Posted: 12:36 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, 2013
By Glenn Logan
Once again it's time for the A Sea of Blue round table, and this time, we're talking the Western Kentucky football game. As usual, I threw two questions out there for discussion, and the bloggers at A Sea of Blue respond.
So let's get started, shall we?
We need to see leadership. On the field, on the sidelines, in the management of the game. I want to see us LOOK like an SEC football team. Not an also ran. Win or lose, do it right.
For the fans, it will be a big letdown. For the team, not much. I believe that Stoops will have this team prepared for either eventuality. But to be honest, I expect Petrino to be found withering in the fetal position on the sidelines after it's over. Stoops is about to make a statement.
We need to see a return of passionate play. This was lost during the final days of the Joker era and it was sad to see. The lack of passion on the field reverberrated throughout BBN and the fans returned the favor by not showing up to games. Also, we need to see them do things the right way. Minimal penalties, good technique and crisp play will be important. These qualities were also lacking under the previous coaching staff.
Losing wouldn't be a disaster but it would be very, very bad. With a loss the staff and the team lose any momentum that they have gained in the off season. The excitement of a new coach and a new philosophy will be lost for the short term. A loss to WKU would put more pressure on Kentucky to beat Miami (OH) and to possibl upset the Cardinals. It would leave a bad taste in the mouths of the fans and the players. Make no mistake, they want to win this game in a bad way. The good thing is that this is just the first game and an early loss can be forgotten with a successful end to the season.
There is no question in my mind that we will win this game, what we need to win convincingly and we need to show vast improvement over last year in terms of statistics and the goals set by Brown and Eliot.
Here's some facts that were provided by a poster, Kentucky3613, at Cats Illustrated. I've added a couple of my own.
Should we lose, it will be just like last year. All the accomplishments made thus far would go down the drain and the fans will wait for next year. The holdovers from last year would once again lose their confidence and enthusiasm. We CANNOT and WON'T lose this game.
A cogent plan, both on offense and defense. This seemed to be the biggest problem under Joker Phillips - it appeared to fans that no one on the team had any idea of what they were supposed to do or who they were trying to be on either side of the ball. Based on recent interviews with players the reason for this seems to be that no on the team had any idea of what they were supposed to do or who they were trying to be on either side of the ball.
For the fans it would be a disaster because of last year and the Petrino angle. For the team itself I imagine it would be highly disappointing (to put it mildly). I don't believe it would have any lasting effect for how well they play the rest of the year though.
For media/bloggers/sports radio talk it would lead to at least 2 straight weeks of "Is Stoops all show and no substance" type discussion as a win over Miami (OH) isn't going to change the narrative and a loss to Louisville might extend the talk into conference play if the Cats aren't competitive in that game.
Passion. I sat about 10 rows behind the bench last year and what I saw was pretty disturbing. Even aside from the time spent in blowouts, there was rarely any excitement on the UK bench. Here’s a good barometer. If your team isn’t jumping up and down while a hip hop song plays on the PA, either before a game or during a close game, they aren’t excited about playing the game. Here’s another: if things are going poorly, and none of the players are getting in one another’s faces, they aren’t excited about playing the game. Whether UK wins 2 games or 7, this year, I want to see a team that wants to play football each week.
Kentucky football has gained a ton of steam in the last eight months without stepping on the field. But at some point, the proof is in the pudding. A loss would let a lot of air out of the balloon from the fans’ perspective. Especially the fair weather fans, who the team is going to need this year to pack Commonwealth. From a global standpoint, I don’t think it is the end of the world. The staff and potential recruits know this year will be rough. Stoops has at least three years to turn this thing around, so he’ll have ample opportunity to recover from a loss.
Better football. We need to see the team this year is clearly and unambiguously improved from last year, and that the players intend to compete. If we see a bunch of guys taking plays off, or showing the same disinterest as last year, we have cause for concern.
It would hurt a lot. The fan interest would quickly fade to some degree, the negativity would return somewhat, and all the momentum that Stoops & Co. have developed would be significantly slowed if not totally stopped. It could bleed over into recruiting, because the recruits that have committed to UK will hear it from their peers if Kentucky loses to a Sun Belt school. Some of them may look elsewhere, further dampening momentum.
This is as close to a "must win" game as you are ever likely to see at UK. Yes, Kentucky can recover, but it will be definitely require effort that could otherwise be directed into the season. Make no mistake, losing this game would be a major setback that the Wildcats do not need.
So there it is, Wildcats fans. Let's have your views on our burning questions below.