Speed, schedules and Big Blue Links

Big Blue Links for Friday:

Sihiem King provides UK with a bolt of lightning, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. The freshman running back will play right away in the backfield and returning kicks. He signed with Kentucky without having ever been on campus. King was recruited by offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who was previously at West Virginia.

Kentucky women catch a break, reports Smith. “Kentucky takes on likely preseason top-five team South Carolina — its permanent opponent — twice. The Wildcats also play two rotating opponents — Vanderbilt and Auburn — two times this season. UK meets the remaining 10 league teams once each. … Both Vandy and Auburn finished in the bottom four of the league last season. UK has won seven in a row over Auburn and nine straight against the Commodores.”

Dennis Johnson makes his coaching debut Friday night, reports Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. The former Kentucky defensive end is now head coach at Woodford County. Johnson’s father, Alvis, was a long-time and successful coach at Harrodsburg.

Continue reading

Posted in U of L football, UK basketball, UK football | Comments

Group wants SEC schools to remove team chaplains

SEC notes and links for Friday:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has asked Auburn football to remove its team chaplain, reports Brandon Marcello of AL.com. The organization has sent similar letters to other universities, including Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia. Auburn released a statement saying, “Chaplains are common in many public institutions, including the U.S. Congress. The football team chaplain isn’t an Auburn employee, and participation in activities he leads are voluntary.”

The AJC has a story about the group asking Georgia and Georgia Tech to remove its chaplains. Georgia’s chaplain is Kevin “Chappy” Hynes, who is head coach Mark Richt’s borther-in-law. The FFRF claims Hynes is trying to convert non-believers on the team.

Kobie Eubanks won’t be enrolling at Alabama to play basketball, reports Matt Zenitz of AL.com. The four-star guard was not cleared by the NCAA. “We are disappointed for Kobie and his family,” Tide coach Avery Johnson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Kobie wasn’t cleared by the NCAA and we couldn’t get him admitted to the University of Alabama. He has a bright future and we wish him well.”

Continue reading

Posted in SEC | Comments

Looking back at Dorian Baker’s freshman season

Jennifer Smith wrote a feature on Kentucky’s sophomore wide receiver Dorian Baker, who has earned praised for his acrobatic catches in fall camp and nicknames from his teammate for his size and strength.

I went back and looked at Baker’s freshman season after an impressive showing in a camp caused the Kentucky staff to offer the Cleveland Heights native. Baker was ranked as the 45th-best prospect at his position by Rivals and was ranked the 16th-best overall prospect in the state of Ohio for the Class of 2014.

He got off to a big start last season, catching nine passes for 107 yards in the first three games, including a touchdown grab in the 20-3 win over Ohio. He was also thrown to four times on third down, with two catches for first downs. Baker’s production slowed down after that, however. He caught just 10 passes in the final nine games. He missed the season finale at Louisville after suffering a non-contact knee injury during the bye week before the trip to U of L. He missed spring drills.

Continue reading

Posted in UK football | Tagged , | Comments

SEC Network announces new football analysts

The SEC Network announced Thursday it has hired three new football analysts for the 2015 season. Chris Doering, Jabari Greer and Clint Stoerner will be new studio analysts on Saturdays and during the week on SEC Now.

Doering was a wide receiver at Florida where his catch in the final moments gave the Gators a 24-20 win over Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium in 1993. That was the game UK intercepted seven Florida passes but still lost. Doering won three SEC titles (1993, 94 and 95) at Florida before playing seven years in the NFL.

Greer was a two-sport athlete at Tennessee, breaking records in both football and track and field. He played 10 years in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in 2010.

Continue reading

Posted in SEC, TV/radio | Comments

Video: Blake McClain on being coached by Mark Stoops

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, who started out as a secondary coach, has been coaching the UK safeties in camp. When safeties/special teams coach Craig Naviar left for Houston, Stoops decided to hire Andy Buh to coach the defensive ends/linebackers. So Stoops has been helping Derrick Ansley coach the secondary.

Here is nickle back/safety Blake McClain talking about what it’s like to have the head coach as your position coach.

Posted in UK football | Tagged | Comments

Derek Abney on FWAA 75th Anniversary All-American team

abneyvandyap

The Football Writers Association of America has come out with its 75th Anniversary All-American team, and former UK wide receiver Derek Abney made the list as third-team  return specialist.

Abney was placed behind Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers and Notre Dame’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismail. The 75 players on the list came from 41 schools. Abney was the only player from UK to make the list. He played at UK from 2000 through 2003. He caught 197 passes for 2,339 yards and 18 touchdowns. He averaged 24.4 yards on 95 kickoff returns, with two touchdowns. He averaged 11.8 yards on 88 punt returns, with six touchdowns.

Here are the FWAA first teams:

Continue reading

Posted in UK football | Tagged | Comments

BBL: SEC, including Kentucky, high on arrests list

stoopspractice0818

Big Blue Links for Thursday:

SEC teams, including Kentucky, are high on arrest list, reports Mike Rosenberg using data from Arrestnation.com. UK is tied for 12th among FBS teams for the number of arrests over the last five years. Washington State is first, followed by Florida. Georgia and Texas A&M are tied for third.

Kentucky ranks 77th on the field, according to Paul Myerberg of USA Today. In his pre-season re-rank, Myerberg apparently doesn’t think much of the Cats. He has Western Kentucky at No. 37. Louisville is No. 26. His top five: 1. Ohio State; 2. Baylor; 3. Auburn; 4. Alabama; 5. Boise State.

UK schedule has end-of-season twist, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. The SEC announced its 2015-16 basketball schedule on Wednesday night and the Cats finish the conference year not with Florida, as has been the case in the past, but with LSU. It’s no coincidence that LSU should be very good this year.

Continue reading

Posted in SEC, UK basketball, UK football | Comments

UK wants you to vote on design for back of video board

Votes will be accepted through noon Thursday.

Posted in UK football | Comments

Courtney Miggins making a move

One new nugget produced by Tuesday morning’s media meeting with the Kentucky coaches was that junior college transfer Courtney Miggins is putting himself in position to help along the defensive line.

A 6-foot-5, 285-pounder out of Lithonia, Ga., Miggins played at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi before committing to Kentucky over Mississippi State and North Carolina State.

“Courtney is an impact defensive lineman out of the junior-college ranks,” Coach Mark Stoops said in a news release at the time of Miggins’ signing. “He has great size and quickness off the ball, the skills to come in and compete at a high level.”

Continue reading

Posted in UK football | Tagged | Comments

An upbeat Drew Barker and more Big Blue Links

westrychrispractice

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.

Continue reading

Posted in SEC, UK football | Tagged , , , , , | Comments