Sunday Mornin' Coming Down: What Did We REALLY See From The Cats Yesterday?

Well I woke up sunday mornin' with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert- Kris Kristofferson

Hurting this morning? Feeling like you lost something you thought you had the night before? Well, relax, it could have been worse. We could have been sitting here trying our best to Band-Aid up blood and scars from a complete beatdown. Instead we get that feeling that we had a wonderful date and just missed getting kissed goodnight because some idiot turned a spotlight on at the porch steps. But what really happened last night? Was it as good as we all seemed to think it was? Did we all witness a group hallucination? Or did we just simply lose another game? There are two schools of thought here, so I will delve into each of them for equality's sake.

First, just so I don't have to hear A2 tell me that I am blind, deaf, and dumb, there was a concerted effort by everyone on that field last night to win that game. That was something that I personally had not seen all year long. From the Head coach down to the last waterboy (someone said it was Jon Hood, but I am not sure) everyone made an effort last night. That's great to see from a team that essentially could have mailed this one in and no one would have thought any less of them than most do right now. Someone asked me to give them an A+ for effort last night. Well, I was not going to go that far, because honestly if they had done that, we would be celebrating out second victory this morning. Instead, I am writing this. So grade for effort was an A. They didn't play superhuman, but they did play together. That was really pleasing to see, for what it was. It is something that they can take into the next game, but with a grain of salt. Because one more giant push, one more strain for another yard, or one more better coverage play on Georgia's WR King, and the outcome would have been very different.

Second, youth. Ahhh youth. That feeling of being invincible in a crisis. Knowing your own mortality is but a mere blip on the radar screen of the day. Inexperience mixed with raw emotion and loads of attitude. If we were any younger, we would be a high school team. But the days of anyone, and I do mean anyone, fan, coach, broadcaster, critic or innocent bystander using youth as an excuse are over. Sounds harsh doesn't it? Well, I will avoid the obligatory blame game of why we are so young, because that one just reeks of pain and suffering. But it is now simply a cold hard fact that we are young. We have to deal with it, plan for it, scheme around it, and live with it. Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.

Third, preparation and performance. This is where the rubber meets the road. There were a ton of mistakes made last night. A TON. We have a secondary that has so many holes in it that Joe Montana and Jerry Rice could still pick us apart. In wheelchairs. The DB's are going to have to start crowding some people, playing a little more aggressively and live with the penalties if they come. Letting any receiver in the country obtain almost 200 yds in a game is simply inexcusable. And he didn't have to fight for those yards much. With the longest being a 66 yd snag, he basically just took what the defense gave him. And they gave him the endzone twice. Either one of those gets knocked down or bobbled and we go to the locker room up at halftime or winners. Having said that, the run defense was superb, holding Georgia to only 77 yds. Then again if you throw for over 400, you don't have to run much. The Cats had a solid game plan, and executed it pretty well on a team basis. Glenn pointed out last night that the playcalling on both sides of the ball was incredible, and he was spot on. This really was a well called game. I personally would have gone for both of those 4th and short situations, simply because I think had they been successful, the Cats could have ridden that adrenaline wave just a bit further, but I am not the man in charge. The defensive line was stout, the offensive line was moving the line of scrimmage better than they have all season, including the one win we have. Morgan Newton, well, I said last night I was happy for the kid to finally see some daylight, and I am even more so this morning. In all sincerity, Morgan has talent. Morgan has heart. but Morgan has been misused since day one here at UK. He was recruited for his arm, but his gun of an arm has never been a factor because he has struggled with his accuracy so badly. Morgan was another Randall Cobb waiting to blossom in my opinion, but was never given the chance. I hope his family was there to get to share in what for this season anyhow, were Morgan's best moments. This will always be one of my pet peeves with the current coaching staff. Not recognizing what they have had, and being willing to make maneuvers to use the talent they have in the best manner will be, in my opinion what costs them the ultimate price. We know that Joker can recruit. We know that he recognizes talent, but his staff's and his own misuse of that talent have been just paralyzing to this team.

Fourth, intangibles. Glenn wasn't happy with the special teams performance last night compared to other games. Myself, I think the rest of the game was so much better overall that the special teams didn't stand out as much in my mind. What they did do really badly, was not capitalize on opportunities. Let's face it, that onsides was a gift from the Football Gods that went unaccepted. This team cannot afford to not take advantage of every mistake the opponent makes. It is critical to what little success they can have. Whitlow trying to come back from a migraine in the fourth was almost inhumane treatment. I've had migraines. The last thing you want to do is be anywhere near noise and light. If that kid was playing with the onset of a migraine in the fourth quarter, he deserves a medal.

And lastly, since I am not in a position where the SEC can exert their influence over me and fine my wide backside, the officiating was abhorrent, from at least the standpoint of placing the ball correctly. The officials cost UK at least one drive, and maybe two, in a game where they could not afford it.

So what did we see? Well, we saw the same thing we have been seeing all year, we just saw the kids start doing it a little better. We saw injuries contribute to our chances being dashed again. We saw a secondary that is in dire need of help from someone who knows how to defend against the pass. We also saw maybe a glimmer of hope for some of the kids who have been thrown to the wolves due to necessity based upon their performances last night. I said I don't believe in moral victories and I still don't. I still blame Joker and his staff for putting us in this position, and that was magnified tonight by the fact that had we been a full strength, this game was not only winnable, we might have put a hurt on the number #13 team in the country. Yeah, it hurts being blown out, that's for sure, but watching something taken from your grasp that you were holding in your hand one moment and not the next, that hurts even worse.

On the Sunday mornin' sidewalk, wishing Lord that I was stoned Cause there's something in a Sunday, makes a body feel alone And there's nothin' short of dyin', half as lonesome as the sound Of the sleepin' city sidewalks, and Sunday mornin' coming down.
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