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That wasn’t much fun

max and jalen

Last night wasn’t fun. It was, I think, the antithesis of what many of us expected from the beginning of the Mark Stoops era. This statement obviously applies to the outcome–most Kentucky fans were assuming a win was imminent whether we will admit it or not–but it also applies to many of the story lines besides the outcome.  So, for those of you having trouble pinpointing the exact source of your pain this morning, let me take a moment to troubleshoot the source of said discomfort before I return to going about my business like none of this ever happened.

1. The most glaring issue of suck last night for many fans was the play calling.  Look, I won’t pretend to be Jon Gruden in my understanding of the many intricacies of football. I do, however, think that it is fair to say that last night’s play calling was , um, unexpected? Were there reasons for such a drastic deviation from the so-called Air Raid? None that I can think of. Kentucky hired an Air Raid offensive-coordinator, Kentucky played Air Raid sirens in our advertisements to entice consumers to buy tickets, and then Kentucky passed the ball 29 times to Western’s 34 attempts.  It pains me to make this comparison, and you knew it was coming, but I would have had a hard time drawing a distinction between this staff’s play calling and the previous staff’s.  On too many occasions, Kentucky was facing third and long and a piss-poor run play or the like was called.  The conservative nature of last nights play calls flies in the face of what the staff said they were about.

2. What happened to neither quarterback winning the job before this game? I don’t know if the staff was attempting some sort of novice Jedi-Mind-Trick on Bobby Petrino in refusing to name a starter before the  game, but I do know that I believed that no firm decision had been made between Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow. Obviously most of us expected Whitlow to be the starter, but barring some sort of remarkably efficient performance out of Jalen, I expected Smith to get a chance to prove his effectiveness early in the game.  Since we got the opposite of a remarkably efficient start from Whitlow (he looked like he hadn’t passed a ball all off-season), it stands to reason that Max would get a chance to prove something–you know, since no one had won the job yet.  Instead, Max Smith saw his first action late in the game when it was essentially over (yeah it was).  What’s more, for the first time all night, with Max Smith in the game, the offense looked like one that fit the mold of the AIR RAID. The offense that this team was expected to run.

3. The defensive line looked awful.  We expected the d-line to be our biggest strength.  Western Kentucky, a team that gets the scraps of the scraps of mediocre teams (including Kentucky), made our defensive line look extremely weak. I can count on one hand how many times our front four pressured the quarterback.  Specifically, Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith’s names were called on far too few occasions if we are to believe that they are the elite rushers off the edge that they are supposed to be. Kentucky’s secondary was expected to be bad–and for the most part they were–but defensive line was surprisingly sucky, and for that, they have earned their spot in the things that sucked the hardest from last night.

3. Bobby Petrino is now 5-1 (fixed) against Kentucky. I guess nice guys really do finish last.

5. On a serious note, my condolences and thanks to those of you that made the trip to Nashville.  Few things suck more than spending the time, the money, the energy and the emotions to travel and support your team on the road only to be rewarded with a gut-wrenching loss. Even though Kentucky lost to WKU last year, I suspect that most of you that made the trip expected a fun weekend filled with live music, good food and drinks, and a win to cap off a solid Labor Day weekend.  While there is obviously an element of surprise in sport, Kentucky shouldn’t lose to Western Kentucky, virtually ever.  That element of surprise was taken care of last year.  Sorry fans.

Can this nation stay awake through many more performances like last night? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out. 


Article written by Matt Wheatley

38 Comments for That wasn’t much fun

  1. jch67
    11:24 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    A little rough, don’t you think?

    1&2) What sucked about this was NOT the play calling, it was the decision to wait until the 4th Qtr. to put in Smith. If you will recall, Whitlow came out throwing – and very poorly at that… I can only guess the staff wanted to give him the chance to calm down and settle into the offense (3 quarters seems a bit much though…); but he never did so they had to run it (there was even an attempted bubble-screen – SO to Joker – which Whitlow blew). With Whitlow in the game, they simply can’t throw the ball.

    Now, why they waited until the 4th quarter to give Smith a chance is anybody’s guess unless, they wanted to be absolutely certain Whitlow can’t be this team’s QB. I’m guessing they know that now (anyone watching ESPN News last night certainly does) and Smith will be #1 next week and Whitlow will be a receiver from here on out.

