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Wow Evening Headlines 9/13/2012

SEC and ESPN consider weekly Thursday night game
Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter denies having blow-up with head coach Joker Phillips
Hundreds of fake tickets in circulation at last Saturday’s Georgia-Mizzou game
LSU down to 74 scholarship players – 13 true freshmen have seen action this year
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says if quarterback Connor Shaw can throw downfield without pain, he’ll start Saturday
Georgia paying Florida Atlantic $1 million to play Saturday – highest visitor payout in Georgia history
ESPN’s “College GameDay” to broadcast from Circle Park before Florida’s game at Tennessee this weekend
Mt. Dew and Wow3D Tailgater this Saturday 12-5:30 at Ruth’s Chris-Free Admission, Meet Johnny Majors, Erik Ainge, and more!!!
Keep up with all your SEC news at and

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30-Point Loss To Vandy A Serious Blow To UK’s Phillips; Defense The Biggest Issue

Did Rich Brooks get while the gettin’ was good, knowing that there were tough times ahead for Kentucky?  Or have most of Joker Phillips’ moves — getting rid of some of Brooks’ old assistants, for example — just been bad ones?

Either way, Phillips is captaining a ship that appears to be sinking.  Right after Brooks spent years raising it from the bottom of the Big Blue sea.

How bad have things gotten in the Bluegrass State?  John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader wrote this of the Wildcat football program this morning:

“With two games remaining in this 2011 season, it’s painfully obvious that the last two years under Rich Brooks, and probably even the first season under Phillips as head coach, Kentucky’s recruiting was not as advertised.

This is still a team bereft of playmakers on offense, that lacks stoppers on defense, that does not have the kind of difference-makers you need to compete, much less win in the SEC.

That being said, too many times in Phillips’ 23-game tenure as head coach, Kentucky has shown up flat and ill-prepared.  That’s the combination that produces performances indicative of poorly coached teams. 

It was striking on Saturday that Vanderbilt, playing under a first-year coach in James Franklin who had never been around the Commodores program until last spring, played with so much more energy and enthusiasm than did Kentucky, a team playing under a second-year head coach who served as an assistant at the same school the previous seven years.”

In Brooks’ final four seasons, the Cats finished 8-5, 8-5, 7-6 and 7-6.  Phillips’s first season ended at 6-7 and UK is currently 4-6 with games remaining against Georgia and Tennessee.

While the offense has gone into hibernation this fall without solid replacements for Randall Cobb, Derrick Locke and Mike Hartline, it’s the defense that’s been the cause of Kentucky’s greatest woes… under both Brooks and Phillips.

In 2006, the Cats gave up an average of 34.5 points per game to SEC foes.  That number dropped to 29.8 ppg in 2008.  It dropped again in 2009 to 27.8.  And from there it’s risen under Phillips — from 33.4 last season to a ridiculous 36.0 points per SEC contest this fall.

When your best work in a five-year span is holding SEC opponents to 27.8 points per game, you’re not going to win many contests.  The fact that the defense has gotten worse under Phillips’ leadership — by more than a touchdown per game in SEC play — stands as the biggest difference between Brooks’ Cats and Phillips’.

If he can’t turn that around next season — when defensive coordinator Rick Minter will be in his second season — Phillips likely won’t be back in Lexington for Year Four.

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SEC Headlines – 9/26/11 Part One

1.  The SEC has named its Players of the Week for Week Four.

2.  Florida’s John Brantley, Jordan Reed and Andre Debose are all expected to be healthy and ready to play against Alabama.

3.  Brantley says the Gators are better prepared to face Bama this year.

4.  Georgia’s defense is one of the highest-rated units in the conference and in the nation.

5.  Two sets of Bulldogs will be trying to reassert themselves when MSU visits UGA on Saturday.

6.  Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter described the Cats’ loss to Florida thusly: “The speed of the game, it’s kind of like lightning struck the outhouse and we were in it.”

