Most Recent Posts
- Ohio twins will transfer from Pittsburgh to Kentucky
- Photo Gallery: Alex Poythress at Camp Cal
- Ohio RB Mikel Horton did all he could to help convince Georgia RB Boom Williams to commit to UK
- Boom Willams expects to make impact returning punts, kickoffs
- UK commit Stanley Williams ready to bring the “Boom” to Kentucky football
- Calipari uses Twitter to explain Kentucky’s recruiting success
- Longtime sports writer Joey Fosko dies from apparent heart attack
- Kentucky offers athletic 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman
By LARRY VAUGHT
If not for Joker Phillips, Jacob Tamme might not be playing in the NFL today.
Okay, maybe that’s a stretch but remember that it was Phillips who wisely moved Tamme from receiver to tight end as soon as he took over as offensive coordinator back in 2006 after Ron Hudson was fired late in the season. Tamme responded with his first touchdown catch at Tennessee in UK’s final regular-season game and went on to become an all-Southeastern Conference selection and NFL draft pick.
That’s why Tamme wasn’t quite sure how to react Sunday when former UK teammate Wesley Woodyard told him after they had helped Denver beat the host Cincinnati Bengals that Phillips had been fired. Both Tamme and Woodyard came back to Lexington last month to show support for Phillips and were on the sideline with him — and UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart,
“We always talk about the program and our time there and we keep up with what’s going on so it wasn’t ‘unexpected’ because I’ve seen the fan base deteriorating. But that doesn’t make it easy, especially for those of us who have so many connections to this staff,” said Tamme. “Joker was instrumental in my development as my position coach and later as offensive coordinator.
“Obviously I don’t know the status of the rest of the staff but I know situations like this are always difficult on those guys — and one of those guys, Chuck Smith, taught me what winning football is.”
Smith was Tamme’s coach at Boyle County when he was on four straight state championship teams and was part of a 47-game win streak. No one has been prouder of Tamme’s success with the Indianapolis Colts and now the Broncos than Smith and no one has praised Smith more than Tamme.
It also has hurt Tamme to see the program he helped start winning games and going to bowl games suffer the way it has the last two years.
“It’s hard, when you look at the success that was built over the last six or seven years, to see this current situation. I think Joker said in his statement (after his dismissal) that ‘change is needed’ – I suppose that is true,” Tamme said. “But it’s hard to see because I know how hard he’s worked and how much he wanted to succeed for our state and school.
“One thing that shouldn’t be forgotten is that we’ve seen some great moments in UK football over the past six or seven years. Joker was a big part of all those.”
Those moments included a win over eventual national champion LSU when Tamme was there as well as the goal-post game against Georgia. It includes last year’s win over Tennessee or the 2010 victory over South Carolina and coach Steve Spurrier.
Tamme says it’s not hard to remember what his best memories of Phillips will be.
“I remember how excited and proud he was after some of our memorable victories. I remember how far we came as an offense when he took over as offensive coordinator,” Tamme said. “We became a confident group that knew we could score on anybody in the SEC, and we had one of the best offenses in the country my senior year.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky star Jacob Tamme is not going to second-guess what UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart has done or what direction he’ll go with his coaching search. Barnhart was the one who asked Tamme to hold off on his college decision after Guy Morriss, who had revoked a scholarship offer to Tamme, left UK for Baylor. As soon as Rich Brooks was hired, Tamme had a scholarship offer that he quickly accepted.
“I believe Mitch is the best AD in America. I know from my time at UK that he genuinely cares for the student athletes — their education and giving them an opportunity to compete for championships,” Tamme, now a tight end with the Denver Broncos, said. “So I trust he will make a great decision.
“I also think we have a lot of good young players that are currently getting experience, which is a positive. So I don’t have many thoughts on the ‘search.’ But I do believe that the future of the program is bright.”
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Wesley Woodyard is gearing up for a bigger role than ever with the Denver Broncos.
The fifth-year pro is coming off a year in which he piled up career highs in tackles (97), starts (seven) and forced fumbles (two) while replacing middle linebacker Joe Mays on passing downs and making spot starts at weakside linebacker for D.J. Williams.
Williams, who led the team in tackles after missing the first three games with an elbow injury, is facing a six-game drug suspension to start the 2012 season. He also has an Aug. 15 trial on misdemeanor driving under the influence and traffic charges.
Williams’ troubles might give Woodyard the chance to have much more than a rotational role in Denver’s 4-3 scheme next season, especially early on.
Woodyard, whose role has increased every year in Denver since the Broncos signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky in 2008, parlayed his outstanding 2011 season into a two-year, $3.5 million contract over the winter.
That may not be starter’s money in today’s NFL, but Woodyard indicated Tuesday after the team’s latest voluntary practice that he has his sights set on joining Mays and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller atop the Broncos’ depth chart at linebacker.
“Everybody wants to be a starter,” Woodyard said. “This year it’s going to be an open competition once we start summer camp, so I feel like my options are open everywhere that I would have (gone).”
Woodyard was the starter on the weak side during an open practice Monday, when Williams was absent from the start of four days of voluntary on-field workouts.
Woodyard said Williams’ off-field issues aren’t something that he ponders.
“No, man, we don’t talk about that. That’s his issues. I’ve just got to be ready whenever I’m called to be on the field,” Woodyard said. “It’s out of my hands. I’ve just got to be the next guy to step up and if I get a chance to compete for that starting spot during summer camp, I’m definitely going to do it.”
Williams is suing the NFL, seeking to overturn his drug suspension without pay. The lawsuit contends that the league violated protocol in collecting urine samples.
