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University of Kentucky football alumni and Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb joined Michelle Marie in ESPN’s GUINNESS SUITE to play a game of fill in the blank revealing some fun facts about him and his Green Bay Packers teammates.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Driving home Thursday night I heard my buddy, Larry Glover, pose a great question to UK fans during his nightly sports talk show (Larry Glover Live on WVLK).

What player will be the face of the UK football program two to three years from now?

What an intriguing debate because one could make a case for so many players. Just consider:

— Freshman running back JoJo Kemp has explosive skills.

— Freshman receiver Ryan Timmons is a diverse playmaker.

— Defensive end Za’Darius Smith could be UK’s best “sacker” in years.

— Future Cat Drew Barker is an elite quarterback.

— Future running backs Stanley Williams and Mikel Horton are special talents.

What do you think? Who do you see being the face of the UK football program in 2016 like former players Randall Cobb, Wesley Woodyard, Jacob Tamme, Jared Lorenzen and others have been?

By LARRY VAUGHT

Chris Davis was a two-way standout at receiver and defensive back for Austintown (Ohio) Fitch. He caught 50 passes over his final two seasons and had six interceptions in his three seasons as a starter. Demitrious Davis played in only three games as a senior due to a knee injury, but when he was healthy he was an athletic quarterback. He was a 1,000-yard rusher and passer his junior season.

The twins were heavily recruited, including by Florida State where UK coach Mark Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Elliot were and Nebraska by UK assistant coach Vince Marrow, before they picked Pittsburgh. They were recruited by former coach Todd Graham, but signed as a part of Paul Chryst’s first recruiting class at Pittsburgh. They started their Pitt careers as receivers before Demitrious was moved to running back during the 2012 season and Chris was shifted to defensive back in spring practice.

The twins, who both weigh about 200 pounds, likely will both be receivers at UK. Their father likes that idea, too.

“You like coach Brown’s offense. He puts the ball in playmaker’s hands. Some kids are built to play in space. Given them a 2-yard dump pass and they can go 70 yards. But they can also run between tackles if need be,” the twins’ father, Chris, said. “I think that is the way college football is going and where the NFL is on its way to. I don’t worry about the NFL, but I tell my boys if you want to play on Sunday (in the NFL), you have got to be good on Saturdays (in college).

Demitrious was an all-state quarterback but Brown envisions him maybe being like another former high school quarterback — Randall Cobb — who turned into one of the best ever all-purpose players at UK and now stars for the Green Bay Packers.

“Coach Brown will put Demitrious at running back/receiver, sort of like what UK did with Cobb,” the father said. “Chris also probably will be a receiver, but could go to cornerback with the low depth there.”

It didn’t bother the Davis family when UK landed Stanley “Boom” Williams of Georgia, the nation’s top-ranked all-purpose back in the 2014 recruiting class.

“I told coach Neal to recruit him. We don’t care who comes in. They are always willing to compete. That is what it is all about on good teams,” Chris Davis, the father, said. “You want great players around you.”

Demitrious is glad to have Williams as a future teammate.

“I have no problem with my athletic ability against anybody else’s. I have lot of confidence in myself to play against anyone. Daily competition only makes you better,” Demitrious said.

His brother, Chris, doesn’t care where he plays.

“Whatever I can do to help the team or get on the field as soon as possible, I will do it. It doesn’t matter,” Chris Davis said.

He describes himself as a “confident, humble, explosive, strong and fast” player that had a hard time sitting out last year — something he had never done during his football career.

“I ran track early in high school, but then focused on football as a junior and senior. This is a football area. It’s the main sport everyone focuses on,” Chris Davis said.

Demitrious says the brothers are very similar on the field.

“We are both explosive, fast. We both love to play,” he said.

The twins are working out daily with speed training and sessions at the gym so they “can hit the ground running” at  UK, according to their father.

“They want to be in Lexington learn the system. They may know the staff, but they need to know the system,” their father said.

Unless something changes, they will sit out the season as transfers and then have three years of eligibility remaining. Heard will also sit out the season and have two years left to play.

