A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky’s new-look offense will feature ‘condensed’ game plan in annual Blue-White spring finale

By Keith Taylor KyForward senior sports writer For the third time in four years, a new coordinator will be calling the plays for Kentucky next fall, but don’t expect too much from the team’s annual Blue-White game set for noon Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. Although the Wildcats spent a majority of spring drills installing Gran’s system, the new-look offense won’t be fully...

Kentucky’s new offense installed, Gran pleased with Barker’s progress at quarterback

By Keith Taylor KyForward senior sports writer The new offense has been installed. The next step for Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran is “honing in” on fundamentals and techniques as the Wildcats wind down spring workouts. “We’ve got to get better at what we do, first steps, finishing, becoming tougher, executing on every single play,” Gran said Thursday. “That’s what we’re...

Stoops says Wildcats showing improvement and that’s what spring football is all about

By Guy Ramsey Special to KyForward As spring wears on, Kentucky’s coaches know the Wildcats will eventually hit a wall. With 15 practices over more than a month, it’s inevitable. But six practices in, it hasn’t happened yet. “Guys came back with a good practice this morning,” head coach Mark Stoops said on Tuesday. “We had great energy out there, very good enthusiasm.” That energy and...

Keith Taylor: Season-ending loss to Louisville completes another late collapse by Wildcats

Kentucky’s season-ending loss to instate rival Louisville in the Governor’s Cup summed up a roller-coaster season for the Wildcats. Kentucky built a big lead but failed to seal the deal in a 38-24 setback to the Cardinals Saturday that gave Louisville its fifth straight win in the series and bragging rights for another year. The loss also probably kept Kentucky out of the postseason for...

UK’s Dawson promises his team will be loose in critical showdown Saturday with Louisville

Shannon Dawson will be taking a redshirt freshman making his second career start into a rivalry game with a bowl berth on the line. To make the situation even more trying, the archrival in question – Louisville – features a defense known for its ability to harass opposing quarterbacks. That means Dawson is definitely going to be protecting Drew Barker, right? Wrong. He trusts his guy. “We’re...

Sports Notes: Despite modest numbers, Barker came up big for Cats when it counted the most

By Glenn Osborne KyForward sports editor By most standards, the numbers were modest, nothing to brag about really. Kentucky redshirt freshman Drew Barker completed 12 of 29 passes in his first collegiate start at Kentucky for just 129 yards. No interceptions, no touchdowns. Mainly, he handed the ball off on a cold, windy and wet night at Commonwealth Stadium and watched his running backs account for...

Keith Taylor: Kemp, Williams run wild as UK preps for Louisville with easy win over Charlotte

Charlotte was the cure for Kentucky. The Wildcats got a win they desperately needed going into Saturday’s regular-season ending showdown against instate rival Louisville, ending a five-game losing streak with a 58-10 rout of Charlotte Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky running back Jojo Kemp rushed for 165 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ win over Charlotte...

Keith Taylor: Stoops gives Drew Barker keys to offense, hopes backup can drive UK to bowl game

Mark Stoops has pulled the plug on Patrick Towles. Towles guided the Wildcats to a 4-1 start, but five straight losses, including a disappointing 21-17 setback at Vanderbilt last week, prompted Stoops to make a change with two games remaining in the regular season. Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker will make his first start Saturday against Charlotte (UK Athletics Photo) Drew Barker, a redshirt freshman...

Sports Notes: Wildcat fans are starting to question whether Stoops and Co. are up to the task

By Glenn Osborne KyForward sports editor After more than a month of watching junior quarterback Patrick Towles’ play regress, after watching Towles and his offense fail to score a point after gaining first downs inside the Vanderbilt five-yard line twice, after seeing Towles audible to a fade pass and throw a killer interception from the VU one, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops finally decided he had...

Kentucky has its chances, but the end result is the same in 21-17 loss at the hands of Vandy

Sophomore running back Stanley “Boom” Williams rushed 13 times for 115 yards on Saturday but it wasn’t enough as Kentucky fell to Vanderbilt 21-17 in an SEC matchup in Nashville. Williams had rushes of 66 and 38 yards in his return from an elbow injury. Kentucky (4-6, 2-6 SEC) lost its fourth game in a row and is still two wins short of becoming bowl eligible with home contests still on...

