A little over two years ago, Twitter was an unknown to most of the Bluegrass. Things changed when John Calipari became head men's basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.
Calipari took to Twitter and Wildcat fans did what they do better than any other fan base in the country: mobilize. It didn't take long for his follower count to climb into the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and eventually seven figures.
The micro-blogging platform gave Calipari a means to communicate directly with fans without a filter and its power was abundantly clear. It wouldn't be long before nearly the entire athletic department had a Twitter account (or three), from coaches to players to even Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart.
It seemed to me that no university and its fan base had so embraced Twitter, thereby demonstrating the fervor of the Big Blue Nation. What I sought out to do was to quantify that claim by seeing how some of UK's top tweeters stack up with their counterparts at other schools throughout the SEC and nation.
Comparing Calipari's number of followers to his peers is a nearly pointless endeavor because he blows them all out of the water. He is the only head coach at the professional or collegiate level with more than a million followers.
WeFollow.com compiles lists of the most followed users on Twitter and Calipari is the only college basketball coach to rank in the top 250 sports users. In fact, Calipari ranks 12th among all athletes, coaches, teams and journalists, sandwiched between @espn and @orlando_magic.
Going beyond the world of sports, Calipari ranks 377th in followers among all Twitter users on the face of the earth according to Twitaholic. I recognize that not all of Calipari's followers live in Kentucky, but his 1.1 million followers are equal to over one-quarter of the entire state's population. @UKAthleticsNews climbs the ranks (24,257 followers)
Almost 25,000 followers might not seem like a lot compared with Coach Cal, but the official Twitter account of UK Athletics is just one of five athletic department Twitter accounts to have more than 20,000 followers. Here is how UK stacks up:
Further evidencing the power of Wildcat fans, @UKAthleticsNews sat in fourth place a few hundred followers behind Oklahoma when Calipari asked his followers to help UK "climb this Twitter ladder." A few hours and a bunch of retweets later, UK had moved up to third place.
Second place is well within reach and first isn't far off either. Let's see what Cats fans can do.
The football field isn't the only place where the "RISE" theme applies. Among all head football coaches in the SEC with official Twitter accounts, Phillips has the second most followers. Phillips joined Twitter just over a year ago and Les Miles is the only SEC coach with more followers.
1) Les Miles (LSU) - 36,310 followers (national leader) 2) @jokerphillips - 25,983 followers 3) Mark Richt (Georgia) - 23,379 followers 4) Derek Dooley (Tennessee) - 21,273 followers 5) Will Muschamp (Florida) - 19,202 followers 6) Houston Nutt (Ole Miss) - 9,749 followers 7) Gene Chizik (Auburn) - 7,784 followers 8) James Franklin (Vanderbilt) - 3,383 followers
Twitter is only beginning to enter the world of athletic directors, but UK's Mitch Barnhart has already jumped on board. One of just four SEC athletic directors with Twitter accounts, Barnhart is closing in on 10,000 followers and only Mississippi State's Scott Stricklin (former associate AD at UK) has more. Nationally, Michigan AD Dave Brandon leads with over 14,000 followers according to my research.
National leader: Dave Brandon (Michigan) - 14,229 followers 1) Scott Stricklin (Mississippi State) - 10,545 followers 2) @UKMitchBarnhart - 8,652 followers 3) Jeff Long (Arkansas) - 6,165 followers 4) Pete Boone (Ole Miss) - 3,264 followers
With back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and a trip to the 2010 Elite Eight, Matthew Mitchell and UK Hoops have emerged on the national level. The emergence on the floor has been accompanied by one in the world of social media. Mitchell is second in both the SEC and nation in followers, trailing only Pat Summitt of Tennessee among women's college basketball coaches with Twitter accounts (again, according to my research).
Because you're reading this story right now you already know that the University of Kentucky athletics department has a blog, Cat Scratches, and you probably know that we tweet out a lot of news and links to stories on our Twitter handle: @UKAthleticsNews. If you didn't know that, well, now you do.
@UKAthleticsNews isn't the only account you can follow on Twitter to get the latest news about UK Athletics. Most of UK's 22 varsity sports programs have individual Twitter accounts, as well as a number of UK coaches. We have put together this convenient page to allow you to find out who from UK is on Twitter and where you can do to follow them.
Twitter may be your outlet of choice to get news about the Wildcats, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that many of you do not know about the many other platforms we offer for you to follow your favorite teams and student-athletes.
