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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Tennessee Afterglow Edition

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Most of the Big Blue Nation is basking in the reflected glory of Kentucky’s thumping of Tennessee in Knoxville Saturday, an outcome few were expecting after decades of futility.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

I know none of us are tired of talking about the big beat-down of Tennessee in Knoxville Saturday (God, I love saying “beat down of Tennessee in Knoxville” so much...), so I want to talk about it a little more:

  • I have no words for the Kentucky defense, but I can say with confidence I don’t recall any team picking off so many passes in three consecutive halves of football... ever... against top competition. This has to be some kind of first for UK if not college football.
  • I wasn’t sure I would live long enough to see UK win in Knoxville. I wouldn’t have taken a 2-1 bet that we would win there convincingly in my lifetime.
  • Kentucky football culture has come light-years since Mark Stoops was hired. Emphasis formerly reserved only for skill positions has been reworked to prioritize the lines, resulting in vast improvement in the overall team. It’s hard to say enough about how effective Mark Stoops has been at getting both lines in SEC condition. And we still get great skill players, too.
  • The much-maligned defensive backfield (after the first two games) has redeemed itself in spades, particularly LSU transfer Kelvin Joseph. I sure hope that continues, because we need them at or near this level to have success going forward this season.
  • I like the commitment to the run, but we have to learn to block the weakside defensive end. Too many times, there was nobody to pick up the weakside DE, and he made the tackle before the running back could get to the hole. If we are going to pull both linemen and not leave a back to pick up the end, our runners have got to hit the hole faster. Maybe that’s a Wilson problem in the zone read, I don’t know, but we have to get that cleaned up.
  • I am very happy to see Wilson targeting the tight ends more, and happy that Josh Ali is no longer the only target he sees. We really need other WR’s to get open and catch balls, and we got some of that Saturday.
  • Dropped footballs in the end zone make me very, very angry. ‘Nuff said.
  • I like that Gran tried to use Keaton Upshaw as a WR, but they need to practice that more — that’s why we got the ineligible downfield lineman penalty rather than the interference call in the red zone when Upshaw covered the TE. Upshaw’s size makes it very hard for a corner to cover him effectively, especially in the red zone.
  • Matt Ruffolo’s kicking still makes me nervous. But he didn’t miss Saturday, so there’s that...
  • The defensive line was much better than anyone noted on Saturday. They didn’t shut down the run, but with one of their best on the bench injured, the did keep it from getting into problem territory. In the meantime, we had good pressure on the passer all day and forced numerous opportunities for poor throws, which Tennessee obligingly provided — to their woe.
  • I hate to call for more QB runs, but Terry Wilson’s legs were underutilized in this game. We have a credible backup, so I hope Gran will open up the play book for Wilson’s considerable skills. I didn’t feel like he did that this game.

On to Mizzou. Getting back to the plus side of the W-L record would be nice ...

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I like the cut of this writer’s jib.

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