Tuesday, November 03, 2009

11/03/2009

We Love You Rich but Where We Going???

Let us re-visit…

So Rich Brooks comes in takes over a program that has just finished 7 and 5 but did not go to a bowl game because they were on probation… Of course the worst was yet to come and UK lived through two very very very rough seasons due to the impacts of said probation…

The probation was a huge impact because UK was already at a disadvantage from a recruiting standpoint because of the in state programs and the lack of division one talent within the state… Also the up surge of U of L football program hurt recruiting for UK to some degree…

Rich was hired by basically himself because no one really wanted the job… There were of course the rumors around Bill Parcells (he was in my opinion just using UK to get more money out of Dallas) and then the Norm Chow debacle (he wanted the job but UK would never offer it to him so he pulled out) with a possible Doug Williams hiring also in the mix… In the end no one wanted the job, except Guy Morris…

Of course this was after Barnhart literally ran Guy Morris out of town on a rail (very well paid rail by getting the Baylor job) by not showing any consideration to hiring him past the two years he was at UK… Barnhart basically wanted to hire his own man… I think he honestly thought he was going to make a big time hire like he did with Dennis Erickson when he was AD at Oregon State… Lots of other questions around why Mitch did not hire David Cutcliffe or possibly Howard Schellenbeger also and I am not sure what the back stories are around these two guys…

Without a doubt you can count me as a Rich Brooks convert… I was totally against this hire and thought he should have been fired after his third year in the program… Rich did some things along the way that saved him from a firing and pushed the program to its current status:

1. Fired OC Ron Hudson… He was terrible and he alone took a very potent offense and turned it into a complete mess in year one trying to fit a large square peg (Lorenzon) into a round hole (an option oriented run type offense)…
2. Changed to Joke Phillips at OC…
3. Hired Randy Sanders as QB coach…
4. Designed an offense around some great skill players (Woodson, Burton, Little, Johnson, etc…) and scrapped what he was trying to do when Ron Hudson was there…
5. Actually built a great recruiting base in the state and in an area of Georgia and Ohio…
6. Done pretty good recruiting the JC ranks…
7. Built a defense…

It is quite an accomplishment that Brooks has taken UK to and won three straight bowl games… The first year they beat a really good Clemson team that was ranked top ten for allot of the year… In year two they beat a name in FSU but this was not the FSU power house of the 90’s… Of course last year they beat a really good ECU team but to me that is a game and SEC team should always win against a CUSA school… You can say what you want about how many bowls there are etc… but the fact is UK has been bowl eligible getting the six wins required which is not something they did much under Claiborne, Curry or Mumme (Morris was not here long enough to put him that mix)…

There is for sure a different attitude in the players and the fans… I see it every week since I have been going to the games every week in 1999… The criticism is down and most people are happy with the direction of the program, etc… There are critics and I think the questions around that criticism are fair for several reasons…

Prior to 2009 season under Brooks UK is 2 and 29 against the big boys in the conference (UF, UT, USC, UGA, BAMA, Auburn and LSU)… They are 5 and 25 against the SEC East (four of those win are against Vandy)… UK is 14 and 20 against the remainder of the SEC… They do own a 16 winning streak against non conference opponents (games in my opinion they should win 95% of the time based on the level of competition)… The non con schedule is a weak one but because of the conference they play in “weak” non con is fair… Brooks’s overall record the last three years counting this year is 27 and 20…

Should we as fans expect more??? Is this as good as it gets??? Is UK capable of truly competing for a conference title every three to four years (I consider the 2007 season a disappointment because we should have posted at least two more regular season wins at a minimum, been in the SEC mix and gone to a bigger bowl with a chance to finish with double digit wins)… What is the standard and what should we expect as fans??? I truly expect more and do not buy this we are and will always be a basketball school… That is total BS… Just look at Tennessee and tell me that we cannot do this…

My question is this… If a school like Clemson, Texas A & M, Iowa, Ole Miss, Miss St, Arkansas, Boston College, or UCLA had the record that UK has under Coach Brooks would they consider this successful??? For sure Duke, IU, Northwestern, Baylor, Vandy and Stanford would but is that the group we want or should be expected to be lumped in with (no disrespect to those schools or their programs intended)…

I believe we as fans need to expect more but we may not get it for several reasons…


Here is how UK could compete at a high level on a consistent basis:

1. Have to recruit and sign 90% of the division one talent that is out in the state outside of Jefferson County…
2. In Jefferson County they have to get better than 70% of the D1 talent to attend UK…
3. Redshirt 9 of 10 incoming freshmen each year…
4. Recruit the JC ranks well… Much, much better then they do today… A top JC QB could go a long way this year at UK…
5. Make sure your players are the most physically fit players in the league… Look at Navy’s football team to see what I mean… They are fit to the hilt…



Even with these things year in a year out UK is going to still not be on the same level from a depth and overall talent standpoint then the big time SEC football schools… How do you over come this???

You need to run a “junk” type offense… The offense that Texas Tech or Navy runs does a couple of things… These types of offensive schemes neutralizes the talent and depth gap by spreading out the lineman which creates spacing and gaps and with the Navy offense you have allot of motion and movement which creates issues for the opposing defenses… If I were choosing I would run the Navy offense but would also work in a wishbone formation…

The flexbone and the wishbone are something that the other teams would only see once a year and it would make it very tough to prepare for UK in a one week period… The other thing you do is get the high school coaches in the state to start running these offensive patterns which create a talent pool that is easily recruitable…

Why do I think a junk offense would work??? Navy lost their starting QB last year and did not miss a beat because of the system they run… Look at Texas Tech… Their starting QB has been out (he is a first year starter) and the back up (who has never started a game) has a day that college QB’s dream about as he threw for over 400 yards in two consecutive games…


Here are eight reasons why UK “cannot” compete at a high level on a consistent basis in football:

1. UK is running a pro style offense while the rest of the SEC is running things that are geared towards college…
2. The commonwealth of Kentucky year in and year out has one of the lowest number of division one prospects compared to the other 49 states…
3. The overall population of the commonwealth leads to this low number…
4. The largest city in Kentucky is Louisville and U of L takes a large portion of D1 recruits in that city…
5. High school football in the commonwealth takes a back seat to basketball at the high school level…
6. Not every high school in the state even fields a football team…
7. There is no Spring Football at the High School level…
8. Soccer has greatly impacted the public high school football system in a very negative way… Most kids playing soccer would play football...

9. Kids playing soccer in the 8 through 12 age range are not playing Little League or prep league football… Just for example in the town I grew up this level of football had 8 to 10 teams they now have 4… Some towns now have none or to play they have to travel outside of their county…
10. Fall Baseball… Kids getting to football late or not playing football at all due to the extension of baseball…


Morgan Newton

First of all let me make it clear that I thought it was “criminal” for Rich Brooks to pull the redshirt off of Newton at the point he did… This is so unfair to this kid and to the UK program… If he was ready to play he would have been playing to this point (that is right out of Brooksy mouth before Hartline gets hurt)…

However, if you are going to pull the redshirt then he should play every down the rest of the year whether we win or lose like they did against Mississippi State… Let’s hope he continues to play a significant amount of time the rest of the year or pulling the redshirt off was a waste… For what it is worth the kid looks good… He can for sure throw the deep ball; make some plays with his fee and with his arm…

As for Hartline it is tragic that he got hurt… If UK beats USC or Auburn they have a chance to go on a run over the next several weeks and for sure would become bowl eligible (take care of the home turf and you win eight games)… Hartline’s play against Bama and Florida was poor indeed but look at the numbers for all the QB’s who have played against these teams to this point and you will see a pattern… The kid was not as bad as people wanted to believe myself included…

Very tough to swallow but lack of depth and having to play freshmen vs. redshirting almost all of them is one of the reason UK will have a tough time consistently competing at a high level in the SEC… I do believe they can and should maintain where they are today (lower level in the SEC) but should win six games in most years…

As for Newton’s play against Mississippi State I thought he did well and it was the right thing to do to let him play the entire game… Barring and injury he should play every snap the rest of the year…


Auburn Game

Surprise, Surprise… Have not beaten them since 1964 and we pulled off the win… Our defense played great on the road against a team that to this point had one of the top offenses in the SEC… Newton played well for the time he was in the game and hats off to Will Fidler for coming in to the game in relief and playing well completing a big fourth down pass…

Hail to Randell Cobb… Without him I have no idea where this game or this team would be… What a special, special player…

I thought at this point UK would be 3 and 3 and they are 3 and 3… ULM is a trap game (22 Offensive points and 16 came from either special teams or defense) and Mississippi State is going to be a tough one (we freaking lost, bullshit)… Can this team beat Eastern, win at Vandy and then somehow beat UGA or UT??? I doubt it based on what I saw against Mississippi State…


Miss State Game

Some people call Brooksy “Big Game Brooksy” but I go with “Bowl Game Brooksy”… In my opinion Brooksy has failed to win the three of the biggest games of his coaching career at UK… Those three being Mississippi State this year, Vanderbilt last year and Mississippi State two years ago… …

Two years ago after coming off of a win over LSU, having ESPN game day on campus the next week, ranked in the top 10 UK has a chance to beat Florida but just ran out of gas… A loss is never OK but the fact that we competed with Florida and were getting allot of hype nationally…

The next week a very bad Mississippi State team shows up and UK drops a bomb… Never even competed in the game…

Last year UK loses to a really good Vandy team at home… Problem is you should never, ever, ever lose to Vany at home… I mean NEVER!!!

