Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Patrick Towles’ departure; Evelyn Ahkator’s arrival

Kentucky forward Evelyn Akhator (13) is fouled by Jackson State forward Nyahok Bile (22) as she scores during the first half Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015 in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky forward Evelyn Akhator (13) is fouled by Jackson State forward Nyahok Bile (22) as she scores during the first half Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015 in Lexington, Ky. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Monday:

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles is transferring, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “I really think if you look in the direction this team is trying to go, I’m not sure that really suits his style of quarterback play,” UK radio analyst Jeff Piecoro said Sunday. “He’s not a guy that we all talk about the Air Raid and Tim Couch and Jared (Lorenzen). He’s not that type of quarterback that has that really quick release.”

The dark clouds and silver linings of the UK football season, is my column. “Dark cloud: Kentucky needed to be a more disciplined team on the field, off the field and on the sideline this season. Latest example, after Stoops’ speeches to his team to keep their emotions in check Saturday, after linebacker Josh Forrest returned an interception 81 yards for a touchdown he fired the football into the stands which brought an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.”

John Calipari says Illinois State is dangerous, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “Calipari likened Illinois State to Arkansas. Like the Hogs, the Redbirds use pressure defense which includes springing traps at unusual spots on the floor. Ulis played against Arkansas twice last season. Murray and Briscoe are freshmen.”

Evelyn Ahkator spurs Cats, writes Jennifer Smith of Herald-Leader. “Last season’s Junior College Player of the Year has been a double-double machine for unbeaten Kentucky, leading UK in rebounds in all but one game and leading it in scoring twice in the first six games. Akhator did it again on Sunday in a 92-24 drubbing of Jackson State in Memorial Coliseum, the Cats’ largest victory over an opponent since 2013.”

Kentucky volleyball makes NCAA Tournament again, reports UK Athletics. “For the 11th-consecutive season, the No. 24 Kentucky Wildcats will compete in the NCAA tournament, traveling to Columbus, Ohio, for the first round with a match against American University, the 2015 Patriot League champions. The winner will face either Ohio State or Robert Morris in the second round for the right to advance to the Lexington Region Dec. 11-12. Kentucky and American will face off at 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday.”

Mark Richt couldn’t deliver and now he’s out, writes Mark Bradley of the AJC. “The SEC East was again wide open – anyone who watched Florida muster all of two points against Florida State on Saturday knows how flimsy the Gators were – and again Georgia couldn’t win it. And it wasn’t just that Richt’s Bulldogs lost to Florida for the 10th time in 15 tries; it was that Richt, for reasons unknown and surely unknowable, started his third-string quarterback in Jacksonville. Had he stuck with the underwhelming Greyson Lambert and just had him do his game-managing thing, Georgia would have had a real chance. With Faton Bauta throwing 33 passes, the Bulldogs lost by 24 points.”

Five coaches that may be on Georgia’s list, by Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “Dan Mullen, Mississippi State head coach. Mullen has ties to McGarity as the two worked together in Florida before moving elsewhere. Mullen was former Florida head coach Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator, and McGarity worked under Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley. The two reportedly still have a strong relationship and would be on the same page within Georgia’s athletics department.”

Towles leaving with same class he’s always shown, writes Larry Vaught of the Advocate-Messenger. “Towles has always said and done the right things. He survived being ignored by then offensive coordinator Randy Sanders his first season. The next year he was told by then offensive coordinator Neal Brown what he had to do to improve during a redshirt season, and he did it. He started in 2014 as a sophomore for Brown, who left after last season to become head coach at Troy.”

Florida limps into SEC title game, reports Jesse Simonton of Miami Herald. “Florida gained just 262 yards against FSU. The Gators had five three-and-outs and only avoided its first shutout in 27 yards thanks to a safety. Auburn beat the Gators 16-0 on Homecoming in 1988.”

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