Kentucky football: Vandy loss destroys season, credibility who’s going to pay

UK offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello
UK offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello /

The Kentucky football team played and laid the biggest and most embarrassing egg losing to Vanderbilt 24-21 and it’s time to pay the piper as coach Mark Stoops needs to accept responsibility for the total failure of this season and start cleaning house immediately.

There are no excuses.

There are no we played hard excuses.

There is no we just didn’t execute when we had the chance.

There is no Vanderbilt is a good team – no they are not.

Vanderbilt beating Kentucky was the first win over a Southeastern Conference team for the Commodores since 2019 – a span of 26 games. The forever cellar dweller just rose up and pulled the rug out from Kentucky and their season.

Stoops had a lot to say after the loss and he hit it right off the bat.

"“Our team has to — we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and address the situation and address the things that are going on and respond one way or the other.”"

Very true and the state of the program was set back 10 years after this loss alone and the season falling to pieces sits at a crossroads. Where Stoops chooses to take it is up to him as the interest now switches fully on to hoops.

Back in August while in the Bahamas, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari made the remark that Kentucky was a basketball school and sent some shock waves across the bluegrass state.

"“This is a basketball school. Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls. But this is a basketball school.”"

Stoops immediately took offense and fired back prompting Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart to step in.

Turns out Big Blue Nation doesn’t have to be convinced of that after this version of a football season has come unraveled and is sinking faster than the Titanic did.

Rich Scangarello was brought in from the San Francisco 49ers after Liam Cohen vaulted the UK offense in a single season into the spotlight and along with showcasing, building, and nurturing the talent that quarterback Will Levis. He set Levis up for success and the NFL as one of the top picks in the upcoming draft.

Cohen left to move to the top offensive job with the LA Rams in the NFL and Stoops went back to the NFL and brought in Scangarello, who in the eyes of all Kentucky fans has in just 10 games destroyed the positivity of the program and taken Levis down with him.

Sure Levis is hurt and most days in a walking boot, but that has been the case and Scangarello hasn’t designed any offensive schemes to work around that issue.

His playcalling is abysmal and lacks any imagination or common sense in the minds of anyone who watches this team whether an expert or armchair quarterback. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that.

Stoops was asked why Scangarello didn’t want to use a lot of the designed quarterback runs this year, and was something that had been so efficient now having been removed from the offense.

"“Yeah, I’m not — I don’t think we would have just said we’re not using it at all. I don’t think anybody ever said that you know what I mean? Maybe not as much or wasn’t in his system, but, no, I think he would tell you that there were some times when we would sure like to have that if he was at full strength and all that.”"

It’s time for Scangarello to vacate his office and move on. Offensive line coach Zach Yenser probably also as that porous group of players has struggled mightily to protect Levis and open many holes for Chris Rodrguez and the other backs to try and find a sliver of daylight.

The former creator and force behind this once proud Big Blue Wall, the late John Schlarman would be embarrassed at what the legendary wall has now become – a pile of rubble.

The preseason talk and hype of this Kentucky football team vying for the SEC East title and going 10-2 has long blown away like a tumbleweed in a deserted old western town which Kroger Field may look like the next two weekends as thoughts and eyes have moved on to basketball.

Just this past week UK recruits were de-committing and looking elsewhere. After losing to Vandy expect that list to grow and the transfer portal to open up.

For all the building Stoops has done over the past 10 seasons, passing Bear Bryant as the all-time winningest coach, he must now assume responsibility for what has happened before it all crumbles down.

Next week was supposed to be the big stage with a top NFL pick going against the No. 1 team in the land in Georgia.

Levis is battered, bruised, and clearly frustrated about how this game and the season have unraveled.

Asked about cleaning up the things that went and have gone wrong Stoops said it starts with him.

"“Frustrated, yeah, I think is a fair word. You know, very frustrated and disappointed that I’m not getting it done. I’m not communicating well enough to push on the things that we need to get better at…..You know, that’s frustrating and also disappointing, and something that I’ve got to figure out.”"

Stoops said he would not make changes in the staff before the season ends with two games left against Georgia and Louisville. Bad idea.

What he also said a lot of was “I don’t know” to questions like:

“Your coaches say sometimes the other team just wanted it more. Was that a factor today, do you think?”

“Will has been taking so much punishment and has been hit so much. Do you think that started to impact him in the pocket?”

Stoops is obviously hurting by what has happened to the season and his legacy. Emotional or not somebody has to step up and pay the piper just who will it be and when?

Next. Cats look to reassess after embarrassing loss. dark