First thoughts on Kentucky

Dial up this clip to around the 26:30 mark to listen to what Gary Danielson has to say about Kirby’s mindset going into Saturday’s game.

I tend to agree that it boils down to what lessons Kirby’s taken from the Auburn loss.  Overall, does he chalk it up as a one-off and stick with what’s worked in the first nine games of the season — solid run game, tough defense and competent special teams play — or does he decide to throw all that out and rework his offensive philosophy?

I lean towards the former, for three reasons:  his tendency towards being conservative; the opportunity to reinforce the most important message the team needs to hear after Auburn, which is better execution (particularly on the lines); and the reality that Kentucky isn’t as good a team as Auburn.

That last reason cuts both ways, though.  The ‘Cats do a respectable job against the run.  Currently, they’re giving up 3.77 yards per rush, which is 35th nationally.  They’re not so hot defending the pass, though.  UK’s defensive passer rating is 139.50, which is only 98th.  (As you might expect, it’s even worse in conference play.)  That might suggest this game presents an opportunity to rebuild the confidence of Fromm and the offensive line by opening up the passing game, at least until Georgia establishes control.  But what do I know?

One last early point goes back to the second reason I noted.  I have no clue if this is just a matter of message sending, or if the staff is genuinely searching for other options to reboot the o-line’s performance, but either way, it’s worth keeping an eye on Ben Cleveland getting reps with the first team line, if only to see if Kirby is sending a message about complacency… as well as if the message is being received.

35 Comments

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35 responses to “First thoughts on Kentucky

  1. Derek

    I just hope we see some first down passes! Why didn’t we try any!?!? They woulda worked I just can just feel it!

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    • Russ

      You forgot to say “First”.

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    • No, I want to see our Plan-B offense. It has Eason in the gun, and 5 deep ball threat receivers out wide. No tight ends. No RB. Hardman lines up in the backfield some.The O-line will have much wider gaps of course, and will zone block only. Because Chaney has all the time in the world to implement a different offensive scheme you know?

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      • Derek

        I’ve always been a big fan of Plan R.

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      • whb209

        And if that did not work, we should have run the Veer. I am sure any good coaching staff would have been working on these totally different schemes. Hell, they have 20 hours a week to work on this stuff. Why waste so much time…

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  2. My main issue from Auburn was when we saw that they were kicking our behinds with the run, we stayed with the non-creative run game and did nothing to create any tension or pressure on them. And that was inexcusable and on Cheney and Kirby. Period. We found out how good our O-line was. And I have been saying this all year. We were going to meet a team that was going to stop our run game – I had Auburn in mind when I said that and they did – and when that happened if we did not have an effective vertical passing game – we would be screwed, and we were. Do we have a tight end? I was just wondering because I have not seen one catch a pass in a very long while. Unforgivable in my book. We are going to get more of the same against the run this week, so Cheney and Pittman better have some answers. I hope Tucker has a game plan to get more pass rush as well. We had decent pressure against Stidham at times but left him alone too much.
    Cmon Dawgs, hold your head up and show us you have a new identity. Please.

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    • Derek

      Yep. They should have at least tried the sleeper or a flea flicker. Probably woulda worked.

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      • Uglydawg

        Trick plays work occasionally, but they more often backfire. As Derek has pointed out, Georgia did pass some on first down…but as CKS has said, it has been tough getting the ball to the backs. The wider receivers were getting held by Auburn and the no-calls neutralized them..that leaves these big old boys that line up on the los right outside of the tackles…”tight ends”…the are a great option on first down.

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        • Uglydawg

          I’d love to see the flea-flicker handed to to an end-around. It would be dive play-fake, pitch back to QB who hands it to end or back streaking around. If there is time for the QB to fake-pump once downfield, so much the better.
          Against AU, there wasn’t time but had there was time for the end around.

