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Web Wednesday: Countdown to football edition

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Each Wednesday here at Cat Scratches, we're going to take a look back at the latest week's news in UK Athletics from around the web.

Best on the 'net

Football: Athlon ranks the SEC's top 40 players (Braden Gall and Steven Lassan)
13. Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky (SR)
2010 stats: 144 tackles, 16 TFL, 3 sacks
Trevathan finished 2010 as one of the SEC's best linebackers, but did so without much national fanfare. Considering Kentucky's defense ranked near the bottom of the SEC against the run and in points allowed, Trevathan didn't get the credit he deserved. Trevathan led the SEC with 144 tackles and finished second with four forced fumbles. He earned first-team All-SEC honors and was named conference player of the week with his performance in the season opener against Louisville.
Why he's ranked 13th: Kentucky's defense is under the direction of new coordinator Rick Minter, but Trevathan's role shouldn't change. The senior is one of the SEC's top linebackers and is a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports. Trevathan is the leader of Kentucky's defense and should be one of the team's building blocks for improving that side of the ball this year.

21. Larry Warford, OL, Kentucky (JR)
The 6-foot-3 340-pound hog molly returns to what should be the strength of Kentucky's offense. The preseason first-team All-SEC guard led the team in knockdown blocks with 43 in 2010.

Men's basketball: Revised pre-season top 25 (Jason King, Yahoo! Sports)
2. Kentucky - Unlike the past two years, the latest version of the Wildcats has a decent amount of experience to blend with its youth. Terrence Jones was one of the top two players on last year's Final Four squad while Darius Miller and Doron Lamb played key roles, as well. The biggest stars, however, will probably be a pair of freshmen. Forward Anthony Davis and point guard Marquis Teague are both projected to be top 10 picks in next summer's NBA draft.

Football: Defensive line could be the difference (Jennifer Smith, Lexington Herald-Leader)
"When we've had good defensive linemen ... that's when we've won eight games and had a chance to win eight, nine, 10 games," Phillips said.

The coach said he has high hopes about UK's defensive front this season.

"This defensive line we have this year is older and a year more mature," he said. "You'll see some major results this year."
Men's basketball: Eloy Vargas looking to use Dominican experience to improve (Aaron Smith, Kentucky Kernel)
Regardless of how much Vargas contributes on a team looking to qualify for the Olympics, the experience should carry over to the UK season. Vargas said he looks at Josh Harrellson's turnaround his senior season as an example of what can be achieved.

"If he can compete with these players - he's going against three NBA players every day - if he can compete with those guys, he's going to help us this year," Calipari said.

Football:
Tee Martin excited about UK's defense (Larry Vaught, Danville Advocate-Messenger)
Martin: "I am really excited. I thought about football more on vacation this year than I ever have. I was just excited to get back. Like coach Phillips said, we have a lot of questions to be answered. We do have the challenge of hopefully answering those questions.

"We have talent. We just have to get those guys out there playing. Throughout the offense season from what I have heard from (strength) coach (Rock) Oliver and his staff, we've had guys come in with the right attitude, right work ethic and they are talented. So that's why I am excited to see what we can do with this recruiting class as well as some returning players we have.


Football: Kentucky mining south Georgia (Dave Hooker, ESPN.com)

Joker Phillips clearly stated his goal for the 2012 class and beyond: recruit south Georgia.

"We want to get more into south Georgia," the Kentucky head football coach said last month at SEC media days. "We feel we've done a really good job in the Atlanta and central Georgia area. We want to get in the south Georgia area to see if we can attract more quality players, and Steve brings that to us."

Steve is Steve Pardue, who was hired in December to coach Kentucky's running backs and be its lead recruiter in the area he knows best -- south Georgia.

 

Men's basketball: Darius Miller 'nervous' amid World University Games roster cuts (Aaron Smith, Kentucky Kernel)

Miller and the rest of the team had finished the fourth training session at a complex called "SportsCenter II" in Colorado Springs. A week remained until the team left for China, and the roster had to be trimmed. Twenty-one players had come to Colorado on Friday. Fourteen would be left after Sunday, and now the entire team was called into a room at the same time to hear the announcement of who made it and who didn't.

"I was definitely nervous going into that room," Miller said in an interview with the Kernel. "They talked to us about how it was a tough decision, how everybody played pretty good. Then they just went to announcing the names."


Former Wildcats making headlines


Randall Cobb is off to the races (Kevin Seifert, ESPN)
The Packers haven't had a kick return for a touchdown since Allen Rossum took back a kickoff 92 yards on Nov. 19, 2000. (When I was NOT 10 years old.)

"Hopefully that's something I'll be able to do moving forward," Cobb said, "and take that task on and help us get better field position to start the offense."

It shouldn't devalue kick returns in any way to point out that, immediately following the draft, most of you were hoping Cobb would immediately step in as a multipositional receiver/returner/running back/wildcat quarterback in the mold of Percy Harvin. That could all come soon enough, but for now the Packers are smartly limiting his exposure.

DeQuin Evans trying to make it with the Bengals (Mary Jo Perino, LEX18)
"I'm glad I played in the SEC, I'll tell you that. It got me up to the speed of the game, it's just a little faster, I got great coaches up here though so I'm in that playbook like it's going out of style. I feel like I don't have nothing to lose but If I make the team which, you know, I'm praying for, I'm laying it all out here on the field, that will just be a blessing that nobody ever expected."

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis says Evans has a shot.

"He certainly looks the part and he catches your eye that way physically. Hopefully he'll have a great opportunity this summer to prove that he can make an NFL football team," said Lewis.

Enes Kanter would consider playing in China during lockout (Brian Smith, Salt Lake Tribune)
Kanter's agent, Max Ergul, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday that his client has official offers from two Chinese teams. Ergul does not want Kanter to miss another year of basketball, and he will seriously weigh the offers if the lockout stretches into late September.

"It's very interesting stuff," said Ergul, who said he could not reveal the names of the clubs because details of the negotiations are still confidential. "We'll be entertaining those ideas as well as the lockout progresses. He's a ballplayer -- he has to play."

Kanter will compete for Turkey during the 2011 EuroBasket tournament, which is scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 18 in Lithuania. He is expected to be scouted by the Chinese teams that have made the offers during the tournament.

News from UKathletics.com

UK Athletics an 'important asset' for university, new president says

Men's basketball: Miller a finalist for World University Games team

Football: Fan day set for August 6

Baseball: Wildcats excel on Fenway stage

Women's golf: Breed, Lott tied for first at Hooters Championship


Video of the week

Although the NBA lockout is ongoing, John Wall is finding ways to show that he can still play a little basketball. In what seems like a throwback to watching Wall mix tapes before he made his debut at UK, here are some highlights of the former Wildcat point guard. Stay tuned until the end for a ridiculous behind-the-back to crossover.



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