Most Recent Posts
- Longtime sports writer Joey Fosko dies from apparent heart attack
- Kentucky offers athletic 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman
- What would you like to ask UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown?
- Orlando Sentinel analyst Chris Hays on other possible UK recuriting targets in central Florida
- Orlando Sentinel analyst Chris Hays expects Firios to be impact player at UK
- Terrence Jones’ kindness to young cancer survivor will not be forgotten in Taylorsville
- Ohio four-star receiver picks Alabama over Kentucky
- Guest post: Even at age 8, UK Landon Young was “unbelievably coachable”
By The Associated Press
No. 1 LSU (4-0) vs Kentucky (2-2), 12:21 p.m. (SEC Network)
Line: LSU by 30.
Series Record: LSU leads 38-16-1.
WHATÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S AT STAKE
LSU is in its first week atop the AP poll and must keep winning to stay there and maintain the inside lane to the BCS national championship game in New Orleans, where, incidentally, the Tigers have won their last two BCS crowns. Kentucky could energize its football program with what would be an epic upset, and a victory also would improve the WildcatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ odds of getting to the minimum wins needed for a bowl invitation.
LSU RBs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford vs. KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense. Ware and Ford have helped LSU average 171 yards rushing per game. The Wildcats have allowed an average of 203.8 yards per game on the ground and gave up 405 yards rushing in last weekendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 48-10 loss to Florida. Another performance like that and LSU just might cover that 30-point spread.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kentucky: LB Danny Trevathan leads the Southeastern Conference with 46 tackles this season. The senior ranks 10th nationally with 11 1/2 tackles per game. He has 5 1/2 tackles for losses, including two sacks. Freshman RB Josh Clemons averages 5 yards per carry and has two TDs.
LSU: RB Michael Ford is averaging about 5.8 yards per carry and has six TDs in LSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first four games, including one score on a 26-yard run. CB Tyrann Mathieu, in one game last week against West Virginia, forced a fumble which he recovered and had an interception that he tipped to himself while bursting into the backfield, which he returned to the 1-yard line to set up a touchdown.
FACTS & FIGURES
The last time the teams met was in 2007, when LSU also was ranked No. 1. The game was at Kentucky, and the Wildcats pulled out an upset in triple overtime. … This marks the third time Kentucky has played a No. 1-ranked LSU squad. The Tigers won the first such meeting, 9-0, in 1959. … UK is 3-9 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP poll. … LSU is 14-3 all-time when playing as the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top-ranked team, including 2-2 since Les Miles became coach in 2005. … LSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense is allowing 53.2 yards rushing per game, second in the Southeastern Conference and fourth in the nation. … In only four games, LSU has 11 takeaways on six INTs and five fumbles. ... LSU has won its last 12 games at home.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips fielded talked about the success of walk-on players at Kentucky earlier this week.Ã‚Â UK has had a walk-on (or someone who came to UK as a walk-on) as a regular starter since 2001.Ã‚Â HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a list of walk-on/former walk-ons who have been regular starters:
2011 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ TE Nick Melillo, DT Luke McDermott, FS Mikie Benton, K Craig McIntosh
2010 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ DT Luke McDermott, K Craig McIntosh
2009 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ FB John Conner
2008 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ FB John Conner
2007 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ FB John Conner
2006 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ C Matt McCutchan, OG Trai Williams, FB Terrell Bankhead, CB Karl Booker
2005 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ C Matt McCutchan, OG Trai Williams
2004 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ C Matt McCutchan, P Sevin Sucurovic
2003 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ P Anthony Thornton
2002 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ P Glenn Pakulak
2001 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ S Patrick Wiggins, P Glenn Pakulak
Of course, Pakulak was so good he got a taste of NFL life and Conner currently is in the NFL.
So who has been your favorite walk-on player and why?
(Vaught’s Notes: This is a guest post from Tony Holmes, who is camping out at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington for Big Blue Madness tickets.)
I had to work late (as usual). I did not get to Lex until aroun 10:10. The rain welcomed me into the BBM campout. The BBN were all dodging the rain in their tents.
The highlight of the night was watching Gilly the Kid playing pickup games. Then Anthony the Big Guy Davis joined in. The Kid had several dunks that my camera (brought the wrong one) could not capture. As usual the BBN was fantastic.