One of my favorite places to go is the UK Interactive site (http://interactive.ukathletics.com/). Each of the varsity sports teams at UK has an interactive page. Each page is filled with pictures, fancy graphics and video, and gives the teams a cutting edge look. The interactive site was launched in the fall of last year, and is being promoted more heavily this year. Be sure to check out some of your favorite teams' sites.
On the interactive pages you'll see many videos. Some of these videos are produced by, and can be found at, UKTube (http://www.ukathletics.com/allaccess/). As the name suggests, similar to YouTube, this is a site for Kentucky athletics videos. Often times the news conferences we film are later posted to UKTube. Want to see highlights for a game? Visit UKTube and you might be able to find what you're looking for.
Now I know many of you are fans of Twitter. (Guy Ramsey has put together a really cool post that will be published shortly chronicling just how much the Big Blue Nation loves Twitter). Well, for those of you who have Twitter and also for those of you who do not have Twitter, UK Athletics offers another service where you can receive sport-specific news, scores and updates straight to your phone. Sign up at Textcaster.com, pick the sport you want your phone to receive news about, and that's it. Depending on what you sign up for, you will always be in the loop on your favorite team. No longer will you have to search Twitter feeds. With Textcaster, text messages will be sent directly to your phone informing you of breaking news.
And if you want to talk to us during a big game and get our opinions on certain things, join our live blogs. We will live blog all home football and men's and women's basketball games and many other games and matches. If you don't want to comment, don't worry, no problem there - just sit back and see what others are saying. If you do want to comment on the live blogs or pick our brains about something, fantastic. We'd love to talk to you.
If you already knew about all of these resources then props to you and thank you for following Kentucky athletics. We're always trying to get better and always appreciate your comments and suggestions.
Football - Kentucky started its season last Thursday with its fifth-consecutive season opener win, taking down in-state foe Western Kentucky 14-3 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. - The Wildcats were led in the game by an impressive defensive performance, with three players recording double-figure tackles, including a game-high 13 by senior Danny Trevathan. Kentucky also earned four turnovers in the game, including two interceptions by senior Winston Guy. - Defensive lineman Luke McDermott paced the UK defensive front, limiting WKU's rushing attack, while tying a career high in tackles with four stops, including a sack. - Offensively, Kentucky freshman Josh Clemons started his collegiate career in solid fashion, leading UK in rushing with 11 carries for 39 yards and his first career touchdown. Clemons became the first UK true freshman running back to record a touchdown in the season opener since Donnell Gordon in 1993. - The Wildcats improved their winning streak to open the season to five. It's Kentucky's best start to a season since 2001 when UK opened up with seven straight wins.
Women's soccer - UK claimed the 2011 Courtyard by Marriott Airport Cardinal Classic championship with a pair of 2-1 wins over Central Michigan and Baylor. Kelsey Hunyadi, Danielle Krohn, Alyssa Telang and Ashley VanLandingham were named to the All-Tournament team. - Kelsey Hunyadi assisted on both game-winners on the weekend. Hunyadi also scored a goal, her fourth of the season, giving her a team-high 11 points. Hunyadi is off to the hottest individual start in program history. She has scored a point in every match this season and her 11 points is the most by any Wildcat in school history through the first five games. - Freshman Arin Gilliland scored her second goal of the season against Baylor, it was the game-winner, giving her two game-winners this season, tying fellow freshman Stuart Pope for the team lead in that category.
Men's soccer - The 21st-ranked Kentucky men's soccer team continued its hot start to the 2011 campaign in claiming the 10th-annual Kentucky Invitational championship over the weekend with a win over Wright State and a weather-shortened draw with IUPUI on Sunday at the UK Soccer Complex. - The Wildcats have showcased a dynamic offensive attack through the first four games of the year, including a breakout weekend that saw UK take 52 shots and register 30 corner kicks in two games. Headlining UK's offensive charge was junior Matt Lodge, who turned in an epic weekend with two goals and one assist, firing a staggering 14 shots in the two games. Lodge hit the crossbar twice and the post twice during the weekend, with a pair of magnificent goals in each game. - Overall offensively, UK owns eight goals and 11 assists through four games, allowing four opponent goals, with three goals coming on penalty kicks. UK owns an 88-25 shot advantage and a 43-9 advantage in corner kicks through the four season-opening games. - Sophomore Tyler Riggs has led UK with four goals and an assist, while Lodge opened his scoring with a pair of goals this weekend. Senior C.J. Tappel owns a goal and an assist, while senior Brad Walker has added a header goal on a corner kick.
