Big Blue Links start with Patrick Towles

towlesvsmissstate

Big Blue Links starts with Monday’s big news of Mark Stoops naming Patrick Towles as Kentucky’s starting quarterback. It wasn’t a huge surprise. Towles is the returning starter. Challenger Drew Barker is talented but inexperienced. He’s a redshirt freshman. Towles is a junior who started all 12 games last season.

“Having a year under my belt, playing, I’ve been through it all,” he said. “I’ve seen everything. I’ve been three overtimes in The Swamp and I’ve been toe to toe with the No. 1 team in the country. I’ve been there. Nothing’s going to surprise me.”

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Jennifer Smith has a question-and-answer with Towles.

There was also bad news Monday as Stoops announced that Marceyls Jones has been booted for a violation of team rules. Jones was a ballyhooed transfer from Ohio State who figured to take a prominent place on future Kentucky offensive lines. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Mark Story of the Herald-Leader asks if Kentucky football scheduling has crossed the cupcake line? I know it’s all about money, but I don’t see what UK gains by playing a road game at Eastern Michigan. And I don’t think the Cats would be visiting EMU if the Eagles were a MAC power.

By the way, Kentucky is opening Tuesday afternoon’s practice to the media, so be prepared for the Twitter blizzard.

Garrett Johnson is giving UK’s receivers a push, writes Alex Forkner of Cats Illustrated. Johnson had a big game last year at Florida, but his output dropped off the second half of the season. He was just a true freshman. He’s looking for a more consistent 2015.

On the subject of receivers, T.V. Williams is looking for redemption, reports Jon Hale of the Cats Pause. The diminutive receiver can look to the success of Tavon Austin, who starred at West Virginia when UK’s new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was an assistant in Morgantown.

Last month, I put together a post about Kentucky needing more production from its receivers. It included this chart:

uktopreceiverslast10

UK held its Fall Sports Media Day on Monday. Among those featured was volleyball star Morgan Bergren, who earned pre-season All-SEC honors. Jerry Tipton reports that Bergren came to Kentucky because of her love of horses. “My mom rode in the Canadian nationals when she was pregnant with me,” Bergren said with a smile Monday.

Here are UK’s first 11 volleyball matches:

  • Aug. 28 Michigan State
  • Aug. 29 IUPUI
  • Aug. 29 Arkansas-Little Rock
  • Sept. 1 Ohio
  • Sept. 4 @Northern Iowa
  • Sept. 5 vsSouthern Cal at Northern Iowa
  • Sept. 11 vsIllinois at Wichita State
  • Sept. 11 @Wichita State
  • Sept. 12 vsNorthern Illinois at Wichita State
  • Sept. 18 at Xavier
  • Sept. 20 Louisville

Complete UK volleyball schedule

Meanwhile, Kentucky women’s soccer wants to set the tone as Jon Lipsitz’s team is the first UK squad in action for 2015-16. The Cats open at home on Friday against Washington.

As for basketball news, Class of 2016’s numero uno prospect Harry Giles announced his visit schedule on Monday. He’ll be at Kentucky’s Midnight Madness. That’s a good sign for the Cats. His last visit is Duke which could be a bad sign. The Blue Devils are the favorite for Giles’ services.

Dana O’Neil of ESPN believes Tyler Ulis will have a big impact on the Cats’ 2015-16 season. “The ratio of great point guard to Calipari success is proven — Derrick Rose,Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Marquis Teague. Ulis easily could be the next one. Though he never started a game, Ulis finished many of them, proving to be Kentucky’s surest bet at the point. By season’s end, he was the de facto starter, averaging 27 minutes in the postseason.”

Eric Crawford of WDRB lists the 10 things Louisville fans learned about the Cardinals from their basketball trip to Puerto Rico.  “1. DAMION LEE IS A NATURAL SCORER. The Drexel University graduate was No. 6 in the nation in scoring last season, and showed the ability to pile up points in bunches in Puerto Rico. In the Cards final game, he scored 10 points in the first three minutes of the second half. He had 36 in his debut, then scored only 9 in a 34-point blowout loss the next night.”

SEC total offense per game 2014

  • 1. Mississippi State 513.77
  • 2. Auburn 485.00
  • 3. Alabama 484.50
  • 4. Georgia 457.77
  • 5. Texas A&M 455.38
  • 6. South Carolina 442.62
  • 7. Ole Miss 419.08
  • 8. Arkansas 406.00
  • 9. LSU 387.46
  • 10. Kentucky 384.50
  • 11. Tennessee 370.54
  • 12. Florida 367.58
  • 13. Missouri 367.00
  • 14. Vanderbilt 288.33

Volleyball Coaches Association pre-season rankings

  • 1. Penn State
  • 2. Stanford
  • 3. Texas
  • 4. Florida
  • 5. Nebraska
  • 5. Wisconsin
  • 7. North Carolina
  • 8. Illinois
  • 9. Florida State
  • 10. Washington
  • 11. BYU
  • 12. Colorado State
  • 13. Oregon
  • 14. Ohio State
  • 15. Kentucky
  • 16. Arizona State
  • 17. Arizona
  • 18. Hawaii
  • 19. Michigan State
  • 20. UCLA
  • 21. Iowa State
  • 22. USC
  • 23. Utah
  • 24. Colorado
  • 25. Duke

Related links

Patrick Towles: “I’m the best equipped”

“Big George” continues to make a big impression

Follow John Clay on Twitter

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