Friday, September 25, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
In any event, it is time to play thumbs up, thumbs down.
We'll start with Derrick Locke. Yes, dude had a costly third quarter fumble. But if you set that aside, he had the game of a lifetime. Three hundred and ten total yards, a touchdown running and in the return game, as well as some catches out of the backfield.
Whoever is in charge of managing the clock for UK's offense. My god. Stuff has been made about the last fifteen seconds, which were just boneheaded moves by Hartline and the officials. But really, we never should have been in that position to begin with. Lets recount.
1:52 Cobb fields punt on UK 43, dropped on the spot. UK has one timeout left. Matthews makes a catch around the 50, prances around, fails to get out of bounds while gaining about two more yards. Clock runs.
1:27 Cats run draw to Locke in the middle of the field. Play is good for eight yard down to the 39. UK then pussyfoots around for a good 25 seconds.
:57 Hartline finally takes the snap and throws inside screen to McCaskill, meaning the play is not meant to end out of bounds and thus unless something miraculous happens, the clock is going to be running once Gene is tackled. Nothing miraculous occurs.
:51 McCaskill is downed at about the 35, and everyone lines up on the ball.
:31 Hartline calls the team's last timeout after wasting 20 seconds. I literally bury my head in my hands throughout. Coming out of the timeout Hartline completes great timing route to Matthews, who then decides to fall down in bounds rather than walking out.
:14 Hartline spikes. Timer then goes braindead and puts 15:15 on the clock and has to be corrected by the refs twice.
:14- - - - - - Cats wisely decide to throw a pass to someone with a guy all over him in the field of play. Of course with no timeouts left because they blew it after taking 20 seconds of the clock two plays before. Timer loses his job permanently by failing to start the clock. At the time, I was upset with the timer, but after watching the replay I'm confident that UK would have had no chance of getting a spike or a kick done in time anyway.
Randall Cobb, who pulled a Whodini act on the second to last scoring drive and made a big boy all SEC grab for the clinch.
My DVR, which is jacked up and won't let me fast forward through to the parts I want to see, meaning that I won't rewatch the game.
To the Offensive line, which did not allow a sack and had their way in the running game all day long. I haven't seen anyone else mention this, but it might have been the key to the game. The o-line played well enough for the team to score 50.
To the highly touted UK secondary, which was exploited both with and without Trevard Lindley by a quarterback starting only his second college game.
To JC transfer DeQuinn Evans, who lived up to the preseason hype by recording two sacks and getting down the line and making a couple of run stops up the middle.
To the rest of the UK pass rush, who gave Justin Burke a ton of time to throw in most instances.
To the UK Defense, which came up big when it had to in the last five minutes of the game. Consider how many times since the 2007 season UK has won games that its opponents had a chance to win or tie in the last couple of minutes. In 2007, there was Louisville, LSU, Vandy and Florida State. Last year Middle Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi State and East Carolina all had at least one shot. Then this. During that time period, only Georgia actually converted on one of the drives and won the game. That is a pretty good track record, especially considering our history.
Thumb off to the side
I cannot decide where to go with Mike Hartline. Obviously, he won the game, led two fourth quarter scoring drives, and threw a great ball to Cobb on the decisive touchdown. He also completed almost 75% of his passes. On the other hand, he looked like old Mike several times in the game, with a couple of bad balls to open receivers, a fumble and horrendous pick, and the aforementioned eight minute drill to end the first half. He is still on the learning curve, one that better get a lot steeper in the next two weeks.
More tonight or tomorrow. I'm happy about the win.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Well, it is because both teams had a soul and momentum killing bye in week 2. Who planned this? What a waste. I said repeatedly that UK and EKU could have played their game last week, allowing the Cats to save their off week for when they'd surely need it. Suppose we would have busted out another 42 point game, with Harline throwing for four touchdowns. Suddenly we come in looking like a juggernaut. What if Petino State could have come up with a win in the interim? Suddenly, it looks like a legit contest.
In contrast, the year's game feels limp. Cardinal fans are quiet and halfhearted, Kentucky fans are overconfident.
