Mark Story: Don't let Willie Taggart see you in a UK shirt on the WKU campus

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistSeptember 10, 2012 

  • Tennessee at Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30

    TV: ESPNU

    Records: Kentucky 2-9 (0-7 SEC); Tennessee 4-7 (1-6)

Quick hitters from the Maxwell Smith bandwagon:

21. Don't wear UK blue on the Hill. With Western Kentucky slated to play Kentucky in Commonwealth Stadium Saturday, WKU head coach Willie Taggart was asked at his Monday news conference about Western students who wear UK clothing on campus.

20. Did Taggart insult his own school? "You know, you wear another school's shirt, jersey, whatever it is, and you don't go to school there, that makes no sense at all," the WKU coach said. "Everybody wears (UK stuff) and I hear people ask them why they do it and the reason they're at WKU is probably they couldn't get into UK."

19. Taggart's clarification: After the blogosphere made hay with Taggart seeming not to paint WKU's academic standards in the brightest light, the coach took to Twitter: "My earlier comments were intended to suggest that WKU students who wear UK apparel this week are not showing allegiance to our athletic program and football team in a week when we need everyone's support."

18. More Western comments. Last season during the UK-Western game, the TV broadcast picked up some frank words from Hilltoppers linebacker Andrew Jackson. As the Kentucky offense was struggling to 190 yards of total offense (albeit in a 14-3 UK victory), Jackson was overheard saying: "I thought these were supposed to be SEC boys."

17. Not forgotten. UK starting left guard Zach West, a redshirt freshman, did not play in last season's UK-WKU game but he smiled Monday when asked if he remembered Jackson's comments. "We all remember that," he said.

16. No Federspiel. Ex-Henry Clay standout and current WKU junior linebacker Mike Federspiel, whose father Joe was a UK All-American, will not get to play Saturday in his hometown. The younger Federspiel is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

15. No Anthony "Ace" Wales. The former Central High School star running back, recruited by both UK and Louisville before signing with Western in February, is still recovering from a high school shoulder injury and seems likely to be redshirted.

14. Western is legit. WKU comes to Lexington having won eight of its last 10, with the two losses on the road at LSU and Alabama. Western beat Louisiana-Monroe — which upset Arkansas Saturday — last season on the road.

13. Hilltoppers red in Commonwealth. According to WKU, Western has sold its full allotment of 2,000 tickets for Saturday's game and the school has referred some 500 more tickets enquiries from 'Topper fans to the UK ticket office.

12. Jeff Van Note. The popular ex-UK and Atlanta Falcons standout said Monday he will be filling in for regular color analyst Jeff Piecoro on the UK radio network during Saturday night's Western game.

11. Van Note's take on the Cats. Having seen the UK-U of L game in person, Van Note said he was concerned with the Cats defensive secondary and linebackers. "Their back seven, it's got to really come along a lot faster," he said.

10. Ones that got away. How a few former Kentucky high school stars who spurned UK recruiting pitches are faring at their current schools.

9. Lamar Dawson. The ex-Boyle County star was slated to start at middle linebacker for Southern Cal; however, a calf injury knocked him out of the Trojans' season opener. He did play and record one tackle in USC's second game, a victory over Syracuse.

8. Jon Davis. The former Louisville Eastern star, who broke UK's heart by reneging on a recruiting commitment, is the third leading rusher for Illinois with 54 yards on six carries.

7. Justin Green. Ex-Male High star has seven tackles so far in senior year as Illinois defensive back.

6. Ex-Cats shining. The first Sunday of the NFL season saw some former Kentucky Wildcats produce boffo returns.

5. Wesley Woodyard. The Denver linebacker led his team in tackles (12, one sack) in win over Pittsburgh.

4. Jacob Tamme. Broncos tight end had five catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.

3. Steve Johnson. Buffalo wideout led Bills with 55 receiving yards (on four catches) and had a touchdown in loss to the Jets.

2. Randall Cobb. Caught nine passes for 77 yards in Green Bay's loss to San Francisco and had a 75-yard punt return touchdown.

1. Tim Masthay. The Green Bay punter averaged 48 yards on six kicks, four of which were downed inside the 20.

So if Saturdays don't go as well this fall as Kentucky fans wish, the NFL's first week suggests there may be some solace on Sundays.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Email: mstory@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com

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