Jimmy Rose’s run through season eight of America’s Got Talent came to an end Wednesday night in the season finale on NBC. After sharing the Radio City Music Hall stage with Dierks Bentley for a duet, Rose survived three cuts to become of one of three finalists on stage. However, when the group was cut to two, Rose was the one who was given the boot, leaving him with an amazing third place finish. A Japanese man in a tuxedo won the one million-dollar prize.
“It’s been a crazy experience and a humbling experience,” Rose said in a live TV interview after being named the third place contestant. “If you’ve got a dream out there, chase it, no matter where you come from.”
The Pineville native became a star on the reality show and traveled the country while doing it. He performed in Las Vegas and spent the last few weeks in New York City as one of the show’s finalists. Though he isn’t the contest’s winner, he went on quite a run for a coal miner and Marine vet from Bell County, Kentucky. Hopefully it leads to more opportunities for Jimmy Rose.
KSR is not giving away one million dollars tonight, but I do have Thursday’s News and Views for one lucky website reader…
Big Blue Nation got a large dose of Mark Stoops on Wednesday, beginning with his appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio radio’s first hour. UK’s head football coach dropped by the show to talk football with Matt Jones during the bye week for what I think is his best interview since taking the job nine months ago. Here’s a rundown of what he had to say to Matt and the KSR listeners (Ryan Lemond was playing on his phone):
“We’re obviously disappointed with the record.”
When asked if he’s pleased with the first three games, Stoops said they’re very disappointed with the record. “We go out there to win and prepare to win the game — that didn’t happen,” he said.
“We are improving.”
He thinks the team improved between Week 1 and Week 2, and again between Week 2 and Week 3 in certain areas, but they didn’t put it all together last Saturday. He called the defensive performance against Louisville encouraging and, offensively, he believes they’ll get a lot better. “It just takes better execution.”
“We have to show more fight and more resolve.”
He said they have to make more plays when the game is on the line. Those dropped balls on third down come to mind.
“The quarterbacks cannot do it by themselves.”
Stoops said the quarterbacks haven’t played up to the coaches’ standards, or the fans standards for that matter, but the players around them need to play better, too. When you combine the two, bad things are happening. The quarterbacks missed throws against Louisville, but the receivers dropped balls that hit them in the numbers. Everyone needs to execute better.
“(Max Smith’s) injury was not the same area, it’s not related to the same injury he had in the summer.”
After talking to doctors and the team’s trainers, Stoops said it is his understanding that Max Smith’s shoulder injury in unrelated to the shoulder injury he spent the summer rehabbing. So, that’s good.
“(Jalen Whitlow) needs to settle down, we need to get him more confident and we need to get him started faster.”
He said Whitlow was a little uptight against Western in the season opener. He credited the Louisville defender for making a good play on the fumble in Whitlow’s first snap against the Cards. “It’s our job to get him settled down and playing better,” he added.
“We absolutely, positively need our upperclassmen skill guys to play better.”
Matt pointed out the impact the newcomers have had through three games this season on both sides of the ball. Stoops said they’re not force feeding it to those guys, they’re just outperforming the upperclassmen. The older guys have had opportunities and they’re not doing it.
“I can’t wait to get back in the stadium.”
Stoops can’t wait to play his first night game in Commonwealth and he knows the players are excited about it. He expects to have another great crowd for Florida and the team needs that energy to push them toward the upset.
“We’re going to keep on banging that door down, and believe me, sooner or later, we’re going to knock it down.”
And then this: “Listen, I know the situation, exactly what we’re in right here, and I embrace it – and our players embrace it. We’re going to work our tails off to get this thing done. Nobody every said when it was going to happen – and I’m still not saying when or where or how and I’m not making any excuses – but I love it. I love the challenge of it. I love the way things are going. Our players and our coaches are working extremely hard and I love the situation we’re in and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here right now, trying to get this program turned around.”
[Listen to the audio here.]
Once the weight of the KSR appearance was lifted off his shoulders, Stoops moved on to Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference. Most of what he said to the SEC media was similar to what we heard on KSR, but he did mention that he’s confident in his top three cornerbacks right now: Fred Tiller, Nate Willis and Cody Quinn. He applauded how they played against Louisville on third down, specifically third and long, and he’s pleased with how Quinn has played since returning from injury.
[Listen to the audio here.]
With two media appearances out of the way before lunch, Stoops moved on to practicing with his team in the afternoon, where they began prep for the Florida game. Afterward, he, once again, met with the media with a report of how things went on Wednesday.
The biggest piece of news from Wednesday’s practice is that Max Smith did not throw the football, but he’s expected to play against Florida. Smith told reporters he had tests done on the shoulder and he believes he’ll be ready against the Gators.
Donte Rumph didn’t practice either but he’s also expected to be OK. Stoops said, “He should be fine. It’s an AC joint, which gets sore. That happens to a lot of football players, getting sore. But he should be fine.”
[Watch the video here.]
In basketball recruiting news, John Calipari brought a full house to see Devin Booker on Wednesday. USA Today’s Jason Jordan tweeted out that Booker texted him to let him know Coach Cal and the entire UK coaching staff were at Moss Point High School in Mississippi to see him at open gym.
Booker, already believed to be a UK lean, is also feeling the pressure from his good friend Tyler Ulis, who told the Herald-Leader he and Booker talk almost every day. Ulis said he and Booker clicked when they were on the same team last summer at a Nike camp and they’ve discussed playing together in college. “Devin’s a shooter and I like to drive and kick,” he said.
Ulis also plans to reach out to Stanley Johnson and other elite players in the 2014 class to join him and Karl Towns in Lexington. He tried recruiting Jahlil Okafor during their visit to the alumni game.
The Rupp Arena renovation is still in its design phase and the architects and designers behind the project held an open Town Hall meeting in downtown Lexington to discuss the project. We’ve already heard most of what was discussed, but it’s important to point out that the plan is to keep the seating capacity the same while giving the upper level a major makeover. The lower level will see a few minor upgrades, while the outside of the arena will go from warehouse brown to transparent, to give outsiders a look inside to feel like they’re part of the event. The big white speaker, sadly, will be removed for a state-of-the-art hanging scoreboard.
That’ll do it for tonight. BTI will be by at 9:00 a.m. with one of his five best posts this week.