The angle, of course, is that this is a must win game.. The Cats are about to enter a month-long stretch where they do not "have to" win any one game. This is not one of them. Blow it, and the season is over before it starts.
Personally, I am nervous about the game because I'm not convinced of what we have. Still, I cannot imagine The Redbirds holding UK to less than four offensive touchdowns. There might not be much of a pass rush on Justin Burke, but I'm guessing Micah and Trevard can hold them under 28pts.
Anyway, enough rant. I will be in the KET lot tomorrow having some food and toasting to a great early day. Stop by if you are around. Go Cats.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I totally bit this clip because it also appeared on Kentucky Sports Radio earlier today, but with the Governor's Cup upcoming, I think this has to be memorialized on my site. This play is without a doubt my favorite in person moment as a sports fan and, as sad as this might sound to some, one of the fifteen best moments in my life. Commonwealth was electric that day. You could tell walking across the parking lot that something was in the air, and the game delivered all the goods. If you recall, on the play immediately prior to this a personal foul had nullified a big gain and the game looked over. Then this. I still cannot believe Louisville let Stevie get this open with so little time on the clock. We've had worse luck as UK Football Fans, but never better, and certainly never at such a big moment. I remember my wife jumping into my arms as we both looked on in disbelief just like it was yesterday.
And, as Matt Jones points out, this moment is even greater in retrospect, as it may have changed the fortunes of both teams for the forseeable future. I don't think Saturday is going to top this, but I will be thinking about this game a lot.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Secondly, it is hard to articulate how much Vols fans hate quarterback Jonathon Crompton. I actually had someone tell me he wished Crompton would be raped and murdered the night of the game. The dude wasn't some crazy overall wearing yokel with no teeth. He was a regular looking guy who gave me this information in a measured monotone. And he was dead serious. This sentiment was echoed, albeit less graphically, to us over and over again on Saturday night. UT fans also were acutely aware of the merciless ass whopping Urban Meyer will lay on them next week. I was pleased by this, as it is something I've been thinking about since the dustup. Not happy days in the Knox.
From a UK Football Fan standpoint the point is obvious. Tennessee is ripe for the plucking this year. They struggled at home against a middling UCLA squad, appear disfunctional and will be coming here on the tail end of what could be a trying year. It is a good takeaway, even if you aren't a former Bruin like me.
The bad news of the weekend, from a future foes standpoint, is that South Carolina apparently does have an offense. They showed something at Georgia. On the flip side, Georgia hasn't exactly looked like a world beater so far.
To kick this week off, I think John Clay hit the nail on the head earlier. There is a decided lack of buzz surrounding this game. If you have the doldrums, here is something to shake you out:
UK was the overwhelming favorite in week one and will have two more games (Monroe, EKU) they'd have to try hard to lose. Three games (Fla, Ala, @ UGA) are probably unwinnable. Two more are winnable long shots (@USC, @Aub), but still longshots. Four games (UL, Miss. St, @Vandy,UT) will make or break this season. Of the four, this is the one we absolutely cannot lose. It is the worst team on the schedule other than the three mortal locks, and it comes before a brutal four game stretch where we'll need to steal one or two to have a special season. Lose this one a bowl eligibility becomes a huge uphill battle, and you have a very real chance of starting the season 1-5.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Troy at Florida, 12:21 p.m. EST
Demps runs over Troy
Trojans can't beat Bowling Green
And Tebow won't use
UCLA at UT, 4:00 EST
Alex heads to Knox
With some Zetes and A-D-Pis
Kiffin is a punk
Florida International at Alabama, 7pm EST
Ingram is for real
Who the hell has Bama got
Nice scheduling guys
Vanderbilt at LSU, 7:00pm EST
We'll see what happens
Frosh backs won't hit a hundred
Dores die in Valley
South Carolina at Georgia, 7:00pm EST
Norwood leads the D
To shutout between hedges
Spurrier's sole chance
Mississippi State v. Auburn, 7:00pm EST
They have new coaches
But game without much sizzle
Monday, September 7, 2009
* The SEC went 11-1 this weekend, the sole loss being Georgia falling to Oklahoma State. A number of schools fattened up on cupcakes. Vandy beat a poor 1-AA team, Western Carolina 45-0. Of course Tennessee crushed Western. Arkansas took it to Missouri State. Not sure that much should be read into any of those games, though the same could be said about ours.