Then on Saturday a very good Mississippi State team comes in (their five losses are all to ranked opponents) and the UK defense plays it’s worst game of the year (even worse than the Florida game) and Joker Phillips play calling is very suspect… In this game UK has the ball inside the Mississippi State 15 yare and on seven consecutive plays the best player on the team Antwan Randell Tex Cobb does not touch the ball one time… After the game UK Coach Rich Brooks says that was a mistake… Really Rich... You are a rocket scientist!!! Even the casual fan in the stands questioned that one… Did you nor Joker not learn one thing from the two point conversion debacle at South Carolina??? Guess not…

What I do not understand is going for it on fourth and two even though you made it on the next to last series… Kick the field goal and then put it on your defense to make a stop to get the ball back so you can now try to drive down the field for the win Vs a tie and if you miss the field goal then you are winning the field position game and you are asking your defense to still make a stop and you are back to a tie… Even if you miss the field goal you still have a chance… No matter how bad the defense was playing you have to play the percentages there and you did not… Reminds me of the on side kick call made in the Florida game at home three season ago putting the game on the line way to early and you had a kicker who was putting it out of the end zone or the Music City Bowl game where we elected to take points off the board and go for a touchdown at the end of the half which almost in the end cost you the game…

I have said it once and I will say it again… I love that Rich Brooks has restored some excitement and some honor back in the UK program… He has won some big games (LSU and Louisville when they were in the top 10) but failed to follow those wins up with what we as fans are looking for which is a regular season with eight or nine wins… My opinion however of him about one thing has not changed…

Rich Brooks is an “average” football coach… He showed why Saturday night against a team he should have beaten… He has had allot of time to figure it out but there are reasons he has a below five hundred career winning percentage even if you throw out the first ten years at Oregon and the first three years at Kentucky… It has to do with decision making…

I am also at this point not convinced that Joker Phillips is going to be a coach that will take this program to the next level… As a matter of fact you can put me on record today that he will not make that happen but this does not mean I will not be pulling for him really hard to do so… He is a great person and he is a great recruiter but you cannot succeed at Kentucky trying to run a pro style offense year in and year out… Look what Mississippi State did last night running a “junk” style college offense… Mississippi State and UK are on about equal footing as to football program stature but they (Mississippi State) have better coaching and that showed through last night… Even Rich Brooks admitted after the game that they not only got out played but they got out coached…

UK does not and will not ever be able to recruit the type of atheletes year in and year out do run a pro style offense… We are not in the same league as teams like Southern Cal, Tennessee and Alabama who run these type of sets… I may be wrong but I do not see that happening…

The shame to me is when Rich retires this is an opportunity for UK to hire a proven coach like Brian Kelly at Cincy, Ken Nutlimindo at Navy, Chris Petersen at Boise State or Mike Leach at Texas Tech… All these guys will get and upgrade in the next two years (Petersen says he has not interest in leaving Boise State)…

Again I LIKE Brooksy (and Joker) and I am very glad he and his staff has done the things he has done for this program and that UK has some very good and respectable student athletes but lets move forward… He has taken us as far as he can or who knows maybe he has take UK Football as far as it can ever go…


Redbirds

Very disappointing end to the season… I was really afraid that St Louis peaked too early and obviously they did… Wainwright pitched a couple of late regular season games like Game 2 where he pitched great and the team just did not score enough runs… Of course game 2 was a complete debacle…

You need two outs to win the game… Are you going to go to a pitcher who has not had a save since September 5th or are you going to go to Hall of Famer John Smotlz… I am going to Smoltz… See what Smoltz did when he finally got in during game 3??? He strikes out five in a row…

Not sure but I think my visit to Wrigley Field in late September to watch the Cubs and Reds was a jinx… St Louis went right in the tank after that game… Maybe this one is on me… LOL

Damn Yankees… I just can’t hate on them though because I like Jeter and their manager Joe Girardi but I am for the Phillies…


Random

- According to Rich Brooks John Conner is one of the best fullbacks in college football... How come he does not touch the ball???


- If you look up the baseball definition of a double steal is when a runner on 2nd steals 3rd and the runner on first steals second… This could also mean a rare steal of home and third which is probably as rare as Johnny Damon stealing two based on one pitch game four of the World Series… Something that Elias Sports Bureau says may have never been done before in a World Series and is one of those things that is probably in line with the rare unassited triple play as to how often in has ever occurred in any game period…



- At this point in the season Randell Cobb has almost 300 yards rushing, 300 yards receiving, 300 yards on kick returns and 300 yards on punt returns… And he did not touch the ball in the entire 4th quarter against Mississippi State on offense… COME ON JOKER…


- How bad is the UK loss to Mississippi State??? The most positive and eternal optimist of the UK Football program Mark Sheets says after last night performance he is done, through, finished and is not going to waste his time coming next week… He has earned that right…


- Albert Puljos set a major league record for assists by First Basemen this year… Think about that for a moment… He is a converted first baseman a guy known for his offense but the fact is he is a great defensive player also… In Game one of the NLDS he made two great plays in the field that shows how good a fielder he really is…


- I am not a fan of Mark McGwire being the Redbird hitting coach… But…….. Better results will quickly change my mind… I hope he finally admits the use of steroids so the media can move on and so can he…


- People who say Bobby Bowden and Joe Pa have earned the right to retire are dead wrong in my opinion… If you have a guy in the business world who has been a great CEO for twenty plus years and then all of the sudden due to age, progression of business or changes in the business climate or for whatever reason the company is starting to go in the tank and there is a need for new direction has this person earned the right to step down when they want to because of all the good things they have done or are they allowed to run the company into the ground first???


- Saw on ESPN for their first 42 playoff games A Rod has better number than Mr. October… In game 43 Mr. October had 3 home runs of course but by the time A Rod completes game 43 he will still have more RBI’s and a better batting average… Not taking anything from Reggie because he did his damage on a bigger stage and that means more to me than what A Rod has accomplished…


- I am sick and tired of hearing that UK has lost 15 straight football games to this team, twenty five to this team, ten of last eleven to this team, etc, etc… My wife says get over we are just never going to be any better in football than we have been the last three years… Is she right??? Auburn win gives me hope; Mississippi State game puts my back in UK Football Reality…


- There was something crazy in the Phillies and Dodgers game in the NLCS where there was an 8, 6, 3 double play which has only happened one other time in the post season…


- I think John Calipari really gets what being the UK Basketball coach means… The fact that he and his son went down and camped out with the people waiting for Midnight Madness tickets and actually interacting with them was a statement… Rick Pitino got it but he would have never done some of the things that Cal has done with the fans… I like what I see so far… This team is stacked with talent… I mean stacked…


- The John Wall thing is not recruiting related or any type of potential violation by UK… UK will not play him if he is not cleared… Looks like he may miss three to five games… Does not matter… More than one person I know has watched the open gym games this summer and one person thought the entire time that the best player on the floor was John Wall who later turned out to be Eric Bledsoe… I have had another person tell me that from what they saw Bledsoe can match Wall step for step… The pundits will pick on UK now for the next several years everyone time there is a sniff of something that will always probably turn out to be nothing… Love to hate us…


- U of L fan told me this week that he watched UK’s midnight madness and thought the players looked terrible and there is no way that this team will win anything… He predicted fifteen wins if that was his comment… I asked him why and he said well they have practiced all summer and look how bad they looked (I watched the intros and then turned it off because at that point forward you are going to get nothing)… He said that U of L looks great and that Pitino and the staff have been working with them all summer and he was not sure what Calipari had been doing… My reply was he (Cal) was not working with them all summer because that would be an NCAA violation… The coaches cannot start working with the players until October 24th… Any coaching done prior to that date is an NCAA violation…


- UNC fans says glad to see the passion back in UK Basketball even if Calipari is a crook… Said, “UK has not done much since Adolph Rupp retired, like UNC has and he hopes we start having good teams again...” Hmmmm… Since Rupp retired UK has won three National Championships, an NIT Championship when that still meant something (1977) and been to four other Final Fours… My comment back was UCLA fan told me the eighth championship was the hardest one to win…


- Great stat during the first game of the World Series was Chase Utley, who is a lefty hit two home runs in the same game off of a left hander pitcher… Only other person to accomplish this feat was George Herman Ruth…


- I am loving that people are hating on UK Basketball again… That is the first step back…


Music


We bought a Coldplay four pack of CD’s… We listened to them yesterday going to the football game and there is not a bad song on any one of the four… For sure a band I want to see in concert…

Monday, September 28, 2009

09/28/09

Tiger Did Not Choke at PGA and Look at Him Now

OK Tiger haters… The man did not choke at the PGA… The man could not putt during the PGA and this continued through the next two tournaments… His final round putting total at the PGA was 33… Check the putting totals each week of the guys who win and you will see that normally the winner leads the field in putting and is around 27 or 28 for each round on putt totals… 33 is what a hack like me puts up…

Tiger hit the ball well he just did not make anything… Burned the edge all day long… I can relate because this has been my problem all year long… My ball striking has become pretty solid but I am not making any putts…

YE Yang played a great final round… The type of final round it takes to win a major… He showed nerves only one time and that was with the three putt on hole number 17… The chip in for eagle was pivotal and that is what it takes to win… He also got a very nice break on number 13 when his tee shot somehow missed the bunker and then skipped over another into the fairway (in the bunker there and a bogey is in play)…

