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- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
- ESPN.com’s Jason King seems to have logical rankings going into next season
- Mark Stoops on John Calipari: “I love being around him”
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands that hiring Vince Marrow was a home run for Kentucky
- Video: Larry hears cowbells, makes a chocolate cow and soaks up the culture in Switzerland
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about recruiting the home state of Kentucky
- What role did Drew Barker’s mother play in his athletic development?
- Calipari will be keynote speaker at Iba Awards June 3 in Tulsa
Former University of Kentucky football stars, Anthony Mosley, Matt Roark, Ronnie Sneed and Ryan Tydlacka, have signed as undrafted free agents to begin their dreams of playing in the National Football League.
Mosley agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers; Roark signs with the New England Patriots; Sneed will join the Detroit Lions; Tydlacka will head to the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Their signings followed the NFL Draft, which featured safety Winston Guy and linebacker Danny Trevathan being taken in the sixth round by Seattle and Denver, respectively.
â€œPlaying in the NFL is something few people get to experience so I am extremely excited that these four players are going to get their chance,â€ UK head coach Joker Phillips said. â€œWith Winston and Danny being drafted over the weekend we now have six guys from last year headed to the NFL. I look forward to seeing their continued development as they live out their dream.â€
Mosley had a nice 2011 season for Kentucky, earning 27 tackles and five pass breakups in 12 games. The native of Ellenwood, Ga., ended the season with the second-most pass breakups on the team, helping Kentucky rank in the top 25 in pass defense most of the season. Mosleyâ€™s best game statistically came at South Carolina, where he earned a career-best nine tackles, including a tackle for loss. The cornerback finished his career with 63 tackles in 30 career games with his lone interception being the game-clincher in the win over South Carolina in 2010.
Roark had a fantastic ending to the 2011 season, leading Kentucky to its first win over rival Tennessee in 27 years. Roark started at quarterback in the game for the first time collegiately, rushing 24 times for 124 yards for the win. Before the win, Roark had developed into a key part of UKâ€™s wide receiving corps, making 36 receptions for 349 yards and a touchdown. The native of Acworth, Ga., had back-to-back solid games against Mississippi State and Ole Miss, recording 116 receiving yards in both games. Roark spent a lot of time during his career on special teams, tying a school record for most blocked kicks in a career with seven, and he proved to be an adept tackler in kick coverage.
Sneed performed extremely well at the linebacker position for Kentucky in his final two seasons. The native of Tallahassee, Fla., played in 42 career games for UK, making 25 consecutive starts to end his career. Sneed finished his career with 148 tackles, including 133 tackles in his junior and senior seasons. During the 2011 season, Sneed had 71 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. His career-best game came this season at LSU, where he earned 11 tackles against the No. 1 team in the nation.
Tydlacka, a native of Louisville, Ky., ranked fourth in the SEC by averaging 43.6 yards per punt in 2011. His outstanding hangtime and punt placement helped UK rank second in the league last season in net punting with 39.6 net yards per punt. Tydlacka had 20 punts of at least 50 yards during the season, leading the SEC in that category, and he also placed 19 punts within the 20-yard line.Â He was named second-team All-SEC by Rivals.com.
Tydlacka was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week in his final game as a Wildcat, the 10-7 win over Tennessee.Â With field position at a premium for that game, Tydlacka kept Tennessee backed up all day long, as the Volunteers did not begin a drive outside their 30-yard line the entire game. He punted nine times that day for a 43.6-yard average and his placement and hangtime did not allow UT to return a punt.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Indiana expects to have a banner basketball season now that Cody Zeller and Christian Watford have both decided to return to a team that gave coach Tom Crean his first 20-win season at Indiana and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen before losing to eventual national champion Kentucky, a team the Hoosiers beat during the regular season.
But it is looking more and more unlikely that UK and Indiana will be playing next season â€” and Crean even recently told The Associated Press that Indiana it was “unlikely” Indiana would add Louisville to its 2012-2013 schedule. Since the two schools have not been playing, that obviously was a little dart aimed UK’s way to indicate that if the Cats don’t want to play, then maybe the Hoosiers will put Louisville on the schedule.
The problem with Kentucky and Indiana is where to play. From 1991-2005, the games were played at neutral sites in Indianapolis and Louisville and produced some memorable games and fun crowds with the arenas split almost equally with UK and Indiana fans. Then the games were moved back to campus.
Now UK coach John Calipari apparently wants to go back to the neutral sites while Crean and Indiana want to continue the on-campus arrangement that has also produced memorable games and crowds â€” who will ever forget the court-storming mass in Bloomington last season.
