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By LARRY VAUGHT

There’s no easy way to gauge the overall fan reaction to Kentucky’s loss to Western Kentucky Saturday. However, I thought this e-mail I got from a long-time UK fan and season ticket holder who goes to a lot of trouble to attend almost every game, might be interesting to vaughtsviews.com readers.

“Well Larry, I finally took my Christmas card from Mark Stoops off the mantle when I returned from Nashville Sunday. I am not down on the staff, but they have a lot of hard work ahead of them. Mitch Barnhart did Stoops no favor by playing this game at LP. Field, either,” the season ticket holder said. “Line play on both sides of the ball was simply awful.

“I’m not going to make as many games as usual this year. It’s just unbearable to watch. There will be significant improvement as we go, but it is hard to see where the record will be any better than last year. Western is a good team and they could go undefeated.”

 

37 Responses to Long-time UK fan will miss games he thinks will be “unbearable to watch”

  • Rich Madky says:

    I feel basically the same way. I unloaded my Louisville tickets yesterday. Can’t bear watching that in person. It’s not Stoops’s fault, but it really doesn’t matter who’s fault it is. I can’t justify spending my time and money on this product.

    I will say that Stoops made his first & second coaching mistakes Saturday. He started the wrong QB for the first mistake. He stuck with the wrong QB too long for the second mistake. If Smith had gone the distance, they could’ve won a shootout.

  • Kim says:

    I hope fans of UK football will reconsider not going to games and staying home. This program needs our support right now. I always knew this staff had a lot of hard work ahead of them. I have been a UK fan since I was knee high to a grasshopper and I know their are a lot of fans that have put up with the long hard years a lot longer than me but I don’t think now is the time to stay home.

    I have been a season ticket holder since 2007, I know not nearly as long as others, I saw the good times under Rich and I was also at every home game last year to see the bad. It was not fun, it was awful actually. But I do believe staying home now is not the right answer. Many stayed home last year and the administration did what needed to be done and made a change. This is not basketball, it does not happen in a year or even two, especially after the way this program was allowed to fall.

    This staff is putting in long hours and hard work to turn this program around. The majority of this staff were already coaching at successful programs and left them to come here and turn this thing around. They came because they believed they could make a difference here. They came because they knew BBN wanted a successful program. Please don’t give up on them now. There are recruits here that decided to come here after having offers from better schools because they believed they could help make something happen here. Please don’t give up on them. They are kids committed to this program for next year that believe we all can have something special here. Please don’t give up on them.

    I will never call another fan out for not attending games because I know many long suffering fans but I just ask that you think it over before giving up. I believe we are going to see something wonderful happen here. I believe in this staff and what they are trying to do. There are going to be bumps in the road and plenty of second guessing and plenty of ugly games that hurts all of our hearts but I also believe that we will turn that corner and have a successful football program.

  • Bryan May says:

    I wish I lived close enough to attend the games. Maybe our team didn’t win, but how I’d love to be able to go to the games and root them on. Perhaps it’s my inability to go to games and even to watch some of the games that has allowed me to stay a die-hard fan instead of a fair-weather fan. I can’t imagine ever giving up tickets to a game. I also can’t imagine ever giving up on this team.

  • RJ says:

    I am a season ticket holder as well. And, I was very angry on the long drive home fron Nashville.I felt like I had been promised something and was reneiged upon. I’ll be using my tickets this year and just hope that I can see steady improvement. I will not be seeing a lot of wins. Just not enough talent and too tough a schedule. But, I’ll be there. I said at the beginning of the season that turn around will take time and now I am convinced of it.

  • Larry Pup says:

    That is unfortunate. Sad to see and hear. If our players quit on the team like this guy, we are in for a long year. Sure times are hard, but quit on them now? I don’t think that is called for no matter how it goes, that is chicken shit all the way.

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    Good response, Kim, Bryan, RJ & L-Pup.
    Give these coaches some time & support this team!
    How can we expect players to show up if we don’t?

