s weight room Tuesday, and while Brian and Kevin didn’t rep the Cats, Kevin did sport his Estill County High School gear. Also, this picture makes me feel old.
Wayne Turner is now a Card
This has nothing to do with the game, but deserves mention. On Tuesday, we found out that Wayne Turner has accepted a job to be a graduate assistant for Rick Pitino at Louisville. Putting my fierce hatred of the Dirty Birds aside, this is a great move for Turner and Louisville. Pitino says Turner, who already served as an undergrad assistant at UK during the 2010-2011 season, will live in the same residence hall as the players and mentor them both on and off the court. Everyone will benefit from that, and with Pitino’s connections, it is a smart career move for Turner, who is clearly (and understandably) loyal to his former coach. Walter McCarty also worked on Louisville’s staff a few years ago, and as I did then, I’ll try to suppress that strange feeling that comes when I see him on the enemy’s sideline in Rupp this December. Congrats, Wayne.
— If you haven’t had a chance to check out Matt’s interview with John Isner over at TheOuterCourts.com, please do so now. Isner is a UGA alum and welcomed the opportunity to talk about SEC football with Matt, even telling him he thinks Kentucky football is on the rise. For that, I hope the Bulldogs kill Clemson this weekend.
— The Catwalk for Saturday will take place at 3:45 p.m. CT at LP Field. The team will enter the stadium between Gates One and Two at the Northeast Bus Inset. The line of fans will begin at the northeast corner of the stadium and stretch along the length of the stadium along South 2nd Street. The team buses will approach the stadium from the southeast. Show up and give the Cats the last burst of support they need before taking the field.
— Finally, another day closer to football means another day closer to the big Cardinal Hill Kentucky Bash on September 6th. I think they forgot the main draw of the event on the poster: Jared Lorenzen in formal wear.