DEMAREE: What happened to UK's season?

Coaches coach - players play - fans root and be critical - and writers write. However there's another category for the purpose of this article known as the obtrusive and unobtrusive observer. After having witnessed more UK football practices over the last thirty years than any living human being, this writer fits in the latter category as well as the writing end of it.

Any one individual would have to attend every practice from now until 2020 to match my attendance record to live UK football practices. This could be possible since for all intents and purposes, we the media have been relegated to post practice interview status, spring practice not included. The change in policy by Rich Brooks in allowing the media to come to practice is still somewhat of a mystery to us.

His reason was the internet. Well from what we see on the message boards, the same amount of information carrier-pigeons its way out of the practice fields. Much of it misguided and mis-analyzed. Am I lodging a complaint? No, given my addiction to the golf courses and driving ranges, the restrictions just freed up more time for my addiction. Now, with all that off my chest, let's get on with my obtrusive and unobtrusive observation of what happened to the Wildcats football season.

If we are talking in the conventional way of coaching offensive and defensive football, nothing happened. It is what it is. We know that injuries play a part in seasons. We know that graduation plays a part in seasons. We know that many other forms of attrition plays a part in seasons.

From an armchair prospective, one in which we think we have earned, we looked at the returning roster minus 97 percent of its 2007 offense. Dicky Lyons was the only returning experienced play maker returning at the wide receiver position. Though Joker Phillips told us this group of incoming freshmen receivers were the most talented he'd ever been around. Those along with E. J. Adams and Kyrus Lanxter had about as much experience to fill up a thimble.

Given that set of circumstances, if you want to stay conventional, perhaps you surmise as I did publicly as a guest on radio and TV shows during the pre-season, the tight ends gave them the best option in moving the chains and getting the team in the endzone. Anyone that says that former University of Louisville tight end Gary Barnidge and Scott Kuhn were more talented than Maurice Grinter and T. C. Drake perhaps need to check their football knowledge at the door.

Nothing transpired during the season to disprove my observations. Ninety-nine percent of the time when the offense had its back to the wall and the tight end was called upon for a big catch they delivered, especially good-hands Maurice Grinter. We can recall the highlight catch of the season Grinter made when Hartline threaded the needle between two defenders. Grinter has to feel like football's versions of Shagari Alleyne. When Tubby Smith got in trouble, he would often pluck Alleyne from the end of the bench and he would go into the game and do something positive to help the team.

Coach Rich Brooks told us his offensive line was going to be exponentially better, hence more dependance on the running game. Again, it is what it is. Until UK progresses to the point where it is no longer the smallest offensive line in the SEC, it's going to be hard to buy that they will be a much improved line at the highest levels in the SEC.

Given this set of dynamics, strict conventionality in coaching offensive football at a higher level in the SEC may be a pipe dream. With the 2008 addition of the Wildcats, perpetual use of the tight ends may have been the closest thing to conventionality and perhaps winning a seventh game. That seventh game would have put the fan base more at ease with the season. Perhaps a little more imagination would've been in order and based on what we've seen from what's on the roster, that capability was there.

So like the movie directors we've seen sitting in their canvas folding chair directing, I'll now arise from my unobtrusive folding arm-chair quarter backing and get ready for whatever bowl the Cats are destined for.

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