No reversal of fortune for UK football



By Cody Porter

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Buy a child lemons and they can give you a lemonade stand — profit included.

Forget the sugar, and it’s just a bitter result.

For as far back as my UK football knowledge reaches, the Cats have either had a good offense or a good defense – never both.

Entering Sunday’s game against Louisville, there was hope that maybe, just maybe, the Cats could put together some substance on each side of the ball.

Instead, fans were treated to lemon juice.

Defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s unit allowed the Cardinals to essentially do anything they wanted.

According to the hearsay around camp and practices, it was only the Cats’ secondary that was to be a liability.

The creation of sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater one year ago, as Rick Minter said following a UK practice, led to many nightmares Sunday.

His dual-threat ability stretched the field in an incomparable manner.

Bridgewater opened the game with several passes of 15 or more yards, which opened the run for two Cardinal running backs, that in recent weeks, went unmentioned.

At game’s end, juniors Jeremy Wright and Sinorise Perry rushed for a combined 224 yards on 38 carries, 19 more attempts than the Cats’ entire team.

Allow me to take you back to media day on Aug. 3, 2012.

“The defensive line should be the strength of our defense,” said UK head coach Joker Phillips. “Should be the strength of our football team.”

Yeah, Joker, about that.

Ball in hand after UK’s eight-play opening drive, the Cardinals rammed it down the throat of the Cats’ defense – going almost the entire length of the football field, 99 yards, to score, before padding on a two-point conversion for an early 8-0 lead.

“That’s the most intimidating thing you can do to a defense is run the ball down their throat when they can’t stop you,” Minter said.

Minter added that seeing his defense give up not only that drive, but three others going 85, 93 and 71 yards is “demoralizing.”

“Our offense did it to us one day in practice. Maybe that was a forwarner of things to come. They went 98 (yards) on us,” he said.

That 98-yard drive during an Aug. 18 practice brought abundance of optimism for Phillips because that drive was carried out predominantly by his team’s running backs – running backs that were rarely used Sunday.

Obviously since this story has unfolded, and UK didn’t carry the ball in great quantities, the proverbial wool was pulled over our faces again. Maybe the Cats altering success can only be found during summer days at the Nutter Training Facility.

Trailing 22-7 at the half, Phillips optimism for his defense may have left Louisville, along with the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, as the Cats opened the second half with an onside kick.

Later, freshman punter Landon Foster dove into the depths of the red sea when he attempted a fake punt.

Risks like this were expected. But, it wasn’t expected to come as result of trying to compensate for an underachieving defense.

Now, UK can improve, it is only one game, but to take a step forward from last season, they need to reflect the improvements of their offense.

After-all, isn’t watered down lemonade better than no lemonade at all?