Thanks to the emailers, and now to your calls . . .
Q: Any way in hell that Mike Hartline starts the second half at quarterback?
A: If he does, surely it would have to be a “last chance” situation. But to be honest, the team seems to have responded to Cobb, and he’s earned the opportunity to be there.
Q: Do you think they can bounce back from this?
A: If by “bounce back” you mean come back in this game, no. But if you’re talking about the next game, sure. For a few reasons. Their next game at Mississippi State is winnable. People will call them excuses, but UK had a lot working against it in this game. Nobody wants to hear about injuries after a loss, but there’s no way this is the same defense you saw against Alabama, even if Florida’s offense is much better. Some perspective is necessary.
Q: What’s your column going to say?
A: Cobb for president, uh, quarterback.
Q: Have you seen a Kentucky team look worse in a first quarter than this one just looked?
A: It’s Kentucky. You’ve always seen worse. Remember, just four years ago Florida hung 49 first-half points on UK.
Q: What do you think these players are being told at halftime?
A: Both coaches are giving their players the old line, “It’s 0-0 starting now.” For UK and Rich Brooks, he’s looking for character and effort and execution. I’d be disappointed if some of these hobbled defensive players play at all. Put Micah Johnson on the shelf and don’t risk further injury. And in the Florida locker room, I’m sure Urban Meyer is saying, “These next 30 minutes will tell me a lot about you as a football team.”
Q: Was this team just not ready to play?
A: Well, that’s always a thought when a team just gets rolled in the opening minutes like this one did. And really, the breakdowns were special teams, but those blocks had the look of something that was heavily game-planned by Florida. I don’t know that it’s a question of being ready to play, I think it’s a question of being able to play. UK, in its current state, can’t match Florida in just about any way. I’m sure Brooks will say afterwards that there’s no way UK is X points worse than Florida, but the fact is, UK is 3 or 4 touchdowns worse today, even without the special teams problems.
Q: Have you seen any UK fans leave early?
A: Not really. I’ve heard a lot of hand-wringing from UK fans who left the Arkansas game early and recrimination by those who didn’t. An easy comeback for those folks when asked why they left early — “How come the offense showed up so late?”