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Video: Eliot on UK's Signing Day haul

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Video: Dawson's Signing Day press conference

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Video: On the way to Signing Day with Marrow

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Video: Stoops' Signing Day press conference

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Live blog: Signing Day 2015

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Live Blog Signing Day 2015
 

First, Mark Stoops asked Kentucky fans to fill Commonwealth Stadium. Next, he posed the question, "Why not?" This year, Stoops wants to know: "Are you with me?"

For the third year in a row, UK football aired a Super Bowl ad in Lexington. In case you missed it, watch it above.

Now that you've watched, head to ukfootballtix.com and buy your season tickets for the first season in The New CWS. Speaking of the new stadium, you can visit TheNewCWS.com for more information about season tickets and updates on construction.

Get excited for Signing Day with this video

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Five days.

After the Green Bay Packers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks in last Sunday's NFC Championship, Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews will be the only former Kentucky Wildcat competing in next month's Super Bowl XLIX. Despite limited playing time since being promoted from the Seattle practice squad, Matthews was able to make the biggest play of his young career in last Sunday's contest, keeping the Seahawks' season alive.

Playoff Spotlight

Randall Cobb | #18 WR | Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Cobb made seven catches for 62 yards in Green Bay's 28-22 overtime loss to the defending Super Bowl champions. Cobb recorded his first career playoff touchdown reception by way of a 13-yard Aaron Rodgers pass to end the first quarter, but it was not enough to break the historic Seahawks defense. Cobb will miss out on playing in the Super Bowl, but he was named to his first Pro Bowl as a consolation.

Chris Matthews | #13 WR | Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
With the Packers leading 19-7 with less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson scrambled for a one-yard touchdown to bring the Seahawks within five. As a last-ditch effort for a chance to become the NFL's first back-to-back world champions since the '03-'04 New England Patriots, Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka successfully completed an onside kick that was recovered by the 6-foot-5 Matthews. Matthews' special teams heroism led the way for a come-from-behind overtime victory by Seattle, solidifying a second consecutive NFC Championship. The Seahawks will face the AFC Champion New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, February 1 in Glendale, Arizona.


Dawson jumping into offensive coordinator role

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Shannon Dawson doesn't lack confidence.

At his introductory press conference, the Kentucky offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was asked why he believes he will succeed in his new role in the nation's toughest conference. His answer was as simple as it was quick.

"Because I think I can be successful anywhere," Dawson said.

Elsewhere in the nearly 30 minutes he spent with assembled media, Dawson spoke about his belief in Mark Stoops and the upward trajectory of the UK program, but his instant answer reflects that confidence, which also happens to be justified.

At his previous stop, West Virginia, Dawson joined with head coach Dana Holgorsen to lead offenses that ranked among the nation's best attacks over the last three seasons. Before that, he helped resurrect lagging programs at Stephen F. Austin and Millsaps.

"The last time I checked, everybody can put 11 players on the field, right?" Dawson said. "And it's not like we didn't play anybody in y'all's league the past four years. We did. So, you know, I think you can be successful anywhere if you do it the right way."

Dawson got his break into coaching with Hal Mumme at Southeastern Louisiana, where Mumme was famously hard on Dawson. It was under Mumme, the Air Raid innovator who first popularized the fast-paced, pass-oriented system at Kentucky in the late 1990s, that Dawson developed his concept of what doing it the right way means.

"The problem that a lot coaches make is they change too much," Dawson said. "So our overall way we're going to practice and lay it out has been consistent over the years, and that's one thing that's been consistent from offense from 15 years down, the way we practice and the way we install.

"I just think you gotta program kids a certain way, and you gotta hold them accountable to it. Attention to detail is huge. So the moment you let one little thing slip, then that becomes two."

Dawson might not be one for change, but that doesn't mean he's not willing to adapt.

At Stephen F. Austin, Dawson relied heavily on the pass, with barely a third of the Lumberjacks' plays being runs. By contrast, West Virginia had more rushes (563) than passes (534) in 2014.

"We made a concerted effort to get physical and be able to run the ball more efficient, not that we're sitting there adding 100 more run plays into the offense," Dawson said. "We still have those run plays, but it's simply the fact that we're calling them a little more, just turning and handing it a little more."

If it hadn't been for that tweak in approach, Stoops surely would not have brought Dawson on as Neal Brown's replacement in the rugged Southeastern Conference.

"I think one thing that he was excited about was we were physical, we had to the ability to be physical," Dawson said. "So that evolution fired him up."

Stoops and Dawson discussed that philosophy first over the phone and eventually in a face-to-face meeting that lasted two-plus hours. While Stoops was sold on Dawson's commitment to physicality in his Air Raid attack, Dawson saw the opportunity to run his own offensive show and jumped. Dawson played in an important role in all facets of West Virginia's offensive operation, but Holgorsen maintained final say.

"Working for Coach Stoops, being a defensive head coach, obviously the dynamics of me and his relationship is going to be different than the dynamics of me and Coach Holgorsen's relationship," Dawson said. "So being back on the field -- I wasn't in the press box really until West Virginia -- so being back on the field, having that flow of the game was extremely important to me and really the reason why I took it."

After Stoops and Dawson's in-person meeting, it only took a couple days to seal the deal. And if there was any lingering doubt about his commitment to his new job, witness how Dawson, his wife and his infant daughter handled their move to Lexington.

On Dec. 27, West Virginia lost a 45-37 shootout to Texas A&M in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Dawson and his wife flew into Pittsburgh with the team around 11 p.m. and immediately made the drive to Lexington. Arriving in the wee hours of the morning, the Dawsons needed to secure health insurance and find a house in short order.

"Both things we got done within about four hours," Dawson said. "I promise you this: The whole family will be here a couple days after signing day. We'll be ready to go. I'm not messing around with that."

Some kind of hurry-up offense.

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  • rob m: Congrats to the team this year, wow what a ride we had! Although a disappointing end, we can now start read more
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  • Tina: Thanks for the amazing season. I wish you all the best. You gave us all a great year, so go read more
  • Tina: Thanks for the amazing season. I wish you all the best. You gave us all a great year, so go read more