Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Before I get to a look back at the Georgia game, I’d like to offer a few words on Election Day today.
Let’s all give thanks that we have the opportunity to help select the leadership and representation of this country for the next few years. I encourage everyone who can to participate in the election of our government, and celebrate the freedom to have our say in who governs us. When it’s all over and the smoke clears, may we unite behind our elected representatives and leaders to make this country the best it can be, no matter who we, the People, elect.
Now, about that Georgia game:
- The defense looked good, as it has most of the year. A few breakdowns really cost Kentucky dearly, but the defense was good enough to win.
- The offense, of course, was not nearly good enough to win. Kentucky did stick to their strength and ran the football with moderate success, but they just couldn’t sustain drives all the way to scoring position.
- I think this game establishes Kentucky’s offensive identity, and it’s about time. This is a ball-control team on offense, but unlike the last three seasons, it lacks serious threats in the passing game, particularly in the receiving corps. This game showed me like no other that our wide receivers are just not SEC quality yet.
Gran seems to realize that the passing game is not going to suddenly appear like magic, and he stuck mostly to what Kentucky does best — run the ball. I applaud that. It wasn’t enough and probably never could be against a top five team, but you have to play the hand you’re dealt.
- Chris Rodriguez Jr., in my mind, has now established himself as our best running back. He was very Benny Snell-like on Saturday, but Kentucky just isn’t talented enough up front to win a football game against a top ten team without a credible passing threat. Rodriguez also saw the lion’s share of carries, and went for over 100 rushing yards.
- Joey Gatewood played pretty well in his first start. His ball security, like that of Terry Wilson, needs work. However, he is not the second coming of Johnny Unitas or even Cam Newton at this point. But he is an intriguing talent that we’ll be seeing a lot of in the future.
- Capitalizing on turnovers is something UK has struggled with all season, and Saturday we saw that again. Two interceptions produced zero points for Kentucky.
- Max Duffy was back to his old excellent form after a sub-par outing at Mizzou. I’m finally beginning to feel a little bit more comfortable with Matt Ruffolo as well.
- Jamin Davis at linebacker is having an impressive year. He had 13 tackles and blocked a Georgia field-goal attempt.
- I offer no comment on the ongoing Eddie Gran controversy, except to say I’m not quite sure how our wide receiver corps got this ineffective, but it’s the big reason there is a controversy at all. The best QB in the country can’t throw into windows that are all closed.
Overall, I was not that disappointed in the Georgia game other than the fact it was a loss. Kentucky’s defense seems to be the real deal, and the offense was up against one of the to defenses in the country and still moved the ball, at least on the ground. There are no moral victories, but I never believed that we could beat this Georgia team — they are simply too talented for the Wildcats. Given that, Kentucky exceeded my expectations by a considerable margin.
My parting shot: Getting to even five wins from here is a mighty tough row to hoe.
Tweets of the Morning
Mark Stoops on his weekly radio show says Joey Gatewood did "OK" at QB vs. UGA. There were times he looked very good but others when he needed to go through his progressions and get the ball down the field. Needed to step up in the pocket and deliver it at times. Needs open WRs.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) November 2, 2020
I rated his performance slightly better at “pretty good,” but full disclosure — I replaced my original word “okay” after thinking about it a bit more.
This is a tricky question because there's really no simple answer. Mark Stoops probably needs to make some sacrifices to his ball control mentality to catch up to everyone else in CFBl. That or go full on pro-style and find someone who can really scheme up a PA pass game. https://t.co/h743wuzg9r— Adam Luckett (@AdamLuckettKSR) November 2, 2020
Maybe. But then again, are we really trying to get to the CFB Playoff, or just have an SEC team that can compete with the league and be in every game? I have a hard time getting to the former mentally, but perhaps that’s just decades of Kentucky football experience having jaded my perception...
- Are the ‘Cats ill-prepared? Will the offense ever take risks? I don’t know the answer. I do know that the receivers aren’t getting open fast enough, and the line is not pass protecting well enough to allow for many deep shots. But there is no reason why we should not be throwing more hitches, outs, and slants, particularly to our large tight ends. Kentucky’s offense doesn’t have to be explosive, but it does need to be competent. Right now, it looks like it’s neither.
- Mark Story wants to have a frank talk about Eddie Gran and the UK offense. There really is no mystery, in my view — receivers simply are not getting open downfield. Why that is requires knowledge I don’t have, but I know that there have been a ton of dropped balls and not a lot of time to be had in the pocket for whoever happens to be QB. I also agree that Gran’s job probably isn’t on the line this season no matter what.
- Max Duffy earns Ray Guy Award weekly honors.
- Terrence Clarke is learning to play in a way he hasn’t played before.
- New 2021 signee Bryce Hopkins says Calipari’s call was a “seal of approval,” validation of his hard work.
- BJ Boston has the natural ability to back up his pre-season All-American status.
- More praise for UK frosh Isaiah Jackson.
- Kentucky will reportedly try to hold Big Blue Madness despite the pandemic.
Other Kentucky sports
- Clemson’s QB Trevor Lawrence no longer Heisman favorite.
- Florida Head Coach Dan Mullen fined $25,000 for his part in a brawl during Saturday’s Missouri-Florida game.
Other sports news
- The Breeder’s Cup must go on.
The draw for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland:— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) November 2, 2020
1 Tacitus (20-1)
2 Tiz the Law (3-1)
3 By My Standards (10-1)
4 Tom’s d’Etat (6-1)
5 Title Ready (30-1)
6 Higher Power (20-1)
7 Global Campaign (20-1)
8 Improbable (5-2)
9 Authentic (6-1)
10 Maximum Security (7-2)