Volleyball - The Kentucky volleyball team enjoyed a 3-1 week which was highlighted by three straight sweeps to capture the Kentucky Classic crown this weekend. - Junior libero Stephanie Klefot led the way with 5.25 digs per set for the week and she earned MVP honors of the tournament for her efforts. - Freshman Lauren O'Conner had an unforgettable coming out party as she was tabbed to the All-Tournament team following three consecutive performance with 10 or more kills. She paced the UK attack with 3.09 kills per stanza which included a career-high 13 in a tournament-clinching win over Virginia Tech. - Setter Christine Hartmann was the final Wildcat to earn All-Tournament team honors after directing UK to a tournament-best .220 hitting clip and leading four players to 2.20 kills per set or higher.
Cross country - The Wildcats got off to a strong start to open the 2011 season with the men's team winning the Belmont-VU Opener and the women's team finishing in third place. The men's team accumulated 62 points while the women's team had 76 points. - Luis Orta won the 5K men's race with a time of 15:22.40. Orta defeated 99 other runners and the win is Orta's second consecutive season-opening win. Orta has led the Wildcats in six of the last seven cross country races. - Kentucky freshman Mackay Wilson put together an impressive first race with the third fastest time on the team and the 14th fastest overall. - The women's team was led by Chelsea Oswald, who finished the 4K race in 11th place overall. - Megan Broderick, who completed four strong years with the women's tennis team, did very well in her first-ever collegiate cross country meet, finishing in 16th place and recording the third-fastest time on the team. Upcoming schedule
Tuesday, September 6 Men's soccer hosts IPFW - 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 7 Volleyball hosts Louisville - 7:00 p.m.
Men's soccer - The Wildcats posted a 2-0-0 mark on the week with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Eastern Kentucky and a 2-1 victory over Ohio. - The win over Ohio marked the second straight year the Wildcats have opened 3-0-0. Kentucky's best start to a season was in 2001 when the Cats won their first seven out of the gate. - The wins also marked the most victories by Kentucky in the month of August, besting the previous high of two set in 2000, '09 and '10. - Kelsey Hunyadi became the first Wildcat in program history to record a goal in each of the first three games of the season. It's also the second straight season Hunyadi has tallied three goals through the first three matches of the season.
Men's soccer - The Kentucky men's soccer team completed a stellar opening weekend with two wins at the UK Soccer Complex, besting Dayton 2-0 in the season lidlifter and posting a dramatic 2-1comeback win over No. 9 Michigan on Sunday night. Kentucky rode breakout offensive performances from Tyler Riggs, C.J. Tappel, Dylan Asher and Charles Pettys during the weekend. Riggs provided the heroics, netting game-winning goals in both games, including his first career two-goal game in the comeback win over UM. Riggs, a native of Louisville, Ky., came off the bench on Friday night to give UK a 1-0 lead with his sixth career goal, leading UK to the win. - On Sunday, UK faced a 1-0 hole in the 78th minute, when Riggs connected on the game-tying goal off the bench, adding the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute. Pettys and Asher each notched two-assist games, with Pettys handing out two assists on Friday and Asher notching his first two career assists on Riggs' goals Sunday. Tappel netted a goal and added an assist in the win on Friday. - UK's victory over Michigan marked the first win over a top-10 ranked foe since the Wildcats sprang a 2-1 comeback win over No. 1 SMU in 2007 at the UK Soccer Complex. UK has now won two of the last three meetings between the two clubs, with UM coming off its most successful season in program history, advancing to the NCAA College Cup. - The win on Friday night marked UK head coach Ian Collins 200th career victory, with the 19th-year UK head man owning 190 career wins as a Wildcat.
Volleyball - The Kentucky volleyball team began the 2011 season with a 2-1 record which included a victory over No. 23 Tulsa to cap off the weekend at the Florida State Invitational. - Kentucky was led offensively by FSU Invitational All-Tournament team members Becky Pavan and Gretchen Giesler. Pavan and Giesler, both seniors matched career-high kill totals in the win over the Golden Hurricane. - Freshman Jackie Napper ranked second on the team in digs per stanza and became the first player since Jenni Casper in 2003 to earn 10 or more digs in two of her first three career matches. - Sophomore setter Elizabeth Koberstein was phenomenal for the Blue and White. She dished out 70 assists in the win over Tulsa, finding four players for double-figure kill efforts. Koberstein is the first player since Sarah Rumely in 2006 to post 70 or more helpers in a match. - UK will now remain home for its next 10 matches of the season. The Wildcats own an .800 winning clip in Memorial Coliseum in the Craig Skinner era.
