Congratulations to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Just as most Kentucky fans suspected (judging from the remarkable absence of people in the open game thread), Kentucky was not up to defeating the talented, powerful Crimson Tide. Alabama played nearly mistake-free football, having relatively few penalties and no turnovers. Just as I explained earlier this week, Alabama does not get it done with smoke, mirrors, or deception. They are just a talented football team that beats you in a completely conventional, straightforward way.
For Kentucky, it was a comedy of errors, just as it was last week -- 7 penalties for 78 yards, many of them personal fouls. One or two personal fouls per game is understandable, but five is unacceptable. I call that very nearly dirty football, or at least unacceptably poor judgment. Kentucky also managed to turn the football over four times to Alabama's zero, which was kind of important considering that two of them resulted in touchdowns.
Well, here are my observations:
- I sure hope Lindley is not hurt badly. He apparently has a sprained ankle.
Mike Hartline was not an SEC quality quarterback today. I am becoming more and more convinced that he never can be. But this year, I guess he's all we can expect.
- Some may have thought the fake field goal and shot at the end zone at the end of the game was unsportsmanlike, but with all the personal fouls we committed on Alabama, we have absolutely zero moral authority to be critical. That's football. Move on.
- Gotta love Randall Cobb. Too bad he can't play quarterback and receiver at the same time. But if anybody could, it would be him.
- I am, at this moment, unhappy with Rich Brooks. This team's execution sucked out loud. In fact, it was an absolute embarrassment on offense at least half the time, and the 'Cats allowed too many big plays on defense. Take away a great play by Cobb and Mike Hartline's only really good throw, and you have an embarrassing margin rather than a merely pitiful one.
But I also must give the staff credit for a pretty good gameplan. I liked the fact that we utilized our running backs so well in so many ways. It might have even worked if Alabama had given UK a few turnovers, and if UK's offensive execution hadn'd been so feast-or-famine. Alas ...
- Derrick Lock needs to get more passes thrown his way, wherever he is. When he gets the ball, good things happen. But Hartline is so sensitive to accusations that he can't throw the ball downfield (which he can't) and locks in so hard on his receivers that it isn't likely to happen. Frustrating.
- This team showed it had enough offensive talent to at least give 'Bama a game, and the UK defense was fairly stout overall. Unfortunately, turnovers, 3 by Hartline, killed any chance we had.
- If it seems like I am on Hartline's case, it's because I am.
- Special teams played pretty well except for the first play, and that was enough of a breakdown to cost us an easy seven points.
- Overall, the defense is really close to being good. There's just that whole tackling thing that seems to have them flummoxed.
- Julio Jones was not a factor. That says a lot about our secondary.
- Peek killed us. That says a lot about our linebacking corps, and not what we want to hear.
- Great job by Lones Seiber. That's two games in a row he has played well.
- Great job by Ryan Tydlacka. Maybe our kicking game is not as bad as Brooks feared.
- What a great stable of running backs Alabama has. UK's is not bad, but dang...
- The better team won. No doubt about it.
That's about it. It was what we expected, but I would say that UK was at least competitive in this game, and even though there is less positive to take away than I would like, it was not all negative like last Saturday. Alabama played pretty much mistake-free football, even if their execution was a little off today. You almost never beat a team as good as they are without mistakes, and they simply never gave UK a chance.
Next week, the road beckons. It couldn't be any less friendly than Commonwealth Stadium has been over the last fortnight, could it?