My spot in line is AMAZING. WE ARE IN LINE #3 which puts me at about 30 or 40 spots from #1(OMG). My boy really took care of us. I will have a lot more and better pics tomorrow.
Being here is better than any tailgate or BB game. Hats, shirts, cars and stuff most of us have never seen before. As usual the best thing is the BBN. This is a BUCKET LIST EVENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Every member of the BBN has to do this once. My 50th B-day is on the 10th of Oct and I will be here every year until they cast my ashes on Commonweath stadium at the 50 yard line (it’s in my will). BB is how I learned to love the BBN but Sonny Collins and FB is where I cut my teeth. Nothing big happening but the FELLOWSHIP AND I REALLY MEAN FELLOWSHIP is what keep bringing me back.
WISH YOU WERE HERE (Pink Floyd)
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. GO BLUE OR STAY HOME.
By LARRY VAUGHT
So how do media members who cover the Wildcats regularly feel about the season? I asked WLEX-TV sports director Alan Cutler (http://twitter.com/cutler18), radio play-by-play voice of the Cats Tom Leach (tomleachky.com and twitter @tomleachUK), Kentucky Sports radio founder and talk show host Matt Jones, WLEX-TV sports anchor and WVLK Sunday talk show host Mary Jo Perino, former UK basketball All-American and college basketball analyst Kyle Macy and UK IMG Sports Network analyst Dick Gabriel for their thoughts. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how they evaluate the Cats going into this season.
Question: Who will be KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most valuable player this year?
Lemond: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmost valuable playerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ may not be the leading scorer, he may not be the Ã¢â‚¬ËœbestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ player, but as far as Ã¢â‚¬Ëœvaluable goes, it has to be Terrence Jones.Ã‚Â Since Anthony Davis will more than likely play the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ5,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Jones will have to handle the power forward spot and provide the much needed Ã¢â‚¬Å“inside muscleÃ¢â‚¬Â that is lacking on this team.Ã‚Â Josh Harrellson was able to handle the middle last year, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not so sure Davis is tough enough to handle the inside game in the SEC.Ã‚Â So not only will the Cats need Terrence Jones to provide a much-needed inside presence, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll also have to showcase his Ã¢â‚¬Ëœinside-outsideÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ game at the Ã¢â‚¬Å“4Ã¢â‚¬Â, and be a much-needed leader in the locker room.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Perino: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Darius Miller. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s his year to be a defensive stopper, an offensive force and a LEADER.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Macy: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. His versatility will often place the ball in his hands in late game situations.Ã‚Â How he handles these situations by scoring, passing or just directing will have a major impact on the Cats success!
Leach: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Marquis Teague, even though if he makes the rookie transition into Calipari’s system as successfully as John Wall and Brandon Knight did, we may not pay as much attention to his value as we would if he fails on that mission.
Jones: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Terrence Jones will be the MVP but I will give a shout out to Mike Gilchrist as well. The difference between this team being very good and potentially great is whether he is as good as we thought coming out of high school. If he is a superstar, this team will not lose more than three games all year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no surprise to long-time family friend Eddie Rivera that Doron Lamb was an impact player at Kentucky in his freshman season, or that has established himself as a premier college basketball player.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Doron grew up on the Lower East Side (of New York) and pretty much went to school with my daughter from kindergarten to eighth grade,Ã¢â‚¬Â Rivera said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Even when he was just a kid, I remember watching him in the after-school program and he was an exceptional athlete. He was some kind of baseball player, too, but you could watch him dribble and play basketball and tell he was exceptional. His dad was a good buddy of mine and it was so much fun to watch him grow up.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is like the kid everybody wants to have. He was mellow, but was never a troublemaker in any way. And when he was on the basketball court, he was just special. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s becoming much more mature in how he sees things now. He has learned to focus, but also have fun and be himself. His character is such that everybody loves him. He is like a teddy bear. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just an ideal kid.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lamb eventually moved to Queens, but his grandfather, aunt and uncle still live on the Lower East Side, where he lived until he was about 16. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s where Lamb still remains wildly popular among youngsters because of his basketball success and willingness to come back to his old neighborhood.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has changed in a few ways. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obvious he has grown up and is more focused on what is at hand. He has really developed into someone special. He knows he has an opportunity to do big things in basketball,Ã¢â‚¬Â Rivera said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But he does a lot of things in the community. When he is home he usually comes to watch a basketball tournament we have for kids. A lot of these kids look really look up to him. They want to go to college and play basketball like he is. Doron is going to have an opportunity to impact a lot of people in our community.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The kids love to see him. They are all over him when he comes back, but he keeps it simple. He will be with the kids doing about anything. He will throw football with them, shoot around on the court with them. He is the same Doron Lamb when he does come back.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A lot of kids here have Kentucky gear because of him. Even I do. He is just about the best thing to happen to people on the Lower East Side. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get many top-tier players out of the Lower East Side. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re proud of him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lamb, who averaged 12.3 points per game and shot 48.6 percent from 3-point range last season to help UK reach the Final Four, appreciates the support he has at home even now.
