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Lack of speed hurts Kentucky





 

 

Western Kentucky’s win over the University of Kentucky?

• The start of the game set the tone. The Hilltoppers opened at their own 25, then, with efficiency, confidence and mid-season poise, marched 75 yards on nine plays to score. Soon, they had three touchdowns on four possessions. WKU never trailed, was never really threatened.

• Point of efficiency? WKU’s offensive line cratered run lanes for Antonio Andrews and pals, let quarterback Brandon Doughty stand and complete 27 of 34 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown.

• Early success made WKU linebacker Andrew Jackson’s yap … redundant.

• Kentucky favored by fourand half was for the fellow who fell off the turnip truck. The handicapper for this one must’ve been living in Bob Petrino’s pocket since summer (don’t pick us to win). Ignored were last year’s Hilltoppers’ win in Lexington, a neutral site this time around, Petrino’s record in season openers (8-0), and his record against Kentucky (4-1). A game that begged for a NO-line was handicapped to order for the Petrino. Let us hope the spread-set guy lost his shirt. But we doubt it.

Western Kentucky’s potent effort appeared to have faked a Kentucky player out of his shoe in Nashville on Aug. 31. (AP Photo)

Western Kentucky’s potent effort appeared to have faked a Kentucky player out of his shoe in Nashville on Aug. 31. (AP Photo)

• Shirts? Hilltoppers stylin’: Love the new-age helmets, but jersey numerals are straight out of Mrs. Wilder’s second grade.

• Intersectional marquee game this Saturday? Knoxville — Tennessee and Western Kentucky.

• First Internet item following the WKU win: Close-up photo of Bobby Petrino smiling over a cutline: “How do you like me now?”

• Kentucky? Tackling reminded us of the movie Groundhog Day. Again and again and again. Atrocious.

• The other sideline. The rude sounds of car doors slamming were not the end of a spoiled tailgate party. It was the end of coach Mark Stoops’ honeymoon.

“(Western) controlled us at the line of scrimmage,” Kentucky’s new coach said, “created some good run plays, different looks. … Simple things, you know, leverage on the football, I thought we were very poor.”

• Stoops’ best postgame remark was telling his players “… to tip their caps to a WKU squad that was better on this night and move on to what’s next.”

• Most alarming reality for UK fans? In a sport where speed is as essential as drawing breath, the Wildcats looked slow moving, slow reacting — just slow.

• Reasons for optimism? v Kentucky’s opening lineup included 11 who had never started a college game, five on offense, six on defense. v This week’s foe, Miami of Ohio, led Marshall University of Huntington, W.Va., 7-0 before losing 52-14.

Paralleling

A multi-task nightmare Saturday night for one man (blush) holding the TV remote. Western Kentucky and Kentucky on ESPN News (207) kicked off at 7:15. On DirectTV 659, St Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park started at 7:10, playing for lead in National League Central.

Flashing between first down snaps and first batter pitches was a recurring nightmare.

Early going was a severe challenge. In Nashville, Western Kentucky and Kentucky scored 21 and 10 points early, while in pennantfevered Pittsburgh, the Pirates put up two runs in the second inning, five more in the third.

Back and forth, muddled by a passing thunderstorm that whipped at the satellite signal, the confused TV remote searched for this channel and that one frantically.

Football, baseball, and back again. When both games hit on commercials at the same instant, was time to check 202 to see if Wolf Blitzer had started firing cruise missiles at Syria yet.

Tough night.

College Basketball’s Prima Donna Factor

This week’s prima donna notables:

• No. 3: Louisville Ballard’s Quentin Snider, one time pledge for Louisville, now has more than a dozen colleges on his “list.” The kid “cut” Indiana and Memphis recently. His father Scott keeps media abreast of all “breaking news.”

• No. 2: Dick Vitale. On point guard prospect Emmanuel Mudiay’s commitment to SMU, the voice of ESPN added a pointless tweet: “Congratulations time 4 SMU. Who would ever believe that SMU would beat Kentucky in recruiting?”

• No. 1: 13th rated prospect, Theo Pinson, a North Carolina commit, gets this week’s best prima donna move for stupidity. At the Under Armor Slam Dunk contest, Pinson dunked over his mother.

Challenge Dept.

Al Starnes, head coach at Crittenden County for more than two decades, chose a moment before his team’s season opener last month to reveal to his players that a routine colonoscopy he underwent three weeks before had revealed a tumor.

His Rockets won their opener at Fulton City, then beat Hopkins County Central the week after. Starnes’ straight-to-the-point remarks to his players was as good as education gets. As in, tough times, how you going to handle it?

Starnes seized a moment, reminded his players and us, “In life we have to deal with things outside our control and this is just one of those things.”

The 52-year-old coach is recovering. His experience, how he handled it, is a coming-at-you-live experience in everyday humanity.

Parting Shot

An understatement from Kentucky coach Mark Stoops after Western’s win over his team Saturday: “We looked out of place.”

And so it goes.


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