    3) yep, hard to argue with this assessment…

    3 again) ditto

    5) Whatever…. Yes the fans want to see their team win, or at least be competitive, but they’ve all been around UK football for a while and know this can’t be assumed as it would be in Alabama. They have other reasons for going, like watching a football game, tailgating, hitting Nashville…. I don’t feel sorry for them and doubt many of them are regretting their decision to make the trip.

  2. Chris
    11:24 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Bobby Petrino lost to Kentucky one time at Arkansas. I guess facts truly are optional.

  3. Mark Oops
    11:26 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    BBN, you just got Stoopified. How much money are you paying me? Err Raid 2.0!

  4. UKBird
    11:27 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Yeah it did suck. But Stoops is left with a mess to clean up. Until they get better players in, his kind of players Kentucky will be a lot better. On a good side notes least they did score over 20 points.

  5. schwing
    11:30 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    how did the football analysis masterminds at KSR miss that one so badly last night?

  6. m4ff3w
    11:32 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Petrino is 5-1 against Kentucky.

  7. Jim
    11:32 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Nice predictions last night Matt

  8. classof68
    11:33 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    No. 4: Mitch disagrees about joker’s mess. He said we just “stubbed our toe a little bit”.

  9. Old Henry Man
    11:34 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    UK looked very unprepared.
    How many motion penalties were called on the OL.
    I have a new Drinking game, you must chug your drink every time the game is stopped to pack Rump or Cobble off the field

  10. Michael F. Jox
    11:38 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Great post. Thank you for the honesty.

  11. Mr_Ky_Bball
    11:39 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t imagine actually making the trip to Nashville. I am grieving over the 9 dollars I spent to watch the game on TV.

  12. Woosley
    11:40 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Does this mean we aren’t going to the BCS National Championship game? Guess all the bandwagon basketball fans should jump off now…

  13. leftygilmore
    11:42 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with #1. Wasnt the play calling, it was calling the plays with limited ability to throw the ball with Whitlow. No run first QB will ever be successful.

    Stoops is playing with Joker’s players, which are sub-par D-I caliber. You can only coach and teach the players so much; its up to them to execute. They showed they didnt the first game.

    I think UK will get better as the season goes on. UK fans that rip Stoops already, you arent UK fans.

  14. What?
    11:42 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    This article is horrible. Petrino has lost to UK. The D-Line played good, it was the LB play that hurt us stopping the run. Why even write something when you don’t know what you’re talking about? Good times are ahead of us. Try to write something not as harsh and more accurate next time.

  15. This stinks
    11:43 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Nice writeup if lacking in facts……..if you took time to scout opposing teams you would have seen the unknown with WKU was their D-line–we have plenty of good backs–hence run the ball. The playcalling was fine in the first half. We had alot of success rushing. Yes Max should have played more–probably in hindsight started–or after the first possesion of the second half fizzled…..but Whitlow looked better than this all camp. Last night WKU wasn’t afraid of his passing in the least. Defense…….the line didn’t dominate as many had expected–but if your linebackers don’t hit their gaps you won’t stop most running plays. When you have basically 3/4 dbs and none of them are even juniors……against Bobby Petrino…….he used alot of quick hits, slant routes,etc. He knew our weaknesses and hit them hard. Our dbs and linebackers have alot of work to do………..but with the exception of Avery Williamson they are all young. AW also didn’t have an amazing game–he must in this defense for us to have a chance against our schedule. So not a great night……..but apologizing to the fans who made the trip…….ehhh??? Really?? Are we in year 3 of rebuilding and expecting to crush non-conference opponents? No–its the first game of a major rebuilding effort. I watched every second of the game and hoped for far better–but this one is going to take time and people need to be patient.

  16. jpg
    11:48 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Yeah, it wasn’t the play calling. The weakness of WKU was suppose to be its D-line so a predominate rushing attack not a bad strategy, especially with Jalen’s running game. The problem is that Jalen did not looked poised to make the throws necessary to keep the defense honest.

    Putting Max in the shotgun early with some quick strikes would open up the running game in the future.

  17. jpg
    11:50 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    15, great post! I agree with everything.

  18. Wildcatsteeler
    11:50 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    It’s not like we can say we stumbled and will make it up later. There are no teams on the schedule to make it up. We should never lose to WKU period. Much less get dominated like we did. Hard to know if WKU is any good or if we just made them look like a pro team. I guess when they play Tennessee next week we’ll know. The only good thing that came out of last night is that Smith will be the starter now. Like I said for a month.

