Vaught's Views: Clearing out the e-mail bag

October 03, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

With so much going on from high school football to college football to World Cup to major league baseball playoffs, what better time to clear out the e-mail bag than today.

* Former Casey County football player and head coach Aubrey Pennington, now a curriculum specialist for the Pulaski County school district, still follows area football and is anxious to see tonight's Garrard County-Casey game matching coaches Steve Stonebraker and Andy Stephens after reading pregame coverage earlier this week.

"I admire Andy for trying to step up the schedule, but it may have been a little too much, too soon because of depth issues that continue to plague the program. Still, both Steve and Andy are to be commended for the tremendous job they did in turning the program around (at Casey)," Pennington wrote.

"Steve continues to impress me with his innovative ways of winning! He has a great future before him and the 'fire-in-the-belly' to accomplish it. At the same time, I am very supportive of both programs because they have demonstrated the possibilities of success at both Casey and Garrard. I still love the game and appreciate good coaching when I see it, especially within our area. We have a rich and demonstrated history of success!"


Comment: Couldn't agree more about both coaches and it's nice to see a former coach happy that new coaches are having success. Still, tonight's game looks like a Garrard runaway.

* Bruce Swenson of Louisville is not happy with the way Kentucky coach Rich Brooks explained last week's 24-21 loss to Florida.

"Coach Brooks refers to many plays that the players failed to perform. This is all probably true. However, what turned me off to his explanations (in Monday's The Advocate-Messenger) was that nowhere did he say one thing about all the errors made by the coaching staff," Swenson wrote. "On two occasions, we had penalties because we had too many men on the field and the second one was right after a timeout when they had plenty of time to set the team. These are inexcusable errors and should be addressed if coach Brooks wants to use the paper to point out some mistakes made by players.

"I have also have noticed to many 'they's' from the coaching staff when they lose and to many 'we's' when they win. I was always taught that the coaching staffs were a part of the team in all games. I really don't know what to think of our football coach yet, but I can tell you this he ain't no Tubby Smith!"

Comment: Brooks often comes across as too critical of players because he's brutally honest when answering questions. But Swenson is right. Brooks has a lot of work ahead to be a Tubby Smith.

* Jon Ohlman is a 1975 Centre graduate living in Ocala, Fla., who reads The Advocate-Messenger online, and he offered an insightful observation after last week's UK loss.

"Many people are talking about how cursed the Wildcat football program is, but I haven't seen anyone talk about the 'reverse curse.' If you look at the teams that have beaten UK in 2002 and 2003, none have won the week after playing UK (I know Louisville is undefeated, but they scheduled a bye for the week after the UK game to avoid the reverse curse)," Ohlman wrote. "In 2002, South Carolina lost four games in a row after it lucked out at Commonwealth. And, please note, Tennessee lost its bowl game.

"This year Alabama beat UK, but has lost each of the two games since then. On the other hand, after UK beat Arkansas last year, the Razorbacks won four in a row and went to the SEC Championship game. So maybe UK opponents shouldn't celebrate too much when they beat the Cats, because it could be the start of something bad - the UK reverse curse."

Comment: The numbers speak for themselves. UK - and teams that beat the Cats - sure looked cursed.

* Mark Ebert of Floyd Knobs, Ind., says it's the last play, not the early plays, that the UK football team has to learn to make.

"A couple of years ago I started playing competitive table tennis. It's very frustrating because I get my head handed to me weekly," Ebert wrote. "It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't going to beat the better players until I outplayed them. Any upset I'm going to get is going to be made up of close games and a match that goes down to the wire.

"When UK finally beats Florida or Georgia or Tennessee it won't be because UK made the game's first play. It's going to be because UK made the game's last play. Saturday they didn't do that."

Comment: Couldn't agree more.

* Pat Hayes of Warsaw, N.Y., sympathizes with the UK football team, too.

"Although heartbroken, I can't even think how those young men feel. I have been listening and watching games since Bear Bryant coached when my brother went there. Do you think that they can regroup or is this it?" Hayes wrote.

Comment: It won't be easy to regroup at South Carolina Thursday, but this is a do-or-die game for UK's bowl hopes, and for no logical reason, I think UK just might win.

* Internet reader Ken Griffin liked Wednesday's column about UK's basketball recruiting needs.

"Tubby desperately needs to have a strong class of guards and maybe even a shooting forward," Griffin wrote. "I have read that our two 7-foot freshmen are projects. That may be true, but I have a gut feeling that Shagari Alleyne will impact this season."

Comment: I have a gut feeling a 7-foot freshman will help, but I think it will be Lukasz Orbutz, not Alleyne.

* Don Johnson of Sunset, Texas, is a 1964 Boyle County graduate and was the starting left halfback on Boyle's 1963 undefeated team.

"Have Boyle and Danville stopped playing football? There seems to be nothing written about them any more. I miss reading about them," Johnson wrote.

Comment: Obviously, open weeks for Danville and Boyle do not go unnoticed by out-of-state fans. But don't despair. Both teams have 10 straight games left before their seasons end with state titles in Louisville.

Larry Vaught can be reached at

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