Eight wins would be “step forward” for UK football

Kentucky’s defense has to stop Louisville Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Most years a seven-win season for Kentucky football would be cause for celebration. Doing it back to back years would have die-hard UK fans delirious.

But not this year.  Not with the late losses to Florida and Ole Miss that Kentucky fans seem to focus on more than the seven games UK did win.

So what would a win over Louisville, a 9-point favorite, do for the vibe around UK football?

“Losses are difficult at any time. So, anytime you are playing a game on the last game of the year, sure it’s important. I think it’s big because it’s important to our players, it’s important to our fan base, it’s a rivalry game and there’s a lot at stake,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said.

“Eight wins (in the regular season), I don’t think it’s been done in what, 33 years? That means something to me. I think you keep on trying to knock down as many doors as you can and the fact that we had back-to-back .500 seasons in the SEC is again, we want more.

“It’s easy to look back and get the what ifs, that’s human nature. I understand that, but I am proud of some of the things we’ve done. Getting eight wins is another step forward.”

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  1. I am not concerned about the wins and losses, those do not indicate how good or bad a team truly is because you always have seasons where other teams are down or really up. I just want a team that gets better as the year progresses, and I absolutely do not see that with this team. Also, I want to a see a team that is really good at 1 or 2 aspects of the game. Again, I do not see that with this team. I also want to see a team where the coaches use the players best abilities, such as using Jeff Badet last year for the deep pass. That allowed him to show his ability with break away speed, and it allowed Johnson to show his ability with the long pass. Again, I do not see where any player, other than possibly Snell, that is being used to showcase his ability. Conrad comes to mind as a player that is totally being held back. When teams improve through the season and correct their weakness, they end up winning games; especially, games they are not supposed to win. So far this season, UK has not beaten anyone where you would call the victory something to brag about, and that includes Tennessee. Can anyone tell me where they are improving this year or better than they were last year? Does UK have a “go to” receiver that you count on for a sure first-down? Does UK have a play you know is going to get you 3-4 yards? Absolutely NOT. All of these faults fall 90% on the coaches, because their is the slight possibility the players just don’t get it, but I don’t that is the case with this group of players. I truly feel sorry for the players on this team because they are not being “coached up” or being taught how to improve their game.

  2. OF…..You nailed it sir…this might be your best piece of posting yet and it was accurate start to finish. I have been ragging on this coaching staff all year and still am. Gran shows no real creativity from game to game. He has got to be one of the easier OC’s to plan against. Stoops came with a pretty solid resume on Defense but I am wondering if his FSU credits were more a credit to the talent around him that what he really brought to the table. Stoops does not show a lot of emotion or leadership, and I don’t see evidence of that from the team for the most part. No one really has gotten better this year with the exception of Drake Jackson. Since Stoops has been here, we have had a problem with lock on shoulder tackling. Westry, Elam, and Love really haven’t improved and probably were over rated. Stoops has brought some nice, surprising wins but Signature wins?? I hope there are some staff changes moving forward, and a better test of this coaching talent will be exposed next year. Is there another coach out there that is paid this kind of money for not showing much player development and improvement?

  3. I disagree with the both of you. I have seen player improvement across the board. The current defense is miles ahead of Eliot’s defense. The special teams too. Bone has improved, made a circus catch against Georgia. Conrad has improved, both in his route running, catching the football, scoring TD’s , and blocking. UK is better at DE with Allen and Ware playing pretty solid, generally. Stephen Johnson has elevated his game, and is the heart and soul of this football team. UK has already won 7 for two years in a row. Any of you guys remember the Curry era? I am not 100% in the Stoops’ camp, but I will give credit where credit is due. Snell is a beast. he can get you 3 or 4 yards just about any time he gets a carry. Sci/Fi has been a solid replacement in the UK backfield after losing Boom. Two key injuries hurt UK this year early on too, Mosier, and Baker. Georgia was a good football team, don’t kid yourself guys. They very well could be the next National Champ. UK sits at 7-4. I will gladly take it, It could be a lot worse. Go Cats, beat Louisville.

  4. Oldfan and Mike I gotta agree on your post , but last year team did improve as season went along. Saying that this season we should have made leap and bounds of growing from last year strong finish. But for some reason we have not and again sometime things doesn’t come to a fruit when it comes too growth. I’m not gonna point fingers because this team has show not to quit. Yes we should be 9-2 the Florida game was taken away from from a call that shouldn’t have been made. The Miss.st game we just got whip and the Georgia game I thought our cats fought hard. Setting 7-3 is damn good record to be damn proud regardless. So let all the negatives out and cheer on this team regardless what happens. Go Cats

  5. I always cheer for UK, and will continue to do so. I like Stoops and hope we can keep him. I was just trying to point out the areas of concern I have for this team. Stoops says after every game concerning their mistakes, “these are easy fixes, and we WILL get them fixed,” but they continue to keep making the same mistakes. As I said earlier, I think most of the problems with this team are somewhere in the coaching staff, not the players. Also, LP, if you look at the stats, UK is not much better defensively this year, than in years past. And yes, we have some very good players, like Ware and Allen, but I think that is more due to their talent than coaching, but I could be wrong. I just want to see an improving team. Beating teams that are falling apart like Tennessee, I think is great, but it doesn’t mean anything to me on how I think our team is doing. Games like Ole Miss, Miss St., Florida, Georgia is where I look to see how we compare. I know Florida is terrible now, but they were doing pretty good when UK played them. A good example is South Carolina. Look at how they have improved through the year. I don’t see that at UK and that causes concern in my eyes.

  6. Put…..Last I read our defense was rated 112th in FBS. They have played some good games at line of scrimmage but slacked as competition got better, they have not been able to put pressure on the qb, they haven’t had good outside contain for many games. Allen has been good and steady but Ware in and out. Bone is only now doing what we expected at beginning. Conrad has been good all along, but Gran not smart enough to feature or take advantage. Stevie has been real good for 2 yrs. now. The defense has been a embarrassment for entire year, especially in the secondary. Everybody has injuries this time of the year. If you think we have it bad, how about UT? This team has regressed toward the end of the season and this is not totally unchartered territory for a Stoops team.

  7. No, we don’t have a go to receiver or one who can take the top off. Badet left and Baker got injured. No, we don’t have an explosive runner like Boom who could take it all the way at any given time. So how did we get to 7-4? We played 3 bowl bound teams. We beat South Carolina … at South Carolina. They had their star play for 2 1/2 quarters and some seem to forget that. We heat Tennessee and they’ve been “down” before and we couldn’t win. Their OL and DL averaged 4 stars when they were recruited. When is the last time we pounded Vanderbilt – again at Vanderbilt. This is the best coaching staff we’ve had in more than a few years. Wait … we’re 7-4. I’m not sure why we are having this conversation right now. I have and am enjoying this team. Developing players? What about our QB’s stats last year and this year … with more freshmen receivers than anyone should have to play? His accuracy has significantly improved. Developed. I obviously disagree with the hypercritical folks. I do wish they could enjoy the team as I have this year. Yeah, I want to win the East, and then the SEC, and then the National Championship. Win this next game and we will have done something that hasn’t been done in Kentucky football for over 30 years.

  8. Some good points there William. There is certainly a lot to be thankful for on this day and also season to date. I would love to have your same feeling but keep tripping over the defense and their lack of being able to tackle and cover passes. ..still think this team is doing a little better because of talent and less coaching. I could be wrong AGAIN and don’t sampling a little crow with my turkey. Stoop’s real test will come next year. Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!

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