Nothing against Mr. Streble, of course. It's not hard to understand years of frustration. As long as the world has Cubs fans, that understanding will not cease. Forgive my caps used for emphasis not shouting (unless shouting works for you), but I had to post this.
ONE year of losing is too much. That UK got stomped last year, ought to be enough motivation. Past that, it's just overkill. It's heaping too many burdens on a team with enough to overcome. They're young, inexperienced in their own skins that are the new schemes on both sides of the ball. They're climbing out of the mental funk that goes with a regime change even now, though the uncertainty of the potential of their new Stoops-suits is fading quickly. They know they're being elevated already.
Without looking too long and hard, UK fans might want to look back at 1997-1998 for the amount of force the offense can apply to teams at Florida's level. 55-28 and 51-35 were the respective scores in those two years of relatively defense-free living. It's not that UK didn't have the players, talent or heart on their defense. It was that UK did not have the scheme and speed to match them. Infuse the teams of that period with the defense of 2007 and you're looking at a very different set of games.
If "if"s and "but"s were candy and nuts, we'd have won the SEC Title by now.
Combine the offensive force of the executed Air Raid with an equal focus on building a great defense and you have a competition that goes beyond the 3rd quarter. Keeping your defense off the field with sustained drives and a few first downs each series is critical, of course, and that is simple execution. Is the no huddle enough to get them over the top before the 4th quarter ends?
Looking back too far or for very long means 2 things, either you're getting a feel for who's about to run over you or you're setting yourself up to hit something you don't want to hit (in this case, reality). Neither are ideal situations. Progress is made by keeping your eyes forward, especially when you're attempting speeds un-reached before now.
26 years of frustration belongs to the past and those that can't let go of it. Winning is focusing on what we can get done today. There is no yesterday. Only today matters. Only the next game and the next play. Where are the Wildcats today? They're a few days from taking on the Gators of Florida.
They don't need to create big plays on offense. All they have to do is watch the ball into their hands, cover up with both hands in traffic, and get their body on someone to take their guy out of the play. Execute and the big plays will come.
They don't need to create big plays on defense. They need to maintain discipline, control their gap, not let the blocker into their body, keep the ball and their man in front of them, and know their responsibility on each play. TRUST their teammates to do this, as well. Then flood to the ball as a team, put a shoulder pad or helmet on it, and rip at that ball once the tackle is assured. Big plays will come.
Most important of all, these Wildcats need to have fun and play to win, putting playing not to lose out of their mind. Leave it all on the field.
The same goes for the fans. Forget yesterday. It's quicksand. Forget the last play. It's gone. Leave everything in you out there in that stadium on game day. BE disturbingly quiet when your O is on the field. CHEER every good play and every first down just like they do elsewhere in the NCAA and NFL (don't let anyone tell you they don't, just because they are embarrassed). BE raucous when your D is on the field, no matter what the score might be. IN FACT, don't look at the score until the game is over. CHEER your team every time they head to the sideline.
It's the only chance you'll get to influence the outcome and enjoy the day to its fullest, so don't be a dampener of sound or spirits. BE a FAN from the coin toss until your players and coaches have left the field. Who knows what recruit or transfer you might inspire, or how it might affect the same team the next year they walk into CWS.
BUILD the program and atmosphere NOW, to be as you want it to be when it's at its STRONGEST. It WILL make a difference for that day and beyond.