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Wednesday News and Views: Recapping a Crazy Start to August

Darrell Bird/Cats Pause

Darrell Bird/Cats Pause

Darrell Bird/Cats Pause

Normally August is a dead month for news around the Big Blue Nation, but August, 2014 has been so insane that I’ve nearly blogged away my eyeballs and brains.  The Big Blue Bahamas Tour has been a Christmas in August for Kentucky fans.  We didn’t expect them to dominate every game, but there hasn’t been a competitive second half yet.  The football team is well into fall camp, having shown their stuff more often than usual by opening up three practices for the fans over the last four days.  The excitment in the atmosphere is greater than the play, but the Cats continue to show signs of improvement.

After three games in the Bahamas and three open football practices, here are three things we’ve learned from each team since Saturday.  

Darrell Bird/Cats Pause

Darrell Bird/Cats Pause

1.  This team knows how to pass the ball

John Calipari Kentucky teams rarely start the season playing clean basketball.  Senseless turnovers happen often, but that’s what it takes to break young guards into a new level of play.  This year’s team shows an unselfishness that you rarely see, let alone this early in the season.  Usually summer ball looks more like street-ball, but Coach Cal’s first practice “extra pass” emphasis has already become a staple of this team.  It isn’t just Andrew and Ulis making pretty passes in the break, it’s Karl Towns making the no-look dish to Dominique Hawkins.  This team’s unselfishness will make them the toughest team to defend in the country.   

2.  The new guys all bring something unique to the table

One of the biggest questions entering the Big Blue Bahamas was how the new guys would fit into a veteran Kentucky team.  Now it’s figuring out how they can get more playing time.  Tyler Ulis has been terrific at every single aspect of the game, displaying some long-range when he isn’t dropping dimes in traffic.  His play in the pick-and-roll with Karl Towns makes you think they’ve played together for years.  Towns is playing like a Gatorade National Player of the Year, with 13 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in only 20 minutes.  The only thing he hasn’t done is hit a three-pointer.  Devin Booker hasn’t found his shot yet in the tiny Bahamian gym, but unlike most shooters, he hasn’t let that affect the rest of his game, scrapping away five steals.  What’s going to happen when he finds his shot and Trey Lyles is inserted into the equation?  *Mind Explodes*

3.  So many good players, so little bad to say 

In any post following a game, it’s wise to make sure it isn’t completely one-sided by inserting a paragraph about where they need to improve or who struggled at times.  You’d have to have a degree in Hate from the University of Louisville to find something negative from the games in the Bahamas.  There have been sluggish starts, but the Cats have never shown signs of regression.  If anything, we’re seeing positives that we did not expect to see.  If Dominique Hawkins is a Bulldog, than Tyler Ulis is an ankle-biting Boston Terrier.  We knew Derek Willis had range, but we didn’t know he had the athleticism to defend smaller opponents or sky high above them for dunks.  Oh, and Aaron Harrison is dunking on people now.

I’m sorry College Basketball, but this could get ugly.

FanDay4

1.  We still haven’t found THE guy at quarterback

The quarterback situation has ALMOST reached a frustration point.  Reese Phillips was excellent during the first four practices, but that Reese Phillips didn’t show up for the two open practices.  Drew Barker has never looked out of place and has excelled against the 2nd and 3rd teams, but going against the 1st string defense was a whole new world for Barker.  Patrick Towles hasn’t had a terrible day, but in between amazing throws he has had some head-scratchers.

There’s no denying that whoever assumes the role will be much better than last year, but somebody NEEDS to assume the role as THE man.  A lot was thrown at them over the last week, but I will be worried if we do not see someone take a giant leap forward next Monday when KSR will be LIVE from practice with Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen as hosts.  If anyone can break down the quarterback position, it’s those two.

2.  The new guys are talented, but have A LOT to learn

Stoops’ highly-heralded second recruiting class has lived up to expectations, if not exceeded them.  I did not expect Matt Elam to play this year, but he’s too much to handle for most double-teams.  There are so many running backs that I wasn’t sure Boom Williams could find a place to play, but his athletic moves haven’t been seen at Kentucky since……………..