Rivera, who works at Standard & PoorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s financial services company, had Lamb visit him at work.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Socially, I wanted him to meet people from all aspects of life from the president of our company to the mail room worker,Ã¢â‚¬Â Rivera said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That makes you a better person. He came here for an hour, and I took him around and introduced him to expose him to something different than basketball.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He represents Kentucky so well. I wish him nothing but the best going forward. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am in finance, but I loved it when
Kentucky came here (to New Jersey in the NCAA tournament) and I got to write a free-lance piece on him for The Villager. I am in finance, but that story was easy to do because heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so much fun to be around. He is just like a little, happy kid all the time.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By EVAN CRANE, UK Media Relations
University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips had a clear message after practice Thursday, saying that the Wildcats have a good opportunity in front of them when they travel to face No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. ET.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have heck of an opportunity and I have told the team that,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“A lot of people view it as a huge challenge, but we view it as a huge opportunity for us to go down there and see how much we have improved this week and if we have improved. I think that we have improved this week in practice considering how we went about our business Tuesday and how we finished today.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Phillips said mistakes have been costly for the Wildcats this season, but that it is unrealistic to expect a perfect performance on Saturday. The head coach said what his team needs to do is just relax, play ball and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let mistakes mount up when they happen.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is one thing that we talked about,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play perfect. There are no perfect games out there that have no mistakes. You have 22 guys out there at a time and have 70 snaps there is going to be some mistakes out there. What we have to do is, once a mistake happens, we need to relax and regroup and make a play on the other side and go play ball and make up for it. What we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do is make another mistake and get all tense and all uptight and then it starts to mount and you make more mistakes. We have to relax and play ball.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just go down there and play and make sure that we continue to improve. You can improve during the game, every snap. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go see what happens.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Phillips, who was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach on the 2007 UK team that shocked No. 1 LSU at Commonwealth Stadium, said he wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk much about the historic 2007 win to the 2011 team, but they will talk about the game and other UK wins against the Tigers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Maybe on Friday night we will get into it a little bit, but very little,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am sure that AndreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (Woodson) has been getting interviews about it and a couple other guys, but I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talked to this team about it much. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll talk about that and the past times that we have been down there. A lot of those guys donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even remember that game in 2007.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky will be without wide receiver Gene McCaskill on Saturday, who will not travel with the team to Baton Rouge because of injury. McCaskill, who has three catches for 43 yards this season, did not play last week against Florida. Two more starters, defensive end Collins Ukwu and tailback Raymond Sanders, continue to be sidelined.
By GREG WEIR
Billy Joe Murphy isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t backing down from top-ranked LSU.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What an opportunity we have to go in and play the No. 1 team in the country at their place,Ã¢â‚¬Â Murphy said earlier this week. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the way weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to approach it. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to put Florida behind us and learn from it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Kentucky senior was a redshirt freshman when the Wildcats stunned the top-ranked Tigers 43-37 in triple overtime four years ago at Commonwealth Stadium. The loss was the only setback that season for LSU, which went on to win the national championship.
