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More toughness key to UK win over Vandy

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky managed to beat Vanderbilt 20-13 Saturday mainly because it was able to run for over 250 yards against a defense that could not consistently stop any of UK’s running backs.

“I thought we didn’t control the line of scrimmage when we needed to. I thought Kentucky did a great job all day of running the football,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. “Late in the ballgame, when we needed to get them off the field, we didn’t.

“They kept running Wildcat. It’s very effective when you have to play 11-man football and you have to take your safety up the middle and get in the box and help control the line of scrimmage. I thought we got knocked off the ball up front.”

Vanderbilt defensive lineman Adam Butler said it was “both execution and poor tackling” that led to UK’s rushing success.

“This team does mainly focus on the run, but they also will do quick passes left or right and it’s important that those guys pay attention to that stuff so they can trigger to that as well as the run. So, I feel like we should’ve made the adjustment to trigger faster throughout the game,” Butler said.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is just glad his team is becoming more physical on both offense and defense.

“Without the physicality we wouldn’t have had any chance to win this game tonight. So it definitely is helping,” Stoops said after the win. “Now we got to polish it up and start attacking and throwing the ball down the field. We got good wide outs that I’m sure are going to want the ball and we got to get it to them and loosen some things up, but the toughness on both sides of the ball and the attitude and the belief, if you didn’t have it, then we wouldn’t have won that game. So it’s a big piece of it.”

10 comments

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  1. OldFan

    Defense looking better. Just need Johnson to settle down and play like he did in his first game when he didn’t have time to think about it.

  2. Norman Einstein

    Everything looked better. Effort, focus, poise, physicality and a tenacious mindset from the players. A very good job of preparation and game management by Coach Stoops and his staff.
    A few weeks ago, this team stood at the crossroads. We obviously turned the right direction and see improvement with every outing. So happy to see this bunch hitting their stride.

    GO CATS!!!

  3. RJ

    Heal up and rest up next week. The last half of the schedule is tough. We need to win 4 of the next 5. When I look as MS, MO, AP and GA I see beatable teams by UK.

    1. Larry Pup

      RJ, I’ll say this, UK had better find a passing game quick,10-24 for 49 yards, with a 2 yard average per pass that Kentucky managed against Vandy had better improve fast going forward in order to get to six wins. UK has two OC’s now, one a so called QB coach, and a stable of WR’s, and good TE’s, yet UK, of late, can’t throw the football. Yeah, Barker is hurt, but two good QB’s transferred. UK is one dimensional now, and teams will game plan to stop the run count on it. Yes, I like UK’s running attack, but you have to be able to throw the football in this league when you face the remaining SEC foes.

      1. RJ

        Well. We have two weeks to get ready for the second half of the season. I hope we use the time wisely. I would not beat up on Hinshaw too much. It’s like Shannon Dawson said, “a good QB makes a coach look very good”. Johnson looked very good his first game or two because the other teams didn’t have any film on him. Therefore everything he did was a surprise for the other teams. Well guess what, there’s lots of film on him now and he has to do what good QB’s do – rise above. Remember, he was not the #1 guy and I did not think that Barker performed all that good when he was in there. Hinshaw has to find a game that maximizes Johnsons attributes and minimizes his weaknesses. Against Vandy I think they asked too much of Johnson. Coaches have to shape their system around the playing talent they have; not the other way around. I think that is what happed to Johnson Saturday. Except for a couple of fumbles and Int’s, the game would not have been as close as it was.

        I said this before but it always amazes me that coaches go into a prevent defense to run out the clock on the opponent. And, it seems to always play right into the hands of the opponent. It almost beat KY Saturday. It’s usually better to go home with the girl that you originally took to the dance!

        1. Larry Pup

          Maybe so, but UK will not be able to just line up and run it every down against these remaining SEC teams and Louisville. UK’s game plan is one dimensional now and opposing teams are starting to see that. I would like to see Gunnar Hoak get a shot if Johnson can’t start completing some passes, in order to keep defenses honest.

          1. RJ

            As much as I want to agree with you, it’s not yet time to yank Gunnar’s red shirt. Panic makes you do exactly what you should not do. It’s not yet time to panic. A lot of stuff is going on in favor of the Cats. Let’s see how far it takes us.

      2. Norman Einstein

        Howdy LP. I also wondered why SJ wasn’t throwing well, then learned yesterday that he is nursing a wrist injury. Nothing major, but obviously it affected his delivery. Should be fine for MSU.
        Relax there old friend. I fear all those years of frustration are preventing you from noticing that this program is finally on the rise. Cmon… get back in the canoe with us Buddy.
        Semper Fi and…. GO CATS!

        1. Larry Pup

          Norman, my good friend, I will always be a UK football fan, rest easy on that. I hope you are right about Johnson’s throwing hand, That might explain it. He is a winner, and I like his grit and composure, his running ability, but UK will struggle if they can’t throw the football against teams down the stretch. You have to know that. If Johnson struggles, get the backup in. He can easily hand the football to a RB just as easy as Johnson can, but maybe he can complete a pass too. I see RJ’s point on a RS burn, but wins are more important IMO, especially for Stoops going forward. I do see improvement in this team the last few games, but the horses are at the door now. This season is on the line. Semper Fi back at you. UK all the way.

          1. Norman Einstein

            Oh yeah. You’re right LP. We need to throw the ball effectively in order to move forward. Being one dimensional is not a good thing. But it sure was nice to see us shoving the ball down Vandy’s throat when everyone knew it was coming. Glad to know you’re still with us friend!

            GO CATS!!!

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