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By LARRY VAUGHT
Joker Phillips admits his Kentucky football team is worn down.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been a grueling six weeks both mentally and physically. They are battered both physically and mentally right now,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Phillips Sunday.
Kentucky has lost five of six Southeastern Conference games after falling 24-17 at Mississippi State Saturday night in a game where it ran more plays, had more yards and kept the ball about 10 minutes more than the Bulldogs.
Phillips said he planned to have his Ã¢â‚¬Å“bruised up teamÃ¢â‚¬Â mainly run and stretch Sunday while scrimmaging the Ã¢â‚¬Å“young kidsÃ¢â‚¬Â before getting into corrections that need to be made before the Cats host Charleston Southern this Saturday afternoon.
Kentucky (4-5) also has SEC games left with Vanderbilt and at Tennessee. The Cats must win two of their final three games to be bowl eligible and win all three to guarantee themselves a fifth straight bowl bid.
Phillips says his philosophy wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t change with his players this week as he will spend combine love with butt-kicking.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have to do both. Love them up and kick them in the rear end, which do all the time,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have to be demanding on the little things and we have not been doing the little things very well recently. The thing we have talked to the team about is we have a series of one-game seasons. We have three series of one-game seasons left.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Every player on KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s roster has been to a bowl game each season heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been at Kentucky, a rarity for the Cats. Still, Phillips has not seen any signs of complacency from his team and thought I was off base for suggesting this team might not be as “hungry” to reach a bowl as past UK teams.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think this team is hungry. We have not played smart, but this team fights, scratches and claws. You see guys come in press conferences? Do you not think this team is hungry? That is not a problem,Ã¢â‚¬Â the coach said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You go into a game and say letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go toe to toe for the first quarter and second quarter. Then we get in the first quarter and are already behind and have to fight our way out. We have to continue to stress the little things that is the difference. Staying in your gap, taking one more step on blocks, taking steps in tackling, wrapping up.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Quarterback Mike Hartline threw three interceptions and was sacked four times. He completed 23 of 41 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns, but twice has passes intended for Chris Matthews intercepted in the end zone.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seeing things as well as he has been seeing throughout the year. The game was a lot faster. Mississippi State had a lot of speed on the field, especially on long downs,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They put six or seven defensive backs in there. Things were happening faster.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He had people in his face, too. Sometimes people were coming free and he had to just throw the ball up and give our guys a chance. At times he had to get out of the pocket, protect himself and throw the football away. But I still thought he gave us a chance to win.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Phillips isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sure if UK will see more blitzing based on the success Georgia and Mississippi State have had the last two weeks.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You would think you would see more, but people do what they do. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see much different from people game planning for us. They do what they do. Mississippi State, they blitz and hit you. Most do it on third down, but Mississippi State does it on every down,Ã¢â‚¬Â the Kentucky coach said.
VaughtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s note: University of Kentucky student Britne Gregg caught up with injured point guard Amber Smith at UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Media Day. Enjoy her continuing insights for vaughtsviews.com.
By BRITNE GREGG
One word comes to mind when I hear the name Amber Smith Ã¢â‚¬Â¦. leader.
Even when Smith missed the final 12 games of her freshman season with a torn ligament and meniscus in her right knee, she never gave up. Now, three years later, Smith has suffered an ACL tear in her left knee due to a pick up game in the summer. Still, Smith continues lead the Wildcats Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ even off of the court.
Smith has been diligent about doing the rehab on her left knee in hopes to return this season to help her team. But all Smith is worried about is the present.
“I’m focused on taking it one day at a time,Ã¢â‚¬Â Smith said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The future, whatever happens, happens, so I’m just going to work hard every day.”
When asked if therapy was easy the second time around, Smith replied, Ã¢â‚¬Å“It’s not particularly easier, but mentally it’s helped me become stronger. It definitely helped going through it once.”
Ã¢â‚¬ÂThe doctors are very pleased with her effort at this point, Ã¢â‚¬Å“ coach Matthew Mitchell said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“She is doing everything she needs to do and doing it better than we would normally expect.”
The 5-6 senior has been doing a little running, jumping and swimming and is expected to start jogging in a few weeks. What that means for the status of Smith this season Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ neither Mitchell or Smith know.
