If the word "toughness" were suddenly removed from the dictionary today, half of Kentucky would surely perish.
Over the last couple of days, we find article after article after article talking about toughness for the Wildcats, and how tough Calipari has become on them. It's getting tough to find a word that will replace tough when it comes to toughness.
Man. Tough day.
Anyway, the bottom line is that Kentucky got pushed around the other day by an NAIA team, and that's something that you have to learn from. One of the great things about last year's team is that it had so many players with a hard edge, and this year's team has none that are obvious. But Calipari understands that, and I'm sure that hard, aggressive, physical practices will soon translate into improved play on the court, particularly in the area of getting to loose balls, and getting contested rebounds.
Every team has to grow up.
Dillard brings former UK player Dale Brown back to Rupp Arena, this time as a coach. I know most of you will remember Brown if you think back a bit, and with all this talk about toughness, it is surely appropriate to Dale Brown. Brown was a JUCO transfer from Gulf Coast Community College who played about 25 minutes per game during the Final Four season of 1992-93. He scored 16 points in Kentucky's overtime loss to Michigan.
Dale was always a hustler, and he always got after loose balls. It's a sure bet his team will, too, and this will be a good test to see if Calipari's new focus during practice has had any discernible effect.
This is a little weird. John Calipari meets Warren Buffett at KFC for lunch. Nobody knows what they talked about, but apparently, it is the #7 item on Calipari's "Bucket list". I don't have a bucket list, myself, but if I did, I don't think meeting Warren Buffett would make it, even if I went to 100.
Different strokes, I guess.
Derrick Locke will dress out against Charleston Southern, but whether he plays or not is a game-time decision. Donald Russell will be the starting tailback, and after the Russell family burned up Joker Phillips' ears about his playing time, I wondered aloud if maybe that were the reason.
But apparently not, as freshman tailback Raymond Sanders has a strained abdominal muscle and is questionable for Saturday.
One thing I think few people have noted about Locke's absence is his pass blocking, particularly on the blitz. Locke has become very proficient at picking up the blitz and holding his block long enough for Mike Hartline to throw the football, or get out of trouble. Sanders and Russell have struggled with that, and Sanders has not been able to hold a block for any appreciable length of time. Something else to work on in the off season.
I'm not surprised by this:
I just talked about Cobb yesterday, but I had no idea he actually tried to get playing time on the defense. I'm not surprised, but ... well, just wow. The legend continues to grow. In ten years, he'll be 6'9"/250 with world class speed and a laser, rocket arm.
We need your help. We play this Saturday night. We need and want you to be in attendance. The team plays better in front of a sold out building. Come support the team. ... Off of soap box now. When we have a total paid sellout this season, I will do the "Dougie" - I promise.
"Dougie With The NBA Stars," anyone?
But it wasn't just the numbers [fomer Kentucky Wildcat Eric] Bledsoe put up, it was the way the team played with him running the show that impressed the most. The offense was fluid and the tempo was quick. Not only did the Clippers score 100 points for the first time this season, they also shot 50% from the field for the first time.
Speaking of Wildcat Tip-Off, this year's edition is now available everywhere -- Wal Mart, Walgreens, Kroger, Sam's Club, and many others. Pick up your copy today, or order online at Maplestreetpress.com.