  • Dwayne Ayers says:

    This time last year I was watching the Cats play from 7000 miles away while deployed. This year I was in Nashville at LP field watching them in person. Several of the people I was with wanted to leave the game early but I wouldn’t. I stayed till the very end. I was asked why several times. My answer was always the same. I am here to support UK football winning or not. There are things in life way more important than winning a football game and everyone needs to remember that. Give this coaching staff some time and things will turn around. Change doesn’t happen overnight. One game does not mean the end of the world. I had a wonderful time in Nashville with family and friends even if the Cats didn’t win. And if anyone wants to get rid of their Louisville tickets, let me know. I will happily drive from South Carolina to Lexinton for the game to support the Cats.

  • Dwayne Ayers says:

    This time last year I was cheering on the Cats from 7000 miles away while deployed. This year I was in Nashville in LP Field cheering on the Cats in person. True they didn’t pull out a victory Saturday night, but in my mind it was a win regardless. Change doesn’t always happen overnight but I think this staff is on the right track. Give them some time to turn things around. And if you don’t want to support the Cats for the Louisville game, I will happily make the drive from South Carolina to Lexington to support them. Just get in touch with me and I will take those tickets off your hands very quickly!

    • larryvaught says:

      Thanks Dwayne. Just glad you are home safe and can enjoy any game this year. Thanks again for your service

  • Jason Mahoney says:

    This is sad that fans think you can turn a football team around over night. Stop being a band-wagon fan and show up and support these players and coaches! I’ve talked to many of the recruits and what has sold them is the fans support. Well if you want this program to get better we need to stick behind these players and coaches and show up to games!

    I’m a season ticket holder who went to Nashville to watch this team. Was I dissapointed? Yes I was but I’m not giving up on them and I promise you those players and coaches won’t give up on us!

    3 years from now I hope you look back and say I was there supporting UK through the rough times and good Times!

    Go Big BLUE!!!!!

  • RMC says:

    How can you be a season ticket holder and believe that Stoops was handed over a program in bad shape and not show up because you’re afraid to see what happens. Support the guys and show up. Stoops has the guts to take over this program, so have the guts to show up and support him.

  • KenTuck says:

    Even though I typically read all that I can possible read about Kentucky Football, I usually do not participate in the comments. After reading all of this dribble I have a few different emotions to express…Obviously this is the reason people talk about the bandwagon.

    One thing is clear for the true fan of any program, it is a great experience to be a die hard for a losing team and be supporting the team as they make the turn to a winning team.

    Winning in coaching selection was great, winning financial support for the program, and winning in recruiting has been unbelievable.

    Now it’s time for some winning on the field. The foundation is being built properly and it will transfer at some point to the field. For the fan who cannot or will not see that, it might be time to find a different hobby. Being a Kentucky Football fan in the SEC takes some thick skin. Living in a different state, and having to put up with all the BS that other fans complain about with their programs. I for one look forward to the day of respectability. To be a True Blue fan, you have gotta believe that day will come. For the Band wagon folk….we’ll keep your seat warm!

  • shinny says:

    I drove 4 1/2 hours each way to see these Kats. For the Louisville game i will drive 6hrs each way. Point being I’ve been a fan since Bear Bryant days and i long for those days again. Been fooled several times by coaches that put us on probation, coaches that gave us victories over #1 teams and “game day” hit campus, but this went as fast as it came. I believe without question that this staff is deeper in knowledge and recruiting. Note that Joker came from the previous staff! I personally feel that this staff will take us to a respected program. I think Stoops was fooled by the mental state of the returning players. That being said “it will get fixed” and I will be watching as a true member of the BBN as Stoops and staff take us up from the “Joker Bottom” and as they said in the JOHN RAY era”I BELIEVE”— THIS TIME!!!

  • King Ghidora says:

    How could anyone be a bandwagon fan of UK football? What bandwagon?

    The plain fact is that WKU was better prepared in pretty much every way. UK has some talent. Anytime any player can break big plays running the ball that’s a huge plus and it indicates real talent. But Western’s coach has been around a long time and he has been good everywhere he’s been. The only reason he’s left those other places was because of scandals etc.. For example he didn’t report a motorcycle wreck because a woman was with him who was on the payroll at Ark. even though she knew nothing about football and wasn’t connected to the team all except as the main squeeze of Petrino. But the guy has been connected to some VERY good football teams including Ark. where he had seasons with 10 wins and 11 wins. He was offensive coordinator at UL when they were 12-1 and another year when they were 11-1. He’s been around in several 9 win and 8 win seasons too. The guy is a proven winner. Stoops came in with high expectations because of his staff and because of his family connections. But he’s really pretty new to this.