Tuesday, August 30 Volleyball hosts Cincinnati - 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 1 Football vs. Western Kentucky - 9:15 p.m. (Nashville, Tenn.)
Friday, September 2 Women's soccer vs. Central Michigan - 5:00 p.m. (Louisville, Ky.) Volleyball hosts Western Kentucky - 7:00 p.m. Men's soccer hosts Wright State - 7:30 p.m. Cross country at Belmont-VU Opener (Nashville, Tenn.)
Saturday, September 3 Volleyball hosts Ohio - 11:00 a.m. Volleyball hosts Virginia Tech - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 4 Women's soccer vs. Baylor - Noon (Louisville, Ky.) Men's soccer hosts IUPUI - 2:30 p.m.
Later this morning, I will be heading to Joker Phillips' weekly press conference as football prepares for its season-opener against Western Kentucky at 9:15 p.m. ET. Metz Camfield and I will be hosting a live blog beginning a few minutes before 12:00 p.m., so make sure to stop by.
This weekend was an eventful one for UK Athletics, so let's wrap up some of the more notable happenings:
Ian Collins and men's soccer had a big weekend. Playing games on Friday and Sunday night, the Wildcats opened the season with a pair of big wins over Dayton and Michigan. The victory over Dayton was a dominating 2-0 result, building confidence heading into a showdown with ninth-ranked Michigan. Down 1-0 with less than 15 minutes remaining, Tyler Riggs scored a pair of goals (both assisted by Dylan Asher) to lead his team to the upset. The game was the second in a row that Riggs came off the bench to score the game-winning goal. The sophomore led UK with five goals in his first season, but has already scored three in just his first two games of 2011.
Volleyball also opened its season this weekend, making a trip down south for the Florida State Tournament. The Wildcats won their debut 3-1 over Albany before losing Friday evening to the hosting Seminoles. They rebounded on Saturday, though, posting a dramatic 3-2 upset win over No. 23 Tulsa. UK hosts Cincinnati at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday for their home opener in Memorial Coliseum.
Former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill had struggled since his call-up to the big-league Arizona Diamondbacks in July. He was batting just 3-of-29 over 14 games, showing little of the dominant form that had earned him a spot in the majors. Well, Cowgill ended his slump on Sunday. In a 6-1 win that extended the D-backs leads in the NL West to four games, Cowgill had four hits in four at-bats, including a home run, a double and a pair of runs batted in.
Jon Hood is beginning the recovery process after surgery to repair a torn ACL. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
I'll be heading to football practice shortly to hear what Joker Phillips has to say and talk to a couple players and coaches, but before I do, here are a couple notes and links:
Some guy named Eric Lindsey wrote an article last night over at CoachCal.com, maybe you've heard of him. In all seriousness, the former Mr. Cat Scratches wrote a great piece about junior guard Jon Hood, who recently had surgery to repair a torn ACL. It covers anything you would want to know about the injury from how Hood is handling to how it happened to how his recovery is proceeding. Hood is also extremely honest in the article about his own game, admitting that he was not working had enough last season. Head on over and give it a read.
Former UK wide receiver Chris Matthews has played with the Cleveland Browns this preseason as an undrafted free agent. He was pretty quiet in the team's first pair of preseason games, but came on to play the fourth quarter last night. Trailing 24-0, the Browns scored two touchdowns, the second of which was a four-yard pass from Jarrett Brown to Matthews. Hopefully the big wide out can parlay the touchdown into significant playing time in his final preseason game and a chance at a roster spot.
I talked about it a bit yesterday, but UK Volleyball begins its 2011 season at the Florida State Tournament today at 11:00 a.m. ET against Albany. If you want to keep up with the team via live in-game updates, follow @KentuckyVB, the official Twitter account of UK Volleyball.
Lastly, UK's women's and men's soccer teams play a rare double header tonight at the UK Soccer Complex. Jon Lipsitz and the UK women try to win their third consecutive game to open the season at 5:00 p.m. ET against the Ohio Bobcats. They will be followed by Ian Collins and the men playing their season-opener against the Dayton Flyers. We will have live blogs of both games beginning about 10 minutes before kickoff.