“They can get on the scout team for their transfer year and play and compete every day to try and get better,” their father said. “In the long run, maybe it will be a blessing that could preserve their bodies. It will be one year less of pounding, one more year to heal any little things they may have. Plus, you will have something more to prove when you are able to play.

“The twins and Braylon won’t be able to travel with the team. But we are only 5 1/2 hours away, so they can get home for the weekend and go back. It’s far enough away, but not that far. They are  mentally strong. When you have twins, their whole lives they have played and competed. They redshirted last year, but that was never their plan. It’s just when the coach changed, he redshirted every kid except one. But if the twins and Braylon just have to be practice players, they can do that and help make the team better and get better, too

image002By LARRY VAUGHT

His purpose is simple — put on an informative, entertaining football camp for youth ages 10-17 that costs the participants nothing.

“When I was growing up in Florida, I could not afford to go to camps. We couldn’t do it. I wanted to attend, but couldn’t because of money,” said Champ Kelly, a former University of Kentucky player and current assistant director of pro personnel for the Denver Broncos. “I said if I was ever in position to have a camp like that for kids, I would want to give them the most coverage and most instruction possible for no cost.”

He’ll do that again June 21-22 at Henry Clay High School from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day.

“It’s going to again be a time for the kids to meet the star, but it is about more than that,” Kelly said. “It’s not about the guys coming back to help me. It’s about the campers. We come in and don’t make a big stink out of who is there to help and you are going to get awesome coaching.

“The kids are going to learn football. We are going to prepare them for success on and off the field. For younger campers, we will stress the basics while getting into more extensive training with older campers. We will have a variety of guest speakers delivering messages on life skills and the importance of making good decisions.

“I like a mixture of ages. Older kids are able to be leaders by example. I want younger kids there at ages 10 or 11 from now until they graduate and they know what that CHAMP Camp on the front of the T-shirt represents.”

Kelly had the camp at Bryan Station last year, but wanted to reach out to “a few different kids” by moving the camp to Henry Clay.

“Our plan originaly was to try every couple of years to move to a different area to reach more kids. We hope the kids in the Bryan Station area want to come to camp regardless of where we are.”

But he would like to have more than just Lexington campers. North Hardin High School has told Kelly it hopes to bring up to 44 players and at least 30. Kelly is hoping other high schools will do the same.

He’ll have a variety of former UK players like Derek Abney, Dougie Allen, Leonard Burress, Chris Demaree and more at camp again. Last year he had both Randall Cobb and John Conner, current NFL players, speak to the campers.

“It’s almost like a who’s who of Kentucky football,” Kelly said. “But these guys love to get together and help. They like to come back to Kentucky where we all met and give back for a great cause. It’s not like pulling teeth to get them back. They want to help. I just think it is awesome that a guy like Derek Abney, who lives in South Carolina and is very selective about camps he’s involved with, will come spend time and talk to kids and help the receivers out.”

He’s reached out to former UK quarterbacks Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen about helping this year as well as former UK linebacker Jeff Snedegar. Cobb plans to be back if his schedule permits. Current NFL offensive lineman Garry Williams also plans to return. “He is awesome. He stays the entire day to help,” Kelly said.

He said current Bronco tight end Jacob Tamme also hopes to be at this year’s camp if his schedule allows.

“I try to not put names out there because I want kids to come for the idea of what the camp is about opposed to just the people that will be there,” Kelly said. “But I always want as many of the Kentucky guys there as possible not because of their names, but because they are great with the kids and teach them lessons about life and football.”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown considers Ryan Timmons an “elite receiver” who can play multiple spots. Former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard, who lives in Lawrenceburg, says he cannot “remember a more talented, explosive athlete from Kentucky” than what he’s seen from Timmons the last three years.

Timmons rushed for 1,306 yards and 25 touchdowns his senior season, averaging an amazing 15.7 yards per attempt. He caught 33 passes for 1,004 yards and 16 TDs, averaging more than 30 yards per reception. Opponents kicked off to him only three times and he returned them all for touchdowns. As a junior, he rushed 62 times for 1,382 yards, averaging 22.3 yards per carry, and 20 touchdowns and also had 38 receptions for 1,100 yards, a 28.9 average, and 18 touchdowns his junior campaign. He’s a four-star recruit and after verbally committing to UK Tuesday, he signed with the Wildcats Wednesday.