Towles, Barker feeding off renewed competition at quarterback prior to Vandy game

The week began with an apparent big change for Kentucky. The competition at quarterback between Patrick Towles and Drew Barker was open anew, making for a compelling few days of practice. But in reality, the change isn’t all that significant, not in practice anyway. The Wildcats will try to end a four-game losing streak Saturday at Vanderbilt. Kick off is set for 4 p.m. “It’s just been a normal...

Sports Notes: Kentucky’s season, bowl hopes figure to hinge on tough road match with Vanderbilt

By Glenn Osborne KyForward sports editor The SEC Network experts analyzing the Kentucky-Georgia game Saturday were unanimous in their predictions. None of them thought much of the Wildcats’ chances to pull off the upset between the hedges. Their opinion about coach Mark Stoops’ troops sure didn’t improve much following a 27-3 blowout that saw UK outscored 17-0 over the final two quarters...

Keith Taylor: Stoops puts Towles on notice as Wildcats prepare for conference finale at Vandy

By Keith Taylor KyForward sports writer Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has put starting quarterback Patrick Towles on notice as the Wildcats prepare for their last Southeastern Conference game of the year. Following a dismal performance in last week’s 27-3 loss at Georgia, Towles’ job appears to be in jeopardy as Kentucky prepares for Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt. Kentucky coach Mark...

Sports Notes: Backup Barker finally gets on the field on the wrong end of a Kentucky blowout

Kentucky backup quarterback Drew Barker saw his first live action of the season in the fourth quarter of the Mississippi State game (UK Athletics Photo) By Glenn Osborne KyForward Sports Editor All season long, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops has maintained that he’d like to get some live snaps for his backup quarterback, redshirt freshman Drew Barker. The only problem was finding the right...

Sports Notes: Towles' performance against Florida makes you wonder if he is the one

UK quarterback Patrick Towles completed just eight for 24 passes with two interceptions and 126 yards against Florida Saturday (UK Athletics Photo)   College football teams that aspire to win SEC division championships and become contenders on the national stage do not complete eight of 24 passes with two interceptions for 126 yards in what is considered to be their pivotal game in their season.   Yet...

Sports Notes: Towles’ performance against Florida makes you wonder if he is the one

UK quarterback Patrick Towles completed just eight for 24 passes with two interceptions and 126 yards against Florida Saturday (UK Athletics Photo)   College football teams that aspire to win SEC division championships and become contenders on the national stage do not complete eight of 24 passes with two interceptions for 126 yards in what is considered to be their pivotal game in their season.   Yet...

Keith Taylor: Patrick Towles not satisfied or content after beating out Barker for QB job

Patrick Towles was named UK’s starting quarterback Monday (UK Athletics Photo)   It’s hard to beat an incumbent.   The University of Kentucky coaching staff gave backup quarterback Drew Barker a chance to compete for the starting job when fall workouts began more than a week ago. For at least seven days, Barker gave returning starter Patrick Towles all he could handle. That was until...

Stoops likes team's effort, attitude following first week of practice; Towles to start at QB

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said both quarterbacks, Patrick Towles and Drew Barker, played well in Saturday’s scrimmage (UK Athletics Photo/Chet White)   Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops announced Monday that junior Patrick Towles would enter the season as the Wildcats’ No. 1 quarterback and that backup Drew Barker would also see some action.   Towles started every...

Keith Taylor: Shannon Dawson comfortable with either Towles or Barker at the controls

Kentucky offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson shares a laugh while meeting with the media Friday (Photo by Keith Taylor)   Shannon Dawson doesn’t have a timetable set for naming starting quarterback. With the season opener three weeks away, the University of Kentucky offensive coordinator gave no hint Friday as to who will be the Wildcats’ starting quarterback. Instead of putting one over...

Keith Taylor: Stoops not offering any free handouts as Wildcats begin fall practice

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles talks with a reporter during the team’s Media Day Friday at Commonwealth Stadium (Photo by Keith Taylor)   Mark Stoops makes “no bones about what it” takes to be a starter at Kentucky.   On both sides of the ball, the third-year coach doesn’t give out handouts when it comes to starting roles on his football team.   [widgets_on_pages id=”Keith”] “There’s...