The freshmen talent will provide us with some highlights that we haven’t seen in awhile, but there are many young mistakes that come along with big plays.  Dorian Baker had an excellent catch on a 10-yard out route, but if he got his head around quicker he could have gotten 5-10 extra yards.  They can’t get away with what they used to in high school.  The coaches’ constant attention to the young guys is promising, making my imagination run wild with what the future holds.

Some guys who will HAVE to play this year: RB Boom Williams, DT Matt Elam, WR Blake Bone, WR Dorian Baker, WR Thaddeus Snodgrass, Nickel Kendall Randolph, Safety AJ Stamps, WR TV Williams and DE Lloyd Tubman.

3.  Kentucky football will be fun again

My job was very difficult last year, mostly because there weren’t enough pieces to the UK football puzzle to judge the team.  Stoops finally has all of the pieces he needs to put together an acceptable football team.  When receivers drop passes or running backs don’t pick up the blitz, there’s someone ready to replace them.

The added competition will reveal improvements, but you can’t see the biggest improvement from this team.  Their excitement and passion put forth everyday has created a different atmosphere around the practice facility.  They’ve seen the exciting plays in practice and want to show the BBN a brand of football they’re proud of.  The defense’s tenacity has increased and should show drastic improvements, like all of Stoops’ other second-year defenses.  The Air Raid finally has guns big enough for plays that are reminiscent of “Couch to Yeast” and “Stevie Got Loose.”

I can’t predict the wins and losses, but I can predict that you’ll have a team worth watching on Saturdays.

Matt McCarty/Cats Pause

Matt McCarty/Cats Pause

Since I didn’t dedicate this post to someone’s birthday, I’d like to wish a Happy 21st Birthday to my roommate, John Sither.  If I’ve learned anything during my four years in college, “It ain’t easy, being Steezy.” 

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

33 Comments for Wednesday News and Views: Recapping a Crazy Start to August



  1. Luther
    11:05 pm August 12, 2014 Permalink

    7 — 1, baby!



    • What?
      11:40 pm August 12, 2014 Permalink

      Yes, you keep saying that, but what does it mean? Are you referring to what Cal’s record will be against UL once we stop them in December?



    • Jeffrey
      2:39 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      Yes he is



  2. Trubloo
    11:16 pm August 12, 2014 Permalink

    Is John Calipari a liar or stupid? No, he’s not stupid. Jay Bilas and Matt Jones both said Calipairi said his team would be “lucky” to win two of the six Bahamas games. What gives? Kentucky is winning by a zillion and will likely go 6-0.



    • Hump Ditty Ditty
      9:00 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      Cal likes to mess with people. It’s a part of his game. And I love it.



  3. SCCat
    11:26 pm August 12, 2014 Permalink

    Off topic,but a BIG thank you to all the KSR writers – Nick, Tyler, Drew, and others for carrying the torch through the summer when KY news is slow and we still long for good topics.

    I cannot wait for some good football news, some championship banner talk (because seriously this squad will hang one), and some other news in ridiculous fashion…

    BIG ups to KSR.

    Ryen



  4. Brad Akers
    11:52 pm August 12, 2014 Permalink

    Off topic as well but has anyone figured out what channel the SEC network will be in Lexington, is it in HD and SD?



  5. CW
    11:56 pm August 12, 2014 Permalink

    This was a great read Nick. Your writing made me look up the word prodigy in the dictionary. Thanks.



    • Ted
      12:21 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      Wow. Given what you just said I’m surprised you own a dictionary.



    • Merriam-Webster
      7:11 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      Prodigy is short for: Professional Digy.



    • cracka
      8:17 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      so you were online reading this post and you wanted to look up a word’s meaning … and you went and grabbed a dictionary and looked it up … and then came back to type a post about it … too bad there wasn’t a way to just look that up online



  6. MonsterMash
    12:30 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    so is the football team gonna get 4 or 5 wins this year?



  7. Platinum Unis
    2:00 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    Worst. Writer. On KSR. Ever. Point blank. Period.



    • Correction
      4:36 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      No. Worst. Post. Ever. Get. Lost.



