An upbeat Drew Barker and more Big Blue Links

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Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Drew Barker isn’t bitter, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. The redshirt freshman came up just short in the starting quarterback competition with Patrick Towles, but Barker impressed the coaches with his ability. His job now is to prepare as if and when he gets a game opportunity.

Kentucky’s linebackers are now a trouble spot, reports Smith. Early in camp, Mark Stoops felt good about his inside spots with senior Josh Forrest, former juco transfer Ryan Flannigan and impressive freshman Jordan Jones. Then Flannigan inured a shoulder. Then Jones turned up sick. The feeling now is not so good.

Boom Williams is bouncing back after scare with knee, reports Smith. The sophomore running back “tweaked” his knee early in camp. He was back running some pass drills on Tuesday but didn’t participate in the 11-on-11 scrimmaging. Williams said he should be able to test the knee in contact drills later this week.

Neal Brown heading into first season at Troy, reports John Zenor of AP. The former Kentucky offensive coordinator is Troy’s new head coach. He takes over a program that won five consecutive conference titles only to fall on hard times the last few years. Brown was the OC at Troy during some of its most successful years.

Tipoff times set for two UK basketball games, reports H-L. The Kentucky-Duke game in Chicago on Nov. 17 will tip at 7:30. The Kansas-Michigan State game of the Champions Classic doubleheader will follow UK-Duke. Kentucky’s Dec. 19 game with Ohio State at the CBS Sports Classic in Brooklyn will tip at 3:30.

Florida fluid at several positions, reports Jesse Simonton of the Miami Herald. Quarterback is not the only position battle progressing in the first camp for new coach Jim McElwain. Linebacker, offensive line and receiver are all unsettled as the Gators prepare for their Sept. 5 opener against New Mexico State.

Will Muschamp is bringing more contact to Auburn’s practices, reports Matthew Stevens of the Montgomery Advertiser. The former Florida head coach, now Auburn’s defensive boss, wants more physicality from his Tigers, who failed to stop  people down the stretch last season. Kentucky plays host to Auburn in a Thursday night game on Oct. 15.

LSU basketball off to good start in Australia, reports the Shreveport Times. The Tigers are 2-1 in the first three games of their Australian trip. The Tigers beat the Queensland All-Stars 91-88 on Tuesday. Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney came off the bench to lead LSU with 22 points and seven rebounds.

UK is offering a ticket exchange program, reports UKAA. “With the launch of TicketExchange, Kentucky has partnered with Ticketmaster to bring fans the only safe and secure fan-to-fan marketplace authorized by UK Athletics. TicketExchange is completely integrated with Kentucky’s Ticketmaster software and uses barcode verification technology to ensure the authenticity of tickets.”

Photo of UK freshman cornerback Chris Westry breaking up a pass in Tuesday’s practice by Mark Mahan/Herald-Leader

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