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- Some story lines — from Baylor perspective — for tonight’s Kentucky game
By LARRY VAUGHT
He’s a college basketball analyst, but he’s a college football fan. So while Dick Vitale knows Kentucky fans were bitterly disappointed with UK’s overtime loss to Western Kentucky, he was also thrilled for WKU coach Willie Taggart because he played “where I lived” in Florida.
“He has kids from Bradenton, Fla. He knows how good football is in this area,” said Vitale, who was in Lexington last Friday speaking to those attending the John Calipari Fantasy Experience. “Manatee High School is No. 1 in the USA Today football poll. He has a couple of kids from there on his team. He has some others from the same city.
“Willie is wired with the right people. He is a rising star in coaching. It’s going to be tough for Western to keep him there because he’s such a good coach and wired so well in recruiting. I know it was a big loss for Kentucky, but what a win for Willie Taggart.”
And what a blow for Kentucky coach Joker Phillips. He was asked on the Southeastern Conference telconference Wednesday why it had been so hard for UK football to sustain success.
“It’s hard to explain why. One thing we need to have is consistency in recruiting, player development. All those type things,” Phillips said. “There have been numerous coaches since I have been here and the thing we need to have is consistency.”
Would recruiting more in Florida help, something UK now seems determined to do?
“It’s not a tough place (to recruit). The thing is we haven’t focused on Florida as much,” Phillips said.
Say what? Even Vitale knows Florida is loaded with recruits, and he’s a basketball guy. The Cats might not get five-star players from Florida, but they have gone in and got players like Danny Trevathan.
“I took over three years ago (as head coach) and Florida was always an area I recurited. We are now getting into Florida a little bit more,” Phillips said. “We have got five commitments from Florida now (in the 2013 recruiting class) and will continue to recruit there. It’s heavily populated with players. It is a state we must recruit to be successful.”
Just ask Taggart, or even Vitale.