    To be honest I think Western scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to coaches with ethics. But there is no denying he knows how to win.

  • Woohoo says:

    I say if ticket holders feel strongly enough about this loss that they cannot bear to watch future games, then please stay at home and do sell/give your tickets to fans that have the passion for UK and realize that we have players that are just now seeing what “good looks like” and will improve going forward. Please don’t come and bring your poisonous negativism to the game. Stay at home and wait for “fair weather”………the type of fan you are.

  • Lori Metcalf says:

    Anyone who paid any attention to UK football in the last couple of years has to know that this year is going to be brutal. While we love our Wildcats, we know they are not top-drawer talent and the ones who do have skills were not developed as well as they might have been in the last few years. You had to know that the WKU game was going to be a tough test, but I do not regret going for one minute. I was there for the beginning of a new era for UK football! Coach Stoops and his staff will work with what they have this year and will be bringing in some recruits with great potential. The future looks very bright.

  • Jimcats says:

    After Miami, we have a tougher 4game stretch than any scheduler could conceive of. And it may break this team’s back. The best protection against that broken back is strong loyal fan support through this brutal 5 weeks. If our team can survive this period with their heads and hearts still fighting, the last half of the season may actually be fun and exciting.

    I hope these posts aren’t indicative of what 60,000 other fans plan to do while our guys struggle. And we should recognize that our verbal commits who were so impressed with our 50,000+ spring attendance will put great stock in the BBN’s response to a disappointing performance on the field. I believe the fans can hurt the future of Kentucky football over the next few weeks much more than most might consider.

    Now, in more adversity, the strength of the BBN in standing with our team must be shown loud and clear–to both friend and foe.

  • Little Baron says:

    This article reminds me of my 1st Homecoming game… UK 0 – Houston 56. Not an encouraging freshmen year of football. I do understand the author’s frustration although I do support this staff. They simply inherited an empty cupboard with a few returnees with bad habits formed under a lack of coaching & leadership.

    I posted recently about somthe brainless UK AD actions… with the opening game of the season being an away game over & over. And why would ANY SEC team need to trade off to find an opponent for the slot that is a cupcake for all other major programs!

    Just another mulligan in a long line of miscues…. What other high paying job gives you so many mulligans for costly decisions

    • “Secret” contract extension to a coach (Tubby) who was taking a legendary program with 3 recent Title games into frequent 10-loss seasons and early exits from the Big Dance?

    • Hiring a coach with a serious drinking problem & history of not being media-savvy in representing the program.

    • Hiring (1st as Coach-in-Waiting) a coach who has never been around a major program with a significant history of big wins.

    Yeh, yeh… Some will say “Beating a dead horse” … But maybe we should say a slick cat with 9 lives…

    Is there any accountability ? Yes, after hit & miss, he finally landed the right coaches in the ONLY TWO INCOME-PRODUCING Sports on campus… and yet we continue to suffer from POOR routine decisions… opening FB game against a team who “has nothing to lose” playing UK & of course don’t forget the negligence in not pursuing an arrangement for UK to play the (sad as it was) NIT 1st game AWAY in a shrunken cracker box, instead of making special arrangement to get Rupp Arena ready with a quick turn-around. Folks, this is the same University of Kentucky program which dustes off & dug into the archives to find ONE WIN when UNC was on our heels and the passed us in Total Wins in history. So, really EVERY win even in a disappointing year is VERY significant and yet the Robert Morris game was treated as if “who cares” instead of positioning us to get 2 or more wins by playing the opening rounds at home!

    The big things AND the little things ALL need to be well tended to by those paid the big bucks, with the authority to do & change things, when representing the BBN!

    • MickintheHam says:

      Excellent comments Little Baron.

