Earlier this year I was so pumped over Stoops and Co. that I started saying UK would win 8, then I attended the Spring Game and remarked to Hobo, we aren’t very big. I reduced it to 7 wins that day and thought about going lower, but I didn’t for one reason. More about that in a minute.
I was wildly wrong, but to be clear the 7 wins I figured we would get were, WKU, UM, UL, USC, (yes I did), MSU, ASU, and UT.
Even though I could see the size issues during the spring game I remained optimistic because of some throws the Towles made. Yes, the guy who never played a down. I had seen what the Air Raid could do at places such as TTU and I just knew that some of the returning players and some of the incoming players would make some plays in that offense.
It never really happened did it? How times did you watch a drive and think, come on Javess or Ryan or JoJo, or Sanders or somebody, make a dadgum play, catch the ball, make a move and explode. Instead we had guys trip over the yard lines. We never made a play.
We also never really ran the Air Raid and rotated the QB’s between a guy who will be a wide receiver next year and a guy whose shoulder never healed. Of course, he never had surgery either, which I didn’t know until sometime after I had shot my mouth off about 7 wins several thousand times.
(I learned a long time ago, when you have been shooting your mouth off and realize you are in trouble you have to play it out and try to mitigate the damage and the scars to your face. If you back down, you will certainly be cut into little pieces. )
Yet, I remain optimistic because Stoops and Co. did absolutely right thing. They redshirted everyone they could, they got some JC players and that is how you build depth and your talent level quickly. (Again see Kansas State re Bill Snyder.) I believe neither Towles or Phillips were ever in the mix to start (or play this year) because Stoops looked long term and said, we have to take our lumps for a couple years as we improve the talent base. So here are my predictions for next year:
1) We win seven. UTM, OU, VU, ULM, MSU, UT, and UL. Go to a bowl that is not in Tennessee and win it.
2) The OL starts two returning starters, two redshirts and a JUCO transfer.
3) The starting QB is Towles.
4) Baker is redshirted to watch, to learn and get bigger.
5) Our best DL is a JUCO transfer that known of us have heard of yet.
6) We run the dadgum Air Raid.
7) Heard makes himself heard in the SEC.
8) We continue to redshirt OL and DL like crazy.
9) One of the corners grows up and becomes a ball player.
10) Whitlow is a starting wide receiver. The guy is an athlete, just not a QB.
Of course it is likely that one or more of these predictions are wrong, but I am an optimist and have always been one regarding UK football. If it can be done in Manhattan Kansas, it can be done in Lexington.