Holding back on the Bold Predictions
by: Tony Ray
June 3rd, 2004
With the summer months here, and football closer on the minds of the avid fans, making predictions about the upcoming season has become all too familar. Being the optimist that I am, as well as many of my fellow fans, one can't help but to always see things just a little more rosey for the upcoming season than they probably are.
It is hard to make one see that our beloved Cats can't find a way to win more than they could possibly lose and make it back into the bowl picture.
We have all done it and for most of us, we'll continue, as long as we are fans.
Every fall, for as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to football season with great anticipation of the Cats finally making strides on the football field.
To compete and win games against everyone on their schedule has always been the greatest of dreams.
I certainly envisioned continued improvement last year coming off a surprising 7-5 season; the year before. Rightly so, after nearly finding 2 more victories with the execution of a couple of plays in the LSU and South Carolina games, we might have ended 2003 even better.
Yes, I knew we had a new coaching staff with a new system, but I thought to myself that this experienced staff could surely keep it going.
Well, unfortunately, you can't always see every thing that goes along with the changing of staffs.
Not every player is going to accept them or do what is needed; especially coming off a very successful season.
My first season as an official season ticket holder held a lot of promise for the Wildcats and I was pumped and ready to go.
We had just come off a visit to the peach bowl in a game we should have won, but I won't dwell on that, for now. The first UK-UL game was the first game on the schedule and excitement was all over the state. We squeaked out a victory and you just knew things were only going to get better.
Boy, was I ever in for a let-down along with everyone else.
We were instead treated to some very poorly played games and probably the worst coaching I had ever seen.
That was ten years ago, and except for a few years here and there you never knew what you were going to get with Kentucky football. Four coaches in that time period as well as an embarassing NCAA violations came sandwhiched with the Tim Couch era and the expansion of Commonwealth Stadium.
Through it all I have always gone into the upcoming seasons with bold expectations and can always find someway that the Cats are going to make the needed improvements to win football games.
This season our defense returns 10 starters and made improvements all season long last year, slowly grasping what was needed of them for the 3-4 defense. Sweetpea, Hammer, Chad Anderson, Mike Williams, Ellery Moore, ...etc. fill my head with what will surely be one of the better defenses we have seen at Kentucky. The offensive line made improvements in the spring and the running game has looked better with Beach, Bwenge, and Davis more familar with the offense. You just can't help but to have eternal hope that things will work out and that we will celebrate quite often this year.
Now even going through that in my mind, I have to be realistic and try and not set myself up for too big of a disappointment shall we fail to meet my expectations. I know, being a UK football fan, that success does not come easy nor quickly. The coaching staff is trying to build for the future and yet at the same time be as successful as possible. They came in under the dark cloud of sanctions and are working very hard to overcome them as quickly and as best they can. We all want a winner, but we have to be patient and supportive of the program. No we don't have to accept losing but we have to look for improvement knowing that success will come out of it. I expect not to lose a game but know that I can't give up when we do and hope the players, coaches and fellow fans share in that attitude.
-Tony from the Endzone Seats