    • Larry Pup says:

      UK just got whipped Little Baron. The way this UK team played on that night WKU would have probably beaten UK at Commonwealth. I don’t like made up excuses. Playing WKU in Nashville is not the problem. An SEC school should not be fearful of any Sun Belt conference team anywhere, anytime. However, give the Hilltoppers a little credit. As to your other point, UK should have beaten RM at their place but we didn’t. I hate losing worse than anything, but it happens.

      On the football front, UK just needs to get with the program and start winning some football games. It is just amazing how most of the time the football team can’t get out of their own way, and it’s been that way for 50 years. With this group of players it may be another long year, but I’ll keep yelling for the Big Blue and give a little credit where credit is due. There will be another day for UK and Western someday, and UK can settle the score then. All UK needs is a few more football players, that’s all.

  • Ira says:

    Well how did this guy stand last year then???

  • Little Baron says:

    Thanks, Mick.

    You’re right, Larry Pup… we SHOULD have won against Sun Belt, even on the road, but history does tell us that UK FB needs every advantage (home game in this case) and of course our players are still under the cloud of the past couple years…. So I want even the slightest edge. (Likewise with RM… Any edge to avoid an L. I don’t think RM would have had the same “confidence” in Rupp.)

    Ira… VERY interesting point… Did last year pass the”smell test” and not this year? Wow!

    To all the Posters on VV’s… thanks for lots of good, clean, honest feelings … that I really enjoy reading. May not always agree… but we all agree GO BIG BLUE !!!

  • goUKats says:

    You don’t win football games when your defense waits to get hit,or the play is made before they react,and you don’t win football games when your qb can’t pick up a blitz,or hit an open receiver downfield.

  • Andy says:

    To all those that can’t stand to watch UK games, please don’t watch the games and sell your tickets. Some of us will stand by the coaching staff and continue to support the team regardless. Am I upset things went south this past Saturday? Yes, but the Coach and the team need our support during these crucial times. Like Coach Stoops said, this team has a long way to go and people that don’t understand it have some “issues”. Bleed Blue or go hang out with the dirty birds!!

  • King Ghidora says:

    Being criticial of the team is NOT the same as abandoning the team. Far from it. Pointing out that too much was expected because of media hype and just plain desperation is NOT abandoning the team. I’ve watched every UK game I could watch for so many years it’s ridiculous. I don’t get to a lot of games but I don’t live very close to Lexington but I thought about buying season tickets last year because I thought I could get good ones. I figured I’d make it when I could and give the rest of the tickets away. So don’t think for a second that I don’t support the team. I don’t talk about it a lot because it has been too painful especially with the Florida games and the UT series where UK perfected the art of shooting itself in the foot.

    I want very much to see the Cats win. It hurts when they don’t. I’ve endured a lot of that hurt. So I don’t think some fans should tell other fans how to express what they feel about the team. No one follows UK football expecting a bandwagon ride. That’s just ridiculous. These people wouldn’t be here if they didn’t care and they care enough to want the team to win. I don’t see how can put those fans down just because they don’t follow “your” fan code.

  • TrueBlueJohn says:

    Almost everyone who is a Cat fan knew that this was going to be a long season. The schedule is brutal, the ranks are thin, new schemes to learn, but the future looks bright to me. As bad as the loss was, there were some bright spots. Ryan Timmons is going to be a playmaker. The running game looks like it is going to be a lot better than last year. What we need as fans is patience while the coaching staff sorts everything out. There is an old coaching axiom which says that the greatest improvement in a team is between the first and second games. I am looking forward to seeing a better product on the field next week. Remember that a realistic goal for this staff should be a turnaround in 2015. That is two full recruiting years for the staff.

  • Tcat says:

    Well if you all give up and stop supporting in year one you may as well kiss this class good bye, you bunch of damn cliff jumpers….

    WE WILL SEE IMPROVEMENT, THE RIGHT MAN HAS THE JOB, WE JUST SUCK, FACE IT AND SUPPORT THESE GUYS THIS ONE YEAR SO WE DON’T LOOSE THE 14 CLASS… If you cowards back out this class will fall apart…

  • Little Baron says:

    Wow! The passion! The defense! The clarification & justification! …
    by the fans posting is awesome. I can see and understand, to some extent the reason for various expressions of support & critique. Sometime we post something that may even seem a bit rougher than intended & could be better expressed verbally so that volume, forcefulness & facial expressions can confirm the real intent. I know that’s the case for me.

