Washaun Ealey will be going for a unique accomplishment this Saturday against Kentucky--to rush for more than 100 yards against the Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium in back-to-back years.
Ealey ran for 157 yards and five touchdowns last fall in Georgia's win here and having transferred to Jacksonville State of the FCS, he's back for a return engagement.
"He was a little beat up coming out of preseason camp. I really thought last week at Austin Peay, he showed maybe what he was like at Georgia for the first time," JSU radio voice Mike Parris said on "The Leach Report" radio show yesterday. "He'll have to have a big game for us to have a chance on Saturday."
Parris says this was thought to be veteran coach Jack Crowe's most talented team of his 12 at JSU but some injuries have led the Gamecocks to count more heavily on some younger players. One of them is quarterback Coty Blanchard, who was pressed into service when the starter was lost for the season in the first quarter of the first game.
Parris says some SEC schools recruited Blanchard as a defensive back but he came to JSU because he wanted to play quarterback--and he wanted to double as a baseball player, a sport for which he was recruited by Mississippi State.
Kentucky is loaded for a national championship run this winter, but John Calipari's team, like every other in the game, has a few questions to answer. For SportingNews.com college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy, one of those questions is the 5-spot.
Anthony Davis is wonderfully talented but DeCourcy wonders how he'll match up with other big men who bring more bulk to the court.
"He doesn't look like a typical college center. He's very thin. He looks a little bit like Sam Bowie but there aren't a lot of guys like that playing center now, so I don't know what direction Cal goes at that spot," said DeCourcy. "I think that's going to be the most fascinating thing to watch. They certainly have multiple options there but no ideal option. Last year, they had Kanter. It didn't work out but then they put Josh (Harrelson) in there and they were able to get him to be okay for awhile and then terrific when he needed to be."
The spotlight on a Kentucky basketball player can be intense and Davis already had a feel for that even before Big Blue Madness.
"When I came on a visit, Doron (Lamb), Darius (Miller), they all told me how it was going to be," Davis said. "Sometimes. But sometimes it gets overwhelming. Sometimes you just want to go hang out without being bothered."
We'll get our first extended look at Calipari's team under game conditions next week in the annual Blue-White game. And that means we could get a glimpse of that much-talked about hook shot of Kyle Wiltjer's.
"It came straight from my father. He's taught me since I was in the fourth grade, just doing these George Mikan drills," Wiltjer explained. "I thought they (the drills) were stupid but I'm really fortunate to have him in my life and teaching me about the game."
Miller says he was "surprised" the first time he saw Wiltjer's hook shot but the senior now has come to appreciate that Wiltjer is "really good around the basket."
The open date on the schedule gave Joker Phillips and his staff time to take an extended look at some of their younger players and the coach says a few of them had eye-catching performances in last Thursday's scrimmage.
On his radio show on the UK-IMG sports network Monday night, Phillips singled out linebackers Tim Patterson and Demarius Rancifer plus defensive linemen Farrington Huguenin.