Daily Archives: January 21, 2013
For the moment, and just the moment, the buzz in terms of commitments has calmed down to a degree. Of course as they say though, the calm comes before the storm.
The torrid pace that Kentucky was picking up commitments at earlier this month has come to a halt, and last weekend’s visitors seem a little quiet. Of course the visitor list last week wasn’t as long as it was the weekend before.
Still, Kentucky seems to be in good shape with a few of the guys who were on campus:
Ryan Timmons continues to play his recruitment close to the vest. Reportedly, he had a good time on his visit, and got to interact a lot more with some of the players that are currently on the roster. However, he did recently receive a scholarship offer from Florida.
The issue here with Ryan is that Florida already has 4 wide receiver commitments. Ryan is being pitched on one said (from UK) that he can come in and be a star right away. He’ll most likely start from day one, get the ball in his hands, and get a chance to showcase his talents immediately. Conversely, Florida offers him a chance to come in and compete against 4 and 5* talent every day. He wouldn’t play right away, but he’s have an opportunity to play in a few years.
Ohio State appears to be out of the picture at this point.
Which tactic wins out for Timmons? He says he’ll decide by Signing Day, which is to say, we’ll be waiting for a while.
Jeff Badet reportedly enjoyed his visit this weekend as well. Many people believe that it is between UK and Clemson at this point, with Clemson still not offering him. Most see UK as the clear leader here, and a commitment is pending.
Don’t expect his commitment to help with Asiantii Woulard, however. Barring something unforeseen, Woulard will end up a Clemson Tiger.
All has gone quiet on the Marcus McWilson front. Nebraska has really been out to make sure that they keep McWilson, but most still believe UK will get a visit, and still stands a great chance to flip the 4* Safety. Guess we’ll find out soon. Marcus may be visiting this weekend.
3* Cornerback David Kamara really seemed to enjoy his visit. The teammate of Robert Nkemdiche is down to Ole Miss, LSU, and UK. It looks like Kamara will be a Rebel when it’s all said and done, the question at this point would just be if Ole Miss has room for him to go along with all the other great players they have pulled in so far.
Kentucky is in a similar situation for DT Jarran Reed. The 3* JUCO DT visited Florida recently, but remains committed to Ole Miss. He’ll be visiting Kentucky this weekend.
4* DB Marquez White, currently committed to Florida State, will be on campus this weekend.
Finally, UK is expecting some big time visitors this weekend, that are a bit of a surprise. According to Justin Rowland of Rivals.com, Taj Williams, 4* Wide Receiver currently committed to South Florida, and James Hearns, 4* Inside Linebacker currently committed to Florida, are both expected to be on campus this weekend. Can you say, wow!!??
Watch Jeff Badet do some work:
Two years ago this week, Kentucky took a trip down to Alabama.
Kentucky had been struggling in conference play, and a game against Alabama served a perfect chance for UK to get back in to the winning groove, especially on the road.
Despite 4 players scoring in double figures, led by Terrence Jones’ 17 point performance, it wasn’t to be as Alabama eeked out a 68-66 win in Tuscaloosa. The loss was one of 6 that UK would suffer on the road in the SEC that season.
This year’s team enters in a similar predicament, though at the moment they are 2-0 on the road in the SEC. This squad comes in unranked, and Alabama again can serve as an opportunity for UK to further right the ship for the season, after having beaten Auburn at Auburn on Saturday night, 75-53. Alabama enters the game 3-1 in the SEC as well, coming off wins against Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Tennessee.
The difference in this Alabama team as compared to other Alabama teams is the lack of real quality front court players. For the past few years, Alabama has had players like Jamychal Green in the post to help take the pressure off the lack of 3-point shooting quality that Alabama has on the perimeter. This team is more perimeter oriented, led by Trevor Releford and Trevor Lacey who are averaging a combined 28.7 points per game, and both shoot over 40% from the 3-point line. Trevor Releford has not historically played well against UK, and UK will certainly hope that trend continues on Tuesday night.
Looking beyond the team’s records, UK has moved up to 16th in the latest Ken Pomeroy rankings, improving to 29th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and 20th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Alabama on the other hand checks in at #69, 107th in the country in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and 55th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Kentucky checks in at #40 in Jeff Sagarin’s latest rankings, while Alabama is #77. According to RPI rankings, UK ranks #53, while Alabama ranks #59. Kentucky enters the game as a 3.5 point favorite.
At the moment, Willie Cauley-Stein’s status for the game Tuesday night is uncertain. Coach Calipari said today that if he was able to practice, he would play Tuesday, however if he is not able to practice, he’ll stay behind and continue to get treatment.