As for the naysayers, Tiger did shake his hand and congratulate YE and gave him allot of praise in his post round interview… Was Tiger a little smug, etc… when he lost and walked off the green??? Sure he was who is not when they lose something… I hate to lose at anything and you can damn guarantee that I am smug when I lose…

That is the thing about Tiger that people criticize him for that makes no sense to me… He hates to lose and expects to win every time… He expects every putt to go in and expects to hit every shot well… You never stand over a golf shot and think anything any different and if you do then the result is probably not very good…

Tiger is a great player and a great competitor… He is a student of the game and nobody on tour knows the history of golf like Tiger… He has no other agenda except to win!!! What is wrong with that??? Do they show him too much on TV??? Sure they do but that is to appeal TV trying to keep the casual fan from switching to something else… Tiger does not control the cameras or pick how many photographers are going to follow him…

You know it is funny Jack said about five or six years ago the thing that would slow Tiger down and that it would take him time to adjust to would be marriage and having young kids… That is where the guy is at now… I am sure based on who he is that he is a great husband and great father and those thing take time… Jack had a dead streak on majors when he went through the same thing…

I just cannot understand the logic of people who root against him to fail… Some of it I am sure is racist (unfortunately I have had some of his critics that I know own up to this and say that is exactly what it is), some is jealously (I know I am jealous of him) and some of it is regret or resentment because people did not work that hard when they were young and some of it is for sure media driven because of how much coverage he gets…

Whether you like him or not or whether or not he ever wins another major or not he is one of the greatest of all time on the links along with Jack, Ernie, Hogan, Hagen, Jones, Snead, Watson and Nelson… After not making the cut at the British to go win, win and tie for second in the PGA is pretty impressive…

Look at what he has done since the PGA and he is in line to win the end of year championship… I say go Tiger go…


Slow Play in Golf

There was lots of publicity about Tiger and Padrig Harrington being put on the clock during the Firestone WCG event for slow play… Padrig is known for slow play and Tiger is very methodical… Was it really necessary for the final group to be put on the clock??? Yes it was but the timing (on the tee box on 16) is in question for me… It also had nothing to do with TV as some people have reported or commented… It is based on pace of play and how far the group in front of you is at any time during the round…

I can relate to slow play because I am often accused of slow play and in weekend golf slow play is often an issue… The reason people accuse me of slow play is because when it is my turn to hit I do the following:

Stand behind the ball and pick my target and visualize the shot…
I then take my position beside the ball
I then check my grip
I then line up to the ball…
I then once again look up at my target…
I then execute my swing…

This sounds like a slow sequence of events… It is about twelve to fifteen seconds and that is not slow…

What I effort not to do and what causes slow play is the BS that goes on between shots… Here is what causes slow play that I see all the time on the weekends:

- People riding in carts where they ride to one ball the person hits and then they ride in the cart to the other ball for the second player to hit… This adds an enormous amount of time to a round…

- Allot of these people think because they jump right out and hit the ball they are playing fast when in fact they are not…

- What should happen is the person in the cart who has the longest shot to the green goes to there ball, picks their club… The other person then drives to their ball…

- If there is a foursome in carts the same rules apply…

- The people hit in sequence… Once you have hit you should start walking to the cart…

What is the time for an expected round??? If you are in a stroke play or match play competition if you are getting through 18 holes in 5 to 5 1/4 hours then that is the best you are going to get… If you are just playing a normal round on the weekend 4:45 to 5 hours is acceptable and 4.5 hours is ideal... If there is no one in front of you or no one behind you then it is whatever you want it to be…

In my league some people think you should be able to play in two hours… Never going too happened when you are playing match play format…

The best thing to always do is play to the pace of the group in front of you… If there is no one in front of you then for sure there should be no one behind you either…


Redbirds

I am really, really excited about my Redbirds… If they can remain healthy they have a great shot to end up in the World Series… The will likely play the Phillies or the Dodgers in the playoffs… Tough first round but I like St Louis in short series better then I like them in a seven game series in the NL Playoffs…

With the addition now of John Smoltz and Julio Lugo and with guys like Khali Greene the way that Dave Duncan works with pitchers I think … Smoltz has pitched well so far and Larussa and Duncan identified that during his Boston stint he was tipping his pitches (means he was doing something before he would throw a certain pitch that the other teams would know the type of pitch coming)…

With Matt Holiday behind Puljos means you cannot pitch around “the man” anymore… A commitment to winning is what I wanted to see from the GM and Owners and they have shown that with the moves they have made…

Again this year I want Redbirds vs. Yankees World Series (a throwback to 1964) but I will take Redbirds Vs anyone…

Will Leitch from Sporting News and Deadspin wrote (he is a diehard St Louis Fan) something to the effect if Ankiel fields a ball and throws from center field to the dugout then he will beat himself in the head with brunt instrument...

That is funny… I remember when Ankiel was the starting pitcher in game 7 of the playoffs a few years ago against the Diamondbacks when he was on the mound ready to deliver the first pitch I told Brad Jarrett, “A hundred dollars he throws the first pitch into the back stop” and he did…

College Football

Just a few points…

- UK should go a competitive 6 and 6… Hey Rich you got to beat U of L (they did) and Vandy to do that and if you can beat USC at Columbia (they look beatable) you are 7 and 5 and pull an upset or beat UT (and you finally should) then you are 8 and 4…

-If UK has a winning season and goes to another bowl Rich Brooks hands it over to Joker…

- The Big 10 will add a 12th team (who that will be is TBD but I think Pitt or Cincy) in the next two years so they can enjoy the rewards for conference championship game… The Pac 10 will do this within five years (they will add Boise and Utah)…

- Notre Dame will have a winning season and be stuck with Charlie Weiss…
Boise State or TCU will crash the BCS… Both could some how I think if they both go undefeated and all the other teams have one loss…

- Lane Kiffin is an ass… He may over time back it up but I am not sure how long he will be at UT… With a little success he will be first choice when Pete Carroll steps down…

UK vs. Miami

Nice start to the season… The play calling was very suspect in the 1st Quarter and then things picked up… UK could not run the ball in the first half in the middle of the field but they did get a few nice outside runs and Mike Hartline was some like 15 for 21, 180 yards and 2 TD’s… I like the Wildcat formation with Cobb at QB inside the 20 running the zone read offense… This is essentially a triple option type of set up where Cobb can run it, hand it off or throw it based on the read…

The defense finally threw a shutout… That was nice to see and very deserving for this defense… Miami is obviously down quite a bit right now but still you have to play the game and the 2nd Team guys got in allot in the 4th quarter so that was a good sign also… Trevard Lindley played a great game and could have easily had two interceptions with pick sixes vs. the one he did have… He was for sure the most dominant player on the field and an injured Micah Johnson also looked good…

Chris Matthews is a game changer at wide receiver and the tight ends looked good also… In the second half Turtle ran the ball up the middle very well from the tailback slot and I like his ability to churn up yards even with people hanging on him… He will be utilized very nice in the 4th quarter of games to churn up clock if the he can get the type of blocking the line showed in the second half… Smith and Locket also looked good so that gives UK a solid triple threat at tail back…

I would rather the next game be this week vs. UK having a week off… How the heck UK gets a bye week and then goes Florida, Bama, at USC and at Auburn with no bye weeks in there at all is unreal… That hurts the program in my opinion… Beat Louisville to move to 2 and 0 and then you will very quickly see what this team has… UK could pull an upset against Bama and for sure USC and Auburn look beatable but they are road games… A four and two start would go a long way…

UK vs. Louisville

It does not matter how... UK is (was) 2 and 0...

If UK manages the clock at the end of the first half the score is 24 to 7 or maybe 28 to 7 if Moncell Allen does not slip and fall on the first drive of the day... If they have only two turnovers or no turnovers in the third quarter then the final score is probably 45 to 20...

UK only punted three times all day so they moved the ball well (two of those punts were in the first half)... U of L offense had two really big "fluke" plays (their first running play from scrimmage and the TD to Gunshot Guy in the 4th Quarter)...

I do however think that the U of L offense played well but part of that was due to the fact they had great field position all day... UK defense was disappointing at times but they made some huge plays in the game and saved our butts...

If UK can play that bad and still win than to me that makes a statement about this team and where the program is vs. where it was before Brooks came... Hartline led them down the field twice in the 4th quarter when they needed a score so that says something for him also... UK had some bone head penalties and I pretty sure that Micah Johnson and Cobb did some extra running Sunday...

The play calling was not all that bad from my view... I would have liked to seen us run a little more Wildcat than we did... Hartline did make some bad checks on 3rd and long to the short receiver but that is probably better then forcing something or throwing it away... We did not blitz much but that is because U of L likes to throw that dump pass over the middle...

I thought UK’s special teams play on kick offs and punts was not real good...

The fact that U of L lost a game that they should have won tells me allot about their team also... They had better stats, less turnovers and won the battle of field position all day but did not get the win…

I have decided that Kragthorpe is an ass and deserves whatever treatment he gets from the U of L fan base... U of L chopped blocked at UK’s All American cornerback Trevard Lindley all day long until they finally did what they set out to do and that was hurt him... Then Kragthorpe ran his mouth on Monday about Trevard… Hey Steve guess what asshole you lost the game so shut your pie hole…

UK vs. Florida

What a debacle… How could they not be ready to play??? Very frustrating…

I did not expect to win but I expected to be competitive… They were not…

The nays Sayers are out once again although there are only a few… For sure UK is 1 and 21 against the SEC East since Brooks arrived (not counting Vandy) which is no better than where we were before he came in that regard… Where we are better is against the non-conference schedule and the SEC West… MUCH BETTER!!!