Here are some leftover thoughts Timmons shared at his press conference Tuesday after announcing he had picked UK over Florida, Ohio State and Illinois:

Question: Why do you think Neal Brown’s offense will work in the Southeastern Conference?
Timmons: “Just because if you saw that Alabama lost this year to Texas A&M and they ran the spread. There will be a lot of difficulty in the SEC because each team in one-dimensional and run first. If Kentucky brings in a different type of offense, it will shock the defense because they are not used to it.”

Question: Does staying home to play at Kentucky add any pressure for you?
Timmons: “Not really. I try not to pay attention to all that. I just try to do the best I can and hopefully I can improve and help the University of Kentucky football team improve. Good things are going to happen. We can turn this around. It is just a matter of when.”

Question: Have you always been a Kentucky fan and if so what Kentucky player did you admire/follow?
Timmons: “Yeah. Probably the best one and my all-time favorite UK player is Randall Cobb.”

Question: Do you remember when Craig Yeast of Harrodsburg played at UK and then went on to the NFL?
Timmons: “Actually I do. I actually met him last year. I talked to him a little bit and he gave me some input about Kentucky. I still remember that. He was coaching at Bryan Station and we played a seven-on-seven tournament. I was getting recruited by Kentucky then and he talked to me. I have not talked to him in a while and hopefully he finds out I am going to Kentucky and he will give me some advice to help me out.”

Question: What did he tell you at Bryan Station about Kentucky?
Timmons: “Nothing like playing for the University of Kentucky. That’s what he told me.”

Question: Do you know who coach Brown was even before he got the job?
Timmons: “Yeah I did. One of our assistant coaches, the offensive coordinator, works for Neal Brown at team camps every summer. Each summer he also will go down to coach Brown’s clinic and learn things from him. That is how we got the same offense as them. Our coach is good friends with Neal and who he works with (in the summer), Tony Franklin. We had a great connection as soon as he came and talked to me.”

Question: Did Brown almost become your best friend the last month or so with all the time he spent with you or talking to you?
Timmons: “He was. That is another good thing about it. It is not too far away and now I get to work and get up there and start studying.”

Question: Is it nice to finally have this decision made?
Timmons: “It is kind of a stress reliever. I can stop worrying. I can stop wearing all that other gear (from different teams). I can wear UK gear all the time. I need some more UK gear.”

Question: Do you feel Kentucky wanting you was even more important than Kentucky needing you?
Timmons: “Exactly. I just think it was important how much they wanted you and want you to be a good player. I think it is two different things. They want me and hopefully I can make things happen.”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown considers Ryan Timmons an “elite receiver” who can play multiple spots. Former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard, who lives in Lawrenceburg, says he cannot “remember a more talented, explosive athlete from Kentucky” than what he’s seen from Timmons the last three years.

Timmons rushed for 1,306 yards and 25 touchdowns his senior season, averaging an amazing 15.7 yards per attempt. He caught 33 passes for 1,004 yards and 16 TDs, averaging more than 30 yards per reception. Opponents kicked off to him only three times and he returned them all for touchdowns. As a junior, he rushed 62 times for 1,382 yards, averaging 22.3 yards per carry, and 20 touchdowns and also had 38 receptions for 1,100 yards, a 28.9 average, and 18 touchdowns his junior campaign. He’s a four-star recruit and after verbally committing to UK Tuesday, he signed with the Wildcats Wednesday.

Here are some other thoughts Timmons shared at his press conference.

Question: Why do you think Neal Brown’s offense will work in the Southeastern Conference?
Timmons: “Just because if you saw that Alabama lost this year to Texas A&M and they ran the spread. There will be a lot of difficulty in the SEC because each team in one-dimensional and run first. If Kentucky brings in a different type of offense, it will shock the defense because they are not used to it.”

Question: Does staying home to play at Kentucky add any pressure for you?
Timmons: “Not really. I try not to pay attention to all that. I just try to do the best I can and hopefully I can improve and help the University of Kentucky football team improve. Good things are going to happen. We can turn this around. It is just a matter of when.”

