Archive for September, 2010

(9) Florida-48 Kentucky-14

September 27, 2010 12:10 am

It was not a good night in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the Cats as Florida gained 466 yards off offense as they won going away 48-14. The game plan was poor, the defensive play was below average, and the offense turned the ball over at critical points of the game allowing the final score to show a Florida blow-out win. For all but the last 2 weeks we all assumed that this would go down as a loss for the Cats, it did, and now its time to move on to Ole Miss on Saturday. We could try and nitpick here but in reality the better team, on their home field, won. So it’s now time to bring on the Rebels in a must win game if Kentucky has any aspirations of playing on New Years Day. Go Big Blue!

Advertisements

The Florida Gators: Offense 7:00 ESPNU

September 22, 2010 8:04 am

Randall Cobb and the rest of the Cats travel to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for a Saturday night match-up against the #9 Florida Gators. It hasn’t been a silky smooth start to the season that Gator fans have been accustomed to over the past few years, but the Gators do find themselves sitting at 3-0 (1-0) in year 1 A.T. (After Tebow). Florida has a few things going for them though, UK has not beaten the Gators since 10-3 win in 1986 and they haven’t won at the Swamp since 1979. Add in all the 4 and 5-star talent that Urban Meyer has assembled in Gainesville and it’s a tall order to expect Coach Phillips to return back to Lexington with his first SEC road win. Kentucky will go into Saturday night’s match-up with a legitimate chance to shock some people and walk out with a win and here’s why. Florida has struggled to manufacture points all season. Take away the stellar defensive play by this Gator team and the legitimately could be staring down the barrel of a 1-2 start. Their defense has forced teams into coughing up the football as the lead the NCAA in INTS (10) and rank 2nd in turnover margin at 2.33 a game. How do these stats give the Cats a chance? Through 3 games, there is 1 team out of 120 in Div 1-A that has not turned the ball over once, Kentucky. 0 turnovers through 12 quarters of play. I’m not predicting that Kentucky won’t cough it up once or maybe twice, but if we take care of the ball, and consistently force John Brantley and the Gator Offense to drive 70+ yards to score, it will be a ball game in the 4th quarter. Now to get you familiar with the Gator Offense:

Quarterback- The argument can be made that over the last 10 years, no one in college football has had bigger shoes to fill than John Brantley. 3 games into his first campaign as a starter, Brantley has yet to throw for more than 172 yards and has a completion percentage rating in the low 60’s, not quite the Tebowesque numbers Gator fans are used to. And where Tebow moved the ball on the ground, Brantley is falling well short in that category as well rushing for -16 yards on the year. This is certainly not the start anyone expected out of Brantley and if his play continues like it has, expect Florida to end the year with a curvy number in the loss column for the first time since ’07.

Backs- Jeff Demps has been the one bright spot on the Florida offense this year. Behind a solid and experienced offensive line Demps has been able to rush for 103.3 yds per game. He’s a speedy track star and keeping him from getting to the edge will be a priority for this Kentucky Defensive unit. Mike Gillislee seems to have played his way into the goal line back spot as he leads the team in rushing TD’s scoring on 3 of his 18 carries this season. He, like every other Gator that will touch the ball, posses great speed and is extremely dangerous in the open field. Emmanuel Moody is the other Gator that is sure to get some carries, and he’s sure to end up disappointing Gator fans.

O-Line- A veteran and experienced group that returns 4 starters from last season’s 13-1 squad has once again been a strength this season. There has been one glaring weakness and that has been senior Mike Pouncey and his shot gun snaps. Florida currently ranks 120th of 120 in fumbles (14) and 110th in fumbles lost (5) through 3 games. Most have come from the center to quarterback exchange and after assuring everyone the problem had been corrected they had another botched snap on the opening drive at Tennessee last week.

Receivers- Florida has managed to complete just over 16 passes a game this year. Their longest pass of the season was a 25 yard TD to Chris Rainey, who as of now is still off the team. The biggest threat coming off the edge is Deonte Thompson who leads the team in both catches and yards. Brantley has done a good job spreading the ball around but it will be Thompson and Carl Moore who will be the big threats as well as TE Omarius Hines.

Kentucky-42 Akron-10

September 19, 2010 8:33 am

The final game of UK’s “preseason” portion of the schedule has come to an end and with the exception of Moncell Allan, everyone appears to be healthy. Kentucky (3-0, 0-0) will begin the SEC schedule next week at Florida and we will then start to see what, if any, are Kentucky’s chances of possibly winning the east and making it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. Now to last night’s game.

