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Report: UK Hires FSU D-Coordinator Stoops

When you see that Matt Jones of KentuckySportsRadio.com has reported that Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops has been hired by Kentucky, well, you probably think that’s about as official as you can get.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But KentuckySportsRadio.com isn’t actually connected to the University of Kentucky and it’s not the school’s official radio network.  It’s a pro-Wildcat website run by UK backers.  (It’s also a very entertaining site, if you ask me.)

That said, WLEX-TV in Lexington is also reporting that Stoops has been tabbed as the man to lead the Cats.  But the station is sourcing KentuckySportsRadio.com’s report.

This doesn’t mean that the KSR report is incorrect.  But just be clear that it’s a report, not an official announcement from the University of Kentucky.

Not yet anyway.

 

UPDATE — The Orlando Sentinel reports that “Stoops is on Florida State’s campus and is expected to attend practice that beings around 3:15″ this afternoon.  Stay tuned.

 

LATEST UPDATE — CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman has confirmed through a source that Stoops will indeed be hired by UK.  (Kudos to KSR and fellow Middlesboro-native, Matt Jones.)

Official release from UK.

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UK D-Coordinator Minter Denies Having A Blowup With Head Coach Phillips

According to a Kentucky fan website — KentuckySportsRadio.com — “the University of Kentucky football field and locker room have been the site of a number of heated conversations between Coach Joker Phillips and Defensive Coordinator Rick Minter over the past 10 days.”  On Monday, the site wrote the following:

 

“According to multiple source, Phillips and Minter had a verbal confrontation on the sideline during the (Louisville) game about the defensive philosophy and alignments utilized during the game.  According to the sources, Phillips became agitated in the second half and screamed audibly to Minter, ‘we have to do something different.  You have to change it up…

The sources tell KSR that the disagreement spilled into practice and pre-game meetings in the week leading up to the Kent State game.  According to one source, ‘Joker was very upset that no changes were made after he made it clear that he wanted to see a different philosophy.  He confronted him (Minter) about it and there was a disagreement.’”

 

Phillips hired Minter before last season.  UK’s current head coach had once worked on the staff at Cincinnati when Minter was the head coach of the Bearcats.

Through two games this year, the Wildcats have allowed 401 yards rushing and 474 yards passing to Louisville and Kent State combined.  Performance like that and the pressure of sitting on a hot seat could certainly lead to bouts of in-fighting on a coaching staff.  But yesterday, when asked about the KentuckySportsRadio.com report, Minter flat denied the story:

 

“I’m not going to talk about that.  It didn’t happen.  Now what’s next?”

 

What’s next is there had better be some improvement on the defensive side of the ball or Minter, Phillips and the rest of the UK coaching staff could be looking for work at year’s end.

Mitch Barnhart stood by Rich Brooks during some tough times and it eventually paid off for both men.  Kentucky’s AD also has plenty of clout thanks to his hire of John Calipari, Prince of the Bluegrass State.  But if the Commonwealth Stadium stands are empty and the Wildcat team doesn’t improve as the season goes along, Barnhart might decide it’s time to make another high-risk/high-reward type of hire as he did with Calipari.

Bobby Petrino, anyone?

Bickering or not — and that kind of thing happens to some degree anytime a team loses — Minter’s defense needs to get better quick.  After Western Kentucky on Saturday, the Cats face Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Vanderbilt before their open date.

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UK Fans Angry Over Cartoon In Lexington Paper; But The Herald-Leader Isn’t Nearly As “Negative” As Some Think

Dating back to The Lexington Herald-Leader’s involvement in uncovering a major NCAA scandal inside the Kentucky basketball program in the 1980s, many Wildcat fans have viewed UK’s hometown paper as being anti-Wildcats.  The paper didn’t help its cause on that front yesterday.

On Tuesday, The Herald-Leader ran a cartoon poking fun at John Calipari’s role in ending the Kentucky-Indiana basketball series.  Naturally, the reaction hasn’t been great. 

