▪ A silver lining to head coach Marvin Lewis taking over the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense, it can’t get much worse. Under coordinator Teryl Austin, who was fired Monday, the Bengals were 32nd out of 32 teams in yards allowed at 454.6 per game.
To be fair, before Austin, Lewis had a pretty good track record hiring coordinators — Mike Zimmer and Paul Guenther on defense; Jay Gruden and Hue Jackson on offense among his greatest hits. Fired as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Jackson is now back in Cincinnati as assistant to the head coach.
▪ Fifteen minutes before the Saints whipped the Bengals 51-14 last Sunday, the fire alarms went off at Paul Brown Stadium. Saints Coach Sean Payton was in the middle of giving his pregame address to his team. Unhappy about the interruption, Payton smashed the fire alarm.
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Payton says he will pay the Bengals for the damages. In Ohio, however, individuals found guilty of destroying fire alarms can face a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
▪ It’s the end of an era in Louisville. And not just the Bobby Petrino era. For the first time since anyone can remember, the Louisville locker room is no longer open to the media after Cardinals basketball games. New coach Chris Mack has changed the postgame protocol.
UK hasn’t opened its postgame locker room in years. Never mind that the NCAA requires teams to open their locker rooms for a set time period during the NCAA Tournament.
▪ The most amazing aspect of Alabama football’s current run is the lack of complacency. Nick Saban just doesn’t allow it.
▪ Saban said this week he continues to be in favor of a nine-game SEC football schedule. Too bad the rest of the league disagrees.
▪ Golden State’s Draymond Green, suspended for a game after going off on teammate Kevin Durant, has always been a ticking time bomb. It was just a matter of time before the explosion damaged the Warriors.
▪ I love the Reds’ hires of David Bell from the Giants and Cardinals as manager, Derek Johnson from the Brewers as pitching coach and Turner Ward from the Dodgers as hitting coach. Fresh faces with new ideas.
▪ Under a new agreement, Nashville will remain the primary site for the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament through 2035. Now if they could just do something about those Nashville hotel prices.
▪ Kentucky football area of needed improvement in 2019: Wide receiver.
▪ Finally freed from the Bobby Petrino job speculation, Louisville football could be a dangerous team the last two weeks.
▪ Remember Buffalo, the team UK beat in the second round of last season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? The same Buffalo that routed Arizona in the first round? The Bulls are off to a 3-0 start this year, including a 99-94 win at West Virginia and a 62-53 victory over Southern Illinois, which led Kentucky by seven points in the second half last Friday.
▪ A filly named Stormy D. runs Thursday at Del Mar. And yes, she is named after Stormy Daniels.
▪ Writing for the Washington Post, Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner has UK outside linebacker Josh Allen as the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. “No one in the country has a higher pass-rushing grade than Allen’s 93.4, with 45 quarterback pressures after reportedly adding 30 pounds over the course of the off-season.”
▪ Kentucky football caught a break when Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn could not play against UK because of a leg injury. In his two games since, Vaughn rushed for 172 yards at Arkansas and 182 yards at Missouri.
▪ After scoring 32 points in No. 2-ranked Kansas’ 84-68 win over Vermont on Monday, Jayhawks guard Lagerald Vick sent the following text message to his mother, “I LOVE YOU MA . . . THAT GAME WAS FOR YOU!!!!”
La La Vick’s reaction, “I cried like a baby.”
▪ It has been just over a week since Duke drilled Kentucky in the Champions Classic, so why does it feel like longer?