Question: Have you always been a Kentucky fan and if so what Kentucky player did you admire/follow?
Timmons: “Yeah. Probably the best one and my all-time favorite UK player is Randall Cobb.”

Question: Do you remember when Craig Yeast of Harrodsburg played at UK and then went on to the NFL?
Timmons: “Actually I do. I actually met him last year. I talked to him a little bit and he gave me some input about Kentucky. I still remember that. He was coaching at Bryan Station and we played a seven-on-seven tournament. I was getting recruited by Kentucky then and he talked to me. I have not talked to him in a while and hopefully he finds out I am going to Kentucky and he will give me some advice to help me out.”

Question: What did he tell you at Bryan Station about Kentucky?
Timmons: “Nothing like playing for the University of Kentucky. That’s what he told me.”

Question: Do you know who coach Brown was even before he got the job?
Timmons: “Yeah I did. One of our assistant coaches, the offensive coordinator, works for Neal Brown at team camps every summer. Each summer he also will go down to coach Brown’s clinic and learn things from him. That is how we got the same offense as them. Our coach is good friends with Neal and who he works with (in the summer), Tony Franklin. We had a great connection as soon as he came and talked to me.”

Question: Did Brown almost become your best friend the last month or so with all the time he spent with you or talking to you?
Timmons: “He was. That is another good thing about it. It is not too far away and now I get to work and get up there and start studying.”

Question: Is it nice to finally have this decision made?
Timmons: “It is kind of a stress reliever. I can stop worrying. I can stop wearing all that other gear (from different teams). I can wear UK gear all the time. I need some more UK gear.”

Question: Do you feel Kentucky wanting you was even more important than Kentucky needing you?
Timmons: “Exactly. I just think it was important how much they wanted you and want you to be a good player. I think it is two different things. They want me and hopefully I can make things happen.”

Photos by Clay Jackson, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy says leading receiver Randall Cobb is too valuable to take off of kick returns for safety reasons.

McCarthy says that if Cobb is healthy, he will be the Packers’ full-time punt and kick returner, even in the wake of the ankle injury he suffered in Sunday’s 55-7 rout of the Tennessee Titans. Cobb was injured when tackled by Tennessee’s Tracy Wilson while returning a punt with 8:38 left in the third quarter – a game in which Cobb set the franchise single-season record for all-purpose yardage. On his previous two punt returns, Cobb had gained 14 and 17 yards.

“I’ll be honest with you: I don’t have a really high tolerance for this (line of questioning) because I don’t understand how you play scared in the game of football. I don’t get that,” McCarthy said sternly. “I think it’s convenient questioning. I understand the risk involved in every single play. Some plays are higher risk than others, and I’m fully aware of that.

“But you can’t sit here and say special teams is important if you don’t put a guy like Randall Cobb out there as a returner. Now, if we’re sitting here next year, we might be having a different conversation. But the way our team is built for 2012, Randall Cobb is a huge part of our success on special teams.”

Even with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ not-so-subtle post-game suggestion that Cobb is too valuable to risk on returns, McCarthy said Cobb remains the returner, including in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Minnesota if he’s available. After Cobb went down, first-year wide receiver Jeremy Ross had a 58-yard punt return that set up Ryan Grant’s 7-yard touchdown run on the next play.

After the game, Rodgers was asked about Cobb’s overall performance, and spoke of Cobb’s role on returns.

“He’s a big time player,” Rodgers said. “He’s fun to watch. Just trying to get him the ball in space. He makes some big plays. He’s got incredible preparation habits. He’s always ready to play, knows where he’s supposed to be. He’s like a seven or eight-year veteran out there, it feels like at times. I feel like we’ve played together for a while. He understands the concepts we’re running, where to get open. He’s a big-time player.”

Then, after a brief pause and with a slight grin, Rodgers added, “(I) hope we can get him off special teams soon.”

Although McCarthy responded in his post-game press conference with “We’ll see” when first asked about Cobb staying on returns, the coach wasn’t coy a day later.

