There is a great deal of, as Mark Stoops put it, "toxicity" around the program right now. Will penned a brilliant post on the subject, so go and read it if you haven't already. I wanted to address the subject but I want to focus more on the football aspect of it. Because in reality, a lot of fans are unhappy right now and they are using the quality of wins as an excuse for their unhappiness.
The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday night 20-13 in a ground and pound style football game. It was low on flare but jam-packed with grit and hard nosed football. The defense continues to improve as young players such as Denzil Ware, Jordan Jones, Joshua Allen, Mike Edwards, and Derrick Baity are emerging as stars.
The offense racked up 258 rushing yards, thanks in large part to another budding young star in Benny Snell, a senior in Jojo Kemp, and a running quarterback in Stephen Johnson. And let's not forget the offensive line; a much-maligned unit that is finding its way with much-improved run blocking.
Is Johnson a liability as a passer? Yes, but he has only been familiar with Eddie Gran's scheme for a short time and he wasn't brought here to be the starting quarterback. He was supposed to be a backup to Drew Barker and wasn't expected to be a throwing quarterback. He's 2-1 as a starter, so let's give the young man some credit where it is due.
Some fans aren't impressed with the opponents that Kentucky has defeated. I'm not going to argue that, but let's not pretend that some of these teams are talentless. Ralph Webb is the leading rusher in the SEC, yet the Kentucky defense held him mostly in check, allowing him 100 yards and no touchdowns in the game. Vandy has a tough defense that held the Florida Gators to 13 points.
Kentucky is currently ranked third in the SEC as they are 2-2 in the conference. They are only one of three teams in East with either more wins or losses or .500. Kentucky also played Alabama tougher than Arkansas and Southern Cal.
The bottom line here is that while the ‘Cats may not be playing the most aesthetically pleasing style of football, they are winners of their last three out of four football games. Are their opponents the greatest? Nope, but they are beating them, and in the end, that's all that matters when counting wins and losses at the end of the season.
Kentucky has the next week to work out some more kinks, to get healthy, and to get Stephen Johnson more in tune with the offense before welcoming a struggling Mississippi State team into Commonwealth a week after they have to travel all the way to Utah and back to face BYU. If they beat them 7-0, it's the same result as if they beat them 52-45: it's a win. And then they go on the road to face a Missouri team that is currently winless in the SEC and will likely still be winless after they face Florida in the Swamp this Saturday with Middle Tennessee State in between the Gators and the ‘Cats. And even if they win that game 3-0, they will have five wins with Austin Peay still left on the schedule.
I've been as critical of Stoops and his staff as anyone but, as the coach said, it was deserved. But now they are winning.He said the defense would improve and it has. He said that we would see a football team that plays harder and with passion and we have. Now we have to trust that he gets the offense back on track in regards to passing in order to complement our monster run game.
Some want the team to lose just to see Stoops gone and that's pathetic. Be happy that this team is winning and enjoy the joy the players experience when they are victorious. Save the whining and criticism for when they lose. Any fan that wants to complain about winning football games can cheer for the red team up the highway. They have an influx of Johnny-Come-Lately football fans, so what's a few more going to matter.