Oh, hey there, I didn’t see you sneak in. Let me finish this GTA V mission on XBox and then we’ll do some News and Views.
Okay, tonight, we celebrate the birth of Rick Pitino, a man we once loved in the state of Kentucky but now laugh at anytime we eat italian food or spill something on our khakis. Rick turns 61 on Wednesday, exactly 101 days before he brings his defending champion Louisville Cardinals into Rupp Arena for a beatdown; a long-awaited, highly-anticipated, much-deserved, inevitable beatdown. Man, that’s going to be a good day.
Rick was born in New York City, New York in 1952, long before he was a lying, hypocritical college basketball coach with hair plugs. Back then he was just an innocent newborn baby without a single back tattoo or Lexus dealership. You can say he was likable back then. He was even likable in the 90s, some 40 years later, when he coached at the University of Kentucky, a place he calls “Camelot” and to this day says he regrets leaving. You may remember that team he coached to the 1992 East Regional Final or the one he led to the 1996 National Championship. Those were a lot of fun. I still have the ’96 t-shirt.
But now Rick Pitino is the Rick Pitino of Louisville, and I bet he’d love to hear from you in the comments section on his 61st day of birth. So don’t let him down. I don’t really have anything else to say, other than Happy Birthday and thanks for yelling at 10-year-old me at basketball camp in front of all the campers and their parents. Thanks a lot.
After a Monday silence, we finally got a report from how things are going on the football front. Stoops met with the media following Tuesday’s practice and addressed several issues, including the big concern on everyone’s minds right now: the quarterback situation.
Max Smith did not throw any balls in practice but he told Stoops he’s feeling good. Stoops hopes to have him back soon and doesn’t believe the shoulder injury is anything major. Patrick Towles filled in for Smith in practice, taking more reps than what he usually sees as the scout team quarterback. The staff hopes to redshirt Towles this season, but if the injury bug continues to bite Smith, he may be forced into action as Smith’s replacement in the two-quarterback system with Jalen Whitlow, assuming Whitlow can’t carry the load alone. Let’s hope it never gets to that point, though.
There was also a positive injury update from the defensive side of the ball, where Donte Rumph is expected to be OK. The senior starting defensive tackle didn’t practice on Tuesday but Stoops said, “[The injury is] nothing major, nothing major.”
Great time for a bye week, right?
Regarding UK’s practice schedule this week, Stoops said the last two days were spent correcting things and working on fundamentals, and they’ll switch focus toward Florida tomorrow. I bet he still has some notes left over from that loss in Tallahassee in Florida State’s last game of the 2012 regular season.
Drew Barker posted his sixth diary entry on Kentucky Sports Radio Tuesday night, and just like the other five, it makes you wish there were more Drew Barkers out there. Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s entry:
(1.) He believes the current 2014 class is still 100% committed.
Some fans wonder if a two or three win season will run off some of the committed recruits from the 2014 class. It’s a fair concern, but Drew Barker doesn’t think it’s anything to worry about. He said he believes his fellow classmates are still 100% committed to Kentucky, even after the disappointing start, and they see it as an opportunity to come in and play right away, as they were promised. The commits in town for the Louisville game — Darius West, Thaddeus Snodgrass, Mike Edwards, Mikel Horton, Dorian Hendrix, Boom Williams, Adrian Middleton and Jarrett LaRubbio — saw the impact UK’s newcomers are making, and it only encourages them to do come in and do the same next fall.
To see what he means, check out Ally’s post from earlier today on just how important the 2013 recruiting class has been this season.
(2.) He still thinks Matt Elam will end up at UK.
Nick Saban is still in hot pursuit of Matt Elam, but Barker thinks Mark Stoops will win out in the end. Barker wrote, “[Elam] had another really good visit, which only solidifies my opinion that we’re in great position with him and I really think we have a great shot.”
The way Kentucky’s defensive line played early in the game only helped UK’s case. Barker said Elam was very encouraged by how Jimmy Brumbaugh’s line was able to put pressure on Bridgewater and control the line of scrimmage. It helped seeing it in such an electric atmosphere, too.
With two seniors starting at Elam’s position, defensive tackle, the door is wide open for him to come in and be an immediate contributor. He’ll be back to check things out again when the Crimson Tide come to town.
On a side note, I saw Matt Elam in person for the first time at Saturday’s game. That’s a big, big boy.
(3.) He thinks Kentucky has a legitimate chance at upsetting Florida.
Not only do Drew and I share a first name, a desk at the KSR offices and an affinity for hip-hop music, he and I also believe UK has a legitimate chance at beating the Gators on September 28. He pointed out that Florida’s offense struggled through its first two games so they’re primed for upset. “Win the turnover battle and I don’t see why we can’t pull off the upset,” he wrote.
Florida turned it over five times in its Week 2 loss on the road at Miami, for those of you keeping score at home.
(4.) He wants to start right away.
Thing haven’t changed since the day he announced his commitment to Kentucky: Drew Barker wants to be the starting quarterback in his first season at Kentucky. He reiterated that point in Tuesday’s diary entry, saying he will “bust his butt” to win the job. Drew plans to enroll early at UK to participate in spring ball, which will only help his quest to be “the guy” by the time the first game of the 2014 season rolls around.
(5.) He hates losing.
More than he likes winning, he says. He thinks Kentucky accepted losing prior to the Stoops era, but that has changed. Losing will no longer be tolerated.
Read his entire diary entry here.
In basketball news, Stanley Johnson sent out a tweet Tuesday that raised eyebrows around Big Blue Nation. The class of 2014 star said, “If [Kelly Oubre] commits to UK it just betters the situation just making it clear.”
Some fans initially thought the tweet meant Oubre to Kentucky would turn Johnson away from UK, but he actually meant it will help UK’s chances because he can see himself playing with Oubre. The tweet has since been deleted — Johnson said it was too vague and implied he and Oubre were a package deal — but he meant what he said.
Oubre, once believed to be a heavy Kansas lean, now has a few scouts predicting Kentucky. Jeff Borzello of CBS called it a two-horse raise between Self and Calipari, and said he might lean toward UK.
Adding Oubre and Johnson would be HUGE for Kentucky’s 2014 class. Put those guys with Ulis and Towns, plus another guard or two, and Cal is looking at another top-ranked class. Come. On. Down. Please.
KSR’s favorite new artist, Joe Schroer, was spotted singing his hit single, “I Bleed Big Blue” in a Meijer grocery store recently. The video was sent in from a KSR reader who wanted to stick around to hear Joe, but had his kids with him and was ready to get out of the store.
“Oh I’m a big blue fan in the Meijer, oh I’m a big blue fan today…”
Be sure to tune in to Kentucky Sports Radio radio in the morning for an interview with Mark Stoops. Stoops is stopping by the show at 10:45 to talk about how he feels through three games and what he expects from the next nine. It’s rare for a coach to jump on KSR midseason, so you won’t want to miss it. Matt has a lot of good questions lined up, too.
That’ll do it for tonight. Can I get a Go Cats?