For sure we have missed some opportunities including Woodson senior year where we should have gone 8 and 4 at a minimum…

The next three games are going to tell a story but lets see how they bounce this week…


Ricky P

This is a bad situation for Ricky P… I do not condemn or condone what he did… It was very much bad judgment after bad judgment after bad judgment… The question I have is how many times other then this one has these types of tryst occurred (that of course did not result in $3000 payment for whatever)… His latest press conference with an attempt to use the death of Ted Kennedy to deflect attention from him is borderline despicable… He does however relate well to Ted Kennedy in the character department…

The rumors about him have circulated for years and I have heard many people say, “Well he is Italian” that is just what they do… I do not think that is a very fair assessment and probably offensive to Italians who do not… have this character flaw…

Have I made mistakes in my life??? Yes I have… So I am not going to condemn the guy for making a mistake but I also would not blame a parent for now not wanting to send their kid to play for Rick at U of L but I would not think this will make much of a difference in his ability to recruit… I am sure coaches are going to over sell the morality card when they are in competition with Ricky P for a player but in the end I think this will only impact one in five of the recruits in his pool…

The University is gauging public opinion at this point… He will survive because he is not Billy Clyde, Larry Eustachy or Tim Floyd…

Is it about Wins and Losses and program prestige and attention vs. doing what is morally correct??? Put it this way if this were Steve Kragthorpe who had done this the tone of people, the media and university would be considerably different for sure… media fire storm would have been like then???

I like Rick and respect Rick’s coaching abilities and where is the University going to find another Rick??? They are not… They could easily find another Kragthorpe so that my friends are the driver of this decision in my opinion…

I can hear the Karen Sypher chants at away games repeatedly next year…


Calipari

As I stated before I am not overly concerned about what happened at Memphis and UMASS but I do have some reservations… At UMASS I am pretty sure Coach Cal turned Marcus Camby into the school when he found out what had happened with Camby and the agent (I have not been able to confirm that)… Cal was never implicated in the scandal at UMASS… I do understand people’s concern and there were for sure some shenanigans in the Memphis and UMASS programs during Cal’s tenures…

As for the mess at Memphis… This is not a situation where the University arranged for Derrick Rose to take his test or was present when he took his test or did not take hit test… In this situation what the NCAA believes is that Rose did not take his test and since his test was fraudulent the results are null and void so he is ineligible and that means that Memphis will lose its final four appearances and its record of thirty eight wins… Since the NCAA had previously cleared the player to play I am not sure this is fair for Memphis… You told me it was OK and then after I did what you gave me permission to do you said oh wait a minute since you did that we are going to punish you…

What about the former coach??? That is a tough one… If the NCAA finds he did nothing wrong then end of story… As long as nothing comes out (I am sure there are rumors, etc…) from the NCAA that implicates Coach Cal then at this point there is nothing that the university should do other than what UK has always done since the trouble back in the 80’s for basketball and the 90’s for football and that is keep the house in order… I believe the University will do that and continue to do that…

Allot of the controversy seems to be around one particular association of Cal’s so I would advise Cal to get rid of that association to eliminate any questions (maybe he will maybe he will not)… I still believe in Coach Cal and I believe that he understands the enormity of his current situation… His track record of contributions in the community are good, his wife is a community participant in many areas and the people of Memphis really liked what he stood for in that community…

Time will tell… It always does…


A Day Game at Wrigley Field

There are a couple of ways that one can travel back in time… For sure you can go to Cuba where I am told it looks and feels like the 50’s in the United States because of automobiles, building, etc… and the other is attend a day game at Wrigley Field… A weekday day game… My wife and I did just that recently… I had been to a night game there but never a day game and during my one brief visit I did not get to experience the surrounding area…

We took a train into Chicago from the suburbs... From there we should have taken the “L” (the above ground train in the city) but to save time we took a cab to the Wrigley… The cab really served as our time machine…

The neat thing about this ballpark is that you do not see it until you are right on top of it because it sets in the middle of a neighborhood… The cab dropped us in front of a couple of bars, one named for famed Cubs (and Cardinals) broadcaster Harry Carry… At 10:30 AM CST on a Friday the bars were packed…

As with any ball park there are vendors selling merchandise out on the streets but here it is surely different… There are vendors everywhere with a variety of merchandise… There were some great T-shirts but my favorite was “Chicago a drinking town with a baseball problem…”

The first place we walked was down Waveland Avenue… Waveland runs from behind centerfield down to the left field foul pole behind the famed bleachers… This is where as a kid I would watch the Cubs and when home runs would carry out of the ballpark there would be a mad scramble on the street for the ball… There is a fire barn on Waveland Avenue and I wonder what it takes to get stationed there…

The ballpark itself has been modified over the years… I believe they have added seats out in the bleacher area and the way seating works in the bleachers is you buy your ticket and then it is first come first serve (people are lined up hours before the game to get into the bleachers)… For sure they have done some structural improvements to the stadium but the outside looks much like it has looked for years…

I really like what they have done with the buildings down that surround the outfield… Many have been made into bars and restaurants all with seating on the top… You can for sure see into the field but of course these are limited view but next time I go I am going to try sit on one of these building (maybe for a Cardinals vs. Cubs city)…

Once inside you realize how old a ballpark you are in… The corridors are very small and there is allot of exposed steel… The lower level and second level seating areas are really one level with a walk-away around between the first level and the second level seating… Our seats were in the 2nd Level on the third base side about half way up the foul line (Would have been a perfect spot to witness Babe Ruth’s famous called shot in the World Series)… The views in the park are really good almost anywhere which is plus for the fans…

The crowd however in my opinion is not a baseball crowd… We noticed that it was very social and people were not paying allot of attention to the game… Maybe it was because it was Friday or maybe it was because the Cubs are out of the race but for sure the fans are there more to be seen and socialize than they are to watch the game…

People also did not care that my wife was rooting for the Reds… Wonder what they would have done to me knowing I was St Louis Cardinal Fan (I was in disguise with Washington Senators Lid on)… You get that in almost any park though…

If you have not been to a day game at Wrigley Field then you need to add that to your list…


Random

- I won the Scuffletown Country Club Fantasy Golf League… Finished in the top 100 on all of Yahoo and finished second in both Fans Of Boo Weekly and Fans Of Devil Ball for the entire year… In the two latter leagues I was in first place until the last day of the Tour Championship… I seem to always be on the wrong side of Mickelson…

- I am sucking in the ShagOnFootball college pick’em… Listening to much to the pundits… Need to make my picks as I see them…

- I keep waiting for John Daly to self-destruct… Maybe I want him to self-destruct, which is not a good thing for me to want… I better check myself on that one…

- Billy Clyde has officially self-destructed… I still cannot understand why there were people hanging on to this guy until the very end… His issues off the court were just crazy and hard to ignore… UK took the high road by not brining any of this out but of course both Mitch and Lee Todd should be reprimanded for making such a poor choice…

- It is not a good thing for the State of Kentucky to get the type of publicity both the U of L and UK basketball programs are getting in the last month… My sister Jayne says, “What a soap Opera” complete with all the normal soap opera type story lines…

- One of the guys at work had a great Halloween couple’s costume idea… Dress as Rick Pitino (white suit with slicked back hair) and Karen Sypher (bleach blonde wig, etc…)…

- Bring the Solheim Cup to Louisville… That was an exciting event this weekend to watch… The women on both teams played great golf and the event had allot of drama and could have gone either way… I would love to see Michele Wie play women’s event exclusively… She would do for Women’s golf financially and exposure wise what Tiger has done for the Men…

- Watched a great special on HBO about the integration of college football in the south… It is important to note and was covered in the program how that Bear Bryant wanted to integrate UK football during his tenure in the late 40’s and early 50’s… He was not able to do that because the UK President, although he (the president) wanted to do it, did not want to risk the schools membership in the SEC (right or wrong that was his stance) and was concerned about these players safety in the deep south for road games (same concern Rupp had when he wanted to do it in the 60’s)… UK was however the first SEC school to integrate in football and this is duly noted in the documentary…

- How awesome is the Little League World Series… I watched just about every game including the regional championships… These kids are great players and it is fun to watch these kids compete… What a memorable experience for them all… The team from Cali was awesome… Added bonus was I got to watch some of it with my grandfather who is a baseball nut (96 years old)... I want to attend this event at some point so I am adding this to my list of 101 things I want to do…

- The ESPN commercial on the Brett Farve comeback is classic… As for Brett he just can’t let it go… The Sears commercial with Brett is pretty good one also…

- UK is going to get allot of Noon games in football… Sucks for tailgating but it will mean that I get to see allot of other games on Saturday because that puts us home from the games by 6:00 PM EST…


Music

U2 in Chicago was fantastic (the opening band, Snow Patrol was great also)… The stage and the supporting videos, etc… was just out of this world… I of course am a huge U2 fan because that is music I matured to… I started listening to them in the early 80’s and over time as I listen to the lyrics to their songs they have grasped the world and their lives much like I have based on my understandings of what they are singing about… To me Bono is Christ like when he appears and the band together puts off an aura that is something I can not only see but feel… They did allot of their new music or music from there last three albums and worked in some of the old favorites also… Here is the set list:

Set List1 Breathe 2 No Line on the Horizon 3 Get On Your Boots 4 Magnificent 5 Beautiful Day/Blackbird (Beatles snippet) 6 Elevation 7 I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For/Stand By Me (Ben E. King snippet) 8 Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of 9 Unknown Caller 10 The Unforgettable Fire 11 City Of Blinding Lights 12 Vertigo 13 I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight 14 Sunday Bloody Sunday/Oliver's Army (Elvis Costello snippet) 15 Pride (In The Name Of Love) 16 MLK 17 Walk On/You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet) 18 Where The Streets Have No NameEncore 19 One 20 Bad/40 (snippet) Second encore 21 Ultra Violet (Light My Way) 22 With Or Without You 23 Moment of Surrender

Monday, August 10, 2009

08.10.2009

Stewart Cink wins British Open and Then Travels Back In Time to 1977 and has A Playoff with Tom Watson

Stewart Cink battled the elements, battled his new putter and battled the field at the 2009 British Open but in a new wrinkle by the R and A for this year the tournament winner had to go back in time and beat the winner from the famous “Dual in The Sun” that occurred between Jack Nicklaus and tournament winner Tom Watson to validate the win…

Watson proved to be no match for Cink using equipment from 1977 that was inferior to the equipment used by Pros today… His four hole playoff was a lopsided affair that seemed very unfair to 1977 Tom Watson… Upon arriving back in 2009 Cink was presented with the Claret Jug and 2009 Tom Watson was there to greet him and congratulate him on his victory…

Well that is not exactly what happened but close… I am still reeling over this loss by Tom Watson… Tom may have gagged a little on his chip and his putt on 18 but he did hit two fantastic golf shots on 18 but in golf you can hit a great shot with a bad result or you can drive the ball under a tree, punch a hard five iron to about two feet (a shot you never practice) and make a birdie (I did this recently)…

No one ever in any Sport has experienced the pressure he was under… No one at 59 years old has been close to winning a sporting event of this magnitude so no one will ever know the pressure he was under at that moment… Great showing Tom… Rumor is Jack Nicklaus is going to lose 20 pounds and practice nothing but links golf the next year and play in with the intent of winning next years British Open

They Killed Kenny, You Bastasrds!!!

Kenny Perry choked at the Masters…

I am not saying he is a bad guy (he is for sure not) and I am not saying he is not a good if not a great sometimes player and I am not saying I could have done any better… You have to love what he accomplished in 2008 and how he capped it off being on the victorious Ryder Cub Team but in the Masters he flat out choked… You have to like how he handled the defeat at the end of the tournament but I know he has had a few very sleepless nights since that day…

It started on hole number 15 (although the 3 putt on 13 was huge)… He made a very tentative over the top pull type swing (totally outside of his normal swing plane with allot of left hand), caught the ball thin but still managed to find the green just to the left (Just listen the to the dialogue with his caddie when he completed the swing, when his caddied asked, “Did you get enough of it”)… He made a nice two putt to for birdie but that pull swing was a bad sign…

On 16 he proved he is a pressure player and his best short iron shot of the tournament right at the flag and birdied the hole (little easier to swing that eight iron under pressure Vs a four or five iron)… At that point CBS pretty much was given him the tournament and I have to admit I had visions of him putting on the green jacket… Question is did he have that vision???

Does that thought pop in your head at all??? Think about it… You just birdied the 16th hole to take a two shot lead in the most prestigious championship in all of golf (in all of Sports in my opinion)… You are about to enter a club that includes the most exclusive names in the history of golf (Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Woods, Watson, Seve, Hogan, Nelson, Faldo, Floyd, Mickelson, Zoeller, Crenshaw) with some unbelievable perks (full access to the course, a locker in the champions locker room which is a room that only the winners ever get to see, every Tuesday night the week of the Masters at the Champions Dinner, etc)… This is does not even count the positive financial impacts this creates in your life… Feel the pressure??? Breathe man breathe!!!

When he got to 17 his tee shot (his driver had been fantastic to this point) went dead right which means he never got the club face to it’s proper position and made a bad back swing (surprising because his issue under pressure shot is a pull not a push)... He got lucky when the ball bounced back out pretty much in the middle of the fairway… He is a six iron away and he makes the same bad swing he made on 15, pulled the ball left but this time over the green… Now all the thoughts (if he had them from above) become oh shit, if I get this up and down the tournament is mine, more pressure though… Now the choke factor or the demons are taking over in a different way then they were before…

Kenny then hits a very bad chip shot and leaves him a long putt for par (he has a history of bad chips under pressure)… To me this was also mistake number one in the decision making process, he could have putted the ball from that spot and got it closer then he did with the chip and a putt is a much easier shot under pressure then a chip is for any player at any level… He now stands over a long part putt, demons all around and he misses… One up with one to play…

I would think at this point your focus is just golf and all the thoughts of green jackets, etc… if they were ever there before now they are gone… A player of his caliber has been here before… This is not a situation like when he lost the PGA in his own back yard… This is a situation where make a par on the last hole and you are “Masters Champion”… Mistake number 2….

Even though his driver had been his best club all week it was time to hit the 3 wood… With the 3 wood he is not in any danger of making the bunker he ends up hitting his tee shot into and if he pulls his three wood it will then be a tough long shot but still he has a good shot at a four…

Now he is in the bunker after hitting a good drive (sometimes you are penalized for hitting a good shot)… Mistake number 3… The play to me at this point is to take left of the green out of play completely because it is just dead over there… Aim for the right front area of the green (not even the green itself and if you pull it you may be on the green, hit it where you are aimed and you have to get up an down (not a real difficult shot to execute with that pin placement on 18) or you hit it long into the right bunker (a tough up and down but a shot that still gives you a chance at a four and a much better chance then where his approach ends up (left of the green on that hole on the final day is just bad news)…

Kenny ends up making a bogey and let’s Cabrera and Campbell back in the tournament… At this point my thought is he is done!!! Of course luck takes over, Perry and Cabrera both Par the 18th hole in the playoff (Cabrera hits in the trees, try’s to hit a miraculous shot that bangs off a tree to the middle of the fairway and then gets up and down for par from the middle of the fairway which is where Kenny should have tried to get up and down from before sudden death)…

On number 10 the demons took over again and Kenny missed the green to the left (if you look at that swing he is way out of his normal swing path again) with little chance to get up and down from that spot…

There are some memorable losers in the tournament that have done it many different ways including Greg Norman, Tom Weiskoff, Robert Devincenzo, Ken Venturi and Scott Hoch and now you can add unfortunate one Kenny Perry to the list…

They (the demons) killed Kenny… You bastards!!!

Those same demons kept me from sleeping very well that night just thinking about that collapse so that is how hard I took his loss??? I really wanted to see this guy wearing that green jacket and I have to admit I thought he had it but those damn demons strike again…

Let’s hope somehow this guy wins a major and I am not buying the line he said, “If losing the Masters in a playoff is the worst things that happens to me then that is not that bad”… I see his point but I still believe this is going to pop in his head daily for a long time… Can he handle it??? Time will tell…

Update:

I heard KP interviewed on Mike and Mike and my respect for this gentleman just grows and grows… KP admitted that when he hit the great shot on 16 he thought man I just won the Masters and got way ahead of himself… Those damn demons!!!


UK Spring Football

What a beautiful day this was for a Spring Football Game… It was very nice to see my tailgating peeps for the day and watch some football…

My first impressions were that the defense looked pretty good (nothing spectacular) and Will Fiedler (UK’s back up QB) looked awesome… On the first drive he went 6 for 8 (one of those was a drop), converted twice on 3rd down and threw a nice TD Strike to Randall Cobb (who did look awesome)… Upon further review that fact that Will finished 10 of 24 (meaning after 6 for 8 he went 4 for 16) leaves me not so impressed…

Mike Hartline looked like Mike Hartline of 2008 season… He looked good on the short passes and slants over the middle, looked to have an improved pocket presence but still struggled with the deep ball… At this point my prediction is that after the summer is over you can take every comment and article that was written last year about who should play QB, insert Morgan Newton for Randall Cobb and that is what you will read and hear from the UK fans and media until that occurs… All I can say is I am glad we have two high profile QB’s in the wings…

The running backs and receivers looked pretty good… Alphonso Smith, A redshirt freshmen Walk On and Turtle ran the ball effectively… None of the receivers stood out to me except #42 who is a transfer walk on who caught two TD’s…

I am not sure what you take away from this as a fan but I am sure the coaches have a nice picture of what needs to go on this summer and what they will need to work on as fall camp opens…

I think this will be an exciting year for UK football but with a very tough schedule UK will have their hands full… I would love another bowl game but the offense will have to make great improvements over last year to get to six or seven wins… If Brooksy can pull off another bowl trip and a win then he will be crowned king…

My early prediction for the 2009 season is 6 and 6… This schedule is just too tough… This team is capable on the defensive side of the ball of pulling an upset but………

Brooksy has yet to win a big road game during his tenure at UK… He did beat Arkansas two years ago which was petty big at the time… Can UK beat Florida or Bama at home??? Can they finally beat UT??? This team could do better then 6 and 6 but could also go 5 and 7… I just cannot see a Coach Brooks team winning more then 8 games during a “regular” season…

Ugh… Now the Jarmon thing… If you do not know this kid graduated in three years, is working on his second major and is going to study abroad to work on his French… Problem is the NCAA’s appeals process does not look at one’s character or the circumstance it is just a simple did you do it or did you not do it…

For sure he took a banned substance that he bought over the counter (something to me is wrong with that picture)… A legal substance banned by the NCAA… Rules are rules though and he broke the rules and now has to pay the ultimate price… If you did not hear his press conference finds it and listens to it and you will see what a great kid he is and will continue to be… Oh well thanks NCAA you booted out a model student athlete and made him a millionaire…

Coach Brooksy still is not getting any love from the SEC media or the national media for what he has accomplished at UK… Reason being is his record against the powers in the SEC which are Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Bama and South Carolina he is something like 2 and 25 and he has also lost at home to Vandy twice… The losing streaks against Florida and UT are the longest by one team against another team in the country (both date back to the 80's)... Very fair criticism in my opinion but the fact that he has taken UK to and won three bowl games deserves a high level of praise…

Has he built a sustained winner??? Get back to me in five years or seasons from now and we will see…
It is also something to note that UK has the longest non conferece winning streak in the nation at 14 games...


