Ira D. Combs Tri State Sports Media
August 18, 2014
Finally, after Cal’s Cats’ Big Blue Bahamas tour stole the thunder away from Stoops’ troops and UK football for the last week and a half, we can get down to some serious UK and SEC football talk.
Word coming out of fall camp over the weekend from those supposed inside sources that amazingly virtually everyone has was that Mark Stoops would name a starting QB sometime early in the week maybe as early as Monday, so if this is true, by the time you read this column, wherever you get it either online or in your county’s weekly paper, the new QB should be known. I’ll stand with my original prediction of RS sophomore Patrick Towles. Whether it’s Towles, Phillips, or the new kid on the block Drew Barker, this only means the battle is half won. Now, how the starting QB plays either gets him a lock on the position or the always popular back-up becomes the new savior. Also, there is another possible scenario that could—and I think definitely will—develop at some point during the season.
Based on the fact that no serious lengthy injuries occur to Towles or Phillips the first six games, do you at some point put the red shirt on Barker? You can’t predict the future in any sport, especially in SEC football, but with the history of injury for UK at the QB position I’m betting the coaching staff will be confronted with this decision and it will be an even more difficult one if UK has say three or four wins under its belt at the halfway point of the season.
When all is said and done just remember there is nothing that can be done by coaches to prepare a player for actual game competition, you simply have to experience it. There is practice speed and there is game speed, then, for the most part, you have your No. 1s lining up against your No. 2s, which is a completely different quality of talent they’ll face in games.
Still, with all this taken into consideration, the trained football eye can plainly see after the first three open workouts there is a better quality of football talent, size, and speed lining up across the line and on both sides of the line at UK, but it takes time to develop the product once you get it on campus. It’s difficult for the average fan to keep hearing that developing a college football team is a process, but it’s very true.
Cal’s Cats go 5–1 on exhibition tour
Relax, BBN. The lone loss doesn’t count on the official 2014-15 regular season schedule, but the five wins don’t either. It all falls under a special exhibition season that all NCAA teams are allowed to take once every four years during the summer off season.
The biggest news coming out of the tour in my opinion was probably the grouping of two five-man teams. I don’t think Cal in his wildest dreams expected to get the positive results he got out of the experiment, and without arguably his best defensive center in Willie Cauley–Stein and a very talented freshman forward in Trey Lyles.
What did the platoon system prove? To me, it proved that Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins are ready for some prime time minutes , the problem is where do you find them .
You think it’s difficult finding minutes for a 10-man rotation? What about a 12 man rotation? I’ll say this before I move on, if nobody on this team walks during or at the end of the first semester—they ain’t leaving, they’re here for the duration. It appeared that all players had bought into the present two-platoon system, now let’s see if the feeling is mutual with two more thrown into the mix. If there has ever been a college basketball team that could afford one, maybe even two serious injuries and still keep playing effectively then we’re all about to witness it. Hopefully all will be standing with strands of the net hanging from their jersey in Indianapolis next March.
The new SEC TV Network kicked off with a big blast last Thursday, and all reports point toward a successful first year. Just remember, most satellite companies and cable systems have an alternate channel called the over flow channel, which is basically an extra channel created for those weekend football and basketball bonanzas, so all SEC games can be seen live on TV, which couldn’t be televised on the ESPN family network or the SEC TV Network, check with your satellite provider or cable system operator for the number of your over flow channel.
You can go online to CombsBrothersOnKySports.com for more coverage of UK football and basketball as well as KHSAA football and basketball.