Like the previous meeting between the two schools, Murphy sees the game as an opportunity to turn things around for the Cats, who have lost their past two games after opening the season with a two-game winning streak. Murphy isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worried about the crowd or playing at Death Valley for the first time.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re playing on a field,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to focus even more on the road what your assignment is and doing that assignment.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Murphy admitted that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tough to bounce back following a 48-10 drubbing to Florida, but added a Ã¢â‚¬Å“bigger challenge,Ã¢â‚¬Â should motivate the Wildcats to reverse the current two-game slide.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you dwell on games from the past, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to kill yourself,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We know we want to have a great season, but if you dwell on the past, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to shoot yourself in the foot even more.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Murphy returned to the lineup last week after missing the two previous games because of a knee injury. Murphy, a right tackle, said sitting out the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win over Central Michigan and the loss to Louisville was Ã¢â‚¬Å“frustrating.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It feels good to get back, considering I had never missed game before (because of an injury),Ã¢â‚¬Â Murphy said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have played three sports and never missed a game. You stay away from your technique and development for two weeks and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard (to bounce back) considering that, but you want to come back so bad. The drive is up and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to work hard (and come back).Ã¢â‚¬Â
For the first time this season, the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s starting offensive line was on the field. Murphy said the lineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top priority is protecting quarterback Morgan Newton. The senior lineman said Ã¢â‚¬Å“mental mistakesÃ¢â‚¬Â are preventing the offense from reaching its full potential.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you watch the film from our standpoint, we see mental mistake after mental mistake,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“For example, if you see Morgan Newton throw an interception, not every interception is MorganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fault. It could be someone elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mental mistake that cause it. What we know is that those mistakes are correctable and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to get those corrected. Our mental mistakes are whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s killing us.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Murphy said the Tigers are Ã¢â‚¬Å“very powerfulÃ¢â‚¬Â and compete at a flawless level.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t (make) as many mistakes like we do,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to be mentally sound, technique sound and stick to our basics. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to correct our mental mistakes and move forward.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
So how do media members who cover the Wildcats regularly feel about the season. I asked WLEX-TV sports director Alan Cutler (http://twitter.com/cutler18), radio play-by-play voice of the Cats Tom Leach (tomleachky.com and twitter @tomleachUK), Kentucky Sports radio founder and talk show host Matt Jones, WLEX-TV sports anchor Mary Jo Perino, former UK basketball All-American and college basketball analyst Kyle Macy and UK IMG Sports Network analyst Dick Gabriel for their thoughts. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how they evaluate the Cats going into this season.
Question: Who will be KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best player this year?
Cutler: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anthony Davis.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lemond: Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is a great question because the Ã¢â‚¬ËœbestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ player may not necessarily be the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmost valuableÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ player.Ã‚Â I think Doron Lamb may end up being the leading scorer, but the best overall player might end up being Anthony Davis. He has point guard skills in a big manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s body.Ã‚Â Word out of early workouts is that Davis is not only very talented down low, but can also hit 3-pointers!Ã‚Â Wow! I guess there is a reason why many observers feel like Davis could end up being the first pick in the NBA draft next year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Perino: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anthony Davis/Terrence Jones Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m torn!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Macy: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would like to see the best player be Terrence Jones or Darius Miller. Their skill level is as good as any and they also possess experience, which would be a bonus!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Leach: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’m going with Terrence Jones. With a year of development of his game and maturity under his belt, I look to see what we saw in Maui last year on a more consistent basis.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jones: Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is a tough question. Doron Lamb will be the leading scorer, Darius Miller the most important player, Terrence Jones the team MVP and Anthony Davis the most talented. Ã¢â‚¬ËœBestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ usually means most talented, so I will take Davis, but any of those four could be the answer.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Here are some thoughts from Scout.com national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels on the recent verbal commitment by Arkansas guard Archie Goodwin to Kentucky.
Question: Did Goodwin surprise you with his commitment to UK and what do you think changed his mind on waiting until spring to commit?
Daniels: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The commitment didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t surprise me as much as the timing.Ã‚Â I think Kentucky has been the leader here for quite some time and I think it was important for them to get him on board and get their class started.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: How good a fit will he be for Calipari’s system?
Daniels: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Archie is a great fit for what Calipari is trying to do. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at his best when heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in attack mode and he knows how to get to the rim and finish once heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s there. He wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any issues getting used to the dribble drive offense.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: What impact might his decision have on other recruits?
Daniels: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if it has a direct impact, but it certainly canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt. Now the Cats have someone at Midnight Madness that is sitting with all of the uncommitted guys and talking them up.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Could this be the start of another No. 1 class for John Calipari?
Daniels: Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s certainly possible. There are still some things that will have to play, but if things go the way I expect them to for Kentucky then they are probably looking at, at least a top three class.Ã¢â‚¬Â