By Drew Johnson
Drink it in, Big Blue Nation. Our favorite time of year is mercifully in full swing. Did you hear the Air Raid siren blaring? I heard your new grill is a hit on the tailgate scene, and your chili recipe is already in demand. Is that cumin I tasted? I see some of you lucky ducks still have your tan from Big Blue Paradise in Atlantis. I hope you used sun block. Skin cancer is a killer. Is your neck still sore from watching all those alley oops? Mine sure is. I watched the games from my couch. OK, I didn’t watch the games on my couch; I watched them at my favorite Louisville bar. Those bar stools sure weren’t good for my back.
As the title of this little ditty suggests, it’s grand times in Kentucky fandom. We’ve got a little swag in our step. As of this writing, Stoops Troops are 2-1 with a great effort against the Florida Gators, losing in triple OT. Coach Cal went all “Coach Cal” on the college basketball world, announcing the first Kentucky only NBA Combine. Does the man ever stop being innovative and awesome? Basketball recruiting is quiet for now, but rest assured, Kentucky not getting the best of the best is something none of us should worry about. I’m starting to wonder if the Billy Gillispie years really happened or if I was drugged.
As we roll into the Keeneland Fall season, what have we seen so far, BBN?
UK Football actually LOOKS like an SEC football team.
Shout out to my Uncle Kip for those stellar seats against Ohio University. I was able to get a closer look at just how much Kentucky’s football team has grown. We have some behemoths, folks. For the first time since the days of Jeremy Jarmon and Corey Peters, Stoops 2.0 actually passes the SEC football team eye test. These boys aren’t missing any meals.
Matt Elam is the largest human being I have ever seen.
It’s not even close. The freshman from Elizabethtown is a bona fide monster. Watching Ohio try to block him was like watching midgets trying to block Andre the Giant. As soon as he gets in shape, he’s a walking double team.
Tyler Ullis is the tallest 5’9” person I have ever seen.
By that, I mean there’s no way he is 5’9”. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. As he showed in the Bahamas, the freshman from Chicago will see valuable minutes with the Harrison Twins. Based off what he has shown BBN so far, one could make a strong argument that Ullis will be the best “pure” point guard of the Calipari era.
Alex Poythress is beastlier than ever.
When Alex jumps, he keeps going higher. And higher. And higher. And...well, don’t burn up on re-entry, Alex—or borrow an astronaut’s helmet.
Bud Dupree goes from zero to sixty faster than a Jaguar.
The senior from Georgia has the fastest burst off the edge I have ever seen. By my count, he was held at least six times in the Ohio game because Ohio cheated and that’s what cheaters do when they can’t stop somebody. Now it makes sense to see NFL draft experts calling him a first round possibility.
Kentucky’s backfield is the truth.
Braylon Heard. JoJo Kemp. Mikel Horton. Josh Clemons. Boom Williams. All are SEC quality running backs. All have big play ability. All make life easier on Patrick Towles and the passing game. Speaking of...
Patrick Towles is going to be really, really good.
Granted, it is early, but the redshirt sophomore has looked strong to open the season. His grasp on the Air Raid offense is improving, he can make plays with his legs, and he’s got the arm to make any throw offensive coordinator Neal Brown wants him to. He has total command of the offense and is the undisputed leader. Once Javess Blue gets healthy, Towles will have a full arsenal at his disposal.
It’s a pain in the rump, but the construction on Commonwealth Stadium will be worth it.
Everyone hates construction. It is frustrating. It takes forever. It causes me to start cussing like I have Tourette’s Syndrome when I’m in a hurry. But have you seen what the next Commonwealth Stadium will look like? If you still don’t believe in Kentucky’s commitment to the football program, you never will.
Let the good times roll!