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I hear ya....you could be right.
Was it last year? Yes - it was last year when everybody in the summer was freaking out about the DLine going into the season... Which turned out to be one of the few strengths of the team.
What I'm optimistic about is the staff. I really like Minter, Cassity and Summers...you need really good communicating coaches with clear direction (and fear) to bring the pups along.
I think that when Brooks left, the fear of failure was removed...which is a giant motivator. Joker and Brown were ole pals... With heat on Joker and Brown jettisoned to the Netherregions, Nuclear Minter has the reigns of the D and things are starting to get right. Intensity and smarts sometimes trumps talent... We need to bring both this year to win, regardless of experience.
Skill guys returning: Smith, (Newton), Coshik Williams (his skill level is just fine, healthy); George (solid backup, with experience, healthy), Ray Sanders (as far as I know, healthy, experienced RB); Clemons (only RB who may not be 100%);
At WR you have King (he's obviously good); McCaskill (healthy unless I'm missing some news lately); Robinson (looked good in spring game, had good spring practice; healthy), Collins (had a solid spring, will be counted on heavliy this year; healthy).
Yes, we will be able to develop a passing game - did you see the Spring game? Yes, we will have an established QB - his name is Maxwell Smith. Get used to hearing his name in the headlines. (Look at Ole Miss game last year as a true freshman to see this kid's potential). I don't get why more people aren't excited about this kid - he has the moxie that you want in a starting QB and he is a natural leader!
Finally, my comment, and I'll stand by it, was that our offense will be more productive than last year. Pass first, to set up the run. 60/40 Pass/Run ratio per Joker. Further, we were horrible on offense last year. A lot of it was poor Oline play and WRs not being able to catch the ball (per Spring Game we do not have that problem anymore), and there was also the QB position where we got zero production from Newton, and only flashes of a high ceiling for Smith. Sorry you don't see it the way I do....
I hope I'm right, but I could also be wrong. We could, and it's a scary thought, have a worse year at OL than last. Hopefully with an apparent focus more toward passing this year, our OL can surely give Smith time to throw (probably a lot of short throws involved this year). Either way, the team is going to be young and inexperienced - and that will likely show the first 5-6 games. Games 7-12 is where I'm really interested in seeing how well this team plays and hopefully through the course of the season we win at least 6 games so we can go bowling again.
Either way, my biggest hope for this season is for us to come out with the same fire we had against UT EVERY game. As you mention, intensity and smarts....the team needs to come out, every week, with a fire in their belly. They need to act like they are hungry to win some football games....
Last year I saw that fire in one game - the UT game. Here's to hoping that spills over....lol
This post was edited by Chiuk 21 months ago
BigCat65 - you are probably right about being another year away. But beyond this year, and next, it does seem that there is some quality depth being built at all positions - offense and defense. Hopefully the light goes on for some of these young guys this year. If so, we could be in for a nice surprise this season.
My heart told me one thing, brain told me another about keeping season tix. I kept them. I think the key thing is, UK is going to have to have leadership from certain players. The 07 team was loaded with it and except for the D being so beat up and no backups that was a very legit team. This is a very young team with some talent. We're a year away and I like all Cat fans are tired of being a year away. However, we'll see.
Sanders has had knee issues in the past, that's always a concern for me especially given his size. Along with Clemons, who I think healthy can be one of the better backs in the conference, I just know what our stable of backs have looked like health wise in the past down the stretch. It's just a nature of the SEC but I do feel comfortable about the depth at that position if we can open up our passing game enough to get them off the line of scrimmage.
As far as WR, King needs to step up into that leadership role. I know there's been some concerns about that. Saying the corp has had some drop issues is the understatement of the year and is at least good portion of our offensive woes from last season. I'm hoping that improves with some stability at QB. I do think Smith throws a more catchable ball which should help remedy that to a degree. I also think the addition of Collins will help give us a big play guy which we're lacking at the moment.
FTR, I like Maxwell Smith at QB. But his experience is still pretty limited in the larger scheme of things. It's not often that a Sophomore QB steps in and performs really well because it takes time to adjust to the speed of SEC defenses. It can happen but it's admittedly rare. Ole Miss is arguably the worst team in the conference right now, so I feel like we need to see how he stacks up against some of the other SEC guys before making a solid judgement on his abilities.
Like I said, I really hope we can do well with what we have on the roster. I'm not trying to be a pessimist and I sincerely hope that Joker can buy himself some more time with how well they've been recruiting as of late.
But I'm not going to apologize for tempering my expectations either. I'm certainly not in the bash everything UK FB crowd but I'm not prepared to put this team in that over 6 win range until we see how the pieces will come together against outside competition.
That's just an awful post. 2 years ago vs. Louisville we punched them in the mouth, Tennessee in the mouth, uga in the mouth, and some others. Last year at the end of the season we were getting off to good starts. Have we been flat several times? Yes, but we've also had some nice starts to games too. To put a blanket description on our teams the last two years is foolish. We've had some positives and some negatives. Probably more negatives than positives but you can't ignore that we have ended to major streaks, beaten uofl once, took the national champs to the brink, challenged a few very good teams too.
We need to see progress this year but it hasn't been all bad the last two seasons.
I stand by what I said hop. Our guys have continually come out not only flat & disinterested, they most times have that "I'd rather be somewhere else" look on their faces to match.
Did it appear we were improving last season toward the end? Yes, absolutely. But I want more.......much more. At least 6 wins and a bowl berth would be nice to start.
I agree that we have come out flat more often than not in the CJP era. However, the UL game two years ago, both UT games under CJP aren't those games.
At UL 2 years ago, we came out like gang-busters. Same can be said for the UT game that year, and this year.
I do think the team needs to come out each and every game looking like they are hungry to win....which seems to escape the team under CJP for the majority of games in the first 2 years. I'm hopeful that it was caused by some sour upperclassmen hanging on to the Brooks' regime, and now that most of them have left, I think we will finally begin to see Joker's recruits buy into his system (Juniors, Sophs, RSFrosh, and Incoming Frosh) and play hard every game.
I agree with you for the most part, Chiuk. I think there is a slight misunderstanding about what I have said though............ year before last against U of L we looked decent. My beef is with last year's team. FWIW, I stated it in my post. I miss stuff all the time, I hope that is what happened with this post.
Look, I have no ill feelings towards our players, but I am just damned sick & tired of watching them UNDERACHIEVE as badly as they seem to do. At some point they need to start producing.
I agree that we looked pathetic (coming out flat) last year in a lot of games (Vandy, USC, Western KY, UL). I even thought that was the case in a few games the year before, CJP's first year. Remember being down to Auburn so bad at half, only to storm back at halftime? Same for the South Carolina game - down big at half, come back and win. At Ole Miss was a big dud (a ton of turnovers in the first half).
However, the UL game in Joker's first game as a head coach...we didn't just look "decent" - we came out flying on all cylinders and I as I recall we held back the throttle a little bit. I really think we could have beaten that UL team by 30 if we wanted to. I say this with a straight face.
Like I've said, I'm hopeful that a lot of the underachieving was caused by a disgruntled locker room (players not buying into Joker due to hanging onto "their" coach Brooks), and as I said, most of those guys are gone having graduated.
I think its very possible that we do just that. Hell we should have beaten them last year and we were terrible offensively last year. Someone on the radio said they're opening up as a 13 point favorite. I'm about to go check and see if that line exists cause I'll be planning to make some money on it.
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