Woodyard said he wasn’t bothered when the Broncos drafted another quick and undersized weakside linebacker out of Kentucky in Danny Trevathan in April.
“It’s a great opportunity for both of us,” Woodyard said. “We’ll both compete and I know what type of player he is, coming from a school that I went to. I know he’s going to give it his all every time he steps on the field, so it’s an honor to have a guy like him on our team.”
Woodyard said he’s been counseling Trevathan for years, so it’s not like he’s suddenly sharing the tricks of the trade with him during these offseason workouts.
“He’s kind of like my little brother, but I’m trying to give him the chance to learn the things he can do and that he can’t do before I go in there and try to tell him everything,” Woodyard said. “So, he’s coming along well. I think he’s had like two interceptions throughout these OTAs, so he’s doing pretty good.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Even before the Denver Broncos added Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan to their roster by using their sixth round draft pick on him last him, former Wildcat Champ Kelly was already beaming about the UK connections with the Broncos.
Kelly is a former Kentucky receiver who has been with the Broncos since 2007. He started as the teamâ€™s Northeast region scout in 2007 and became assistant director of pro personnel in 2010. He is responsible for assisting in the evaluation and acquisition of free agents in addition to advance scouting and compiling research for the club.
The Broncos picked up linebacker Wesley Woodyard as a free agent out of Kentucky and heâ€™s had four productive seasons with Denver. Recently they signed free agent tight end Jacob Tamme, Woodyardâ€™s teammate at UK and a valuable and versatile player for Indianapolis the last four years. They also added defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon in a trade and then re-signed him after he was cut just before the start of the 2011 season.
Kelly was almost giddy over being able to reunite Tamme, a Boyle County product, with quarterback Peyton Manning after Denver signed him during the offseason.
â€œHe comes in with an immediate familiarity with Peyton. They are a good rapport in Indianapolis when Dallas (Clark) was hurt. We are very excited to have Tamme to add another weapon to our arsenal to make our offense better,â€ Kelly said. â€œI knew Jacob back in Kentucky and heâ€™s one of the people that people Iâ€ˆtry to talk to talk about how good a character he has. He is a great person and great teammate, the kind of person you want on your roster.
â€œI have admired him from afar and we are so excited to have him here. I have watched him grow and become a better player and he will have a great chance here to be an even more productive player.â€
Kelly says itâ€™s impossible to accurately gauge the value of the intangible qualities Tamme brings to a team.
â€œThey are extremely important. You have to gel as a football team and it takes the right mixture of high character, good quality people to make it work,â€â€ˆKelly said. â€œIf you have a solid corps of those type of high character people, then your team has a chance to sustain winning year after year.
â€œThat is something we look for when we are scouting. We look for smart, tough, dependable, good teammates. That is what we look for when we are out scoring. We donâ€™t just look for the fastest or strongest players. Thatâ€™s why I am proud to be part of this organization. Tamme understands the game of football. He is a veteran now and when you sign a contract to be on another team, you know that it is time for yo to step up and make it happen like he will.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
Heâ€™s yet to officially sign his new three-year, $9-million deal with Denver, but tight end Jacob Tamme is excited about re-joining former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and hopefully having a chance to play even more than he did the previous four seasons with the Colts.
Tamme had only 19 catches for 177 yards last season when Manning was injured and did not play. However, in 2010 the former Boyle County High School and University of Kentucky star had 67 receptions for 631 yards and four touchdowns after Dallas Clark was injured. In his career, Tamme has 92 catches for 855 yards and eight touchdowns.
â€œIâ€™ve just agreed to terms with the Broncos. Iâ€™ve not signed yet, but itâ€™s coming,â€ said Tamme Friday afternoon. â€œIt is really, really exciting. Iâ€ˆhave been letting the process play out and had a great couple of visits. In my heart, Denver just seems like the right fit. Peyton is a great quarterback and they have a lot of exciting things going on in the organization. I want to be part of that and help them accomplish a lot of things.â€
Tamme, who had interest from several other teams including Seattle, became a free agent at the end of the 2011 season. Since then the Colts have undergone numerous changes â€” including releasing Manning â€”Â but Tamme admits him and his family enjoyed their time in Indianapolis.
â€œWe had a great four years in Indianapolis,â€ Tamme said. â€œI will miss a lot of my teammates. The fans were great. Our neighbors. A lot of good people in Indianapolis.
â€œBut there have been so many changes there and it became a situation where I had a lot of interest from other places. Denver didnâ€™t know it would get Peyton until a few days ago and that obviously changed the whole framework of their organization and offense. Once that happened, I guess they felt like they had more of a need for a guy like me with my skills.â€
Denver also signed tight end Joel Dreesen, who had 28 catches for 353 yards and six touchdowns for the Houston Texans, last year on Friday.
Tamme said he was just â€œlooking for the best footballâ€ fit and found that with Denver.
â€œHaving your family comfortable is important, but this is a business decision,â€ he said. â€œ(My wife) Allison is excited. We will have a chance to meet new people and do new things.â€
Tamme said the financial security is important, but heâ€™s more excited about his career opportunities.
â€œThe best part of this is having the chance to do something as a kid you never dreamed you could do,â€ Tamme said. â€œI get to play pro ball and got to experience playing in a Super Bowl. Iâ€™ve done it four years and couldnâ€™t be more excited about getting to keep doing it. Itâ€™s going to be an exciting time to be a Bronco.
â€œThe financial part is beyond our wildest dreams. Itâ€™s just been a blessing throughout this whole process.â€