I realize that I have slacked a bit on the Kentucky football coverage over recent weeks. The reason for this is relatively simple. Nearly every year, something occurs that quells my preseason enthusiasm regarding the football Cats. Specifically, they begin to play games against actual opponents. Generally, this leaves me in a bit of a disoriented and depressed state that prevents me from forming rationale thoughts and reducing them coherently into words and phrases. Equally as importantly, the loyal Kentucky Sports Radio viewer probably has very little desire to catch up on a team that is staring longingly up at mediocre when basketball season is upon us. In fact, I hear that my football oriented segments of the radio broadcast are now linked on the download as “potty time.” No offense taken. Nonetheless, today is a new day, and a Kentucky football news item caught my eye, and I feel it is incumbent upon me to address it.
Kentucky is 3 and 4. (Hold on, that is not the news item.) They were most recently administered a savage beating at the hands of LSU in which the Bayou Bengals played everyone but Gerry Dinardo at quarterback, and still beat Kentucky 49 to 0. Kentucky has the worst defense statistically in Division 1-A football, and the offense has not exactly been a juggernaut in SEC play. None of this inspires confidence heading into Saturday’s game….. Unless your name is Dicky Lyons.
In an article by Chip Cosby, who is a great guy by the way, in today’s Lexington Herald Leader, Dicky made the following statement on Mississippi State.
"We've got to have it, we want to have it, we should have it, and I think we will have it," said sophomore receiver Dicky Lyons Jr. "I don't think we should lose this game. Coach (Rich) Brooks has been telling us that they're a good team and saying all the right things, but I really feel like we're better. I feel like we can get our backups in; I want to play that type of game. I want to do to them what LSU did to us."
What? Could that have been public smack talk from a Kentucky football player? How can I say this politely? That is impossibly dumb. Guess I can’t say it politely. This is Kentucky football, Dicky. I know your dad was a Kentucky legend. I know that you seem to catch a touchdown every game and that refs don’t care whether you run out of bounds first, but you can’t make statements like this. In case you were unaware, Kentucky has won shockingly few SEC road games over the years. Those that Kentucky has won have generally held the common denominator of utter apathy by the opponent. On those happy Saturdays, Kentucky sneaks in to a locale such as Starkville, plays a game in front of literally dozens of disinterested fans, and sneaks out with a victory that few can confirm actually happened. (This is known in some circles as the Bloomington Phenomenon.) Saturday was setting up with great potential for just such an occurrence. Mississippi State is not good. Their fans do not like their coach or their program’s direction, and have no real reason to be interested in this game. Similarly, the Mississippi State players have no real reason to get excited. That is until Dicky’s comment. Maybe it will go unnoticed. Maybe it will avoid the Mississippi State bulletin board. Maybe they don’t even have bulletin boards in their locker room, but rather one of those dry erase boards with a number of colorful markers. Those are nice. But anyway, why risk it? Why give an unmotivated team a reason to want to beat you in a game you absolutely have to have to keep bowl hopes alive? I guess the real answer is youthful exuberance, which Dicky Lyons seems to have in spades. I guess that enthusiasm is part of the reason he is the player he is. I just hope it doesn’t cost the Cats a free win in Starkville.