Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
As per usual on Tuesdays after a game, I’ll offer a few brief observations on Kentucky’s loss to the Missouri Tigers on Saturday:
- This was one of those “so Kentucky” losses — every year we have a couple of head-scratching losses, usually attributable to a poor mental attitude going into the game. Things like overconfidence, distractions, and, as in the instant case, a lack of energy are the usual contributors. The sideline reporter for the game at Mizzou noted that Kentucky’s sideline lacked energy. I think that was true for the whole team, given what I saw.
- This team doesn’t have an offensive identity yet. Eddie Gran is trying desperately to get this offense to balance the run and pass, but unfortunately, I don’t think his personnel will support it. The primary culprit seems to be the receiving corps — they are no better, on balance, than the Lynn Bowden-less corps from most of last season, and Terry Wilson cannot run the routes or hold on to well-thrown passes for them.
- Continuing in that vein, Josh Ali is a good receiver, but not good enough to be the featured receiver in an SEC offense. He should be either first among equals or in a supporting role next to a guy like Bowden. Unfortunately, our WR development appears to have fallen behind, possibly as a symptom of the run-heavy last couple of years.
- The constant threat of Joey Gatewood taking his spot is having a negative effect on Wilson. He is trying too hard, and it showed last Saturday when a bunch of his passes went high. As a former high school QB, it says to me that Wilson is pressing. In Wilson’s defense, he is refusing to throw into tight windows and is doing a good job being patient. Unfortunately, his receivers are letting him down and making him look worse than he has been.
- Wilson’s decision-making and ballhandling on the read option is not as good as last season or two seasons ago, and too many times, we see confusion in the backfield. That shouldn’t be happening with a veteran QB. He also seems to be notably avoiding contact more than he should be considering he has a more-than-credible backup.
- The defense was hung out to dry by the offense, particularly in the second half. Having said that, tackling was a too-frequent problem for a defense that usually does very well fundamentally. Also, the front seven struggled to get off blocks on Saturday, and in their defense, Mizzou could’ve been flagged for holds on half their plays. But you must overcome that kind of officiating on the road, and Kentucky didn’t.
- When Matt Duffy has a below-average punting day to go along with everything else, you know you didn’t come to play.
- Gotta give props to Mizzou — they executed very sharply on offense, stuck with their game plan, and demoralized Kentucky by being tougher than expected on defense. I thought their coaching staff took a bunch of dumb risks that gave Kentucky opportunities to win the game, but Kentucky was unable to take advantage.
I have read a lot of angry tweets and opinions, particularly about Eddie Gran, and I agree that some of the criticism is well-deserved. Gran is trying to force things that just aren’t there. This team is much better being a running, ball-control offense, and trying to force balance with an underachieving receiving corps is not working. This offensive line blocks the run way better, and both the line and receivers need the threat of a running game for play-action to work its magic. Also, what happened to the slants we ran so effectively against the Tennessee Volunteers? I can’t believe Missouri was able to take that away consistently.
I won’t wade too much into the running back debate — I think we need to do runs by committee this year and don’t agree that one of the three needs to be featured. I may be wrong about that, though.
On to the Georgia Bulldogs.
Tweet of the Morning
This is a wonderful get, the kind of tough, likely multi-year guy UK always needs to have on the roster.
- In case you missed it: Mark Stoops Monday show podcast.
- Georgia vs. Kentucky series history.
- Georgia must “out-fundamental” Kentucky, according to Kirby Smart.
- Pair of Mizzou players win SEC honors with their performance against Kentucky. UK fans aren’t giving Missouri enough credit — they earned this win with sharp execution on both sides of the ball.
- 4-star improving power forward Bryce Hopkins commits to Kentucky, and Ben Roberts explains what makes this recruiting victory so good.
- Heh. Hopkins de-committed from Louisville.
Calipari has to take extra glee in stealing Bryce Hopkins after the Chris Mack controversy of a few weeks ago— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) October 26, 2020
- The old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” continues to haunt us all: Calipari would shut down UK basketball for two weeks on a positive COVID-19 test.
- Looking forward to buying UK basketball tickets? Don’t be.
- John Calipari pre-season press conference transcript.
- Keion Brooks Jr. is nursing a leg injury, likely out a couple more weeks.
Other Kentucky sports
- Alex Goff goes low for men’s golf with a 64 at the Legends Collegiate in Franklin, Tennessee to bull his way into contention.
- UK hoops star Rhyne Howard disappointed with being left off the WBCA All-America team.
- SEC fines Lane Kiffin for griping about the officiating. The SEC admits he was right, but you know the drill.
- Analyzing each CFB Playoff contender after Week 5.
- Auburn picked 7th in the SEC by CBS sports. “Rebuilding,” you know.
- Disney early-season bubble events canceled.
Other sports news
- LeBron James might sit out the first part of next season reportedly due to advancing age and a desire to pursue Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s points record. Sounds a bit selfish to me.
- NASA telescope discovers evidence of water on the moon. Can the discovery of Swiss cheese just below the surface be far behind?
- Question asked: What comes after the International Space Station? Babylon Five, maybe? Or Deep Space Nine?
- But I was assured there would be no math: A new formula to conquer mathemaphobia. No, it’s not the Babylon Bee or the Onion, I promise...