7.  On the flipside, Joker Phillips is trying to accentuate the positives from UK’s 48-10 loss.

8.  AD Mitch Barnhart said over the weekend that he no longer reads emails or takes calls from disgruntled Wildcat fans.  (Tip to Barnhart: Telling them that they have no voice is no way to “gruntle” them.)

9.  South Carolina’s defense was completely dominant on Saturday, but…

10.  The mercurial Stephen Garcia seems to have regressed this season.  (Someone might want to hand him a beer.)

11.  Tennessee kicker/punter Michael Palardy says his performance against Florida “was unacceptable.”

12.  With Buffalo up next — and we’re not talking about the Bills — the Vols should be able to fix some defensive issues.

13.  James Franklin doesn’t like “sour tastes, ever,” but he’s glad Vandy has an open date following its first loss of the season.

14.  On Saturday, the Commodores lost more yards to penalties (79) than they gained on offense (77).  You don’t see that everyday.

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SEC Game Projections For Thursday 9/1/11

There are two games on the schedule tonight and below is a quick look at each:

Mississippi State at Memphis
8:00pm ET on SportSouth

Why It Matters:  MSU wants to keep last season’s forward momentum rolling forward.  A rebuilding team like Memphis can’t be allowed to become any kind of speedbump.

What Vegas Says:  MSU by 31

What We Say:  It’s hard to imagine Dan Mullen’s club improving on a 9-4 mark in the brutal SEC West, but there’ll be backsliding tonight.

Prediction:  MSU 38, Memphis 13

Fired-up Bulldogs open tonight

Dogs’ attitude adjustment in full bloom in Starkville

Mullen has built expectations in Starkville

Kentucky vs Western Kentucky in Nashville, TN
9:15pm ET on ESPNU

Why It Matters:  Joker Phillips needs to win over some fans in Year Two.  That means beating all of the Cats’ non-conference patsies.

What Vegas Says:  UK by 18

What We Say:  The Wildcats shouldn’t miss Mike Hartline, Derrick Locke or even Randall Cobb against at Hilltopper defense that held only three teams below 27 points last year.

Prediction:  Kentucky 49, WKU 17

Kentucky football hoping change is for the better on opening night

Kentucky defenders passing on co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s “class”

Youth will be served but Kentucky needs time to grow

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SEC Headlines – 8/11/11 Part Three

1.  Kentucky’s players describe new co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter as “mean,” “real aggressive,” and “in your face.”  (There aren’t many other fields where those traits would be considered positives.)

2.  Coincidentally (?) two UK defenders are leaving the program.

3.  The Wildcats’ young receivers are already pushing the vets in front of them.

4.  South Carolina is looking to improve its secondary in 2011.

5.  The strength and variety of the SEC’s offenses will test Tennessee’s young defense.

6.  Juco defensive tackle transfer Maurice Couch says being at UT is “a blessing.”

7.  The Vols’ coaches are keeping a close eye on the kicking game.

8.  Vanderbilt’s offense is deep at the tight end position…

9.  But the defense dominated in the offense in yesterday’s full-pads practice.

10.  Vandy’s basketball team will see some familiar faces on this year’s schedule.

11.  ESPN’s “College GameDay” show will be in Nashville for this year’s Kentucky/Vanderbilt game.  (And, yes, we’re talking about the basketball version of “College GameDay.”)

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SEC Headlines – 8/8/11 Part Three

1.  New co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter says Kentucky needs its safeties to step up due to depth issues.

2.  Freshman defensive back Glenn Faulker has been academically cleared to play for UK this fall.

3.  South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia says the seminar that led to his fifth suspension back in April “got a little crazy toward the end.”

4.  He also said this weekend that he does not have a drinking problem.  (Liquids go in his mouth and then right down his throat just fine.)  Maybe he’s just got a thinkin’ problem.

