Some post-game thoughts as Cats drop to 1-3

(H-L photo/David Manning)

Off the top of my sun-burned head from Gainesville:

- Pressed into starting service, Morgan Newton had a bad day. The senior is just not an accurate passer and this is an offense made for accuracy and quick release. Neither are a Newton strength. After a promising start, the senior was picked off three times in the second quarter.

- It’s the first time Kentucky has had back-to-back games of three-or-more interceptions since the Hal Mumme/Tim Couch 1997 Air Raid season. Smith was picked off four times last week against WKU. Newton was picked off three times today.

- Newton didn’t have a lot of preparation this week and he his reps have been cut at quarterback to give him more time to learn H-back since the season opener against Louisville.

- Newton: “It’s tough. Over a career, it seems like inopportune, a lot of things. It’s just bad timing, bad situations, bad circumstances. Post-Randall Cobb. Post-Chris Matthews. But pre-(DeMarcus) Sweat. Pre-Demarco (Robinson). Pre all these other guys. It just has been tough, and it makes me look like a lot worse player than I probably am.”

- Could Smith, who bruised his shoulder last week in the loss to WKU, have played? Possibly. But the risk was that injuring his shoulder would have put the sophomore out for several weeks. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Florida since 1986. It has South Carolina and Mississippi State at home the next two weeks. The Cats figure to be significant underdogs in both those games. But they are at home.

- Kentucky did run the football well. After gaining just 41 yards on the ground last week against Western Kentucky, the Cats gained 159 yards on 32 carries. That’s a 4.97 average per rush, the best since a 6.18 against Jacksonville State last season. It’s the best against an SEC opponent since UK averaged 7.93 yards rushing (43 carries for 341 yards) against Vanderbilt in 2010.

It was also balanced. Jonathan George gained 52 yards on 13 carries. Raymond Sanders had 48 yards on 10 carries. Morgan Newton carried four times for 34 yards. True freshman Dyshawn Mobley got in late and gained 22 yards on four carries.

- The defense wore down. The Cats gave up 81 yards in the first quarter, 141 in the second quarter, 97 in the third and 74 in the fourth. But the second-half yardage came on long, sustained drives. Florida’s first possession of the second half, a scoring drive, lasted over nine minutes.

- Mister Cobble has some sort of infection in the joints which caused him to be hospitalized and it doesn’t sound good. Joker Phillips listed Cobble as day-to-day, but somehow that doesn’t sound day-to-day.

- CoShik Williams did not make the trip because of injury. That is the knock on CoShik — is he big enough to take the pounding. The senior running back is just 5-foot-9, 178 pounds. He has played in just two of the Cats’ four games.

- Kentucky is now 1-12 under Phillips when it loses the turnover battle. The Cats did get an interception, the first of the year for Martavious Neloms. And it did come in the end zone. But then there were Newton’s three thrown interceptions.

- Craig McIntosh missed field goals of 54 and 46 yards. He is now two-of-six on the season, with all of his attempts coming beyond 40 yards. You have to wonder about his confidence at this point.

- It was not like Florida was razor sharp. The Gators fumbled a couple of snaps and had some bad penalties. Quarterback Jeff Driskel was 18-of-27 for 203 yards and a score, with a pick, but he was also off-target on several throws. He did have a 38-yard run that was something of a back-breaker.

- More to come later. 


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  1. Mark LIptak says:

    In a best case scenario I thought UK could win four games. Now it honestly looks like two might be more realistic.

    Whoever is named head coach at the end of the season, regardless of his experience or lack of it, he’s going to find himself having an awful lot of work to do just to bring this program back to ‘respectability.’

    Mark Liptak

  2. rjr says:

    You know, with this ESPN contract, its kind of hard to be bad and fly under the radar. We lost on national TV last week, and we will get pounded on national TV next week against South Carolina.

    I’m sorry, but this is just embarrassing. Something has to be done.

  3. CATFAN says:

    I guess it is easier to be a Wildcat fan in Kentucky than it is in Georgia…..or Alabama…..or Florida…..or who am I kidding? Kentucky football is the joke of the SEC. I love my Cats, but something has got to change. No longer is it good enough to “wait” until basketball season. Aren’t the Alumni of UK tired of pretending football doesn’t matter? Aren’t the fans deserving of a true SEC force? And aren’t these young players valid enough to instigate true leadership? It’s as if the elephant in the room doesn’t exist as long as we keep talking about other things…, I suppose.

  4. Mark LIptak says:

    After reading Newton’s comments I tip my hat to the kid, he was put in a no-win situation by a brain-dead coaching staff and expected to pull off a miracle.

    He tried his best, kept his mouth shut and didn’t try to pass the blame. Who knows what his career might have been like if he actually had a head coach who knew what he was doing.

    Told Friday he was starting despite not getting a lot of reps, asked to work a controlled short passing game which is very hard for him…is it any wonder he couldn’t do a lot right?

    After reading what happened if I was the AD I’d have Joker in my office first thing Monday and promptly fired. Joker did NOT put this kid in a position to succeed. Not this week, not this month and not in his career.

    Believe me, the fact that Joker did this is going to get around quickly through the social network. Recruits everywhere are going to read it and know about it.

    I had some respect for this clown, I don’t any longer.

    Mark Liptak

  5. bob says:

    I have been hanging with the cats for 40 years. In my mind, Joker sealed his fate TODAY. When he started Newton in the 2nd half he sealed the deal. What in the heck was he thinking? Morgan Newton is not a QB. He could not start and be effective at any University in this state, period. He may have value somewhere on the field but it isn’t behind the center. He is too slow afoot, he has no accuracy with his passing, his decision making speed is just a tad slow too. When he should have tucked and run, he just is ready to take off when someone is tackling him by the feet just as he takes off. NOT HIS FAULT. He’s a great kid. The scary part is is that Joker can’t see it. 3 million people in this state know it. It was time to bring in Whitlow after half time. Actually we knew it 3 years ago. Then 2 years ago, then last year. How many times does it take a coach to see this kid is not an SEC QB. I thought over all our defense played decently. If we had ANY help on offense, we may have made it respectable. If Newton starts again? Joker needs to check into an insane asylum.

  6. Jerry Brown says:

    Mr. Newton is Joker Phillips’ Saul Smith.

  7. SCBlu says:

    Joker, you should be ashamed to cash your paycheck every 2 weeks. ‘Nuff said

  8. Duayne Barr says:

    newton’s comments are a cop out just like every other comment from Joker. Reps Smeps. Those thtrows were to guys wide open and they weren’t even close. I love all the kids but he had no business being under center and Joker had no business putting him in that position. The fact that Joker didn’t make the adjustment until the forth quarter drives the nail home. Newton had no business being under center and Joker has no business attempting to pretend to lead this program. Love them both as people, but it isn’t fair to Newton to put him under center and it isn’t fair to the BBN to have Joker continue any further as head coach. A change should be made now.

  9. Steve Back says:

    I hear Petrino put in a bid on Ritchies Doublewide…