Chalk Talk with Freddie Maggard
When I was approached to write a football blog for WYMT, I had to ask myself a couple of tough questions:
1. What in the world is a blog? I originally thought is was a personal jab at my recent weight gain from Brian Milam in reference to the 1958 horror film, “The Blob”. But upon research and technical briefings from my 13 year old nephew, Keaton Burton, I was educated on this modern form of communication.
2. Would anyone truly care to read about the opinions from a self proclaimed has-been?
After much consideration, I decided to give it a shot, and share some of my thoughts on the mountain high school football season and my beloved alma mater, THE University of Kentucky. That’s right, I did all-caps. “THE”; Ohio State folks say it that way, so why can’t we? Annually we demand UK football to turn the proverbial corner and proclaim, “this is the year”, so I’m making the biggest mistake a new blogger can make, I’m calling my shot and declaring the Wildcats will win 8 games this season and these are some reasons why:
• The signal caller - Andre Woodson is the best UK quarterback since my friend Tim Couch gave SEC defensive coordinators migraine headaches for two years. Woodson was named 1st Team All-American by ESPN, and I think that honor is right on target. I got into a little trouble on the Cat’s Pause radio show last year by declaring Andre the best UK quarterback, ever. My Eastern Kentucky brethren took offense to that statement, but I saved my life by adding an asterisk to that comment…*With the exception of Tim Couch, whom I consider the best ever, so I was taking all the other has-beens in account for comparison purposes.
• Skill positions - Accompanying Andre is the best set of skill players ever to wear the blue and white collectively. There are possibly four top five round NFL draftees on the offensive side of the ball and the best asset they all commonly share; experience.
• Character - This year’s Wildcats are finally senior heavy. Many of those seniors have already received diplomas from THE University. I have met Jacob Tamme. I can not write enough great things about this young man and the incredible honor he brings to the term student-athlete. All of Kentucky will fall in love with Wesley Woodyard by the time the leaves begin to fall. Keenan Burton is another KHSAA product that brings honor to the Wildcat program. Point proven! You can win with Kentucky athletes on the Division 1 level. I am tired of that old excuse given by several ghosts of football past. Three of our highest possible NFL draft picks hail from Radcliff, Louisville and Danville respectively?
• Improved Defense - After reviewing the plethora of football propaganda, I have discovered the Cats should be improved defensively. It is not merely the change in the defensive boss. The youth movement has another year of strength and conditioning under their belts. Defensive improvement is a must for an eight win season and our new defensive boss has a large task at hand trying to stop Brohm, Tebow, and a host of other future NFL millionaires. If the defensive line can create an aggressive pass rush and slow the run, then Wesley Woodyard will have another stellar year and possibly, a shot at the Butkus Award.
• Special teams - Whoever is named UK’s place kicker must improve on last year’s performance. During the 2006 season; a chip shot field goal and extra points were immensely too stressful for the loyal fan-base and could prove the difference in a 4 win season or another trip bowling for THE University.
• Just in case you are wondering, the eight wins will come against: EKU, Kent State, Louisville, Arkansas, Schnellenberger State (Florida Atlantic), Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. That’s eight wins against a very demanding schedule. The other games I consider too close to call. Again this year, the SEC is the most dominant conference in America, period. The gap of conference superiority is gaining momentum. I dare any other BCS hopeful from any other conference to step up to that table and take a bite of the SEC competition. An eight win season would be an incredible accomplishment for Coach Brooks. This time last year the majority of Wildcat faithful were calling for his firing. I have always been in the Brooks’ canoe, that’s a blast from the past, and I see the similarities between Coach Brooks and the most influential coach in my life; Coach Jerry Claiborne.
It’s football time in the Bluegrass, my favorite time of the year. Lights are illuminating football fields across the Commonwealth and football has-beens like me walk a little taller, put aside the battle scars of football past, and tell more lies about how great we were in sandlot, Elementary and High School, and in some cases, the SEC. This is going to be a fun year, so go out and support your local teams this weekend.