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Creating signature Commonwealth traditions

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Photo by Britney Howard, UK Athletics Photo by Britney Howard, UK Athletics
The feedback we have received through BBN First has ranged from big picture all the way to the minutest of details.

As Mitch Barnhart has written before, nearly all of those suggestions have been constructive. Already, you've helped us shape a new loyalty rewards program and establish priorities as we move forward with our Fan Experience Committee.

Among the topics we'll be addressing in the coming weeks are music selections and parking, but first we want to hear more from you about something that has come up frequently in your emails and comments.

You want game day at Commonwealth Stadium to be special. You want it to feel like Kentucky. You want traditions that reflect that.

One fan, Tom, said it best.

"You don't create a tradition... it is something that builds over time. That said, it wouldn't hurt for this group to identify a few of the traditions we do have and then experiment with things... those that catch on, keep 'em and those that don't, drop 'em."

With your help, we're going to start experimenting.

First off, we're going after the break before the fourth quarter. Recognizing how memorable this point in the game can be, we want to create a signature moment for it.

As we began to toy with ideas, another fan email caught our attention. This one came from Ross.

"I think we need something unburied from our past and make it relevant to students and the fan base as a whole. We need more things to make the game day experience uniquely Kentucky."

Inspired by this, we started thinking about "My Old Kentucky Home," the most uniquely Kentucky song there is.

The song has always been an important part of game day. It's been played by the band pregame in recent years, but we believe it could have an even bigger impact if everyone comes to their feet to sing "My Old Kentucky Home" right before the start of the fourth quarter.

Moving "My Old Kentucky Home," however, is just one option. We're not taking anything off the table, whether we're talking about the third quarter/fourth quarter break or any other point in the game.

Before we talk about some of the other ideas you've given us, let's take a look at the traditions we already have:

  • "C-A-T-S" cheer
  • Air Raid siren
  • "It's football time in the Bluegrass!" pregame
  • Call to the Post pregame
  • "First Down Kentucky!"
  • Wildcat mascot pushups after UK scores

Here are some ideas we're considering based on feedback you have already sent:

  • Slowing down the "C-A-T-S" cheer with the band's involvement
  • Roving pep band pregame to different tailgating lots and in game to different sections
  • Using "Go Big Blue!" cheer after kickoff instead of "C-A-T-S"

As you can see, we've had a lot to talk about. That's why we need your feedback.

What do you think about moving "My Old Kentucky Home?" Do you have any other ideas for a pre-fourth quarter tradition? Do you have input on how to improve the traditions we already have or the ones we are talking about creating? What are we missing?

We want to hear from you. Like you, we want Commonwealth Stadium to be a special place on fall Saturdays. Submit a comment using the form on UKathletics.com/BBNfirst or by emailing BBNfirst@uky.edu to help us make that happen.

Za'Darius Smith had a Wednesday to remember.

Earlier this week, the senior defensive end took a field trip to New Circle Road. He knew he was going to see the new UK football "Change The Game" billboard featuring him, but the moment he saw it for the first time was still a special one.

He wasted little time effortlessly picking up Assistant AD Marketing and Licensing Nathan Schwake out of happiness and was on the ground trying to compose himself seconds later.

UK Sports Video was there capturing every moment when Smith saw the billboard for the first time and also when he got an even closer look at the one on Winchester Road. Take a look at the piece they put together.






American sports, it seems, could be on the cusp of a revolution.

With some of the sports science concepts already prevalent overseas beginning to trickle into the United States, the way athletes train, prepare and play is likely to undergo an overhaul.

That's already happened at Kentucky.

Mark Stoops and Erik Korem have implemented a first-of-its-kind High Performance program at UK. You've read about it on Cat Scratches already, but now Fansided is taking a look as part of the overall story of America playing catch-up in the sports science department.

Here's an excerpt:

When Korem left Florida State following the 2012 season, it was to follow former FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops to Kentucky. Stoops was intent on starting a football-based revolution in Lexington and Korem hopes that will be the launching pad for his own movement -- he already has unparalleled support from the university.

"The reason I came with Coach Stoops is number one I believe in him and I believe in what we're doing here," says Korem. "Number two, he was willing to make me the first high performance manager in American football.

"What we're doing here at Kentucky that's different than pretty much any football program in America right now is we actually have a true high performance model where all of these pieces are working together where we literally sit down as a staff and we script everything to have a certain output, we're measuring externally from the Catapult [system] and everything internally sports science-wise. We actually have buy-in and assistance from our university exercise science department, so what we're doing here, for me is a very exciting opportunity to come to UK because it's the first time in American football that it's being done."

Stoops' first year at Kentucky was a humbling 2-10 campaign, but the signs are already there that things are working. Injuries are down, player development is a major point of emphasis and the Wildcats quietly pulled in a top 20 recruiting class this past year.

There's lots more about UK's High Performance program and the changing American sports landscape in Patrik Nohe's story. Read it all here.

k fund big blue initiative.jpg In a matter of months, the time will come for you to choose your seats in The New Commonwealth Stadium.

Before the reseating process begins in the fall, an important date is approaching quickly: the June 30 K Fund priority point deadline.

The order in which fans will select their 2015 seats will be based on K Fund priority ranking as of June 30, 2014. The more priority points you have, the sooner you will be able to select the seats that best fit your needs. Visit this page to see a snapshot of current priority rankings.

With the deadline now less than a week away, fans can boost their priority rankings and participate in a philanthropic effort to address rising scholarship costs through the Big Blue Initiative. All K Fund donors should have received a form in the mail in May. To participate, fill out that form and increase your annual giving by 15 percent by June 30.

By joining the Big Blue Initiative, you will receive the normal three K Fund points per $100 donation, plus an additional five bonus points. It's a great way to impact the lives of UK student-athletes and improve your position for 2015 seat selections.

If you have any questions or are unable to locate your form, contact the K Fund at (859) 257-6300.

How's this for a play call?

On 4th-and-41 against Ole Miss in 1965, UK great Larry Seiple ran a fake punt 70 yards for a touchdown. Don't believe it? Check out this video.


On Friday night, Seiple -- who played 11 years with the Miami Dolphins -- will be inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Players get sneak peek at 2014 poster

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Next month, the 2014 Kentucky football poster will be available to the public. But on Thursday, a handful of players got an early look at it.

If their reaction is any indication, the Big Blue Nation is going to like it.

Bud Dupree, especially, is a fan.


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