A New Season Brings Hope of a Fast-Paced Offense


Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

When Neal Brown was hired to be the offensive coordinator, Kentucky fans were hopeful that a fast-paced offense would follow. After all, when Brown was at Texas Tech, he was known for a “NASCAR” pace on that side of the ball. But last year didn’t go as planned; Brown, however, is hopeful this season will be different. Kyle Tucker writes:

"“‘We’ll pick our spots in this game. I want to make sure that we’re not playing so fast that we’re hurting ourselves, you know? But we’re in a position now, going into our second fall, that we’re able to play really fast when we need to,’ he [Brown] said. ‘And there’s going to be some times in this game where we’ll play at a really quick pace — faster than we ever executed last year.’Kentucky has a more athletic offensive line, a new starting quarterback in Patrick Towles and, after adding five freshmen receivers who are all expected to play, is finally deep enough there to push the pace without wearing down the wrong team.”"

When Coach Stoops announced that Darrian Miller wouldn’t be playing on Saturday because of a violation of team rules, it threw a wrench into the game plan for offensive line coach John Schlarman. How did Schlarman handle the news? John Clay writes:

"“And then, about a week or so out, you are Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman and you are told that your best, most experienced player won’t be playing in that first game.That would be enough to make a coach’s head explode.Not Schlarman, who took the unexpected news of Darrian Miller’s disciplinary measure with the calmness of someone who, frankly, didn’t have time to lose his mind.Hello, Plan B.‘We’re always preparing for the ‘next guy up’ mentality,’ Schlarman, himself a former UK offensive lineman, said after Tuesday’s practice.”"

As the college football season opens up, both UK and UofL have some intriguing storylines. How will Kentucky do in its second season with Stoops in charge? Will Petrino pick up right where he left off at Louisville? Who will finish the season as Kentucky’s starting quarterback? Mark Story writes:

"“21.Job one for Patrick Towles. Simply put, the first challenge for Kentucky’s new quarterback is to make it through every game of the 2014 season as the Wildcats starter.”"

Some have suggested that the Arizona Wildcats, not the Kentucky Wildcats, should be ranked number 1 when the first polls are released in a few months. After all, Arizona returns most of its team as well, to go along with some pretty good newcomers. They ought to be the best team on the other side of the Mississippi. But, there are some questions about the team. Dana O’Neil writes:

"“But here’s the but. When the game is on the line and Arizona needs a bucket, who does coach Sean Miller go to?The Wildcats aren’t built to win with offense. With defense and offensive rebounding as good as theirs, that’s fine. You do, however, still need to score in this sport, especially in key situations.”"

Bruce Pearl’s show-cause penalty ended Saturday. And the former Volunteer head coach (or, as I like to think of him thanks to my Butler undergrad days, former Milwaukee head coach) has had a nice couple of days since then, giving all 100 Auburn basketball fans hope they might finally make the NCAA Tournament again. Jeff Borzello writes:

"“Although it’s August, Auburn was the biggest story in college basketball for four days. On Friday, it was Purifoy. On Saturday, it was Pearl’s show-cause ending. On Sunday, it was Spencer. And on Monday morning, it was Dunans. When is the last time a non-blue blood owned headlines like this?There was little question that Pearl would make an impact at Auburn. He’s won at every stop, and his enthusiasm, energy and style are attractive to prospective recruits. Players want to play in his up-tempo system. But no one could have foreseen a weekend like this for the Tigers.”"