The Good:

  • Mike Hartline continued his solid play tonight converting on 21 of his 29 attempts for 250 yards and 2 scores. Hartline also extended his streak to¬† 3 straight games without a turnover. That will be a key point in next weeks game at Florida, being able to hang on to the football.
  • Derrick Locke had a record breaking night on a couple of different levels. He becomes only the 6th Wildcat in history to rush for 2,000 yards and he did this on the same night where he set a personal best of 166 yards on the ground. Locke also found the endzone twice.
  • Defensively the Cats did tonight what they couldn’t seem to do last week against Western Kentucky and that’s to shut down the run. The Zips gained only 67 yards on 38 carries for 1.8 yards per carry. A much better performance from the defensive unit.

The Bad:

  • The first quarter was absolutely horrendous. The team came out like you hope you never see from a team no matter who the opponent was as they slept walked through the opening frame. They weren’t sharp at all and looked completely out of sync. They got their act together and dominated the 2nd and 3rd quarters of play like you would expect, but starting next Saturday at 7, there can’t be any slow starts like we saw against Akron.
  • As good as the defensive front 7 looked against the run, the secondary looked that bad against the pass. Luckily, Akron’s QB Patrick Nicely couldn’t connect with any of the 4 wide open receivers he saw streaking down the field or else Akron could have stayed in this ball for much longer than they actually did. A blown assignment against the Gators mean 6 points.

Joker Phillips became the first coach in the history of UK Football to start 3-0, getting to 4-0 will prove to be much tougher next week as it would involve getting out of the “swamp” with a W. The Cats are where we expected them to be as we are now 1/4 of the way through this season and the next for weeks will determine if they are SEC contenders. Go Big Blue!

Kentucky-63 Western Kentucky-28

September 12, 2010 6:58 am

The Cats cruised tonight to a 35 point win tonight in Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky didn’t fire on all cylinders tonight but were able to win comfortably. The win moves the Cats to 2-0 on the season and next Saturday will feature the final “tune-up” before the SEC portion of the schedule gets kicked off. In a year where we have already seen a few upsets to BCS schools, it was good to see UK respond quickly after falling behind 7-0. Kentucky reeled off 35 unanswered points to make sure everyone in the stadium knew who would be walking out with the W.

The Good:

  • Joker Phillips becomes the first coach at Kentucky to start out his career 2-0 since Bear Bryant did it in 1946
  • Offensively the Cats looked very solid again tonight. We have now played 2 games and the offensive unit has turned the ball over 0 times.
  • The offensive unit also is featuring great balance right now. Tonight the Cats threw for 276 yards and rushed for 206. Those are good numbers to see and show that UK can move the ball on the ground or through the air.
  • 3rd down efficiency was excellent tonight. Kentucky converted on 8-12 (75%) attempts. Any number over 60% is a very solid number and the Cats continued to keep drives going tonight on 3rd down. This number also reflects solid gains on 1st and 2nd down setting up 3rd and short.

The Bad:

  • Defensively it was not the finest night for Kentucky. 1 score came off of a kick return so we won’t count that. Another came off of a run of 59 yards that was a result of a poor angle taken by SS Mychal Bailey. The big concern was the fact that Western Kentucky drove the ball for scores twice in the 2nd half. The defensive line really was pushed around at times by a Sun-Belt Conference team. This is a weakness right now and you can guarantee that it will be exposed once SEC play starts.
  • The kicking game continues to struggle. Plain and simple. Joe Mansour, the highly touted freshman, was yanked from the kickoff team tonight and seems to be 3rd on the depth chart for place kicking duties. Ryan Tydlacka failed to connect on his only field goal attempt from 35 yards out. Those have to be made consistently and were the difference in allowing Louisville back into last weeks game. Points are at a premium in the SEC and this issue needs to be corrected within the next to weeks.

All in all a pretty good night for Kentucky. There is still plenty to work on but as of now the Cats sit as 1 of 32 teams in BCS Conferences that are currently 2-0. We’ll get you ready this week for the Akron Zips who will roll into Commonwealth Stadium next Saturday. Go Big Blue!!!!