Redbirds

Finally a trade that proves the organization is committed too winning and not just milking the Puljos thing… Bringing in Matt Holiday is the equals the move a few years back when they brought in Larry Walker… Lugo and Derosa are good pick ups also…

With the pitching they have in place and a few tweaks here and there and if they can get Greene by September then look out… This team has a real chance if the pitching holds up… They may need another starting pitcher…

On another note I cannot believe the organization let Stan Musial get snubbed on All Star Night… This was not time for anyone other than Stan the Man along with the ghost of Rogers Hornsby and Dizzy Dean to be honored… Very, very sad!!! This is baseball folks, Cardinals baseball for that matter… Baseball and the Redbirds should have made sure he was recognized on the same level that Ted Williams was a few years back…


Coach Cal

Coach Calipari does bend a little when it comes to players and discipline and some of that is a good thing and some of that is not in my opinion…

Could Coach Cal have also been up to some Shenanigans’ at Memphis??? Hmmmmmmmmmmm… All of this information is making me very uncomfortable but time will shake it out… This guy can coach and I think he will win a championship at UK and he for sure does not have the social problems as our previous coach did but you cannot ignore the stuff that is going on with Memphis… I am glad he has not been linked to anything at this point but we better be keeping score just in case…

There is a sportswriter from Kentucky who once wrote (as I have mentioned before) that there would be a Martian in the Whitehouse before there would be and African American Basketball Coach at UK which means of course Bill Clinton is a Martian… When Joker takes over the football program I am not sure what that will make the current President… Now this guy (the sportswriter) thinks a college should hire Bob Knight to be the coach… Well first of all Bob Knights time as a coach has passed and this is confirmed by the bang up job he did at Texas Tech after the IU gig, right… His argument is that although Bob Knight would score dead last in the category of personal behavior that a school should over look this and hire him like UK over looked all the issues with John Calipari… Unbelievable!!!

Cal much like BCG, whether you admit it or not, has “been around” some questionable items at their respected coaching stops but neither have been implicated by the NCAA or their schools…

Me personally I am not worried because unlike his predecessor Calipari understands the stage he is on and that will go along way… This to me makes a big difference…

See you from my seats in Rupp later this year!!!


Random Thoughts

- Coach Cal.com is the wave of the future for coaches… Coaches have to have the presence of a Website, Twitter, Facebook, etc… because that is going to get their name and the universities name out there… The old newspaper guys can fight this all they want but the Newspaper industry is dead… I have not picked one up in over a year…

- I was unsure about Twitter but I see writers starting to use this in a very effective way because something can happen at 1:00 PM EST today, they can write about it and then publish it within the hour vs. having to wait until the next day, the next magazine run or the nightly news… I will be signing up for some Twitter items over the next month…

- Mike Hartline is 3rd team preseason all SEC… Either someone knows something we do not or behind Tim Tebow and Javon Snead everyone else in the SEC is just mediocre at that position… I hope it is the first point…
- Glad to see Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice make the hall… If Rice does not get hurt in 75 the Sox may have won the World Series… Maybe would have even cost his teammate, Fred Lynn, the MVP and The Rookie of the Year award he won that year (still the only player to do that)… I hope the veterans committee at some point steps up and puts in Lynn along with Dave Parker…
- We are enjoying the Louisville Bats this year… They are leading their division by nine full games…
- It is time for Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson to also get there chance at the hall…
- UK’s starting defensive ends next year will have zero combined career tackles… Something to keep an eye on…
- The most ridiculous comment I believe I have ever seen or heard from a UK fan was one who said, “UK fans need to quit focusing on football, football is hurting the basketball program, just give up on it…” This person obviously has no clue what a financial impact filling up the Football Stadium and fielding a good team every year does for the University…
- Coach Calipari made an appearance at the Spring Game… My buddy Sheets said he saw BCG at Keenland (standing very much by himself)… Not that there is anything wrong with that (BCG being at Keenland) and just pointing out he is still in town…
- Tiger just being Tiger at the Memorial and AT and T but what happened at the British??… True Links golf if tough and he is losing it to the right bad… Back on track at the Buick and at Firestone…
- Hated to see Greg Norman have such a bad Master’s and British Open tournaments… I believe he practiced for the tournaments allot more than he even said he did… He had some great media interviews before the tournament started and I enjoyed watching them on the Masters website… Another heartbreak for him at the Senior British…
- How good of a guy is Kenny Perry??? He donates 5% of his winnings each year to Libscomb University…
- First time in about 20 years I did not handicapped the Kentucky Derby or any of the Triple Crown races… Would like to have cashed that ticket… I think the Filly, Rachel Alexander may have won the Triple Crown had she run in all three races… She romped in the Haskell a few weekends back…
- UK Linebacker Micah Johnson is a beast… We need a big year out of him in 2009…
- My golf game is marginal… I am shooting around 83 every time I play and I like to be 75 to 80… Driver has let me down this year big time but I have seen some significant promise lately… My short game is really good and that is due to practice although I gagged at a chance to shoot one over on nine holes with a shank chip recently…

- Run that by me again… KET ran some old sports shows this weekend that focused on multiple universities in the Commonwealth… My two favorites were a discussion about the 1976 Peach Bowl (UK vs. Clemson) and the 1921 Centre College football teams upset of mighty Harvard at Harvard… If you do not know that story read the book “The Praying Colonels”… I have mentioned before that ESPN ranked Centre’s victory as the greatest upset ever in college football…

Music

Heartless Bastards, a new band find from my wife… They sound really great with a rock, bluegrass type of sound… Racontourers were on Austin City Limits and they were awesome… I love Sonic Youth’s new CD also… The TING TINGS rock, That’s Not My Name!!! If you have not seen “The Hangover” then you need to go see it… VERY FUNNY!!!

Life Stuff

What have I learned about aging…

- I have spent time with my grandmother this summer as she has moved to a retirement community (I am very grateful for this opportunity)… At 92 years old it was finally time for her to move out of the county and into the city to a facility that has daily activities, meals a great social structure… My other grandparents already live there and love it (Absolute god send I have these grandparents)… What I have learned from all of this is first of all I wish we would have done this for her 10 years ago… Although she did not really need to do it then the transition to now would have been much easier… At 92 she still has a strong mind, etc… but this is an adjustment for someone who lived within three miles of the house she was born in her entire life… One lesson learned is that when I am about 75 years old or so I am going to make this move myself so no one has to do this for me…

- The other lesson I have learned is that both sets of my grandparents managed their finances, did not spend more then they made and invested a little money here and there and generally took care of their stuff… They worked hard their entire lives, had little more than a high school education, lived through the great depression and all came from very, very humble beginnings… Amazing what effort, responsibility, self motivation and making good decisions will do for people!!! They are comfortable people at this point other then the health issues caused from just plain getting older…

- They did all of this by donating allot of time, effort and money to various organizations throughout their years including Little League Baseball, Lions Club, Special Olympics and various religious organizations… Things that I very much plan to do when I retire as a tribute to them and a way to give back like they have done…

What I have learned about investing, retirement planning, healthcare, etc... That everyone should know (I get asked about this allot from people so I am sharing)

- I get asked allot and I hear people talk allot about how difficult it is to figure on how to invest, when to invest, how to budget, how to plan for retirement, etc… It is not that hard and you cannot afford to not understand this in your own way so make the effort…

- It is very important to understand you are not going to read one book, one article or have someone give you a magic formula for figuring out your finances and your retirement but with some self motivation and some good decision making you can make it happen… If you are married you need to work on this together and it will be a fantastic growth exercise and do not be afraid to include your kids so they understand what all this means…


- If you stopped investing when the market started taking a dip in May of 2008 that was a bad thing… Stocks have been “on sale” at rock bottom prices since then… If you were not investing prior to this period and are still not then you missed the greatest time ever to start… I believe the market will dip again after the fourth quarter numbers are in but that does not change how I am buying or what I am buying…


-The correct strategy over the last six months would have been to buy as much as you possibly could afford and then some more… The market just experienced the biggest five month gain since 1938 and will continue to stabilize and grow (even with a fourth quarter dip coming)… Recessions do not last forever and we have had five or six of them since 1920 and the reason we have had them vary greatly although the cause of the current financial crisis is almost a duplicate of the 1908 crisis the economy experienced (yes 1908)…