  19. Eazy MF E or Eric Wright it's all the same
    11:52 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    *******Obviously most of us expected Whitlow to be the starter, but barring some sort of remarkably efficient performance out of Jalen, I expected Smith to get a chance to prove his effectiveness early in the game. Since we got the opposite of a remarkably efficient start from Whitlow (he looked like he hadn’t passed a ball all off-season), it stands to reason that Max would get a chance to prove something—you know, since no one had won the job yet. Instead, Max Smith saw his first action late in the game when it was essentially over (yeah it was).********

    Matt, you are such a hypocrite it makes my blood boil. Last night on the live blog you were chastising anyone and everyone who brought up bringing Max in early after Whitlow looked freaking atrocious throwing the football during the first few drives. You said things like “as long as we’re moving the ball on the ground, I’m not worried” and “Why? Whitlow is not playing defense.” There were many of us saying that the “Ground Raid” stuff was not going to work in the second half after Holt made his halftime adjustments, let alone in the SEC. And you responded, “I’m worried about THIS game.” Well, how’d that “Ground Raid” 3rd quarter play out for ya, buddy.

    So my question is, why are you taking a completely different stance this morning? It’s absolutely comical to me. You may be able to fool the masses, but you can’t fool me.

  20. paintsville'sdairyqueen
    11:53 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I disagree with play calling part. If they’re going to use Whitlow then they to play to his strengths. Why they didn’t play Max more is beyond me. The defense is the story here. They didn’t get pressure because they got ball out very quickly. I guess they were afraid our DB’s would get toasted because they lined up 10 yards from whoever they covered. WKU simply just ran underneath them all night. They also ran the ball off tackle and outside at will. It’s going to take some time.

  21. You lost me
    11:58 am September 1, 2013 Permalink

    #13 playing with Joker’s players would be a fine excuse vs. SEC teams or Uofl. The truth is nearly all of UK’s roster, on paper, is more highly touted than WKU’s. unlike most fans, I predicted this summer that Petrino would be game-planning for this game from the day he was hired (and win!) It showed. What also showed is that UK’s game prep apparently started last Wednesday. I can accept playing with Joker’s players is going to lead to losses, but you cannot blame Joker for a poorly prepped team and poor play calling. Cannot fault the previous staff for false starts and stupid mental errors. Better clean it up quick, or its 0-2 after Miami and dare I say empty Commonwealth yet again in November?

  22. uk_fanaticat
    12:02 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I think you suck Matt Wheatley and what makes you think you have the right to apologize for a UK loss. The only thing you should be sorry for is criticizing something you obviously have no clue about. I’m finished with this site and their teenage bloggers.

  23. This stinks
    12:05 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    first and only time that I comment negatively about a post’s content it gets deleted…..look I love this site and love the BBN–but in my opinion this post wasn’t pro-UK or balanced, and I disagreed with much of it as much for how it was written as what it said. There have been far far worse things said on this site that were left up…….I wasn’t disrespectful, rude, or littered with foul language. But I get deleted……ok then

  24. dylan
    12:07 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    what an awful article. sad that someone who DOESN’T GIVE A FU#K about UK Football is allowed to post about it on a UK Athletics forum. Great for our current and future Football ids to read this kind of crap. Matt Wheatly? You should just stop pretending to even care- you’re obviously just another basketball di3k riding pansy.

    This program is coming up, we’re not going to let morons like you keep it down. I know there’s a least 65,000 RUE BLUE UK FOOTBALL FANS in THIS state, the rest of you all can stay home, WE’LL fill Commonwealth Stadium every week, and not still be drinking in the parking lot at halftime.

    GO CATS!

  25. classof68
    12:28 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    24: If they keep playing like last night, they will “fill” Commonwealth like they did the Vandy game last year.

  26. Goty
    12:30 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Hey, look at it this way, we still have the number (way higher than it will be in the end) recruiting class for next year! Right? Guys? Anyone?

  27. Jeffrey
    12:33 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Petrino is 5-1 against UK.

  28. jpg
    12:53 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    25, that is very inaccurate. UK fans revolted last year, to get rid of Joker! Joker did not develop any players. He actually coached-down players.