â€œThe Kentucky game is still being talked about, but itâ€™s not set in stone because, as many of you know, Kentucky doesnâ€™t want to play on our campus anymore and thatâ€™s certainly not our first choice,â€ Crean told the AP. â€œKeeping it on campus is without a doubt our first choice and always has been since Iâ€™ve been here.â€
Calipari has not said a lot about the series, but if he’s set on playing at neutral sites, it’s hard to imagine him changing his mind no matter how much he likes Crean. It just won’t happen.
But what do you think? Should Calipari and UK give in just so the series should continue? Do you even care that much if the series is not continued?
Let me know.
Vaughtâ€™s note: Ryan Lemond is a veteran sportscaster who does work for the UK Radio Network and is a regular on Kentucky Sports Radio with Matt Jones. Heâ€™s been a vaughtsviews.com contributor, but this is his best contribution yet. If you can read this and not shed a tear or two, you are far better controlling your emotions than I am. Ryan shares why Eloy Vargas â€” not Anthony Davis or another UK superstar â€” is his sonâ€™s favorite player and what it meant to his son to finally meet his hero.
By RYAN LEMOND
I remember the time I met my hero.
I was a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, and Lou Brock was my hero!Â This was back when Lou Brock was “the man”.Â I remember listening on the radio when he got his 3,000th hit and when he broke the major league record for stolen bases in a season. I was 12 years old, and Lou Brock was at a speaking engagement near my hometown.Â My dad took me and my brother.Â I remember it like it was yesterday.Â I got to meet him, I got his autograph, I got my picture taken with him – I got to meet my hero.
I tell this story because I know how my son, Michael, feels.Â My son got to meet his hero, but it’s not just “any” hero.Â My son’s hero is no star.Â He’s not a crowd favorite.Â But he is a hero!
My son can just see life a little differently.Â We adopted Michael when he was 3 years old.Â He had some life experiences that no little boy should ever have to endure.Â He’s an amazing young man, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.
Two years ago during midnight madness, with high profile players like Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Daron Lamb, and Josh Harrellson on the court, Michael picked out his favorite player – Eloy Vargas.
We really don’t know why he picked Eloy.Â Michael’s biological father is Hispanic.Â We think maybe Michael thought he looked a little like Eloy.Â At any rate, when most young UK fans pick their favorite players, it is often the star.Â Michael saw something more than that in Eloy.Â Michael has a keen sense as a youngster to see someone for who they really are.Â I can’t explain it, but he can read people better than anyone I’ve ever met.
So for two years, Michael was Eloy’s biggest fan.Â Maybe only Eloy’s mother is a bigger Eloy fan than my Michael.Â He would get mad if Eloy didn’t play, and would yell at the TV when coach Cal took Eloy out of the game.
Last year I took Michael to a UK game, and took him down on the court while the Cats were warming up.Â I will never forget the look on his face when he saw Eloy in person for the first time.Â He’s eyes were big, his mouth was open, and he started yelling, “Vargas!Â Vargas!”.Â Eloy couldn’t hear him, but it didn’t matter.Â He saw his hero.
On senior night this year, the game didn’t tip off until 9:00 pm on a school night, but we let Michael watch the game from his bed because we knew Eloy was going to start.Â When Eloy scored a basket, Michael came screaming down the hallway, “Did you see it?Â Did you see it?Â Eloy scored a basket!”
So you can imagine how happy and how proud I am of my son because he finally got to meet Eloy.Â Eloy was throwing out the first pitch at the Lexington Legends baseball game Friday, and we went to give Michael the chance to meet his hero.Â Michael was a nervous wreck!Â He could not sit still!Â He kept running back and forth from his seat to the table where Eloy was going to start signing autographs.
When it was finally time, Michael couldn’t even talk.Â He basically just stared at Eloy while he got his autograph and got his picture taken with him.
I honestly have tears in my eyes right now thinking about the joy Michael felt at this moment, and I think what makes it even more special to me is that my son picked someone to be his hero that was more than just a UK basketball player.Â He saw something more in Eloy that maybe most of us never saw – an extremely hard worker, a great teammate, a player that graciously accepted his role as a backup so the team could thrive and get better.
Maybe that’s who are heroes should be.Â Maybe we can all learn something from a 9 year old that had it figured out long ago.
By LARRY VAUGHT
As I was looking back through some of my NCAA Tournament basketball notes and quotes, I found a conversation with freshman Kyle Wiltjer where he revealed something very insightful about Anthony Davis that I never had a chance to work into a story.
He was explaining to me why the team’s success had really not been a shock to him or anybody on the team when I asked him if he had ever seen a selfish side of Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Here’s what he said:
“Something that jumped out at me is during Senior Night Anthony he (Davis) subbed himself pretty fast a couple of times to get Eloy (Vargas) in there in his last home game. That just shows their character and they are both great guys and hard workers because Michael would have done the same thing,” Wiltjer said.
