Let me first apologize for being a bit tardy with this article. My real job got in the way. Due to a shortage of quality officiating crews, the Georgia High School Association moved some of their first round playoffs to Saturday. We pulled that straw and played last evening at 6:00 pm, which put a little damper on my typical college football Saturday afternoon. But the Bearcats won handily, defeating the Seminoles of Westside Macon (at least there was a part of that tribe willing to play) and will advance to round two. And our Gators prevailed also, 34-10. I suppose the tête-à-tête between Mullen and Grantham in-game yesterday caught your attention. However you feel about the display, I’d say it was high time and I’m only guessing, but I can’t help but feel that it’s an overt expression of what must be a sore subject. And rightly so. It’s one thing to be inconsistent fundamentally, but the Keystone Cops routine trying to get aligned and balanced has moved beyond ridiculous. I’m certain Mullen is fed up, his body language said as much. I can only imagine the dialogue. Surely any sailors in attendance who might have overheard blushed in embarrassment. At least that’s what I would expect. Breaking this situation down purely to coaching protocol and expectations, Mullen is the HC and bears all of the responsibility for the outcomes, good, bad, or otherwise. Grantham is a subordinate. It’s his job to follow the direction of the HC by preparing his groups and the unit as a whole as best as possible. It is no stretch to say he has not done a very good job in that regard this year. But the fact that we are now eight games in and eating the same crap sandwich defensively each week is ultimately Mullen’s fault. Maybe the exchange will help. We did appear to play some better defensively in the second half, shutting out the Wildcats for the final two quarters. We also gained a couple of turnovers, a stat that has been too low this season and belies a lack of aggression from the defense (paralysis from the required player analysis, perhaps?). Maybe best of all was that we actually got the UK offense off of the field, something that we couldn’t do in the first half. Pardon me, however, if I don’t get too excited. It’ll only be an improvement and a trend if it carries forward. *Kyle Pitts, welcome back! He certainly looked to have been fully recovered. Five catches, three for TDs, was a good way to return. His catch on the little slant was beautiful. Trask put it where the DB had no chance and Pitts extended his arms and used his hands. That was a moneymaker. Nice play design, too, with the motion to the flank opening the window. *Trask has spoiled us. Yesterday he was 21/27 for 256 and three TDs. Very efficient, but I’m ashamed to say that the first word that came to mind was “pedestrian!” And maybe that’s not unfair by his previous standards. After all, he is a Heisman contender. But you’ve got to give Grantham and the D a nod for limiting his first half opportunities by their inability to keep UK off the field. Still, I wish my average days were as good! *I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of the 8 Shell look that the Wildcats employed from here on out. We’ll need to be able to rush for more than 104 against that type scheme. We’ll also need to be able to block three pass rushers a lot better. DeLance stuck out like a sore thumb. Reminded me of an Iranian security detail in his efficiency. Mullen has talked about the need to run it a lot better and I agree, but one way he could help that in my opinion is to not worry about giving all three backs equal carries ! *The punter earned his hamburger with that “coffin corner” at the one yard line. That’s a dying art with most nowadays opting for either the pooch with backward rotation or a high hanger and good coverage. It was still beautiful to see. *Toney’s punt return was a beaut. Whether it was by design or a screw up by the Wildcat punter, it was a dagger to the heart. We’ve been waiting a while for him to break one, very difficult these days with the great kickers and return teams we see each week. *I’ve fussed for a while now about poor technique and fundamentals defensively, but dang if there didn’t seem to be a bunch of open UK receivers yesterday. Confusion related, I’m sure. A better QB would have made us pay. Really hoping that the Mullen / Grantham dust up will result in some positive change in this regard. If not, it’ll be a shame to see an offensive magnum opus ruined by a lousy woodwind section. *Have we been successful with a corner blitz this season? The DL looks better and better. Let Cox, Carter, Slaton, and the rest of that bunch do their thing. Hell, we have a hard enough time covering with our full compliment in the secondary without wasting one on an unsuccessful blitz attempt. *Shout outs to Copeland, great athletic catch on a 50/50 ball, Diabate who’s got the instincts even if he’s built like a distance runner, and Davis for stepping his game up some. From my standpoint as a fan, I kinda feel like a proud dad watching his kids ride their bikes without training wheels, finally. These three will be alright even if they have skinned their knees quite a bit. So next up are the Vols. At 2-5, it’ll be hard not to be overconfident going into our game at Neyland. Of course, if our D continues the way it has for the balance of the season, it will allow them an opportunity. Here’s to the thought that we’ll finally see an improvement based on the aforementioned displeasure that boiled over. A complete game against the Creamsicles would be just what the doctor ordered and at just the right time. But I’ll take a win, however it comes. I can still dream though! Go Gators!