“Randall Cobb is a big part of our success on special teams. Our special teams has been our most consistent unit of our football team from Week 1 to Week 15. You don’t establish the way you play, the vision of the way you play, and then all of a sudden change going into the last week of the season,” McCarthy said. “We’ll see what happens here with Randall and we’ll evaluate his injury and then we’ll make decisions as we go forward. The philosophy of him playing on special teams has not changed.”

As a rookie second-round pick last season, Cobb’s primary role was as the team’s kick and punt returner; he finished the season with a 27.7-yard kickoff return average (second in the NFL, including a team-record 108-yard return for a touchdown) and 11.3-yard punt return average (seventh in the NFL, including an 80-yard return for a touchdown).

But Cobb has unexpectedly emerged as the Packers’ No. 1 receiving threat this season, leading the team in receptions (80) and yards (954), while Nelson and Greg Jennings have been sidelined for lengthy spells with injuries. Cobb has returned 38 kickoffs for a 25.4-yard average with a long of 46, and he’s returned 31 punts for a 9.4-yard average, including a 75-yard touchdown.

 

Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb leaps over Detroit Lions' Don Carey (32) as he runs back a kick during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb leaps over Detroit Lions’ Don Carey (32) as he runs back a kick during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Vaughtsviews.com reader Sarah White of Nashville had a friend who works in the Alcoa (Tenn.) school system who shared this information with her about Randall Cobb that I thought certainly was worth sharing with everyone;

“Okay, so for those of you who haven’t kept up with it recently, Randall is still #1 in the NFL in all-purpose yards for this season.  What I find odd is that nobody has been mentioning during games that he has a legitimate shot to break the ALL-TIME NFL RECORD!!!  He is only 606 yards away from breaking (605 away from tying) the all-time record that was set by Darren Sproles last season.

“Since there are only 3 games left, that means he only needs 202 yards per game to break the record.  To put that in perspective, he had 191 total yards Sunday night.  And just in case he doesn’t get the NFL’s all-time record, he’s only 160 yards away from breaking Green Bay’s franchise record.  He’s currently already 85th on the NFL’s all-time list ahead of names like O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Roger Craig, Walter Payton, Hershel Walker, and Eric Dickerson.  I just wanted to make sure y’all know about what I’m now calling the ‘Randall Watch!’”

 

UK coach Joker Phillips

UK coach Joker Phillips

By LARRY VAUGHT

During his appearance at the Louisville Quarterback Club in July, Joker Phillips told me that he would not go into another season with a Wildcat quarterback — something he could count on when UK had Randall Cobb.

With Maxwell Smith slated to be the starting quarterback and Morgan Newton his backup, Phillips is also trying to decide whether Patrick Towles or Jalen Whitlow, both true freshmen, will be the No. 3 quarterback.

“We’re working both those guys a little bit. I don’t think it’s important to do it today. If something happens, we’ll have to get a feel for what direction to go in. Right now, it would be a toss-up who goes in the game first,” Phillips said Wednesday.

He says no matter whether Towles or Whitlow is No. 3, he will find a way to play him.

“Why would you waste a kid’s redshirt year if you’re not going to play him. Again, we’ll make that decision in a couple weeks. You don’t want to get too deep into the season. But we are not going to go through this thing with two quarterbacks. Not going to do that. We all saw how that went last year. You can get caught, then late in the season you don’t want to use a guy’s redshirt year. So we’ll make that decision after a couple of games, which of those guys we decide to play,” Phillips said.

But wouldn’t the easy decision be to make Whitlow the Wildcat quarterback — after all, he’s one of the better athletes on the team and can run and throw like a Wildcat QB must do — and redshirt Towles to give him that fifth year of eligibility?

So will Whitlow be the Wildcat QB?

“I don’t know. You’ll have to wait to see that. I told you we’d have one; I don’t need to tell you who it’ll be,” Phillips told me when I asked him at the Wildcat QB. “When we’ve got some different personnel coming in and out of the game, I want some of it to be a guessing game – for everybody, not just you guys but everybody.”

What about more than one Wildcat guy? Perhaps redshirt freshman Bookie Cobbins could also fill the same role even though he’s been moved to receiver.

“We will have one (Wildcat),” Phillips said.

Just don’t ask him who.

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