Today, Quickies is all about last night's game. Lots of takes from around the Big Blue Nation, and all of them have some merit.
Here is the Tweet of the Morning:
Minter: "Last week it was one quarter. Pretty darn good this week for a half. Maybe we’re headed toward a complete game."— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) September 30, 2012
Heh. For some reason, this struck me as Rich Brooks-like.
Your Quickies for Sunday:
This is why it's nice to have a team dominated by upperclassmen.
The second half was a reality check. Someone must have reminded Steve Spurrier in the South Carolina locker room that Kentucky was 97th nationally against the run.
It wasn't just that. UK's offense couldn't stay on the field in the second half, and Spurrier wisely ran the ball down their throats.
The Cats couldn’t overcome a monster second half by the Gamecocks’ star tailback, Marcus Lattimore, who rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns after halftime. He finished with 120 yards on 23 carries. USC outgained UK 155 yards to 33 in the third quarter.
When your offense moves the ball, your defense gets rest. Kentucky's defense didn't get rest, because when they did get off the field, they didn't get to stay off very long.
Yes, MKG's jump shot is broken, but it can be fixed if he's willing. And he is.
When you have a back like Lattimore, he should get the ball a lot. That has been a bit of a problem for the Gamecocks all year, but they figured it out against UK.
Montgomery is a quality coach, and a big class would not surprise me.
Some baffling scores from some surprising teams.
I appreciate that many fans are tired of that rerun. And I understand those who say a 21-point loss -- even to the No. 6 team in the nation -- doesn't earn this team or coach much slack.
But it's fair, also, to look at each game on its merits. And more than at any point since UK upset South Carolina here two years ago, the Wildcats looked like a legitimate Southeastern Conference football team in the first half Saturday night.
They did, and if they keep going, it is going to present a much more difficult situation for UK fans at the end of the year. Phillips right now is a lame duck, but for those anxious to see him gone, last night is a potential harbinger of trouble on the horizon.
An upset victory or three and matters will change. But victories are a must, and good efforts are not going to rescue Phillips from the currently inevitable.
I'm not quite willing to go there yet. Not quite.
Regardless, you have to like the poise of this kid, and his athleticism is really notable. Wouldn't it be a sweet turn of events if, for once, we were on the giving end of a dual-threat quarterback rather than the receiving end?
Heh. It was nice seeing the freak-out while it lasted.
Thank you Coach Brooks for your inimitable curmudgeonlyness. I truly miss it.
Injury Report: QB Max Smith (ankle), S Dakotah Tyler (knee), OG Zach West (shoulder) and RB Raymond Sanders (knee) will all be evaluated tomorrow.
Ugh. The injury report is not encouraging.
The Wildcats failed to cross midfield after halftime and recorded only 60 total yards against a South Carolina defense that entered the game ranked among the nation’s elite.
Credit to South Carolina's defense as well as much as anything. They played a lot better in the second half.
This is the kind of work the NCAA should be doing more of.
Q. Max’s ankle, he went in the back for a while. Did he get X rays?
COACH PHILLIPS: He did get X rays. X rays are negative, but we’ll take another look at it tomorrow.
That's good news, but I'm pretty sure he won't be ready for Mississippi St.
Q. Are there things you can do to tweak this offense to take advantage of Jalen?
COACH PHILLIPS: Might have put more quarterback run game in. We’ve put a little in. We may have to add a little more in for him because he can make plays with his feet. He’s not a great wildcat kind of guy, because most of the wildcat runs are downhill, physical runs. You don’t want to get your quarterback into that type of all the time into those type of runs. But there are some other things that we’ll have to do with them.
I think this is right. Whitlow looks pretty durable, but I wouldn't want to send him into the path of oncoming linebackers and tackles all the time. We need to get him out on the edge and force the defense to worry about his legs and his arm at the same time.
One way you can always tell when a major Kentucky coach is under fan fire is that there is a controversy over whether critical UK backers have access to the coach's radio call-in show. It was true with Bill Curry in the early 1990s and again with Tubby Smith late in his tenure.
I understand why radio shows are not willing to let critical fans deluge the call-ins. These shows are not intended as forums to allow fans to call for a coach's firing, but to discuss football and how the game or games have been played, and to encourage fans to participate. Some participation is superior to others, though.
Three good points.
The UK defense held South Carolina to 26 total rushing yards on 19 attempts in the first half and limited the Gamecocks to 108 total yards in the first period.
Impressive, but insufficient.