This game is going to come down to Alabama’s perimeter vs. Kentucky’s interior. Kentucky has a decided advantage in the paint with or without Willie Cauley-Stein, with Nerlens Noel, Kyle Wiltjer, and Alex Poythress. Meanwhile, Alabama maintains a slight advantage over Kentucky’s backcourt with their more experienced guards.
The key for Kentucky is going to be limiting the amount of open looks that Releford and Lacey are able to get. Force both to put the ball on the deck and drive in to the paint. From there, Nerlens should be able to clean up a lot of mistakes. If Kentucky lets Lacey and Releford catch many clean opportunities, the game could resemble the last time Kentucky went down to Tuscaloosa.
In my opinion, Kentucky is finally playing better, and has too much firepower for Alabama to overcome. Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin should make things tough on Releford and Lacey. Alabama has few answers for Alex Poythress, and no answer for Nerlens Noel. If Kentucky plays anything like they did Saturday night, they shouldn’t have any trouble with Alabama.
But really, with this team, you can’t take anything for granted. Therefore, the game should be a great watch.
The game tips at 9:00 ET on ESPN.
January Football Press Coverage. Coaching Excitement. Recruiting Pandemonium. Stadium Upgrades. A United Fanbase. Kentucky Wildcats.
When you read the first 6 topics above, your immediate thoughts led you to the upper echelon of the SEC, admit it. You thought of Alabama, Auburn, even begrudgingly of Florida maybe. But wait, there’s a 7th topic up there. A team once upon a time, admittedly even 3 months ago, you would have not normally thought fit with the others. Times are a-changing folks, and it is time to get on board. Bandwagoners can have a one time pass to get back in line with the Big Blue Nation faithful. Kentucky Football will not be ignored and they are charging forward towards the 2013 season with a fervor not seen in the bluegrass in a long, long time.
There are certainly still detractors out there to remind Kentucky fans of our past failure, they are being drowned out by the fans and by social media. Suddenly our timelines are positively filled with such hashtags as #StoopsTroops #WeAreUK #PackCommonwealth, #UKDreamTeam, and #UKFootballRecruits. This is not August, it’s January. January, folks. It is January and momentum is building across the state.
When asked what they were most looking forward to this upcoming season, the fans were only too happy to answer:
“I’m most excited to see some improvement on defense. But I want to see how the personnel fits the air raid.”
“So excited about “winning” attitude new coaching staff!”
“The energy and excitement that seems to be surrounding the UK football team.”
“I’m excited about the defense – that’s something we have been great at in the past”
“I can’t wait to see the players gt the chance they’ve always deserved to win!”
“All of it. Till the battle is won.”
“The Coaching staff and the changes made on offense and defense.”
“Five Recruits in Five Days. Need I say more?”
“The Real Deal. We could go to a bowl game. This year! In 3 years we could be playing in January.”
“The energy and excitement that seems to be surrounding the UK football team.”
“Stoops. Stoops. Stoops!”
“We are picking up recruits left and right. What’s not to look forward to about our future?”
There are many questions to be answered. Who will be the starting QB? With all the talk of an Air Raid offense, will it be a balanced and SEC effective offense? How much did last season affect our players and their faith in themselves? Will this coaching staff mesh quickly enough to avoid stumbles right out of the gate? These things all remain to be seen. We can’t answer all the burning questions before the Spring Game even arrives, but we can focus on what we do know:
*Mark Stoops has not just shown up to play, he has rolled up his sleeves and is already giving 110% to the team, and to its future.
*UK already has created an amazing recruiting class over the last few weeks and it can only get better from here.
*The coaching staff brings the experience, diversity, and a vision that has been needed for a very long time. We are not floundering or playing catch up. We are setting precedents and making clear goals. We are about to be taken seriously and have stepped up like this is not our first rodeo.
*Maxwell Smith, Patrick Towles, and Jalen Whitlow are filled with talent and potential. We have a plethora of accuracy, Air Raid arms, quick feet, and depth in our quarterback position. That is enough to get excited about all by itself. If we add Reese Phillips and Asiantii Woulard to the conversation? True Blue Excitement right there.
*D.J. Eliot is serious about defense and can create what he had at FSU.. an impressive, nation leading defensive line.. here. We already had the players, they just needed his direction. He also shows up with true recruiting acumen and that has already been proven.
*Neal Brown is just a perfect choice to shake things up and get our offense going precisely the way we want it to go. Offense doesn’t just win football games, it wins fans. It wins media spotlights. It brings the much needed joy and elation to the long suffering Wildcat fan base.
To help you understand how far Kentucky has come in a matter of months, I can do several things. I can use an entire thesaurus of words here… excitement, high spirits, pep, vibrancy, enthusiasm. I can wax poetic about each player, each recruit. I can pull each naysayer back on the bandwagon. For now, though, I am going to leave you with this. It is January and the only thing any one is talking about right now is Kentucky Football. What else do you really need to know?