“We are not even talking about her future even beyond just day to day,” Mitchell said. “We’re just trying to get the knee as strong as it can be. Amber will be able to make whatever decisions she wants to make as far as trying to finish the season out, as far as coming back.Ã¢â‚¬Â
While Mitchell, Smith and the rest of the womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team await SmithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recovery, SmithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s importance on the team will not be cut down. She has been with coach Mitchell during the preseason to coach Jennifer OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill and Crystal Riley. Smith wants to be a coach and says that helping with OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill and Riley has helped her learn how to do that and see things differently.
Mitchell bragged about SmithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leadership.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Amber has done a fantastic job of staying engaged, being on the floor every day, talking to those two players, being really unselfish and spending some time and not thinking about her injury and how bad this is for her, feeling sorry for herself. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been very proud of her progress as a leader through all of this,Ã¢â‚¬Â Smith said.
Whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s teaching oach Mitchell how to do Ã¢â‚¬Å“The DougieÃ¢â‚¬Â or giving advice to teammates, Smith will continue to help the Wildcats as well as herself, for the upcoming season.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Before last season started, Kentucky womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coach Matthew Mitchell noted how well his players had interacted with John CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team during preseason workouts.
Both teams went on to reach the Elite Eight and while Calipari had five players picked in the first round of the NBA draft, Mitchell also had the Southeastern Conference player of the year in Victoria Dunlap.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I credit John for that interaction lot. He is such an inclusive person, not with just womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball, but everybody. He is for everybody on our campus, and not just athletes,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mitchell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He and Dr. (Lee) Todd are real close. He promotes that atmosphere.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t imagine a better kid than John Wall, either. He did anything we asked him to do as far as encouraging anybody. He and DeMarcus Cousins were at all our games. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great atmosphere and helps us a lot.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mitchell jokes that Calipari Ã¢â‚¬Å“gets on meÃ¢â‚¬Â for not being in the office enough.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I tell him I am trying to get to where he is now and I am out getting trying to get players,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mitchell said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has such a powerful reputation as recruiter and has built a great environment where kids want to come and play. We talk and he calls me after any tough loss or big win, and I do the same for him. He has been a great supporter of womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mitchell noted how both Wall and Cousins became more consistent players under Calipari and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t slack off at times in games like Calipari said they had in high school. It was the same with MitchellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s star freshman, Adia Mathies, last season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You better provide an environment that pushes them every day and lets them know coasting is not acceptable. They probably had not been in that environment before and think it was okay to coast sometimes,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mitchell said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“One thing we try to do, and John does, too, is we make that environment competitive every day. Did that kick in with her or was there fear of failure? If I knew the right answer, I would know for sure. A kid like Adia or John Wall has to have some type of character inside them to push them and make them perform at that level. A lot has to do with God-given talent, but a lot goes to the character of the kid who will listen to this guy and what he is telling me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Once again, Kentucky played almost well enough to win. Once again, though, Kentucky lost a game it easily could have won when it fell 24-17 at Mississippi State Saturday night.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to look at some statistics and think the Cats must have won. Just consider:
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Kentucky had a season high in time of possession at 35 minutes, 45 seconds.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Kentucky had a season-high 24 first downs and ran 85 plays, 27 more than Mississippi State.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Randall Cobb had a career-high 12 catches for 171 yards and one touchdown.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Linebacker Danny Trevathan had 16 tackles and forced a fumble.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Kicker Craig McIntosh hit his seventh consecutive field goal, another one just before halftime to give UK needed momentum.
So why didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Kentucky win?
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy. Once again the Cats fell behind early, this time 17-7. Once again, Kentucky missed too many tackles and made a key mistake or two on defense to give State easy scores.
However, this time the offense has to take a lot of the blame because after the horrendous start, the defense stabilized and gave up only one-second half touchdown. But quarterback Mike Hartline was not sharp. Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s from trying to do too much. Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s from getting hit too often. Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s from missing Derrick Locke. Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s from having distractions like receiver Chris Matthews being suspended for the first quarter for violating a team rule. Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s from having LaRod King miss practice last week with an injury.
Whatever the reason, Hartline threw three interceptions and was lucky the total wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t higher. His decision-making was not always good, sometimes he passed up chances to run when he could have gained yards and when he had a chance to get a tying touchdown on UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final drive, he threw another interception.
Bottom line is that KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season is in jeopardy. I know IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m tired of listening to the talk about winning out and getting to a better bowl. The guys wearing blue and white better realize they are going to be lucky to get to any bowl and getting back to the Music City Bowl or Liberty Bowl is a long shot for a 4-5 team.
