LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky will kick off in less than two weeks, but The 'Book has noticed that the gamesmanship may already have begun.
It involves the quarterback position, and exactly who will be calling the signals for both teams when they meet at LP Field in Nashville on August 31.
By all accounts, Jalen Whitlow emerged from UK's first scrimmage with the best performance of UK's three talented quarterbacks, but coaches still haven't named a starter, and may prefer going into the season opener with a mystery.
"That's going to be up to Coach (Mark) Stoops, but I figure, why tell Western?" Brown said after practice last week. "Let them figure it out."
Brown says he's starting to see some separation, so the Wildcat coaches are beginning to form an idea.
Meanwhile in Bowling Green, there have been rumblings about freshman quarterback DaMarcus Smith of Louisville. Smith was not at the top of the WKU radar coming out of spring practice, but Petrino said recently he's made some big strides.
"DaMarcus Smith has really improved," Petrino said. "When he came out of spring ball I thought it really was going to take him a little bit to get in the position to play, but he is much better right now than he was all of spring. He understands the offense, his technique is getting better, his ability is really showing up so I've been happy with that."
Might he have a chance to start, or at least play, against the Wildcats? It's hard to tell, but UK will need to account for a more mobile quarterback in its defensive game plan, in any event.
VOICE OF THE CARDINALS CELEBRATES 40 YEARS IN LOUISVILLE
Paul Rogers came to Louisville and WHAS having been hand-picked by sports director Cawood Ledford straight out of the University of Kentucky. He has never left.
Today is his 40th anniversary as a sports announcer in the city, beginning with WHAS Television and Radio, and now with WHAS Radio and as play-by-play voice of University of Louisville athletics, as well as the local voice of the Kentucky Derby.
You likely won't hear much mention of it from the ClearChannel Inc. owned Louisville stations. The big media giants don't value longevity much anymore. But Rogers' voice has become a part of the Louisville sports soundtrack, and has made it much richer for four decades.
FOR STRONG, PRESEASON HAS BEEN A TALE OF TWO TEAMS
Charlie Strong is keeping his U of L players rooted in reality with two examples this preseason. Over the summer, he mentioned his 2009 Florida team often. That team had Tim Tebow returning as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, along with Percy Harvin and 21 of its top 22 defensive players.
Ranked No. 1 in the nation, that Florida team finished the regular season unbeaten, then lost to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game, and didn't get a chance to defend its BCS championship title.
That team was ranked No. 1 for every poll of the regular season except for one -- a demotion to No. 2 after beating Arkansas 23-20. Strong has said he doesn't want this team to feel that same pressure of being expected to blow out every opponent.
But that's not the only team Strong is holding up as an example to his players. He also has been talking about last season's Southern California team.
He draws comparisons between Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Barkley, DeVante Parker and Marqise Lee, and right down the line.
"I think about USC last year," Strong said. "Barkley -- Teddy. They had a transfer running back in from Penn State, we just had a running back transfer in. Wide receiver? They had them all. Think about those wide receivers they had. We got the same wide receivers. Defensively? They had a good defense. And look what happened to them."
The Trojans returned a top Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback, two 1,000-yard receivers in Lee and Robert Woods. They had senior running back Curtis McNeal and got Silas Redd as a transfer. Seven defensive starters returned, including four first-team All-Pac-12 players, and 18 starters overall.
They began the season ranked No. 1 in the nation, and finished unranked -- the first team to do that since Ole Miss in 1965. They finished 7-6 after losing to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.
"That could be us," Strong has warned his players. "It could be us if we don't do things the right way."
KENTUCKY RECRUIT DIES AFTER PRACTICE INJURY
Tributes are rolling in for De'Antre Truman, a junior at Creekside High School in Georgia who died after breaking his neck during a football scrimmage on Friday night.
Truman's first college offer came from UK. Johnny White, his coach for two seasons, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "He's one of the best kids I've ever dealt with in my 18 years of coaching, period, hands down. He was quiet but always smiling. He had a real good spirit. It was always yes sir, no sir. He enjoyed his team, and he loved his teammates. Just a great kid."
A witness said Truman went limp after making a hit to dislodge a ball from a receiver in practice, and was not breathing when coaches and trainers reached him. He said it took about 15 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, but that Truman never regained consciousness.
The Georgia High School Association executive director Ralph Swearngin told the newspaper: ""Any kind of death of an adolescent, it's a tragedy. As a father and grandfather, it strikes you personally."
TRINITY'S DAWKINS CLIMBING THE DEPTH CHART AT PURDUE
Former Trinity running back Dalyn Dawkins scored two touchdowns in a scrimmage Saturday at Purdue and is beginning to see reps with the Boilermakers' first-team offense, according to the Indianapolis Star.
"He's special," Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said. "He's got that quick-twitch fiber in tight spaces that can give you some heartache as a defense, missing you in the hole. He'll play for us."
Dawkins said the early opportunity only provides more motivation for him.
"I'm telling myself every day, ‘I've got to keep going, I've got to keeping going hard,'" he told the paper. "Every day, I keep getting hungrier and hungrier. Some people get satisfied once they're with the top guys, but me, I never get satisfied."
ESPN CALLS KENTUCKY, INDIANA TWO OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S SIX WORST JOBS
ESPN.com's Ted Miller this week named his "Subaltern Six," the six worst jobs in college football. And despite recent recruiting success, Miller puts UK at No. 6 on his list and Indiana at No. 5.
His reasoning on UK: "It's tough being a bad football team at a storied basketball school in a hoops-mad state. It's even tougher when that bad football team plays in the SEC. The Wildcats haven't won an SEC title since 1976 and their last year with a winning conference mark was 1977. There have been some winning records, most notably under Rich Brooks, who produced back-to-back 8-5 finishes and bowl wins in 2006 and 2007. That shows a really good coach, as Brooks undoubtedly is, can produce a winning record in Lexington, particularly with a favorable nonconference slate. But being competitive in the SEC is another matter -- see finishing with two or fewer conference wins in nine of the past 13 years. The Wildcats were ranked for eight weeks in 2007, in large part due to a 5-0 start. Their last AP ranking before that? 1984."
As far as Indiana goes, Miller says: "The Hoosiers last went to a bowl game in 2007 -- a 49-33 loss to Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl -- but even that year they went 3-5 in conference play. In fact, the Hoosiers' best conference record since 2000 was 4-4 in 2001. During that span, they won only one Big Ten game seven times, and went 0-8 in 2011. The program had some success in the early 1990s under Bill Mallory, posting four winning seasons, but that came to an end in 1995, and things have been pretty much awful since then."
The folks at ChooseASide.com have gone to the trouble of ranking their 15 loudest stadiums in college football, so The 'Book will share, though it thinks if you can find a stadium louder than LSU for a night game, you have more sensitive ears than we do. At the very least, this is one college football ranking that does NOT have Alabama at No. 1.
1. Ohio Stadium, Ohio State 2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida 3. Tiger Stadium, LSU 4. Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn 5. Spartan Stadium, Michigan State 6. Michigan Stadium, Michigan 7. Flosom Field, Colorado 8. Kyle Field, Texas A&M 9. Autzen Stadium, Oregon 10. Doak-Campbell Stadium, Florida State 11. Sanford Stadium, Georgia 12. Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin 13. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee 14. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech 15. Beaver Stadium, Penn State