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Anthony White on Cats at South Carolina: “They don’t seem to have heart”

Quarterback Sawyer Smith was under constant pressure from a South Carolina defense that had no fear of big plays from the UK offense. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For over 10 years I’ve been on WLAP (630 AM) in Lexington every Sunday morning talking University of Kentucky sports with show host Mark Buerger and former UK football star Anthony White.

Buerger, as anyone who has ever listened to the show knows, can often get on rants. Usually White is the voice of reason and the one on the show who can logically and intelligently break down what he sees on the football field without letting his emotions dictate his answers.

Or at least White could until Sunday when UK’s 24-7 loss to South Carolina Saturday night was more than he could take.

He was blunt honest about his assessment of UK’s poor play and for the first time was genuinely perplexed by what he saw.

“They don’t seem to have heart,” White, a player who always played with heart, said. “We played terrible but the problem is that it was acceptable.”

White said he was “disgusted” with UK’s overall play.

“We missed two or three tackles per play. I don’t know what happened. We absolutely were not prepared and it showed,” White said. “Not a lot upsets me. If you fight and get back up, I can accept that. Yesterday was despicable.

“The most depressing thing is that we did not fight back. Only thing that could have made it worse is if players had just said take me out and let my backup play.”

White didn’t blame injured quarterback Sawyer Smith for his lack of effectiveness. Instead, he wondered why Stoops didn’t give sophomore quarterback Walker Wood a chance when it was clear Smith was physically hurting and could not put any zip on his passes.

“When you get down to point that we can’t put you in and we got nobody else (to play quarterback) that is just disrespectful (to Wood). You give me another word to describe it,” White said.

Stoops said after the game he had “faith and confidence” in Wood but yet couldn’t play him. If he’s not going to play him, move him to another position. Wood got Lafayette to two state championship games in high school and certainly would at least given UK quarterback who could have run if Stoops didn’t want to go all-in with Lynn Bowden at quarterback.

But White believes UK has much bigger problems than who is playing quarterback from what he saw at South Carolina — and I agree as do most UK fans.

“I think we underestimated what we lost (off last year’s team). I thought we would be fine without them but obviously we are not,” White said. “I don’t see much positivity. A team doesn’t get that bad over night. First half against Florida looked really good. Second half took foot off the gas but still good. Last night it did not look like we were even interested in playing. We played a terrible game and it was like nobody cared or fought back. Something is going on in the football office. I don’t know what is going on but right now it just does not look good.”

6 comments

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  1. Bingo

  2. Bingo II…..Stoops does not have control over the locker room and there is some smoke there even if we didn’t get to see him too much. The play was just like they were willing to play season out. Not sure we have seen the end yet.

  3. I’m not in the locker room or on the field, so what I am about to say is just guessing.
    It appears to me the players have lost some faith in the coaches. I truly believe the coaches cost them the Florida game. The terrible play calling in the 3rd quarter by trying to burn clock cost them the game in the end. You don’t take your foot off the gas until the game is over or out of reach.
    Stoops always talks about putting the players in position to do their best and win games, but playing a beat up QB is not in the best interest of anyone. He says he has faith in the backup QBs. What he doesn’t say is that his faith in them is only when they are not needed to play in the game.
    If he has faith in the backup QBs, why is talking about playing Bowden at QB and not one of the guys that has been practicing the position???
    I truly hope Stoops can get things turned around because I like him and I think he is good for UK and has done a pretty good job. I just think he has a problem trusting players or he doesn’t have assistants, Hinshaw in particular, who can get players ready to go.

    1. Not sure what it is OldFan but players are sure lacking confidence

  4. My only concerns with Stoop’s system are two fold.

    First he plays very conservative with a lead and last year that led him to a 10-3 record. Most years; however, you will beat the teams you are suppose to and lose to teams favored over you. That has been true this year so far, but the last two games have shattered their confidence and they may lose games they should win.

    Second, he never plays the reserves unless he is forced to because of injury or discipline. This leads to very inexperienced player tossed into the fire before they are ready. A sink or swim mentality! Great when it works, but devastating when it does not, like in the last three games.

    I know Stoops is still in the learning process, but he needs to make major adjustments over the bye week to keep this season from taking a nose dive. A loss to Arkansas and Basketball will take over and leave football as a faint distant memory. This team is very capable of not qualifying for a bowl game. That would set the program back years and once again KY would live up to their reputation.

  5. That abortion we all witnessed last Sat night in Columbia, SC was UK football of the past, and it hurt this program, and all before a national TV audience to boot. Many saw it, and any real football fan anywhere, who watched that, was “STUNNED” to put it mildly. I thought UK football was beyond that sort of play these days. For Stoops, that was not one of his better moments at UK. IMO there are some coaches on his staff that need to be held accountable too. How about getting into some players faces on the sidelines coaches when they play like that in the heat of battle. Is there a bad A$$ football coach anywhere on this football team that can motivate? Really, sometimes I don’t think Stoops has a clue at game time. The QB situation has been a mixture of bad luck due to injuries, we all get that. But IS poor coaching by these UK coaches (one in particular) in preparation of a capable backup for Smith in play here? It has to be! Apparently Wood was not ready, so he didn’t get his chance Sat night, even after donning his helmet, and his presence in the game being alluded too by the announcers calling the game. Maybe that was entirely on Stoops, who knows? I actually felt sorry for the young man. Also, are these UK coaches blind? You could see Smith was injured and not capable during the opening min. of that game. The performance of this UK team, in a game that quite frankly UK was not prepared to play, gives one pause to question what is really going on with UK football right now. Every team in the country is banged up now Coach, not just UK. USC lost their starting QB too, but their backup was ready, and a freshman at that. I hate to post like this, but some are right. If UK don’t get this fixed quick, we can all kiss this season goodby. That would be a shame after all that has been said about the 2019 season.

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