If you think Kentucky is going to win at Tennessee, I think you could be dreaming. If you think Kentucky is guaranteed a win over Vanderbilt, I think you are dreaming.
Kentucky is not bad, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not good, either. It has big-time playmakers in guys like Cobb and Trevathan, but it has a lot of spots with players who donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make SEC-type plays consistently.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for this team to quit making excuses and accept reality. This season is slipping away Ã¢â‚¬â€ or has slipped away Ã¢â‚¬â€ because of mistakes and poor execution. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plenty of blame to go around but more than anything, it has been consistent inconsistency that has doomed UK. The Cats always play from behind and this team just has too small a margin of error to do that. Sure, they came backÃ‚Â and won against South Carolina Ã¢â‚¬â€ but not Florida, Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi State.
No, the season is not over, but it certainly is not the year new coach Joker Phillips had in mind and it may not be a good enough year to continue UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bowl trips, which would be a huge setback for the Kentucky football program.
KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
Kentucky at Mississippi State
Oct. 30, 2010 * Davis Wade Stadium
FINAL SCORE: Mississippi State 24, Kentucky 17
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 4-5 overall, 1-5 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State is 7-2 overall, 3-2 in the SEC.
- Kentucky leads the series, 21-17.Ã‚Â Mississippi State has won two in a row.
- MSU leads the series 10-7 in games played in Starkville.
- Kentucky’s next game is Saturday, Nov. 6, at home vs. Charleston Southern.Ã‚Â Game time is 12:30 p.m. EDT.
UK Team Notes
- UK has thrown for at least 200 yards in every game this season.
- UK was 2-for-3 on fourth downs in the game and is now 14-for-20 this season.
- UK is +8 in turnover margin in its four victories and -10 in its five losses.
- KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 43 rush attempts was the most since its 44 attempts versus Western Kentucky earlier this season.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 24 first downs was the second highest this season, tied with 24 vs. Auburn and behind 27 first downs vs. Akron.
- KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time of possession (35:45) was a season high and the most since its 36:25 mark vs. Miami-Ohio in the 2009 season opener.
- 1st Quarter Summary
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline was sacked by MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Josh Boyd for a loss of 9 at the UK26.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Derek Depasquale made a 33-yard field goal. MSU 3, UK 0 (10:49)
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Vick Ballard rushed for a 54-yard TD.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Derek Depasquale made the PAT. MSU 10, UK 0 (5:37)
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline completed a 48-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb.
- It was CobbÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 12th receiving TD of his career and sixth this season.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Craig McIntosh made the PAT. MSU 10, UK 7 (2:39)
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline completed a 16-yd pass to Randall Cobb to the UK48.
- 2nd Quarter Summary
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline was sacked by MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Shane McCardell for a loss of 8 at the UK36.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chris Relf completed a 23-yd TD pass to Arceto Clark
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Derek Depasquale made the PAT. MSU 17, UK 7 (9:38)
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline was intercepted by MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chris White who fumbled, recovered by UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hartline at the MSU23
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline was intercepted by MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Nicole Whitley in the end zone.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Craig McIntosh made a 43-yard field goal. MSU 17, UK 10 (Halftime)
- 3rd Quarter Summary
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline completed a 15-yard pass to Randall Cobb to the UK33.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline completed a 22-yard pass to Chris Matthews to the 50.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Raymond Sanders fumbled, recovered by MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Corey Broomfield at the MSU46
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline completed a 32-yard pass to Randall Cobb to the MSU49.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Randall Cobb rushed for 2 yards on 4th and 1 at the MSU40.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Raymond Sanders rushed for 1 yard on 4th and inches at the MSU28.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline completed a 3-yard TD pass to Moncell Allen.
- It was AllenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 3rd career receiving TD and second this season.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Craig McIntosh made the PAT. UK 17, MSU 17 (1:37)
- 4th Quarter Summary
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline was sacked for a loss of 3 at the UK17.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chris Relf completed a 35-yd pass to Chad Bumphis at the UK28.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chris Relf rushed for a 5-yd TD.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Derek Depasquale made the PAT. MSU 24, UK 17 (10:28)
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mike Hartline was intercepted by MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Johnthan Banks at the MSU1.
UK Individual Notes
- Randall Cobb posted his second career 100-yard receiving game with a career-high 12 catches for a career-high 171 receiving yards and one touchdown.
- Randall Cobb has been responsible for at least one score by rushing, receiving or passing in every game this season.