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: Offense

September 8, 2010 11:51 pm

Western Kentucky heads to Lexington to open up the 2010 home schedule for the Cats fresh off of a 49-10 loss at #8 Nebraska. The good news is that the Toppers put up nearly 300 yards of offense against one of the nations best defenses on Saturday night and actually dominated the time of possession. The bad news is that September 20, 2008 was the last win for WKU. Kentucky kicked off WKU’s 21 game losing streak in 2008 in what has been the only meeting between the 2 schools.

Quarterback- Kawaun Jakes enters his sophomore campaign after taking some lumps his freshman year. He started 9 games as a true freshman throwing for 9 scores and 9 picks. He is a duel threat QB and can hurt the Cats if he gets out in the open field. If the backers can keep a good “spy” on Jakes I don’t think he will beat UK with his arm.

Backs- This group moved the ball very well at Nebraska as starting tailback Bobby Rainey rushed for 155 yards on 30 carries with a TD. If that name sounds familiar it’s because as a freshman Rainey racked up 248 all-purpose yards against the Cats in WKU’s 41-3 loss. If this group plays well again this Saturday, they may help WKU keep this game a little closer than it needs to be.

O-Line- With 4 returning starters from last season’s team that averaged 173 yards a game on the ground, I guess it’s not a huge surprise that they were able to put up the numbers like they did against Nebraska. It will be pivotal that the front 7 for Kentucky stop the run and get off the field on 3rd downs.

Wide Outs- Western Kentucky will open and primarily stay in a 3 wide receiver spread set. Seth Tamme, Quinterrance Cooper, and Marcus Vasquez are the 3 wide outs. Seth Tamme is the younger brother of former Kentucky TE and current Indianapolis Colts TE Jacob Tamme. This is a group that will go after the short routs but on occasion Quinterrance Cooper has the speed to stretch the field.

Kentucky-23 Louisville-16

September 5, 2010 7:47 am

Kentucky came out on Saturday afternoon and jumped out to a quick lead using a 2 play :44 second drive to take the lead for good against the Cards. After Randall Cobb’s score early in the 2nd quarter to give Kentucky a 20-3 lead it seemed as if the Cats dialed it back a little and had to survive a Louisville run in the 2nd half.

Kentucky @ Louisville 3:30 ABC

September 4, 2010 5:23 am

The Louisville Cardinals: Defense

September 2, 2010 7:10 am

At first glance, it appears that Louisville returns a lot of experience on the defensive side of the ball (5 SR’s, 4 JR’s, 1 SOPH, and 1 FROSH). Further research however reveals that Charlie Strong has his work cut out for him if he is to in anyway replicate the success he had in Gainesville. The Cards return only 2 defensive starters from the 88th ranked defensive unit in ’09. Here’s how they break down.

  • D-Line: Going up a SEC running attack is a difficult way to break in 4 new starters along the defensive line but that is the task that will be up to the Louisville front line. Tim Highs and Greg Scruggs provide some good size at the tackle positions but will need to hold up as 2 freshmen wait on the sideline to as their replacements. Neither however have ever played meaningful downs at the college level so their play will be a determining factor on if the running trio of Locke/Cobb/Russell can get rolling. The ends that are getting the nod on Saturday for the Cards are extremely undersized averaging about 245 lbs and UK’s revamped offensive line should be able to move them around pretty well. This matchup (UK O-Line vs UL D-Line) I believe is the key matchup of the 2010 edition of the Battle for the Governor’s Cup.
  • Backers: Once again, starting a true freshman at middle linebacker, and 2 undersized outside backers (one of which hasn’t played meaningful downs) is not an ideal situation against any team, let alone a SEC team, but that again is the situation facing the Cards. Louisville’s weakside backer Brandon Heath is the only returning starter in Louisville’s front 7 and will be the leader of a unit that I believe will be overpowered by the ground game of Kentucky
  • Secondary: Johnny Patrick anchors this unit as he is the leading returning tackler on the team. The Cards are hoping that he won’t have many tackles Saturday but I believe that the Cat’s will break through the front 7 at will resulting in a lot of work for the Louisville secondary. The matchup is a bit of an unknown when the passing game is brought up as Mike Hartline hasn’t played many downs since his injury in Columbia last October. He really started to look for the deep ball in that game and whether or not he can do that on Saturday will be the determining factor on the final outcome of the game.

As of Thursday morning, the spread sits at Kentucky -3. I definitely think that the Cats will cover that and I do believe on paper that Kentucky is around 15-20 points better than Louisville. This game is a rivalry game though and on the road so because of that here is my prediction: Kentucky-31 Louisville-21

Go Big Blue!