5.  After leaving the practice field in an ambulance on Saturday, offensive tackle Brandon Shell expects to practice today.

6.  This writer takes some jabs at Tennessee’s search committee for not having found a new athletic director yet. 

7.  Sophomore receiver Da’Rick Rogers says he’s growing into his role with the Vols.

8.  Yesterday was Fans Day at Vanderbilt.  (Yeah, we know, insert joke here.)

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SEC Headlines – 7/14/11 Part Two

1.  Kentucky’s “Thursday Night Lights” training events are producing the “craziest, most phenomenal energy” among Wildcat footballers.

2.  New UK defensive coordinator Rick Minter says he’s “like a professor” in how he coaches football.

3.  The University of Tennessee and AstroTurf kicked opened the new “UT Center for Athletic Field Safety” yesterday…

4.  The Vol football team will open practice on August 2nd.

5.  Vanderbilt is laying down new sod in its football stadium for the first time since 1999… thanks to rock band U2.

6.  Incoming Florida hoopster Brad Beal picked up his Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award this week.

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SEC Headlines – 7/12/11 Part Two

1.  The Gainesville Sun says South Carolina’s Devin Taylor and Georgia’s Aaron Murray are pretty good football players.

2.  Also, Florida’s visit to Auburn is expected to be an entertaining game.

3.  UF’s Patric Young led Team USA’s U19 squad in rebounding in the FIBA World Championships.  (The Americans finished fifth in a sport we invented.)

4.  Georgia’s still appears to be deep and talented in its secondary.

5.  New Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter has found a way to “coach” his players even when he can’t be “coaching” his players.

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SEC Headlines 7/10/2011

1. South Carolina wide receiver Bryce Sherman quits the team.

2. Why Alabama freshman Brent Calloway has yet to enroll.

3. Kentucky football players can’t escape the voice of co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter.

4. When it comes to college sports scandals, it’s not the crime – it’s the cover-up.

5. LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson looks ahead: ”We’ve got a great concept built for Oregon.”

6. New Mississippi State linebacker  Brandon Maye made the mistake of wearing Clemson gear the first day in the locker room. “Players promptly shredded the bright orange apparel, tossed it in the garbage can and provided him with the proper MSU workout attire.”

7. Top 25 countdowns: The game - Clemson at South Carolina. The player – Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs.

8. The state of Florida’s six bowl games.

9. Former LSU halfback Jerry Stovall set for Hall of Fame enshrinement

10.  Former Alabama quarterback Vince Sutton waits for a kidney transplant.

11. The NCAA looks to make significant changes to July basketball recruiting. AAU coaches don’t like the current setup either.


12. Jon Solomon: “One of the best, underappreciated television dramas signs off this Friday.”

13. A green jacket that could be worth $100,000.

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New UK DC Minter Teaching Players “Like We’re At Yale Or Something”

New Kentucky defensive coordinator — technically “co-coordiator” — Rick Minter is teaching new plays, new schemes and new terms to the Wildcats this spring.  This spring, the playbook has been the focus in Lexington.

“He’s teaching us like we’re at Yale or something,” linebacker Danny Trevathan told The Louisville Courier-Journal.  According to Trevathan, Minter has already added as many as 30 new plays to UK’s defense.

Like most defenses these day, UK is going more multiple.  They’ll operate out of a 4-3 base, but they’ll also shift to a 3-4 or a 4-2-5 depending on the situation.  Learning the new schemes hasn’t been easy.

“It’s really difficult, I’m not going to lie,” safety Winston Guy said.  “It’s a whole new defensive scheme, and a lot people were recruited here for a 4-3 scheme.  Things are different, and you have to adapt to it.”

“Our playbook is thick,” Guy added.

Minter isn’t backing down.  “I’d rather it be overload now, let them have a little time to digest over the summer, (then) refresh in the fall.  Then when they hear it all for the second time after coming back in the fall, it’ll start to sink in better.”

At least that’s Minter’s hope.

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