“It just shows their character and how good of guys they are. Cal does a good job recruiting those guys and that really helps our team bonding as well. It is one of the closest teams I have ever been on in my life and Iâ€ˆam honored to be on such a great team and just little things like Anthony did for Eloy is what makes this team special.”
Vaught’s note: Kentucky fan Jami Young, and a vaughtsviews.com contributor, had a big weekend as she got to see both Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis in her hometown of Pikeville. Not only did she provide pictures from her experience, but she also shared her thoughts. If you go to a signing or anything involving one of Calipari’s Cats, feel free to share your experience by emailing photos/information to me at email@example.com.
By JAMI YOUNG
I am happy to report this CATS fan had the honor of meeting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Friday as well. Anyone who met him could tell he was more than happy to sign an autograph, or pose for a picture with one of his many fans. Maybe I shouldn’t use the word many, because it was more likeÂ the BBNÂ had descended on Wildcat Wearhouse in Pikeville.
I would like to thank MKG for showing everyone what the “Kentucky Effect” is. In my opinion, not only does the “Kentucky Effect” produce championships, but it produces champions as well. Champions that make us proud members of the BBN.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore Doron Lamb has been able to sign a lot of autographs and meet numerous people since Kentucky won the national championship about three weeks ago. However, Lamb found time to visit young patients at Kentucky Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Lexington Friday and left no doubt how much it meant to him.
â€œI just wanted to come out and show love to them (the patients) and support them,â€ said Lamb, who has declared for the NBA draft after scoring over 1,000 points in two seasons at UK and playing in two Final Fours. â€œI am having a lot of fun meeting new kids and signing things for them. I am learning how you have to show love to people that need support on my free time.â€ˆIâ€ˆhope I can do it again.â€
Christina Yue of UK Healthcare Development was thrilled that Lamb said he â€œloves kids and thinks it is great to get a chance to spend time with themâ€ because she knows what an inspiration Lamb and other UK athletes can be to patients.
â€œMany patients and family were simply saying thanks (to Lamb). They all were thankful for Lamb giving back and being there to brighten their day,â€ Yue said. â€œHe played with kids, talked to family members, joked with kids, hung out and just was able to help them forget why they were there.
â€œIt’s unbelievable what these players can do and more than anything how much these players want to be there. Lamb said a few times to me he hadn’t done anything like this before andÂ â€˜itâ€™s different but a good difference.â€™â€
Yue says she has been blessed to watch numerous Kentucky athletes take time to visit the Kentucky Childrenâ€™s Hospital
â€œWhen I think about this players that have come in and ones that are trying to come in I think about this quote. â€˜You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.â€™ I think about this because when they come in it doesn’t matter why they are there, they treat them just like anyone else,â€ Yue said.
â€œThey show them love and treat them like a person, actually more like their friends. So in their case it doesn’t matter what’s going on with them or who the person is they win at the end of the day on both sides because for that time they are there all their problems and worries go away. These tours change your life.â€
DENVER BRONCOS 2012 NFL DRAFT CONFERENCE CALL QUOTES (4/28/12)
LINEBACKER DANNY TREVATHAN (6th Round No. 188 overall)
On his relationship with Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard
â€œItâ€™s been an honor to see him play. I never had a chance to play with him. I think our football characteristics are similar. I strive [to be] like him, heâ€™s a great leader, I canâ€™t wait to play with him this year.â€
On his contact with the Broncos prior to the draft
â€œThere wasnâ€™t that much, but there was enough to know that they were interested. You never know with the draft. You just have to play your game.”
On not being able to live without â€œhaters,â€ like it says in the University of Kentucky media guide
â€œThey motivate me. Thatâ€™s always going to be in the back of my mind. You have to pay attention to yourself and strive for excellence. In this world they are looking for you to fail. You canâ€™t be one of those dudes that give up when times get hard.â€
On where he sees himself playing
â€œI can see myself playing whatever they need me to play. I played Will and Mike here. I also can play Sam.â€
On his charity work in Ethiopia
â€œIt taught me to not take things for granted. It built into the character I am right now. It helped me learn to take it one day at a time. There will be people that donâ€™t see like you do, but youâ€™ve got to learn how to live. Live your life and not worry about anything else.â€
On what he did in Ethiopia
â€œI did missionary work. I went to the leper colony, I went to the orphanage, I helped build fences for their camp. I just interacted and tried to blend my culture with them.â€
By LARRY VAUGHT
Here’s more with Kentucky offensive line coach Mike Summers, including big-time praise for all-SEC guard Larry Warford.
Question: With center Matt Smith and all-SEC guard Larry Warford, is the biggest thing just getting them comfortable with new players around them?