- Cobb finished with 12 receptions ranking him for 10th on UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all-time pass receptions list with 119. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one shy of tying James Whalen (120) for 9th.
- Cobb scored six points in the game and now has scored 210 career points. He is in fifth place on UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s career scoring list and needs 16 points to tie Taylor Begley (2002-05) for fourth on the career scoring list.
- Cobb totaled a career-high 292 all-purpose yards with 171 receiving yards, 11 rushing yards, -1 punt return yards and 111 kick-off return yards, moving into eighth on UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s career all-purpose yards list. Cobb passed Moe Williams (1993-95) and now needs 183 yards to match George Adams (1981-84) for seventh.
- Raymond Sanders had a career-high 24 rush attempts for 71 yards.
- Craig McIntosh has made seven-consecutive field goals.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the longest streak since Lones Seiber made seven in a row in 2007. Taylor Begley hit nine a row in 2002.
- Danny Trevathan led the Wildcat defense with 16 tackles, 1.5 for losses and one forced fumble.
- He has led UK in tackles in eight of its nine games this season, including double-digit tackles in five straight games. It is the longest streak since Mike Schellenberger had double-figure tackles in five-consecutive games in 1995.
Ã‚Â·Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Freshmen Brian Adams (WR), Raymond Sanders (TB) and Dakota Tyler (FS) all made their first career starts.
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Ã¢â‚¬â€ Vick Ballard rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown, and No. 23 Mississippi State relied on its running game and defense to beat Kentucky 24-17 on Saturday.
The Wildcats threatened to tie the game in the final minute, but quarterback Mike HartlineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pass was intercepted by Johnthan Banks at the goal line to seal a sixth straight victory for Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) Ã¢â‚¬â€ its longest streak since 1999.
The Bulldogs offense certainly wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t win any style points, but it continues to produce results. Chris Relf completed just 7 of 16 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, but he also ran for 79 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Kentucky (4-5, 1-5) hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t beaten a ranked team on the road since 1998. Randall Cobb caught 12 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 10-0 lead after BallardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 54-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The 5-foot-10, 215-pound running back missed last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game against Alabama-Birmingham because of an ankle injury, but looked healthy as he continually gashed KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense.
The Wildcats fought their way back, tying the game at 17 late in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Hartline to Moncell Allen. Kentucky came into SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game averaging 34.8 points per game Ã¢â‚¬â€ good for second in the SEC Ã¢â‚¬â€ but struggled to gain traction against Mississippi StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stingy defense.
The WildcatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ only consistent success came when Hartline threw the ball to Cobb, who again showed why heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s considered one of the conferenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most dynamic playmakers.
On the final drive, Hartline and Cobb looked as though they might win the game by themselves, connecting for two completions on third-and-6 to keep their hopes alive. But HartlineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final throw on fourth-and-10 at the Bulldogs 20 was well off the mark, and Banks snagged the easy interception.
Hartline completed 23 of 41 passes for 258 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Kentucky lost despite having a big advantage in time of possession, running 85 plays to Mississippi StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 58, and outgaining the Bulldogs 347-325.
Mississippi StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense forced four turnovers, though the offense couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t convert any of them into points. Linebacker Chris White led the Bulldogs with 15 tackles.
RUSHINGÃ¢â‚¬â€Kentucky, Sanders 24-71, Allen 3-11, Cobb 5-11, Williams 5-11, Russell 1-4, Hartline 5-(minus 19). Mississippi St., Ballard 14-103, Relf 16-79, Carr 1-16, Perkins 3-11, Bumphis 1-8, Elliott 2-7, Team 2-(minus 10).
PASSINGÃ¢â‚¬â€Kentucky, Hartline 23-41-3-258, Cobb 0-1-0-0. Mississippi St., Relf 7-16-0-111, Russell 0-2-0-0, Lewis 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVINGÃ¢â‚¬â€Kentucky, Cobb 12-171, Matthews 5-58, King 2-12, Aumiller 2-11, Sanders 1-4, Allen 1-2. Mississippi St., Bumphis 2-41, Clark 2-27, Heavens 1-33, Perkins 1-7, Henderson 1-3.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari has developed a reputation for developing one-and-done players Ã¢â‚¬â€ he had four last year at Kentucky that were first-round draft picks and has two players this year, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, that have been projected as potential first-round picks next June.
If the NCAA rules that Enes Kanter is eligible to play, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another likely first-round pick in 2011.
