Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chip Cosby Visits UK Football Fan

Today on UK Football Fan we are visited by Lexington Herald-Leader writer Chip Cosby. Aside from being a hell of a good guy, Chip does an excellent job covering the Football Cats for the local paper and has been real generous in agreeing to do this Q and A with me for the second year in a row. A link his UK Football blog is on the right and here.
Questions below are mine, Chip's responses are in bold.

1. Last year you correctly predicted in this space that Sam Maxwell
would be the veteran Cat to blow up in 2009. What about 2010?

I'm going to go with another guy on the defensive side, Mychal Bailey. The fact that he came in and won the starter's job at safety in just three weeks after arriving from junior-college speaks volumes about how much the coaching staff trusts his talent. A sub 4.4 guy and a big hitter, he could immediately become a household name as he gets more comfortable throughout the season.

2. Mike Hartline won the starting job for the Louisville game, but
there has been no heaping praise for his play this summer. This makes me a
little nervous but the optimist in me hopes that it's the coaching staff's
effort to manage expectations. Have you heard anything that indicates that
2010 Hartline will be a step up from the 2008-2009 version?

Hartline has his critics, but I do believe he'll be better in 2010. Let's face it. He is what he is. He doesn't have a cannon for an arm, and he's not going to overwhelm you with his speed. He looked horrible against Florida and Alabama, but so did Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, who might end up being the No. 1 pick in next year's Draft. He has done some good things: the late comeback against Arkansas, MVP of the Liberty Bowl, the solid first half at South Carolina. Also, he's a fifth-year senior who understands the offense, and seems to have regained the respect and trust of his teammates after he made some critical comments after being benched two years ago. I think the offense will once again rely heavily on Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke. They just need Hartline to step up and make the throws when they need him to make them, and I think he can do that.

3. Hope springs eternal in the Commonwealth, and the schedule sets up
nicely, but looking at it empirically, this team has a lot of holes to fill
defensively. Outside of Travathan, Guy and Burden, where are you expecting
the production to come from?

They really need some guys to come through up front, particularly at tackle. Ricky Lumpkin needs to become a high-impact player, and it would be nice if they could get something out of Shane McCord. Donte Rumph should be an impact player once he shakes off the rust and gets into shape. I think DeQuin Evans is set for a solid year at end.

4. Setting aside K Joe Mansour, who is kind of a special case, what
true freshman do you see making an impact for this year's Cats, if any?

Interestingly enough, Mansour might not make as big an impact as originally thought, as Ryan Tydlacka is currently the starting placekicker. Jerrell Priester will definitely see time at corner, and Nermin Delic is in the rotation at end. While the Cats have plenty of depth at tailback, the coaches really like Raymond Sanders. Tyler Robinson is backing up Jordan Aumiller at tight end, and big things are expected of Rumph.

5. What are the biggest change you see thus far in the Joker era? Is
there any difference with how the team and staff interact with the media.
Understanding that nearly all the practices have been closed to the media,
do you have any feel for how the Cats might look different on the field this

It's really hard to tell with practices being closed. You pretty much have to go on what you hear from the coaches and people who are close enough to the program to be able to go watch practice. But we won't really know for sure until the ball is kicked off. I've heard plenty of stories out of fall camp over the years that became myths once the lights came on. Not much has changed with Joker as far as the media goes. He's been accessible and friendly, although he doesn't reveal injury information quite to the extent that Rich Brooks did.

6. Do any streaks end this year?

I know it sounds crazy, but I think South Carolina and Tennessee both go down this year. Fact of the matter is, South Carolina has been no better than UK over the last 3-4 years overall; they've just managed to find ways to beat the Cats head-to-head. With the game being at home and UK coming so close in past years, I think they finally get it done. I know that Spurrier owns UK, but the Spurrier mystique is nowhere near what it used to be.
I also think this is the year they get Tennessee. There's all kinds of turmoil going on down there, and I'm not sure just how Derek Dooley will handle it. The talent's down, probation is possibly on the horizon. Plus, UT could already be out of bowl contention by the time the game rolls around. I know we've heard this before, but if it doesn't happen this year, it may never happen.


Dave Zahniser said...

Great interview. I can't believe the season starts Saturday. Go Cats!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Chip for being on your blog.

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