The drawing features (as you can see below) Calipari’s trophy case.  There are two spots “vacated” referring to the Final Four seasons that were wiped away at UMass and Memphis.  There’s a large NCAA championship trophy — complete with two dollar signs on it.  And there’s another trophy marked “Lose At IU, Take My Ball And Go Home Award.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I gotta say, that’s a bit rough for a local paper.  Not the Indiana part or even the vacated banners part, but the dollar signs on the trophy.  The cartoonist — Joel Pett — says those dollar signs were a statement about the money-driven NCAA, not Kentucky.  Here’s guessing most Cat fans won’t buy that argument, but we’ll take him at his word.

Pett told WTVQ-TV in Lexington that “everyday he tries to draw about something that angers him.”  The end of the UK-IU series angered him because he is a Bloomington native, his father was a professor at Indiana, and Pett himself went to school there.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with poking a little fun at sacred cows, even if those cows happen to reside in a nearby field.  The Lexington Herald-Leader should cover Kentucky.  It shouldn’t worship Kentucky (as many fans would wish).

Sites like KentuckySportsRadio.com took immediate issue with the cartoon and the paper.  Perhaps unwisely, Pett also decided to call into their radio show today.  (Full disclosure: I’ve been on with those guys, too, and while we’ve never met, KSR’s Matt Jones is a Middlesboro, Kentucky native like myself.  I like them and I often laugh at their hugely-successful site.)

Here’s the problem I’ve got with them today, though.  While fans and fansites like KSR are outraged when someone flings a barb at their team, they see nothing wrong with doing the exact same thing to someone else.  Example: Today they posted a cartoon mimicking Pett’s style that takes aim at Rick Pitino’s trophy case.

Oh, now that’s funny.  The Herald-Leader’s attempt at humor?  Obviously those dirty, ol’, egg-sucking mules are just a bunch of hacks.

Here’s the irony.  As someone who reads every local paper across the SEC on a daily basis and does so without any team to root for… I can say that most SEC papers are very fair in their reporting.  Fans almost never see it that way, but I can think of only one paper in the SEC that repeatedly seems to be either out to help or out to hurt Hometown U.  (That would be The Gainesville Sun, by the way, and the only time you’re likely to find something negative there is if the Gators lose and the writers are angry about it.)  The Herald-Leader is home to Jerry Tipton — who Cat fans view as the devil incarnate — but it’s also home to John Clay.  Clay is quite often pro-Kentucky in his stance (though he surely got some heat this week for not gobbling up Calipari’s nonsense about “nontraditional” scheduling).

Overall, as an outsider with no dog — or cat — in the fight, I would actually list The Herald-Leader as being one of the more positive papers in the SEC when it comes to covering their local basketball team.  They also happen to cover the hell out of that team to boot.

But again, I don’t have an agenda.  If you have an agenda as a reader, you’re going to perceive an agenda in the words of a writer, whether one actually exists or not.  Trust me, I’ve been called a lover and a hater of every program in the SEC and I can’t figure out how the heck that’s possible.

Across the league, most SEC hometown papers are viewed as being too harsh, too critical and too negative toward the local heroes.  In reality, most of them produce tons of coverage and attempt to do so in an objective fashion.

The Herald-Leader probably went a little overboard with yesterday’s Calipari cartoon, yes.  But I’ve got news for Kentucky fans, as an outsider looking in, your local paper is nowhere near as negative as you believe it to be.  Then again, when you compare it to fansites like KSR that revel in talking up the Cats and beating down everyone else — even ex-coaches who brought Kentucky great success in the ’90s — there’s no way an objective paper can appear as anything but negative.

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BBL: Volleyball extends streak; football moves on

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Big Blue Links for Monday:

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Brandy Pearl compares her husband Bruce to Jesus

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Bruce Pearl’s wife, Brandy, has taken to Facebook to defend her husband.

It has created something of a buzz.

Here’s why:

(Hat tip to Phil Kaplan and KSR.)

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