-Re-do your plan or better yet make a plan and a budget… How much do you need to retire??? How much Social Security will you draw (if in fact it is there)??? Do you have a pension??? What are your projected expenses when you retire??? What are your projected gains on investments??? I re-did my entire budget and plan this year and was surprised at the results using what I have learned from the market the last ten years, especially the last eighteen months… Go to Money Magazine.com and they have some very simple tools to help you get started… They have a simple quiz that takes less then five minutes to answer about your net worth, investing, etc… This quiz will tell you if you are on the right path or not about debt ration, retirement, investing, etc… If you do not understand any of the questions or cannot answer them then you have some work to do… I scored a B plus so I have some work to do…

- Be conservative when projecting out what your investments will look like up to retirement age and that way you will/should have more then you planned for… What is the magic number??? You must decide… There are several tools available to help project these things out available on line…

-Roth IRA and Roth 401k’s are the way to invest… These dollars are contributed after tax meaning when you get to 59 1/2 or after and start taking money out the money will not be taxed… Taxes are going to go up folks, they have to as government grows bigger and bigger and BIGGER… Raising taxes on everyone over the next eight to ten years (not just income taxes) is how this will be accomplished so pay the income taxes now versus paying them at a higher rate later when you take retirement distributions… Do you know what your tax rate is today between, income tax, social security; Medicare, state tax and sales tax you pay on the money you spend??? If not you should find out…

- Know your tax liability in retirement… This is really, really important… If you are drawing Social Security and taking distributions from a pre-tax investment account and/or working and/or drawing a pension and your total earnings are over $23000 in income then 85% of your Social Security will be taxed at the Federal Rate when you file your income tax returns (Pension, 401k distributions out of pre-tax accounts are income which is why Roth IRA’s and Roth 401k’s are the way to invest because these distributions in retirement do not count as income)…
Know which states do not tax pension benefits… If you are going to draw a pension that is where you want to live when you retire…

- Make sure you are allocating plenty of money in your budget for Healthcare when you retire... Don’t buy into the myth that healthcare costs are going to go down with the proposed government option because the costs and taxes to pay for the program are going to go up impacting everyone (check the tax rate for a married couple making a combined gross income of $80000 per year in Germany, France, Spain, Canada and England which are all countries who have government controlled healthcare and you will find an average of 45%, ouch… The average in the US right now is 28%)…

- The cost for private insurance is going to go up over the next fifteen years… If you are depending on the government for 100% of your health coverage especially in retirement I think that is a very bad plan… If you end up on a government plan you will need a supplement to cover life threatening type illnesses (cancer, etc…) as you get older to ensure you get the care or treatment you will want… If you are not in a position to buy supplemental coverage then you are putting your life and your any legacy you are trying to leave at risk… My plan is to stay completely off of any government option no matter what my age and no matter what the cost and that includes some limited Veterans coverage that I will be eligible for at a later date… Stay healthy, make sure you are getting good cardio exercise each week (at least three times), eat healthy foods, take vitamins which are all good decisions that can prolong your life and your health...

- If you have kids and you are not investing in ESA’s then you are missing the boat… 85% of families do not take advantage of this option and it is a relatively inexpensive way to save some money for college… If your kid does not use the money for college you get it back…
Debt is dumb!!! This point is reemphasized because the people who have struggled and are still struggling during the “financial crisis” are the people who historically have spent more then they made, had no plan, still have no plan, and have a very bad debt ratio, do not save or invest money, etc… and are now failing to do anything any different… That will never work!!! My favorite quote I have heard from all this is “Life is hard, even harder if you are stupid”… It does not take a college education to figure all of this out… If my grandparents did it and if I am doing it then you can do it too…

- The failure by the government and society at this point is a great teaching opportunity was missed to teach people how to manage their finances, be independent and chart their own path over the last several months… You cannot spend your way out of financial trouble whether you are an individual, a business or the government that math just does not work… The government is one of the main things that got us in this financial mess and now they are going to get us out… Please!!!

- Book those gains… If you have a financial plan with clear and defined goals then here is a simple rule of thumb… If you get to the end of the year and you are ahead of your overall goal then do what is called “Book the Gains” or in some circles “Rebalancing”… The biggest lesson I have learned from all of this is here in this formula (you have to decide your own formula)… If I would have done more of this over the last ten years then the blow I experienced would have been lessened over the last year… With some time and effort I have managed to recover all of my on paper losses from May of 08 to this point and guess what, I booked some of these gains in the last week…

- What should your mix be for stocks, international stocks, bonds and cash??? You have to decide… There are all types of formulas to figure this out for all over the internet but my two main sources are listed below…
If you do not know where to start the best places to go are Dave Ramsey.com and Money Magazine.com… These two places if used the right way will get you on the path to a better financial life and legacy…

Again, why do I share this information??? Mainly because I get asked about it allot… Lastly consider where I was in my life from ages of 13 to about 30 and all the influences I had during this period from things in my life (mainly me making poor decisions) and it is amazing that I can even have this type of conversation with anyone, period…

Consider who I am, where I came from and what my educational background is to this point in my life… Proof that anyone and I mean anyone who starts a pattern of making good decisions, puts forth some effort and makes and effort to understand things for what they are not what people tell you they are has a solid chance to as my friend Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else!!!”

If you are depending on someone else to make decisions for you then… well good luck with that… Create your own legacy!!!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

April 4th

Coaching Change at UK

Before I even get into this let me make sure there is one thing that everyone is clear on (something that Mitch Barnhart also pointed out during the introduction of Coach Calipari)… The UK Athletic Department is a separate entity then the University itself… The Athletic Department through donations (directly to the department) and the gates from events took in $67 million dollars last year in revenue… They operate with a profit, have a reserve of money and are consistently one of the top donators of money to the University…

This is important to understand because whatever buyout UK decides on with Clyde or to pay it’s new coach it will NOT come out of any state tax dollars provided to the University nor does the total compensation of the new basketball coaches… So for the people out there that are clamoring about how the Athletic Department is going to spend the money they have earned you are barking up the wrong tree…

We are in a time where people who are financially responsible and people who make money are under attack because of the transgressions of a small percentage of people and attacking the UK Athletic Department is unfair… You should worry about the “spend” more then you make mentality of the State and Federal Governments and not an organization that is standing on it’s own two feet… Do the research and you will find these entities are the driving forces behind the so called "financial crisis" and the federal government continues to run the largest “ponzi” scheme in the history of the world (folks it is not Bernie Madoff’s illegal scheme that is reported as the biggest ever) called Social Security… As Dave Ramsey says, “Debt is Dumb, Cash is King…”

So this is a first… The first time in my lifetime that a UK basketball coach has been fired (Eddie Sutton resigned before the hammer dropped)… What a whirlwind the last three years have been for UK Basketball…

First of all I think I understand the reasons why Clyde was not the guy… First and foremost he would not accept that he could just not be a coach at this program… He was going to need to do much more… As for the on the court he failed to develop the new players he brought in this year, failed to be willing to adjust and play some zone at times and did not hardly ever press… His switching just to switch defense just would not work with the players he had… Fair to let this guy go???

I am not sure of what all the off the court issues were but based on the comments I saw from Jodie Meeks father it seems like he had not only alienated the fans but also some of the parents of the program… All I know is I found Clyde to very condescending when dealing with the fans on his radio show (except for his last one) and of course his horrible behavior toward an ESPN reporter just made me cringe when I heard him do it not once but twice…

Fans will be fans… The call in shows are tough… If you ever listened to call in show for any other college team the UK call in show is about the same… You get some crazy comments and questions from people who are probably more interested in being on the radio then they are asking an actual question… Same with the halftime interviews during games, the questions are always kind of cliché and not very informative in general and are really about face time…

When dealing with the fans you need to know what you are getting and for one hour each week you put on your best face, listen to what they have to say, thank them for listening and come up with a response to whatever their question may be that is not contrite or condescending… I heard Joe B do it, I heard Rick do it, I heard Tubby do it and I have heard many other coaches do this same thing… You cannot be flippant and unresponsive to this group or to the host of the show for that matter… As for the half time interview you use every coaching cliché you can think of in your response at that time and you must remember at that point you are a spokesmen for your program at that point…

Should Clyde have been fired??? Who knows??? I think he should have gotten another chance, another year but it appears that Barnhart gave him a list of the things he wanted changed or wanted him to do and Clyde said no thanks, that is not why I am here… I am here just to recruit and coach… That will work well at allot of programs but not this program… If he said no I would not do those things then Mitch had little choice… I believe there is still way more to the story…

For the people who continue to say that UK ran off Tubby Smith I say “bullshit”… The enormity of the program is what caused Tubby Smith to leave… He too just wanted to recruit (some will question his dedication to recruiting) and coach… He recognized that this would not be enough at this program and chose on his own to leave… Had he stayed then he too would have to had changed his ways and he was not willing to do that so he left… I personally have the utmost respect for Tubby for recognizing and making his decision to leave… Point is Clyde and Tubby were allot a like but Clyde recruited much harder and it was showing…

I think it will be interesting to see the player reactions over the next couple of weeks… Think about the players who have left the program in the last year… Legion, Williams, and Jasper all had varying reasons for leaving but the Jasper situation is the most intriguing one to me… It is obvious this kid did not want to play last year and wanted to set another year to get his knee healthy… Sure the doctors released him to play but at UNLV the kid sat out this year and had done nothing but rehab is knee… He did not even practice with the team at all… To me that is a very curious situation… Will there be a mass exodus of players???