*Auburn beat Louisiana Tech 37-13, in probably the biggest test for the conference outside of the big games Alabama and Georgia took on. This is the kind of game Auburn would have lost last year. Most bowl projections have the Tigers ahead of the Cats despite our big win. Still, a lot of football left to be played.
*On the "lets not read too much into this first game" front, I note that the UK-Miami (OH) score is not much different than our 41-3 win over Western last year. Like Miami (OH), Western is a bottom rung BCS school. Lets compare some states between the two games. Hartline's game last year didn't feel like a revelation, but the numbers aren't too different. He was 19-30 for 172 yards, for 5.7 yards a throw. One touchdown and one pick. (Compared to 18-27 for 222, 2td-0 int Saturday) The running game against Western in 2008 was actually more effective than it was against Miami (OH), the Cats gaining 216 yards on 38 carries, with 3 TDs. (Compared to 245 on 49 for 3). Recall too that the Cats played Western without Randall Cobb. As The Wolf in "Pulp Fistion" said . . . well . . lets just say it translates loosely to, "lets not go breaking our arms patting each other on the back just yet".
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Obviously 2009 got off to a good start. Mike Hartline did look like an improved player, and it seems like Chris Matthews and Randall Cobb will take the offense places it couldn't go last year. You had to feel good about Derrick Locke's game as well. A lot to be happy about on O.
A dominant performance by the defense was also nice to see. The 'backers and secondary were solid. If there was a weakness, it was one that was to be expected. From looking at the paper today, I don't see that the defensive ends collectively recorded a tackle. Trevard Lindley made another big play in a win. Micah was able to play the first half and get his foot a rest. Overall, it is good stuff.
This has been said, but it bears repeating. This was Miami of Ohio. With the possible exception of Eastern, it is the weakest team we will see this year. I am not prepared to say this team is greatly improved offensively or is better than last year's team period on the strength of this one game. I want to see more. Unfortunately, we have to wait fourteeen long days for that to happen. Still, it is a very good start.
Friday, September 4, 2009
* The three players I am most interested in watching tomorrow are Mike Hartline, Chris Matthews and DeQuinn Evans.
* Along those lines, I think there are two big things to look for tomorrow. First, can the inexperienced Defensive Ends deliver and put some pressure on the quarterback. Second, can Mike Hartline and the WRs put together a sustainable vertical offense. To be clear, if these things work out tomorrow, it doesn't mean they will against the rest of our competition. But if we cannot accomplish these things against Redhawks, we have no chance of doing it in the SEC, and it could be a long season.
* When I asked a friend why he wasn't going tomorrow, he had a pretty good insight, "if it is a good game, that means we played like crap and I don't want to be there." It is a fair point.
* I'd like to see Micah Johnson play, but come out as soon as the outcome is no longer in doubt.
* It looks like things will be first come first served in the Bengals' parking lot tomorrow. We will be there somewhere whooping it up starting at about 9:30. Yes, this is a bad idea. No, days like this never end well. Yes, I am going to do it anyway. Shoot me a text if you are around (859) 4 nine 2- 98 zero 9. We are in Section 130, at the bottom. Not sure where the day takes us after the ballgame, but we are spending the night with the Zs in Covington.
* Check out the new poll question, which I think is an intriguing sub-plot. Though I like to see some fresh legs on a series or two I don't like running back by committee. Last year all the shuffling seemed to take everyone out of rhythm. Of all the positive things coming out of camp, one thing you aren't hearing is high praise of our tailbacks. It is troubling. If someone could emerge and be "the guy" this season, I think it helps.
* I am going to try for the video post at some point over the weekend. Depending on when I turn it on, it could be stupid or funny, or a combination of both.
* I e-mailed a Miami (OH) sports web site to ask if someone was willing to do a guest appearance on the blog and the pricks never responded. So the hell with them and their whole preppy school.