“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s been 24 hours since Kentucky put the last nail in Houston Nutt’s coffin 30-13 at Commonwealth Stadium. And what a game it was. Ole Miss had at least 6 long gainers, but were held to 13 points. Kentucky trailed 13-10 to starter the final quarter but dominated the final frame in nearly every way possible. With the exception of LaRod King, the heroes of this game were underdogs, just like Kentucky.
All the hype was and is about freshman QB Maxwell Smith. Smith looked poised and mostly accurate last night in leading the offense. He gives Kentucky the best chance to win at the quarterback position and his coaches acknowledged that after the game. But after reading some message boards and listening to the post-game radio shows last night, I think some fans need to temper their expectations (and maybe some of their praise). He is still a freshman QB who doesn’t know all of the playbook and has trouble audibling. And for the heaps of praise his accuracy has received, he only completed 52% of his passes last night. Not to rain on his parade, but comparisons to Tim Couch are quite premature. Again Smith gives UK it’s best shot at winning ballgames and therefore should remain the starter going forward.
Lost in #11’s first win are the other great storylines of Kentucky’s “second season”. Walk-on CoShik Williams got the #1 tailback job due to injury versus JSU and has put on a show, racking up 345 yards and 3 tds in his last 3 games. Williams has shown excellent vision, a quick burst, and is hitting the hole hard. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them shut Raymond Sanders down the rest of the year. You can’t mention Williams’ success without giving credit to the offensive line. They have really gelled following the bye week and look like the unit everyone was so excited about in the offseason.
And finally, I have to make a personal apology to senior wideout Matt Roark. I have said many, many, bad things about Mr. Roark and his less-than-sure hands. I even wrote off last week’s 13 catches as a fluke caused by Smith tossing him 13 drag routes. Well Roark led the team in receiving for the 2nd consecutive week and had a pivotal end-around late in the game, all while playing on special teams. Kudos to #3 for keeping his chin up and proving his doubters wrong. It gives one hope that maybe next year Aaron Boyd will do something productive in his 5th year on campus.