    This year, we all knew UK was going to struggle, so 1 game should not change the support. UK fans need and should show up in droves. You probably won’t since you sound like a bandwagon fan.

  29. true fan
    1:06 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Rome wasn’t built in a day!!! its gonna take some time to build his program up….You cant just give up on this process after ONE GAME! Stoops and Brown will get us there but it will take time. a few more recruiting classes and some experience…The sky has not fallen we hit a bump and will hit a few more. I’m gonna be a real fan and support this team through the whole process. Maybe Western was better than we wanted to give them credit for as well. No matter if all you can do is bash these kids who fought all the way till the end then find somewhere else to write!!!!! This site is for the Big Blue Nation. The real fans

  30. Marj
    1:11 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    #19 What? You do realize the writer of this post is Matt Wheatley not Matt Jones?

  31. Walter Sobchak
    1:22 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t usually comment about how much a post sucks (and there are plenty of sucky ones on this site), but this one really rubbed me the wrong way. If you are going to just whine and complain, at least know what you’re talking about please. Anyone complaining about not throwing the ball enough last night is an idiot. With Whitlow in, we were very effective running the ball and absolutely horrible at passing (which had a lot to do with terrible blocking by the o-line and receivers on screens). And the defensive line was not horrible, they were just OK. However, every other defensive player (besides one or two) looked completely lost and scared. As someone else pointed out, the linebackers were the reason we got destroyed in the running game.

  32. TD
    1:58 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    For UK to win, they will need to start Max Smith. Whitlow may have looked better to many in practice, but remember he went up against a UK defense that has never been good at stopping a read or spread offense. Smith opens up the field more with his ability to throw deep than Whitlow can with the run threat, and that was proven by the long runs Sanders and Timmons made when Smith was in.

  33. kentuckyjoe
    2:16 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Really good analysis and post. You’ve got it right.

  34. Zack
    4:53 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Maybe next time we won’t hire a coach just because his name is Stoops! What I saw last night was an extension of the joker era, there was no difference whatsoever. From the performance, the preparedness, and the play calling. If this is how Mark Stoops runs a team, call me unimpressed. They acted like they had lost from the first snap…

  35. El Guapo
    5:11 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    The most honest and forthright thing I have ever read on KSR. I was one of those fans who drove down and I absolutely regret going. It was my understanding our football team was also going to Nashville to play in a game and imagine when my surprise when nothing resembling an “Air Raid” football team showed up. What I saw was Joker 2.0: runs on 3rd and long, FG tries when down 18 points deep in enemy territory, multiple mental errors and stupid penalties, DBs playing and remaining ten yards off the line despite being thrown underneath again and again and again. I had to watch moronic WKU-produced video clips on a giant TV where different WKU players would scream something unintelligible about “TURN UP TURN UP AAAAAH IT THIRD DOWN UP IN HERE TURN UP!” It was absolutely embarrassing. I could handle doing at least as well against WKU as we did last season, losing a close game in OT. Getting completely dominated in every phase of the game for 60 minutes and never once being competitive – that you do not expect. I know it’s Joker’s terrible players. I get that. But I expected us to be at least as good as we were last year, not to get that much worse. So all you fools quit pumping sunshine. Admit we should’ve hired Petrino, or better yet, Petrino and Tom Jurich, who pretty much has owned Barnhart for several years now. We made a mistake. It’s too late to fix it now for this year. Maybe if they do some actual coaching and we cut out the stupid plays and mistakes, we might be competitive in an SEC game, but the team I saw out there last night would struggle against a lot of the country’s good HS teams.

  36. UKCincy
    7:52 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    The game was disappointing to say the least. Especially after all of the smack talk towards WKU. Stoops will need more time to get his players on the field.

  37. Tired of Being 1 of 12 Games
    9:41 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    How does a Air Raid (?) offense have a QB pass for 16 YARDS in the first half, and 78 yards in 3 quarters? Max Smith passed for 125 yards playing 1 quarter. UK has to have Max Smith in the game.

  38. Jerns
    5:29 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Holy crap Matt. You suck. I hope most of our fans arent as crappy as you are. Please do not apologize to people for attending that game, especially since your newfound non-uk sporting events prevented your own attendance. Also please do not write an entire hatemail about the coaching staff after one game, coming off an abysmal season last year. Your blind negativity is a disservice to us all.