Big Blue Links: CWS renovation; Steve Spurrier’s rant


Big Blue Links for Thursday:

My column says that Commonwealth Stadium is going to look nice when completed, but winning football is the important part of the project. “What’s more interesting is why Kentucky decided to renovate in the first place. Sure, Commonwealth Stadium was in need of an update. But the trend around the SEC has been to expand stadiums, to meet the increasing demand for tickets. Kentucky bucked the trend. AD Mitch Barnhart rejected expansion in favor of renovation. In fact, there will be fewer seats at CWS. The goal: Fewer seats, more amenities.”

The stadium tour revealed a new personality, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “The team will have a new room right off the tunnel (under the recruiting room space) where it will meet before games and at halftime. It will be equipped with chairs, dry-erase walls and restrooms, as well as space for medical staff and an in-stadium X-ray machine. Across the hall is a space for post-game interviews. This season, the team will dress in its existing locker room space and then head to the field. Once the nearby, $45 million practice facility is completed, the players will get ready there and then walk over to the stadium.”

Steve Spurrier throws a hissy fit, reports Josh Kendall of The State. Upset by a comment from Mark Bradley of the AJC, the Old Ball Coach called a press conference on Wednesday to say, “Don’t believe our enemies.”

Lafayette lineman emerges as rare five-star recruit, reports Ben Roberts of Next Cats. “One of Mark Stoops’ stated goals early in his tenure as the University of Kentucky’s football coach was to bring the commonwealth’s best high school players to Lexington for their college careers. He’s not going to see many better than Jedrick Wills.”

Jamal Murray’s 20 points lead Pan Am win for Canada, reports H-L. “Murray, playing point guard, made six of 15 field-goal attempts in 27 minutes of action Wednesday. He made four of seven three-point attempts and all four of his free throws.”

Steve Nash heaps praise on Murray, reports “I’m just starting to get to know him,” Nash said. “I’ve watched him quite a bit. He’s got a tremendous amount of ability. He’s got a very bright future. It’s very exciting for our program. But it’s also exciting for me as a point guard — to see a young player come through with that much ability is very fun and exciting.”

UK is confident stadium project is on target, reports Brett Dawson of Cats Illustrated. “The second and third (game) better just be little tweaking, ‘Hey we didn’t do this the way we wanted, we need to improve on this or whatever,’ which we do every game,” Pear said. “It should be back of the house. It should be if you go down that stairwell that some of you had to walk up that the stairwell may not be painted. That’s not a high priority as long as we got all the proper things in place from a safety standpoint. But as far as amenities, suites everything we’re going to be ready.”

Spurrier’s message is still the same, says Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated. “Spurrier lashed out Wednesday at “enemies” of South Carolina’s program who would like to see the Gamecocks fail and who are spreading rumors that Spurrier’s age has something to do with the Gamecocks’ drop from three consecutive 11-win seasons to 7-6 last season. Spurrier quoted the most famous Hun, or at least what Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun author Wess Roberts wrote in 1985.”

Mark Bradley answered back to Spurrier’s rant. “So that’s what I said/wrote, and I stand by it. What I don’t get is why Spurrier would call a press conference — on a Wednesday afternoon in the dog days of July — to rant (and, having seen the video, I believe that word fits) about it. But that’s the thing with Spurrier: Even at 70 — even after working in Florida, a state overflowing with fine newspapers, and in Washington D.C., for Pete’s sake — he hasn’t grasped that the media isn’t his to control.”

Related links

Herald-Leader photo gallery of Commonwealth Stadium tour

Video: Russ Pear talks about the stadium renovation

Don’t worry, John Calipari still loves Drake

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