DEMAREE: Changes needed in order to land the best


Posted Jul 17, 2005


Kentucky needs a change of attitude to improve instate football recruiting... Coach Rich Brooks and former coach Ron Hudson’s might as well have had their faces on a dartboard. But all the negative attitudes didn’t start with them. One high school coach that shall go nameless said, “Kentucky fans should put out a bounty on the fat man – Claude Bassett – for what he did to this program.”

It about as obvious as the nose on your face that when you look at where the first three football commitments hail (all out of state) from, it is all about attitudes within the state boundaries. Coach Rich Brooks and former coach Ron Hudson’s might as well have had their faces on a dartboard. But all the negative attitudes didn’t start with them. One high school coach that shall go nameless said, “Kentucky fans should put out a bounty on the fat man – Claude Bassett – for what he did to this program.” So in essence the mountains of negativity stretch out for five or more years and has been like an avalanche for this program to dig out from under. It doesn’t take a genius to see the damage to UK recruiting inside the Kentucky borders.

Earl Heyman from Ballard High School was the best player in the state of Kentucky last year. Yes I know Kentucky got Mr. Football Curtis Pulley so let’s place him second. It’s like the Heisman Trophy, which never goes to a lineman. Unfortunately for UK, Heyman’s going to be a thorn in their side for the next three years.

“He would have never gone to Louisville ten years ago,” said Ballard head coach Mark Catlett.

Ballard assistant coach Clifford Bradley said: “It’s the uncertainty of coach Brooks and the kids debating how stable the program is. Their offense was stagnant and perceived as no fun. That’s why UK lost Earl Heyman to U of L. Kids like excitement – the run and gun offense. Now – a – days, they have a basketball mentality and in basketball, they are more selfish and not as team orientated as football players. Kids come from parents that everybody thinks their kid is Michael Jordan or Joe Montana.”

Fans that are constantly calling for coach Brooks’ head perhaps should take a step back and survey the damage they are doing to the program and in particular it’s recruiting. When there’s a change at the top, it shakes the program all the way down to the strength and conditioning coach. Every head coach has overall goals that are not very different but they issue a different set of directives to the S/C coach in order to reach those goals and the S/C coach is caught in the middle.

“When Joker (Phillips) got back, he made major inroads and formed a good rapport and got coach’s on their side,” Catlett said. How tough is it in recruiting now?

Catlett said: “Any more playing in the SEC isn’t as important as it use to be. So many games are on TV – kids just want to go where they can have success. U of L doesn’t bend over backwards to have a relationship with us. When Bill Curry came in, he visited every school in the state. I’ve never seen coach (Bobby)Petrino at Ballard.”

Why? “I just don’t think he’s all that personable,” Catlett said.

How big would five wins be? “Aw, I think it would be huge,” Catlett enthusiastically proclaimed. “All kids don’t want to go to U of L.”

Cat fans need to understand, there a rallying point rather than a succeeding point!


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