Summers: â€œThe real struggle in coaching is that you are always dealing with guys that are on different levels of development, especially in the offensive line. I have always talked about how cohesive those five guys have to be and each year you mix and match and pull guys out and injuries force you to mix and match and pull guys out. When that happens, there is a fundamental period that takes the adjustment of those guys playing together. Larry and Matt are in that phase right now where they are learning to play with different guys and the communication suffers in those situations and that is what spring practice was for and what fall camp is for. Clearly they have a lot of things they can work on to get better at, too.â€
Question: What about the depth in the offensive line this year?
Summers: â€œIâ€ˆam concerned right now that our depth has not been on the field. If we start having a rash of injuries, we are going to be putting players out there who donâ€™t have a lot of experience. I am very encouraged by the freshmen group coming in. I think there is a good group coming in there, but we missed a couple of classes in the offensive line. The year that I got here there was not an offensive lineman signed. The next year there was one. We have had a couple of guys like Sam Simpson and Dave Ulinski that because of injury have been taken out of that group. I am concerned about the depth of this group and we are going to have to stay healthy to be effective.â€
Question: Could there be another Darrian Miller out of necessity in the incoming freshman class?
Summers: â€œThere very well could be. So much the better if that is the case. It has been a long time since Iâ€ˆhave had a freshman have to play for me.â€ˆLast year was the first time in a long time. I would rather itÂ not be the second time in a long time, but I am very encouraged by those guys and they certainly will fill in and be part of our depth for next year.â€
Question: How much does it help having an experienced center like Smith, who has started the last two years?
Summers: â€œIf you had to dedicate experience you would want it to be at that position. That guy has to make all the calls, especially in Smithâ€™s case because he started two years for us. That guyâ€™s personality is so solid and his understanding of our offense is so solid that it is a calming effect for everyone else up there. He is not going to panic trying to figure out what he is looking at and getting everybody lined up. Having a guy there with patience, understanding and experience helps that whole group in their confidence.â€
Question: Is there a better offensive lineman in the SEC than Warford?
Summers: â€œThere is not one better. His understanding of offensive football and offensive line play is so instinctive. He just has such a knack of understanding the patterns of defensive movement inside that he puts himself in the right position. For 325 pounds, he is such a great athlete. Great feet. He puts his intensity and passion on top of that and that equals a great player.â€
Question: Did you know immediately he could be this good?
Summers: â€œYou could see that he had the traits to be that, but like Iâ€ˆtold him at that point there are thousands of offensive linemen that have those traits and there are very few that can take those traits and turn them into something special. Through his hard work and understanding of what he is being taught he has been able to develop and grow and take on the personality of a great player. When you watch him prepare himself for practice and games, you see a player that really understands that this is a commitment to passion to play in the offensive line and he has that understanding and certainly has the physical tools to go along with that.â€
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky offensive line coach Mike Summers offered these insights on his new starters â€” junior Kevin Mitchell, sophomore Darrian Miller and redshirt freshman Zach West.
Question: How did new starting tackle Kevin Mitchell, a junior, do?
Summers: â€œKevin did a really good job. He has paid his dues as a backup player for a couple of years and has learned how to practice, learn how to perform. He has gotten stronger. Now this is his time to step up into a starting role. He has done a really good job at tackle and really developed his movement skills well in the offseason. He has a much better understanding of the overall offensive concept. I was very pleased with what he did.â€
Question: How has redshirt freshman Zach West reacted to being No. 1 at the other tackle?
Summers: â€œUnlike Kevin, he has not paid his dues yet. He is being pressed into action pretty quickly. Every day that he comes out here he experiences something new and something that he has to understand and commit to memory so that mistakes that are made the first two days of practice are not made the last two days of practice. We are still in the process of developing his technique, developing his overall understanding of our offensive concept. I see great signs of what he can be and flashes of brilliance that gives me a new motivation to try and make sure he learns all the things he needs to in order to show all that.â€
Question: What is his biggest strength as a player?
Summers: â€œI think it is his toughness and his character and just his commitment to trying to do things the right way. It is very difficult for any of them to step into that role and play early because so much happens so fast. I think it is still is happening fast for Zach right now, but he has an understanding of the offense and he does understand how I want it to be. We are working to gain on the things that lead to consistent execution.â€
Question: How much will the experience Darrian Miller got as a true freshman help him as a sophomore starting at guard?
Summers: â€œI think it was a tremendous experience to get him right now in preparation for this season. It was very difficult for him last year to have him just thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool and tell him to start paddling. But his confidence level right now from being on the field and knowing what the speed of the game is going to be like has really helped him in his preparation for next season.â€
Question: Are Miller and West almost too nice to be thrust into starting roles so quick in the Southeastern Conference?
Summers: â€œThey have earned that and worked their way into those positions. They are really great kids with tremendous character. I am blessed because I am in a room full of those kind of guys. Iâ€ˆam in a room full of guys that have solid character, care about the University of Kentucky and want to be great players. Regardless of the talent level of that group, they are a great group of guys to work with and they motivate me as a coach because they have that kind of character.â€