    • clancyhat
      12:28 pm August 13, 2014 Permalink

      go ‘way ( please )



  8. Casper
    2:55 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    Excellent post Nick. Platinum Eunuch is crazy.
    Today did Cal mention Poythress playing 2, 3, and 4?
    Or was he talking about someone else?



  9. Alan
    8:19 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    Wash rinse repeat in regards to Neil Brown not having a clue about the QB position. Happened last year and is happening again.



    • The Idiot Ghost
      8:54 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      It’s Neal Brown. N-E-A-L, you mouth-breathing trogdolyte. But you’re right, a consensus top 15 OC with successful offenses everywhere he’s been and an excellent track record of quarterback development is ignorant about what to do here because he redshirted two QBs that needed redshirts in ’13 and hasn’t named a starter for ’14 after less than a week of camp.

      Yep. Kentucky fans are every bit as dumb as UL fans proclaim. Those of us who aren’t spend most of our time ashamed of the idiot ones.

      Ahem. Let me speak in language you would understand: “GO CORCH CAAAAAAHL, LOVE DEM CAYUTS.”



    • Hump Ditty Ditty
      9:05 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      No need to be a d-bag, Ghost. The anonymity of the internet sure does give you an opportunity to act like you have some balls, huh?



    • Willing
      9:09 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      Hump Ditty is probably a 5′ 4″ little weiner.



    • But...
      9:38 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      It’s perfectly ok for Alan to be a d-bag?



    • CATandMONKEY
      9:38 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      He wasn’t being a d-bag. He was simply responding to one.



    • UKfan
      10:18 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      Nice post Ghost. Informative and funny. Seems like the same thing I keep repeating over and over that tends to fall on deaf ears.



  10. Chris
    8:46 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    When is the next game, and is it on ESPNU? I looked at the TV schedule and didn’t see any of the future games on the ESPNU guide. Trying to make sure I DVR the game so I can watch it when I get home from work.



    • Life Under A Rock
      9:40 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?



  11. Glenn Fohr
    9:06 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    This quarterback circus is rediculous!! Stoops needs to step up here!!



  12. QB problems
    9:12 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    We’ve had the same problem over the last few years…who will be our quarterback? Is it because there are too many choices? Or do they all stink that bad? It seems that no matter who the coach chooses they always under perform throughout the year.

    I say put in Barker and let him take control of the team.



    • UKfan
      10:25 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

      So you have inside information on who the best quarterback. Please lay out the fundamentals on why you think Drew is the best option. Hint: he played well against the 2nd and 3rd team, but struggled when the pressure was on. Everything I have read and saw indicates that Patrick will start, Reece will be backup, Max plays in a pinch and Drew redshirts.

      As talented as Drew is, I think redshirting him is the best for the program and him. Why throw a true freshman to the wolves before he is truly ready. Too much downside to playing him now.



    • QB problems
      12:17 pm August 13, 2014 Permalink

      Of course I don’t have inside info. Don’t be a smartass. I think playing Barker as a freshmen will only make our team stronger in the next few years instead of waiting to play him next year. He could build on his freshmen year instead of standing on the sidelines ‘watching and learning’.



    • UKBlue1!
      1:08 pm August 13, 2014 Permalink

      QB problems….Barker will be trying to read defenses that are a lot more complicated than what he has seen in HS. Plus other factors include our offensive line and receivers. Put him in wrong situation and he could end his career before it starts. I think Stoops and Brown are smart enough to know what needs to be done.



  13. Big Blue
    9:28 am August 13, 2014 Permalink

    Comment 10- Chris.. the next 3 games are on the SEC Network



  14. clancyhat
    12:35 pm August 13, 2014 Permalink

    some coach ( anybody remember who it was ) once said that he didn’t make decisions on personal – the players did by their play. And he just picked the one that was playing the best. One of these QB’s need to make the decision for the coach.



  15. jboy
    12:49 pm August 13, 2014 Permalink

    PICK a QB. Let him work with the first team ,develop confidence and chemistry. Should pay off in later games. Any of the QB’s should look good the first couple games. Coaches seem to be hesitant to pull the trigger.