    Now, if we can get the players to hit the field Saturdays with the passion expressed here on VV’s … we may just see a whole different team from the one who wore the UK jerseys against WKU.

    GO BIG BLUE & BRING IT ONTO THE FIELD !!!

  • King Ghidora says:

    I don’t about you guys but vulgar tirades always motivate me – to do the exact opposite of course. :D But this is UK football. I’ve seen worse. I’m still a fan. I will be always no matter what.

  • LindaS says:

    People wanted a change in coaching staff and they got. I hate to say it, but Rome was not built in a day. This staff still has the players from the last program. You cannot expect immediate change when you have the same players. Support the staff and the team. Show Stoops you are behind him and will be there when things change. What kind of message are you sending him if you don’t support him now while he is trying to build the program. Fair weather fans are a dime a dozen, loyal fans are priceless.

    • Little Baron says:

      Excellent!

    • King Ghidora says:

      You are of course right Linda. I think there was more hype than usual with the coaching change but I’ve seen that with UK fans before too. Some coaches that came to UK as highly rated ended up not being able to do a lot with the team either. The talk of having the #1 recruiting class (for a while anyway) gave us hope that things would change. I don’t mind seeing the team lose. I certainly didn’t expect victories over South Carolina, Alabama, Florida or even Louisville. But I did expect a better showing against Western. But Western had more of a foundation for their new coach and he is a proven winner so maybe we shouldn’t have expected too much against them. It just seems that a state school even if it is Western shouldn’t be able to make UK look like they did. It was pretty bad. Only a few break away runs kept the game from being a blow out.

      I think that’s why so many are upset. No one is going away. No one here is thinking the team should have been great all of a sudden. But losing to Western is a low point considering the rest of the competition the Cats face. They are looking at a murderous schedule for a team playing at the level they’re playing. I think that’s why people are thinking it will be unbearable to watch. It is going to be ugly unless something drastic changes. But the Cats have managed a great upset here and there in the past. I’m not going away. I’ll watch the games too. But it will be hard not because I expected them to turn things around instantly. Building a team takes time. It will hurt because UK is my team and it always hurts when they lose especially when they look bad.

      Another thing is people saw real improvement in the Brooks years. Now we’re back lower than before Brooks. That’s tough to take if you’re a real fan that wants to win. Those saying we should support the team win or lose don’t seem to understand that we have. And we still do. But it still hurts when they lose especially to a team that rubbed the Cats noses in it last year. If there was a game I wanted to see the Cats win the Western game was it because of what was said last year. But instead they looked even worse.

      We just want a winning team. But sports are about tradition so much it’s very hard to overcome that tradition. It’s the same reason the basketball team wins when it seems like they should lose. Tradition is great with the basketball team. And it looked for a while like UK was building some football tradition only to now be sliding backwards. It stings because we do support the team. Supporting the team when they lose is what teams do that don’t have tradition. We all expect the basketball team to win. We demand it in fact. When we do that with the football team someone always tells us to support them anyway. If we did that with the basketball team Clyde would still be the coach. And who would really want that?

  • Lindas says:

    Football is a beast in the SEC. Kentucky has not had a dominate team in how many years? It is going to take patience. Give the man a chance and let him work his magic and do the job he is being paid for. As I have said on several other post, he has the players from the last program, these are not his players. You can’t take an unranked player with bad habits, mediocre talent and expect him to be an Heisman trophy candidate on a BCS Bowl Team. It is not going to happen this year, won’t happen next year but the third year you will be closer. It takes time dagnabit. Don’t get your shorts in a knot, give Stoops time, please.

  • Rebel4Life says:

    What a load of total crap. This is the definition of a fair weather fan. I sat throught the Bluegrass miracle and the 1-10 season after the Peach Bowl. I will be there for every home game this year. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Quit feeling sorry for yourself and get out to commonwealth and support this team.

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