However, despite what many think, Calipari insists he would have no problems with the NCAA changing rules to prohibit one-and-done players.
Question: Any chance the NCAA might go to the rule Major League Baseball has where a player either turns pro out of high school or has to stay at least two years in college?
Calipari: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I hope so. I think the other thing is they should give these kids loans. I think the insurance these kids get there should be something to finish (school) and if they finish, the loan goes away. What about that one? Take a loan out for insurance and if finish degree in X amount of years, that loan goes away.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why not let player take a loan against future earnings? Not that much, maybe $5,000 or $10,000. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the issue with that? It is billions of dollars, so we are not talking that much money because we are talking 20 to 30 kids a year and then we move away from this agent issue that I had to deal with with Marcus Camby (at UMass).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ It is the same thing that happened with South Carolina, Alabama and Florida (in football). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no different. We did some things back then that we are going to talk about. We had a committee that interviewed the agents before they could talk to our players. That was in 1995 we did that. It didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help, but we did it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: If that rule is adapted, would it more adversely impact you than it would most schools because of your track record for sending players to the NBA after one year?
Calipari: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Here is how we would be affected. They would have to figure out when does that kid decide (about going pro or to college). Are you going to let him do it in June? How can you do that? The reason is they will have a remedy for that is because it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just be Kentucky. It will be Duke, North Carolina, Kansas. It wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just be us. If it was just us, they could care less. It will be everybody.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do you tell them in February? If you say you are going pro, then you are gone. You are going to the D-League, overseas or to the NBA. If you are not, then after that Feb. 15 deadline you must go to college and stay two years. But the issue becomes when will you let them decide. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recruit kids and they tell you they are going pro. Then in June, they go pro and you are standing there. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the issue that will come up. It will help. Could you imagine us just having that team we had last year for two years. How about if it was the old days 20 years ago and we would have had this team for three years?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our recruiting would be different. To say we have had highly recruited classes two or three years in a row, we had no choice. Back then it was every other year. Or you may go big year and so-so year and then boom. At UMass, we had them when we needed to have them. It was easy. Kids know who is there.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
His father was a big-time college basketball player at Florida, but Kentucky freshman Stacey Poole says his father did not have a lot of advice to offer him about what his first year with the Wildcats might be like.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He just said just go up there and stay focused. Know what you are going there for Ã¢â‚¬â€ basketball and school. Get your school work and go hard every day in the gym. Put in time, put in work outside of practice. That is the advice he gave me. Fear no one and just keep God first and do what you do,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Poole.
He knows there will be difficult days ahead, and he thinks his father would want him to call to seek advice then.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He probably would want me to call him just to hear my voice, but he would tell me if I need to just figure it out or handle it on my own. He would not give me a lot of sympathy after a tough day,Ã¢â‚¬Â Poole laughed and said.
Poole says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s getting busier with classes and practice, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s glad basketball season is here Ã¢â‚¬â€ Kentucky plays its first exhibition game Monday night against Pikeville College Ã¢â‚¬â€ since he enjoys being around his teammates so much.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is just love, chemistry and coming together as a group. It all starts from AAU basketball. We all knew each other from the AAU circuit and from seeing everybody. We get along and have a feel for each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s games and what you can do and canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do,Ã¢â‚¬Â Poole said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then coach Cal just does stuff with us and has activities for us to do to make us stronger. The chemistry has been great so far.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Poole thinks his personality adds to UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team chemistry, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have good charisma. I am outgoing, silly. I like to laugh. But when there is a time to be serious, I get serious. Just do things other players like to do and vice versa. Just get along is what it takes,Ã¢â‚¬Â Poole said.
He says players often just sit in their dorm rooms for fun.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes we ride in the car and turn the music on and rap or something like that. We like rap sessions,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Who is the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best rapperÃ¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Best rapper right now I would say is Terrence (Jones). He has a little flow. I think I am second. I can do a little something,Ã¢â‚¬Â Poole said.
But can he do a little something on the court?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always be happy or satisfied with your game. You should always have things to work on. With me I am always working, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m always trying to find things to improve. If itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shooting, ball handling, quickness, anything, I will work hard to improve,Ã¢â‚¬Â Poole said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Right now, coach Calipari just wants me to be one of the best perimeter defenders out here. He wants me to finish plays, not necessarily scoring or shooting, but finishes. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I have to do to be on the court, so thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Poole says he has been surprised by the practice intensity.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how he (Calipari) is, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how hard I am going to work as a player,Ã¢â‚¬Â Poole said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Everything and everybody are coming together and the team is looking good so far. I just feel like our team is going to be one of the greatest teams in the country.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Poole says he believes the exhibition games in Canada were a huge benefit for the Cats.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What I learned was to work hard and trust your teammates. We went up there to learn about each other and find our chemistry and grow as a team and just get a good feel for each other, and we did that,Ã¢â‚¬Â Poole said.
