BBL: UK picked as least impressive SEC team again

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

- Mr. SEC ranks Kentucky as least impressive SEC team for second week in a row. It writes: “Speaking of unimpressive, the Wildcats bring up the rear on our list for the second-consecutive week. At halftime, Central Michigan — up 13-6 — had 227 yards to UK’s 94. By game’s end the Cats’ new Rick Minter-led defense had surrendered 295 yards through the air alone. Granted the Cats’ rushing offense came to life in the second half, but no one in the Bluegrass State can feel too good after a pair of struggles with Western Kentucky and Central Michigan. At least UK might have found a playmaker in running back Josh Clemons whose 87-yard TD run now stands as the longest in school history.” [Mr. SEC]

- Forum panel says UK was wrong to bar student reporter. Scott Slone of H-L reports: “Longtime prominent Kentucky sportswriter Billy Reed told University of Kentucky journalism students Monday that UK Athletics did a disservice to the university’s mission in recently revoking the student newspaper’s access to an invitation-only media event. The panel discussion that also included editors from the student newspaper was to include UK Athletics spokesman DeWayne Peevy, whose actions were at the center of the controversy that has drawn attention from national journalism groups. However, Peevy on Friday canceled his commitment to appear because UK Athletics was holding its weekly football news conference Monday.” [Herald-Leader]

- Mitch Barnhart’s daughter in line for UK athletics department job. Cheryl Truman of H-L reports: “The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees will be asked Tuesday to approve a graduate assistant job in the athletics department for Kirby Willoughby, the daughter of UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. Willoughby, a former Eastern Kentucky University volleyball player, is a graduate student in exercise physiology at UK. She previously was a graduate assistant in the kinesiology and health promotion department in the College of Education. UK has an anti-nepotism policy that says no relatives of its administrative leadership team can be employed in a position within the officer’s administrative area. However, the director of athletics is not among the positions specifically listed in the policy, which covers the provost, associate provosts, executive vice presidents, vice presidents and associate vice presidents.” [Herald-Leader]

- Does Joker Phillips or Charlie Strong need a win on Saturday more? asks Mark Story. “In the real world, it seems inarguable that Strong is the coach with much higher standing among U of L fans than Phillips enjoys within the Kingdom of the Blue. On the week when UK and U of L will contest the Governor’s Cup rivalry for the 18th time in the modern history of the series, the question on the floor this morning is ‘Which coach needs victory the most?’ It is fascinating how different the perceptions are of two football coaches who have the same overall record.” [Herald-Leader]

- Kentucky will need an efficient passing game on Saturday. Reports Jerry Tipton: “Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton hasn’t dazzled anyone with his passing so far this young season. That might have to change if UK hopes to extend its winning streak against Louisville to five games. At his weekly news conference Monday, UK Coach Joker Phillips noted how U of L’s defense has limited its two opponents to an average of 94 rushing yards and an average of 2.5 yards per carry. ‘They definitely stack the box and dare you to throw it,’ Phillips said.”

- Josh Clemons is starting to turn some heads. Jody Demling of the C-J reports, “Josh Clemons is only two games into his football career at the University of Kentucky, but he already has generated a lot of chatter among his teammates and the fans while sparking the Wildcats to a win over Central Michigan with an 87-yard touchdown run. The touchdown late in the third quarter put the Wildcats ahead for good and was the fourth-longest run in school history and the longest for a freshman. ‘You see him walk in and you see he has what it takes,’ senior lineman Stuart Hines said. ‘Then you see him run, and you know he has what it takes.’” [Courier-Journal]

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