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      • whb209

        I have the answer.. Quick-Kick…
        We have not run that in… forever. It would have confused the shit out of Auburn and they would have panicked then surrendered

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    • atlasshrugged55

      I highly doubt you’ll see any deviation from the plan used since Kirby got here. If we stuck to the plan last week while getting emasculated I think we’ll trot it out this week & next week & the week after.

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      • paul

        I think you’re correct. We all keep saying that we hope they’re simply not tipping their hand or saving something for later in the season. So far we’ve had one plan and one plan only. If we had something else, I can’t believe we wouldn’t have used it last week. With apologies to the Who, meet the new plan. Same as the old plan.

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    • Dawg in Lutz

      i would like to see some passes to the TE’s in the middle of the field. Nauta and Blaze are both mismatches vs a LB. Why not use them on play action passes?

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  3. Will stick to what we’ve done all season for these next 2 games; perhaps a couple small wrinkles to work on something for SECC game.

    We can out ath-e-lete KY and GT- no need to do anything different and also show Bama/Aubie any new looks we may have.

    No way Chubb, Michel, L. Carter, R. Smith lose their last game in Sanford to a bitch team like Kentucky.

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    • southernlawyer11

      Don’t you think it’s a little past time to lay our cards on the table ? I mean, I don’t think we conceded a skull dragging last week in order to save our playbook for the rematch. I’m going to be sorely disappointed if we’re not constantly throwing out new wrinkles on Saturday. If they’re going to work in Atlanta (and they will have to) you’ll need to see if they work in a real game before then.

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  4. Cleveland getting some reps is interesting. You kinda wonder if the light is coming on for him. He certainly looks the part and has the size. I do wonder if they’re looking for him to play instead of Baker on Kindley? Kindley has a really rough day, but ultimately he has the size Kirby is looking for too.

    It will be interesting to watch.

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  5. Stoopnagle

    Go back to what’s got us to 9-1. Focus on the 9 and not the one. Run the ball, keep running the ball, throw on occasion, play solid defense. There’s no reason to think Georgia can’t do those things versus Kentucky at home.

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  6. The other Doug

    Kirby is thinking about the SEC CG, and what he needs to tweak for that game. Does he practice the tweaks against UK and let Gus or Saban prepare? I doubt it.

    I see a lot of RPO and Chubb up the middle.

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    • Granthams replacement

      I hope we see a lot of RPO with #7 and 1 to the OUTSIDE.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me too. Gotta get Auburn or Alabama running sideways a lot and hope to get a few first downs each possession.

        6 3 and outs will produce the same result.

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      • Cojones

        That’s the word I’ve been searching for in our posts: “OUTSIDE”! We just don’t seem to do it enough. We have RBs who can cut on a dime and stringing out that line gives them opportunities to do so. I’m looking at you #1 and #7. And #35 and #13 ain’t bad.

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  7. Macallanlover

    I think we see some experimenting on the OL the next two games but basically stick to what we have been doing…with a little more passing. I am OK with that because it finds out what might work better but doesn’t give Saban or Malzahn much new material to prepare for. I don’t know how much we can change things up, but it would only take a few tweaks, better execution, eliminating dumb errors, and (here is the hard part) a coaching staff playing to win and not afraid to trust our guys. Let it rip in the SECCG, it is what we play for.

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  8. Scorpio Jones, III

    Maybe Cleveland is not thinking about how he is gonna deal with Rashaan Evans?

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  9. Greg

    Thinks Kirby is hardheaded as hell, he ain’t gonna adjust if it ain’t working. I can’t think of a game this year or last in which he has. It may work at Bama, but he ain’t at Bama…our OL is not there just yet. I know he has to be smarter and realize that, but dang…this is getting old. If it ain’t working, at least try something different, that is what is so frustrating.

