Kentucky’s three overtime loss at The Swamp was reason for Big Blue Nation to settle for and savor a feel-good-open-date this week, right? Wrong.
Coach Mark Stoops was not satisfied.
Graybeard UK fans who have endured a parade of too many Bear Bryant wannabes over seven decades and too few Rodger Bird and Art Still caliber athletes, may now have some of both plus a coach not interested in playing games close.
Stoops was hard-jawed and George Patton-like after Saturday.
His sideline gyration and menace for nearest man in stripe shirt was unrelenting. In the end he was in no mood for silver lining accolades for a close one. Body language said: “There is no moral victory in losing, even on the road in three overtimes.”
Stoops could well have paraphrased the brusque Army general (i.e., George C. Scott): “Kentuckians love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. At UK we play to win all the time. (And) I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed.”
Nobody in blue was laughing.
“We’ll go home and get back to work,” the coach said.
TAKE-AWAYS from Kentucky’s All-New-People Wildcats first crusade to Gainesville? v Florida fan: “Hey, Kentucky’s got some SEC caliber athletes, a bunch of ’em.” v A 3-3 score at halftime had given way to wondering if the UK running back Jojo Kemp’s bulletin board talk might be prophecy. v A prime time quarterback with prime time skills, field general poise (Tim Couch) and resolute toughness (Bill Ransdell). v SEC Network. Jesse Palmer and Brent Musburger provided narrative and high praise for Pat- rick Towles and recruiting rah-rah. v Paraphrasing a nugget from Palmer: “ Kentucky is showing that, even with lots of freshmen and sophomores, a turn-around in short time IS possible.” v Next game: Having cuffed Kentucky convincingly the last two years, Vanderbilt should have no chance at Lexington September 27. v Comical joy for UK fans watching on SEC Network, seeing Gator fans’ stares of disbelief as Kentucky not only refused to surrender in another fourth quarter, but more, Stoops’ team had Florida by its throat.
And so it goes.
You can reach me at bob. Watkins24@aol.com