As for Mitch Barnhart he and Doctor Todd have made a big mistake and should be held accountable for this mistake… I personally like Mitch Barnhart and what he has done for all the athletic programs at UK… Women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis and golf are all on the up swing and if you talk to people who were in these programs before Mitch arrived then you will understand what all of this means… As for the Men’s non-revenue sports just look at baseball, golf, tennis and soccer and you will say see the same results… Folks this is not just a basketball school and if you think that is the case then you are a very narrow minded individual…

Mitch has been able to do this by implementing revenue streams that did not exist before he arrived at UK but had been done by other SEC schools for year… Although I still think Mitch got lucky with Rich Brooks he has a football program that is on the up swing and for those of you who do not realize it football pays for allot of the non revenue sports… You have to have people in those seats for football if you want to run a successful athletic department and you need a good stream of donations coming in to the department… Remember again UK Athletics stands on it’s own and is not subsidized with any tax payer money and they have donated money to the University from these coffers and will continue to do so…

I believe that Clyde has some major character flaws that I see as common ground among men 25 to 50… I will let you figure those out yourself…



Top Five Coaching Candidates in my book:

1. Billy Donavan (because he has been here before)
2. John Calipari
3. Mark Few
4. John Pelphrey (if he would have just had a better year)
5. Travis Ford (I hate even having him on the list)


Tubby’s Comments about Cal’s Contract

Former Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith defended the mega money UK put in a contract for new coach John Calipari.

During a news conference on Thursday for the National Association of Basketball Coaches at the Final Four, a reporter noted that a university president had used the words “mind boggling” and “eye popping” to describe Calipari’s eight-year, $31.65 million contract to be Kentucky coach.

When asked if there was any way to defend such a contract, especially with the world economy struggling, Smith said, “Yes. It’s a free market.”

Each school is free to set its own priorities and act upon those priorities, Smith said. “I can tell you they love their basketball in Kentucky. It’s something special.”

Here is my spin:

The point is yes the “World Economy” is struggling but there are entities and people that are not struggling and they should not be vilified for having a successful financial plan… That is bullshit!!!


Does Calipari Have the Right Level of Integrity

There is a list of transgressions (NCAA and some behavior issues) that have been committed by players that have played and currently play for Coach Calipari… That is one spin…

There is also a list of transgressions (none to my knowledge were ever linked to their coach) committed by players who played for during their coaching tenures such as John Wooden, Joe B Hall, Denny Crum, Steve Fisher, Billy Donavan and now Jim Calhoun… These coaches have never been found guilty of any wrong doing to this point… That is another spin…

The only coach-to-coach UK basketball (other than Eddie Sutton) including Coach Cal, to be tied to an NCAA violation was Rick Pitino when he was at Hawaii… It was a minor violation and I am not sure that anyone was ever penalized for this transgression or mistake…

Calipari like these other coaches has not been found guilty of anything… While at UMASS it is well documented that Marcus Camby was doing some bad things with alumni… Alumni or an agent was implicated and not the coach… There was some shadiness also at Texas A & M while Clyde was coach there that started under the previous coach and continued during Clyde’s tenure there… No rules violations but some questionable class schedules were the apparent issue as reported by HBO Sports two years ago…

Is Calipari the right guy??? If I were sitting in Mitch Barnhart’s chair my back up plan would have to be John Pelphrey… I still say that Johnny P, like no one else, gets what this gig is about… Question is can Johnny P recruit the level of talent needed to put UK Basketball back in the top 10??? I believe he can coach with the best of them but would he just suddenly be able to recruit because he is at Kentucky??? Tough question… If Johnny P had won the SEC West, made it to the sweet 16 or further then there would be no question that he would have been in Lexington on Monday accepting the job…

My wish is that Johnny P steps away from Arkansas and become the number one assistant at UK or the coach in waiting… Why not??? That my friends is the right thing to do but it will not happen…

As for Calipari… I think with Billy D saying he had no interest he had to be the guy you go to next from a pure coaching stand point… There is potential baggage there for sure but UK will not put up with any “shady” behavior and that is obvious to me after the two-year career of one Clyde… There is no doubt that Clyde has/had some “shady” behavior and I doubt the entire story will never be told… In the end Calipari may not want to be in this pressure cooker and that is OK because I am not sure that I would either… Tough gig!!! I remind you that the only coach to coach at UK who has been convicted of an NCAA violation besides Eddie Sutton is Rick Pitino…

Mark Story from the LHL newspaper has a great article questioning some of these transgressions that surround Calipari… He raises some valid concerns but there is nothing there that will tell me not to hire this man… This man can handle it and this man can get Kentucky back to being Kentucky on the basketball court very quickly…

I also have total confidence the Sandy Bell; The UK Compliance Officer along with Barnhart will keep it clean!!!


The Press Conference

He gets it… He gets the history, the expectations both on and off the court and what it means to the community and the commonwealth to have a coach involved like he will be involved… His wife is a class act and she will be a huge asset from the city of the Lexington and for the entire Commonwealth…

I really liked that he recognized Bill Keightly’s family, former players, Herky Rupp (Adolph’s son) and former coaches to get feedback and addressed the enormity of the situation, what it means to him and that those are the reasons he took the job…

He was very straightforward about his system, the current players, recruits, Memphis recruits and current Memphis players… There are probably a few players on the current UK team that will choose to go somewhere else (I do not blame them because during my time I was a great shooter off the screen, off the catch or spot but dribble drive and create my own shot was not in my game so I could play defense in this system but that would be it) and if they are not a good fit then I do not blame them… Same for the recruits…


What is the dribble drive offense???

SI did a big spread on this last year... They compared it to the Spread offense in football... It is a variation of what Duke has run for years (no set plays and you position yourself based on the person who has the ball and where they break to on the floor)...

Basically the guy driving will know where the players have broke too based on where they are positioned on the floor so if penetration is not there then they know where option b, c and d are positioned... If Galloway drove down the lane left then Meeks would be on the left wing for a three, Patterson would be on the left baseline for a kick and Stevenson would be coming down the weak side baseline... The fifth player would move to the top of the key (for a rebound or a kick from Patterson or Meeks)...

People will say that Cal just throws the ball up and lets them play… This is not true… This will be their primary way to run the offense but he will also adjust to how the other team is defending or the situation and run set plays and half court… They will also play some lock down defense…

All I can say is man I am excited… This was slam-dunk hire and I have very high hopes for the next five to ten years…


Baseball

The Louisville Bats kick off next week and the Major Leagues get under way this weekend… Everyone is picking the Cubs to win the National League so Cubs fans looks like another tough year…

My Redbirds have new faces and with some solid pitching should be a contender for the National League Central… The questions will be around their offense and the return of Troy Glaus (I am still reeling over not having Scott Rolen, the pre-injury potential hall of Famer Scott Rolen)… The Redbirds have some new faces and have a new “most” of the time or “primary” second basemen so they can have all their potent bats from last year in the line up at the same time… Their problem is no one to bat behind Puljos…

Everyone is predicting a Cubs and Yankees World Series… I am going with an Angels and Dodgers…

Can’t wait for Ricky Henderson’s Hall of Fame Speech!!!


Random

- Spring Football has started at UK… The Spring Game is April 25th and I will be there with bells on… I CAN’T WAIT FOR FOOTBALL and if all goes well I will see 9 of UK’s 12 games live in the flesh this year…


- Are we sure the NBA is playing… Still not watching…. The NBA like Major League Baseball is just too many regular season games… If both of these leagues would knock their regular seasons down by ten games their product would probably become more viable…

- If you have not caught any of the Haney Project on The Golf Channel check it out… He is trying to fix the hitch in Charles Barkley’s swing… If you are a golfer then you know what it is like to take your swing from the range to the course and what that means… Good stuff…

- ShagOnGolf finished first for the Spring Meet for Scuffletown Country Club, Third in the Fans of Devil Ball and twelfth in the Fans of Boo Weekly Pick sets… Luck, Luck, Luck and more Luck… Not playing Fantasy baseball again this year due to the time commitment associated with it (I cannot do anything half way in this arena)…

- There was a great audio interview of Chi Chi Rodriguez on Devil Ball last week… Talk about somebody who made something out of nothing this guy came from extreme poverty to not only become a great golfer but a great ambassador who runs a children’s foundation in Florida for underprivileged kids that is centered around golf… The best story was he said when he met Mother Teresa and shook her hand every hair on his body stood straight up… Chi Chi said based on where he came he used being poor to his advantage and quickly realized that if he wanted to make something of his life it was going to be up to him to do it and as he said, “That is what I did”…

- Tiger Woods will win the Masters!!!

- Sister Jayne is leading the ShagOnBasketball pick’em pool along with the other Western Grad in the pool Biddy Haynes… They could end in a tie of Wayne Hutchinson could sneak in to the victory circle if things go his way…


Music and Entertainment

“Put on your Boots…” Taking my wife for her Birthday to see U2… Will be a great end to the summer and the start of fall… The new U2 CD is one of their best, song 4 is fantastic and every Church Choir in the US should sing this song because it is so up lifting… U2 has such a great spirit and such a great spirit in their songs… Them all being around the same age I am makes me believe they are seeing the world through a similar set of eyes and that is reflected in the lyrics in their songs and why I relate to them… On the lines of entertainment… We had a discussion last weekend about the movie Fast Time at Ridgemont High and the fact the movie had three future Oscar winners Sean Penn, Forrest Whitaker and Nicolas Cage (aka Nicolas Coppola) in the cast… Also if you are not watching the show “Life On Mars” then you are missing out…