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Ã¢â‚¬â€ Mississippi StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent success has been built on defense, but during last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 29-24 victory over Alabama-Birmingham, that defense showed some holes.
The Bulldogs (6-2, 2-2 SEC) say that canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen again when they host Kentucky (4-4, 1-4) tonight. The Wildcats are second in the conference in scoring, averaging nearly 35 points, thanks to rapidly improving quarterback Mike Hartline and versatile playmaker Randall Cobb.
Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said his unitÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s poor performance wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a reason to panic, but it certainly gave the defense more reason to focus over the past week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were playing with a dull blade,Ã¢â‚¬Â Diaz said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We just lacked cutting edge. Our tackling was poor Ã¢â‚¬â€ we regressed there. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think we covered very well, and we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play the run very well.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The good news for the Bulldogs is theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve certainly played well before Ã¢â‚¬â€ especially in a 10-7 win two weeks ago at then-No. 22 Florida. For the season, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re allowing 17 points per game.
Holding Kentucky to that total will be a challenge, considering the Wildcats have scored at least 31 each of their last four games. But linebacker Chris White said its important that the defense doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fall into the trap of saying itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s OK to give up a few points.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our goal is stop them completely,Ã¢â‚¬Â said White, who has 25 tackles over the past two games. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not arrogant to say they ainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to get a point, but my goal is we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just say, Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Hey, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s give them seven points here and try to stop them next time,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ because they might get more points than we want them to.Ã¢â‚¬Â
KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offense is expected to miss running back Derrick Locke, who has a shoulder injury. But the Wildcats still have plenty of offense between Hartline and Cobb.
Hartline has quietly become one of the SECÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most prolific quarterbacks, throwing for 2,144 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Cobb is the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leading receiver with 47 catches for 511 yards and five touchdowns. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second-leading rusher and a threat to throw, completing 4 of 6 passes for 51 yards and three touchdowns.
Diaz said Cobb presents a Ã¢â‚¬Å“unique challengeÃ¢â‚¬Â thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s different than facing AuburnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cameron Newton, who is a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In a way, (Cobb) presents a more dynamic element than Newton even, because he can be lined up anywhere,Ã¢â‚¬Â Diaz said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cam Newton is tough to deal with, but they snap it to him every play for the most part. But with Cobb, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no telling.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
University of Kentucky basketball fans will have a chance to interact with coach John Calipari thanks to a new project launched by FOX Sports South that sure seems like a winner to me.
The network has partnered with Calipari to launch Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach CalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mailbag,Ã¢â‚¬Â an exclusive, interactive webpage on FOXSportsSouth.com. It will debut Monday and wouldn’t it be something to have a vaughtsviews.com reader be one of the ones to have a question Calipari picked to answer.
The weekly feature will offer video responses from Calipari to reader-submitted questions at http://www.foxsportssouth.com/pages/coachcalmailbag. The weekly feature will continue throughout the 2010-11 college basketball season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach CalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s MailbagÃ¢â‚¬Â will also feature live monthly chats with Calipari, the first of which will take place on Nov. 29.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“John Calipari is a college basketball icon,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Jeff Genthner, senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports South and SportSouth. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has posted five consecutive 30-win seasons, the only coach in NCAA Division I history to accomplish that feat, so he brings unprecedented perspective and insight to our FOXSportsSouth.com visitors.Ã‚Â In addition, coach CalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strong interest in and huge following on social media make him the perfect partner for a web-based initiative.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’m excited for this opportunity that FOX Sports South has given us to allow the citizens of the Big Blue Nation a direct line to interact and ask questions,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said in the FOX SportsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ release. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I hope all our fans will take advantage of this unique opportunity on FOXSportsSouth.com.Ã¢â‚¬Â
CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s social media following is unparalleled, with more than 1.11 million Twitter followers and more than 200,000 Facebook fans.
Now let him see the power of the vaughtsviews.com faithful. Post your questions and if yours gets picked for Calipari to answer, make sure to let us all know.