And we're back.....
After a couple of days where the Kentucky Sports Radio crew hit up Nashville and had fun with the Big Blue Nation, we are back and ready to get on target again for the UK season. It was an amazing couple of days and the Kentucky football team finished what has been a special couple of seasons.
Rich Brooks said after the game that this is the most special group of guys he has ever been around and it is easy to see why that is the case after games like Monday. The group of Seniors on this team are as special a group as we have ever have seen at Kentucky and all finished their career in style. Andre Woodson was the MVP of the Music City Bowl for the second straight year and broke the SEC single season touchdown record and the all time UK touchdown passing record in the process. Rafeal Little ran for a season high 153 yards.....Jacob Tamme scored a touchdown and make important play after important play.....Keenan Burton grinded out a serious injury to get on the field and make a couple of big catches....Wesley Woodyard had 15 tackles and anchored a defense that was solid all day...and Stevie Johnson, well Stevie got loose again, not once, but twice. The camradarie you see on this team is real and rare. Kentucky football hasnt seen a group like this in a long time and in my view, they are the equivalent of the 1992 basketball team in term of their impact on the program. Here is hoping that they are treated as such as see their names on the Wall of Honor soon.
To the news....
(1) MUSIC CITY CROWD
Later today, I will give my rundownw on some of the odder and entertaining parts of the Music City weekend (such as hailing a cab at a 24 hour restaurant and opening the door to find Bobby Perry), but initially it cannot be overstated how tremendous the crowd was for the game.
Once again, Kentucky fans flooded Nashville and dwarfed the following of the visiting team. This was the first game that I have ever watched directly from the field and the sound when the UK fans would do the C-A-T-S chant and cheer the arrival of the UK team was absolutely deafening. And the players could fell it as well. At one point during the game, I heard Dicky Lyons Jr say to Stevie Johnson, "it doesnt get better than this" and for a UK fan, that is truly is the case. There is nothing like a big time college football atmosphere.....it dwarfs even the best that basketball can offer. And when you look at these last two years and think about last season's Georgia game and Music City Bowl and this season's Louisville, LSU, Gameday Appearance and Music City Bowl....well folks it doesnt get much better.
(2) BASKETBALL GOODNESS
December 31, 2007, may go down as one of the more important days in UK sports, not just because of the football win but also because it saw a tremendous step with the UK basketball program.
In a game that few likely saw, but everyone should find, the Cats played BY FAR their best game of the season in a convincing 92-49 victory over a Florida International team that may have been coached by one of the cast members from the "Sopranos." For the first time all season, Kentucky was able to play with their five best players for extended minutes (Meeks, Jasper, Crawford, Bradley and Patterson) and use key subs (Harris and Stevenson) and role players (Porter and Coury) in an effective way to make a great team performance. Derrick Jasper did not look a step slow as he did Saturday and was the MVP on the floor....the game simply changes when he is out there and he dominated a game while only scoring three points.....a rare feat. I sat in a bar with a number of UK fans, all of whom were loudly cheering these new look Cats and hoping this was the turnaround. Whether that is the case remains to be seen, but I will say this. I think the Cats can, and will, beat Louisville on Saturday....do that and we are back in business.
(3) TEAM MORALE
Maybe the best sight on Monday during the basketball game was not the on-the-floor product, but the sights on the bench.
For the past month, this has looked like the most miserable team in history....as if all were forced to go to a 24 hour physics lecture taught by Rob Bromley and Dave Baker. But on Monday, they were rolling....smiles on the player's faces.....the bench standing up out of excitement, not just because of the team rule that they must stand when a player returns to the bench. Little used players got PT and the guys on the bench cheered them on, including a dagger 3 by the man who brought down the Bloods and the Crips, Mark Krebs. Even Coach Billy Clyde got into it, giving some smiles and laughing a bit on the sideline. After what I witnessed on Saturday, I wondered if a team could ever be more down than what I had viewed. But the team on Monday showed that 48 hours can be a huge turnaround when you are young, energetic and have UK coeds on your side.
I will have my Music City Report (which includes dancing penguins, an encounter with Bobby Bowden, Bobby Perry in a cab, and a great Dicky Lyons Jr story) tomorrow during the day. The radio show kicks back into gear tomorrow night and we will reset the basketball recruiting situation, while getting you ready for the Iowa Caucus, all tomorrow....strap in as we are back on board....