Booker-Cousins scuffle no surprise to Calipari

DeMarcus Cousins (Vicky Graff Photo)

DeMarcus Cousins (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky standouts DeMarcus Cousins and Devin Booker are two of 24 former UK players in the NBA this season. Yet on opening night, Booker (Phoenix) and Cousins (Sacramento) got into a bit of a scuffle during their game that did not surprise UK coach John Calipari at all.

“Devin will not budge, and I imagine the little kid (Tyler Ulis) went out and bit his (Cousins’) knee cap when it happened. Because those two are absolutely – that’s two boys (Booker and Ulis) right there. Those two are like two peas in a pod, those two,” Calipari said.

Stoops glad young team is “growing up”

Blake McClain is one of UK's few seniors. (Photo by Elliott Hess | UK Athletics)

Blake McClain is one of UK’s few seniors. (Photo by Elliott Hess | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Going into offseason workouts, Kentucky had eight scholarship senior football players. Even when Mark Stoops put three walk-on senior players on scholarship, UK still has the fewest seniors of any Division I team this season.

“That does present a bit of a challenge. You’re starting to see our team grow up a bit. Those guys, we wouldn’t have been able to win some close games and some tough games without their leadership,” Stoops said.

Can Cats pay price to win at Missouri?

By LARRY VAUGHT

Getting over a dramatic 40-38 win over Mississippi State probably has not been an easy task for Kentucky players this week.

“We constantly talk to our players about paying the price during the week. Everybody wants to win on Saturday, but much of the game is won throughout the week in our preparation. I think we need to get our energy level back up,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said.

“Everybody at this point in the season is banged up and bruised, but we need to have great energy throughout the rest of the week in our preparation. We better be waking up ready to play an early start, an early kickoff on Saturday.”

Guest post: Too early for fans to celebrate

Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart walk off after the win over Mississippi State. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart walk off after the win over Mississippi State. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By KEITH PEEL

An old sports adage goes something like “you are never as good as your last win and never as bad as your last loss.”

I think as UK football fans that’s the position we should be taking. I am as happy as anyone with the last second field goal that sent Mississippi State home as the bottom dweller in the SEC that it is.

Gran has found ways to adjust offense

Jeff Badet had two touchdown catches against Mississippi State. (Bill Thirry Photo)

Jeff Badet had two touchdown catches against Mississippi State. (Bill Thirry Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s expected starting quarterback — Drew Barker — has played two games. One of its top returning receivers — Dorian Baker — has been hampered by a hamstring injury and has yet to make a catch.

That has challenged offensive coordinator Eddie Gran in his first season at UK after leaving Cincinnati.

Calipari wants to update Joe Craft Center

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s basketball facility — the Joe Craft Center — is now 10 years old. It’s still regarded as one of the best facilities in the nation, but Thursday coach John Calipari said it was time for some renovations.

“Let’s go through and make it more modern. There are some other ideas that I have. Again, you want to stay the gold standard,” Calipari said. “You want to tie all of what we’re doing together on the campus and other things.

Cats excited for exhibition game

Mychal Mulder (Vicky Graff Photo)

Mychal Mulder (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky opens its exhibition season Sunday night at 7 against Division II Clarion, a place UK coach John Calipari once played.

“We’re all really excited to be able to line up against somebody that we don’t know so well. We work hard every day against each other and I’m excited to see us really project that against an opponent,” UK senior guard Mychal Mulder said Thursday.

Cats must reduce turnovers

Coach Mark Stoops knows quarterback Stephen Johnson has to reduce his fumbles. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

Coach Mark Stoops knows quarterback Stephen Johnson has to reduce his fumbles. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

In seven games, Kentucky has 18 turnovers — 11 fumbles and seven interceptions. In those same seven games, UK foes have given up seven interceptions and only two fumbles.

Yet despite the minus nine turnover margin, Kentucky is 4-3 going  into Saturday’s game at Missouri. Coach Mark Stoops knows the turnovers — UK has given up a defensive touchdown on a fumble return in three straight games — has to stop.

Derrick Ramsey, Jason Todd join Cat Calls tonight

Former UK coach Fran Curci, right, reacts to the crowd after being introduced Saturday while former players, from left, Art Still, Warren Bryant and Derrick Ramsey applaud. All three players earned All-American honors at UK. (Bill Thirry Photo)

Former UK coach Fran Curci, right, reacts to the crowd after being introduced Saturday while former players, from left, Art Still, Warren Bryant and Derrick Ramsey applaud. All three players earned All-American honors at UK. (Bill Thirry Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

We will have plenty of football experts to weigh in tonight on from 6-7 on Cat Calls at Mallards on WKYB (107.5 FM).

Kentucky is coming off a dramatic win over Mississippi State and could move to 5-3 with a win over Missouri, which would also improve UK’s SEC mark to 4-2.

UK defense has to be ready for fast tempo

UK's defense will face a tougher challenge at Missouri. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

UK’s defense will face a tougher challenge at Missouri. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Even though Missouri lost at home to Middle Tennessee State University last week, the Tigers still had 112 offensive plays.

“We’ve just got to get ready for the tempo. We have to have a lot of substitutions,” UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said about Saturday’s game at Missouri. “We have to have a lot of guys play. We need to play with high energy every down, and we need to make sure we have high urgency, and those are the things we’re emphasizing this week in practice.