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Web Wednesday: One more day 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: Ukwu welcomes playing on his 'home' field (Greg Sullivan, The Tennessean)

There was a time, though, when it didn't look like Ukwu would wind up on such a big stage. He always had promising height, but initially the Wolverine star lacked the size to attract top college recruiters.

These days, the junior boasts the body of a top-tier SEC defensive end.

"Now when I'm walking on campus people say that I play for the football team just by seeing my size," Ukwu said. "I've added 15 pounds just since the offseason, and it's all muscle so I'm feeling pretty good."

Football: Dreams fulfilled Thursday in Nashville (Sean Cartell, SEC Digital Network)

Second-year UK head coach Joker Phillips was a standout wide receiver for the Wildcats from 1981-84 and directed his squad to a 6-6 regular-season record a year ago and the team's school-record fifth consecutive bowl game. He's ready to take his team to the next level when this season kicks off tomorrow night at 9:15 p.m. ET.

"We're excited about playing," Phillips said. "We've been beating up on each other for a month now. It's game week and you can feel it around our place with our players, especially our older players. It's starting to rub off on some of these young kids that understand how to handle themselves and prepare themselves for game week."

Men's basketball: Cal, Dominicans stun Venezuela with fourth-quarter comeback (Eric Lindsey, CoachCal.com)

On Wednesday, Calipari showed his late-game magic isn't bounded by the United States' borders. Leading the Dominican Republic National Team in its second game in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship, Coach Cal's team pulled off a double-digit, fourth-quarter comeback to stun Venezuela 92-89 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

The Dominicans trailed Venezuela 49-41 at the half and 74-63 after three quarters, but Calipari's team tightened up its defense and outscored the Venezuelans 29-15 in the final period. The victory essentially assures the Dominican Republic will make it out of group play.

Football: Danny Trevathan adds team leader to his UK resume (Kyle Tucker, Louisville Courier-Journal)

Trevathan admits that initially his new role is out of his comfort zone, but said Phillips helped convince him that it would be a key to UK's success this fall. While the prospect of "coming at grown men" didn't seem like his idea of a good time -- "guys have attitudes; guys don't like to be corrected" -- Trevathan has come around.

"I'm putting those pieces together," he said. "I'm finally seeing that I've got to be that man. Sometimes you've got to step out of your element and just try to help the young guys. Me being more vocal is going to help us be a better defense."

Football: Kentucky relying on 'big guys' to stuff the run (Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader)

Turner called the defensive line the foundation to a defense. UK Coach Joker Phillips echoed his assistant by calling defensive tackle a key position to watch when the Cats open the season Thursday night against Western Kentucky.

If WKU tailback Bobby Rainey can duplicate last season's 184 yards and two touchdowns against UK, the opener might be more interesting than Kentucky would prefer.

"For us to stop the run, you have to have some big guys inside," Phillips said.

Former Wildcats making headlines

Chris Matthews big on potential (Steve Doerschuck, Canton Repository)

Here's one thing they can't hide: Matthews is 6-foot-5, rare height for a wideout. Browns camp is full of tall ones. Matthews is easily the tallest. He grew up thinking with each acrobatic dunk that the NBA was for him. He was a small forward, a bit too small, it turned out, for that dream. Yet, it's easy to tell when you talk to him that his NFL dream is very big, and very real to him.

Matthews exudes confidence. He plans to stay. It's not up to him.

Wesley Woodyard gets opportunity on defense
(Lee Rasizer, Sporting News)

Woodyard at 6-foot, 222 pounds seemed particularly miscast as an inside linebacker in Denver's 3-4 scheme the past couple sesaons. But with D.J. Williams out possibly a month with an elbow injury, and Denver's new 4-3 scheme featuring speed and attacking principles, Woodyard gets a chance to be an every-down contributor and could be a good fit.

Stevie Johnson wants to share leadership role (Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News)

With Evans gone, Johnson now becomes the No. 1 option and the unquestioned leader of the Bills' receiving corp, although it sounds like Johnson would like to share the leadership responsibilities.

"Why can't there be more than one? Who said there can't be more than one leader?" he said on Tuesday. "That's what I'm trying to build. Obviously the attention is on me but I feel like as a leader I want to create other leaders and not followers."

News from UKathletics.com


Men's soccer: Tyler Riggs named to National Team of the Week

Baseball: Collin Cowgill named PCL Rookie of the Year

Women's soccer: Gilliland named SEC Freshman of the Week


Video of the week


Coming to UK from the Cincinnati Bengals before the 2010 season, UK strength and conditioning coach Rock Oliver has garnered quite the reputation for his tough workouts. The conditioning of last year's team improved significantly and it showed in the way UK was able to finish games. Here is a video that shows some of UK's training over the summer.

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