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  10. 92 grad

    All these “plan B” comments are interesting on the surface but in reality it’s never going to happen. This is high level football and they do everything possible to get results, I think it’s more intricate than most realize. 1. Offense takes what the defense gives. Auburn rushed 4, covered man, and tacklers were quick and precise. Screens, outs, slants, and posts were not there because they affected the qb with only 3 or 4 guys. They outplayed our offense. Period. 2. Our offense will take what the UK defense gives us. Going to use inside run game as much as possible and follow up with off tackle and speed around the edges if it’s there. The slants, outs, posts might show up if our line blocks well enough.

    If there’s anything new, especially personnel grouping, we won’t see it until the championship game. The big picture look is that the loss to auburn was acceptable. Yes, it was a matter of pride to want to win but it was not a matter of reaching goals and that game did not merit losing any strategic or schematic advantage if there is one. With the playoff there is an NFL type strategy which is that when you clinch an appearance into the championship game you play the long game and don’t blow all your energy into meaningless games.

    I don’t necessarily agree if what my comment says is true and I don’t like it either, but it very well may be what is going on.

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    • paul

      We’re in the SEC championship game. Losses won’t affect that. But losses will affect whether or not we make the CFP final four. A conference champion with two or more losses is not guaranteed a spot. Do you think the PAC-12 champion is getting in? This is not the NFL where you win and you get to move on. It’s nice to fantasize about us holding back on some schematic or strategic advantage. Truth is, in two seasons we’ve really only seen one game plan. At least last year we let Eason sling it around a bit more when the plan wasn’t working the way we liked.

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    • Cojones

      92, we had the same thoughts last year waiting for an uncovering of a new set for the O. Didn’t happen. Are we falling into the same reasoning (or lack thereof) this year? Why wouldn’t we have opened up a new can of ass-whoopin’ at halftime of the Auburn game. To what O guru would we bend to at Ken, Gt or ‘Bama by not doing all that we are capable to win the Auburn game.

      Shit, if we have hidden power that’s so great that we can sacrifice a game to wait and unveil it later, it must not be very powerful. If it was, we simply could just insert and make all the D prep of all teams be re-twisted to combat us. I don’t think there is anything beyond what we see every game.

      Does anyone else here have anything that they can point to what would make us think we have another plan in reserve?

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  11. AusDawg85

    START RAMSEY!!

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  12. Will Trane

    UK goes on the road to Nashville and comes out with a win, #7 for them in ’17.
    Vandy has a three year starter at QB. He can throw. He did not hurt UK with passes.
    So how does Chaney plan to attack UK. They may not be Auburn, but they damn sure can play. For the wine and cheese fans you had better wake up that this will be a tough game for the Dawgs. Will get beat if they do not come out like Auburn did to them. Ready to play, and to make a statement.
    Ben Cleveland. He has played some this year. In the USC game he was used in that unbalanced heavy line set the Dawgs showed. Ran to the weak side and not the strong side.
    My question is where is that set going in next three games. Will they put mecole in motion on a jet sweep to the weak side or do that run Swift behind the strong side looking for a lane or to get outside. Or do they throw off it or the QB RPO.
    But they put Cleveland in that package.
    You would think over the course of a season, with somewhat two QBs with pretty much the same game experience now, your passing offense will have moved up and evolved. Does not appear so since they do not show it.
    If you can not throw the ball in the SEC you are not going to beat a Bama, Auburn, or a Clemson or Miami in the ACC.

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    • Cojones

      The least we all could do is replay last year’s “gimme” Ken game one more time to realize that this is a repeat of disaster waiting to happen. And if they can trounce the hell out of Ken, I have umpteen more questions about this team.

      Don’t anyone get me wrong; I’m on board the wagon as I had been before last year’s letdown from expectations. I’m not ready to replay the same shit all over again. For those of you who say the plan you projected is on course and to expect one or two more losses; I hear you. My fan status is locked in this year and I certainly enjoyed the first 9 games and look forward to cheering for more. If we don’t win out, so be it. This is a good bunch of Dawgs and hope they know we are pulling for them to pull off some hard work while trying to maintain their heads above water in the classroom.

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