A Cold Night Ends An Era

Matt Jonesalmost 12 years


Aritcle written by:Matt JonesMatt Jones
cold I just returned from the Titans Field with most of my major appendages having survived one of the coldest, windiest nights I have ever spent at a sporting event. It was not ideal weather to watch a game, or stay coherent, but it did showcase the Cats 21-13 loss that will likely end the Rich Brooks era. After the game, Brooks said there was an 80% chance he would not return next season and he would make his final decision within the next 3-4 days. If this was his last game, it wasnt a fitting departure. The team played with effort, but uncharacteristic mistakes and mental errors did them in. Gene McCaskill's fumble, Randall Cobb's dropped pass and various defenders missed tackles were too much to overcome and a team that prided itself in playing with intelligence, lost by forgetting to do just that. After the game we found out that Derrick Locke is likely to return for his Senior season, and that is good news for next year's Cats. But chances are that team will be the first team of the Joker Phillips era instead of the final group for Brooks. Tonight in the freezing cold, we saw old school Brooks...yelling at the punter for a poor kick, running on the field to call a timeout and looking as if he was ready to attack a polar bear on the North Pole. He will be truly missed by a program that he helped resuscitate to such a level that it can lose its first Bowl game in 40 years and legitimate grumbling could be heard in the stadium. Brooks changed the bar on which UK football is measured. No longer is failure expected and winning a surprise, but winning is expected and upsets over top teams are a potential surprise. He has made UK football relevant to such a degree that a loss to Clemson in a Bowl game can be considered disappointing, and not the crowning achievement of a season. There will be plenty of time this week to look back on all things Rich Brooks. But for now lets just say that tonight's FRIGID night in Nashville was a disappointing season-ender for UK. The defense played relatively well and generally did a good job against a great running attack. But the offense didnt bring its "A" game both in playcalling and execution, and a loss was the result. 40,000 UK fans braved the elements to support the Cats and while they didnt get a victory, they did get to show support one last time for a coach who may be the most successful non-cheater in modern UK football history. Unfortunately he deserved a better ending.

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