This may have been the last weekend without a home event for
quite a while, but there was still plenty going on around UK sports. Here are a
few notes to get your Monday morning going.
Women's soccer kicked off the season in Kentucky sports with
a 3-0 win over Oakland on the road. Four freshmen started for the Wildcats,
including midfielder Molly Huber, who registered a goal and an assist. The
Wildcat defense was in top gear, holding Oakland to just two shots. Goalkeeper
Kayla Price became the first goalkeeper in school history to post a
season-opening shutout, stopping one shot on goal.
Just a week and a half away from the start of football
season on Thursday Sept. 1, UK students can buy season tickets today at the UK
Athletics ticket office. Additionally, Metz Camfield and I will be bringing you
an exclusive series of positional previews beginning tomorrow. Keep an eye out
for those, because I think you will enjoy them.
Former UK golfer and current PGA Tour professional JB Holmes
will undergo "non-invasive" brain surgery early next week.
Holmes began to experience symptoms in May and dropped out of the PGA
Championship last weekend after an opening round of 80. The condition and
surgery are reportedly not life-threatening, but our thoughts are with Holmes
nonetheless. Here's hoping that he makes a quick recovery and is back on the
golf course soon.
Third-year head coach Jon Lipsitz leads UK women's soccer into the 2011 season (Joey Wilkinson, UK Athletics)
Well folks, the 2011-12 University of Kentucky athletic year is upon us. All fall sports are now practicing with each season starting over the next couple weeks. There is plenty going on around here right now, so here are some notes for your Friday:
Women's soccer gets it all started today. Jon Lipsitz begins his third season as UK's head coach with a road trip to face the Oakland Grizzlies in Rochester, Mich at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Wildcats return nine of 11 starters from last season's team and will look to convert the work they've done over a long offseason into a successful year.
Today is also a big day for the university as a whole. It is move-in day for all new students and Joker Phillips the UK football team took a break from fall camp this morning to help with the effort. There's been a lot of talk about how Rock Oliver and the team's work in the weight room will benefit them on the field, but I think that they were really doing it to make lifting all those mini-fridges easy today. Here is a photo gallery and, in case you were looking for visual proof that Jack Gruenschlaeger (a 6-foot-11-inch, 360-pound walk-on offensive tackle) is a big human being, take a look at the 24th photo in the gallery.
One guy who I know had to be pretty valuable at move-in day for his heavy lifting ability was freshman running back Josh Clemons. The Georgia native looks more like a linebacker than a running back and could be just the kind of power runner UK has missed the last couple years. New UK beat writer Kyle Tucker wrote about Clemons in today's Louisville Courier-Journal. It features some quotes from Clemons' high school coach that show what kind of player he could be.
Last year at this time, former UK fullback John Conner (aka "The Terminator) was gaining notoriety during HBO's Hard Knocks for his bone-crunching blocks and Jets' head coach Rex Ryan's affinity for the then-rookie. Conner spent last season backing up veteran Tony Richardson at fullback, but this season, the role is all his. The Newark Star-Ledger has a profile of him today and it sounds like he is adjusting nicely.
Finally, I haven't been able to link to any of Eric Lindsey's work in his new gig over at CoachCal.com, but here is his introduction to his mission for the site. We look forward keeping close tabs on CoachCal.com and continuing to work closely with Eric.
In retirement, Joe B.'s "second act" has been a humdinger, filled with one surprise after another.
The coach who used to be second-guessed regularly, even savaged, on Kentucky radio sports talk shows has reinvented himself in "retirement" as a host of a show that is syndicated around the commonwealth.
Pardue proved he's more than capable of developing talent while at LaGrange, which had 26 players sign with major college programs during his final 10 seasons. They went to Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and South Carolina. A dozen of them signed with UK, which put Pardue on Joker Phillips' radar.
The Wildcats' coach hired him largely because of Pardue's deep ties to other high school coaches all over Georgia, where UK would like to strengthen its recruiting efforts, but Phillips also predicts he'll make a fine position coach.
Jones spent most of his summer in Lexington, working on his ball-handling skills, shooting and conditioning while adding strength and bulk. Jones said he weighed 240 pounds as a freshman. Now he's up to 250. He hopes the extra muscle will help him absorb contact better under the basket, enabling him to finish plays.
When he wasn't working out, Jones took an equal interest in setting a good example for the Wildcats' newcomers.
"I wanted to make sure that I was going as hard as I could in front of my new teammates," he said. "It's obvious they look up to me. I try to show them how to do the right thing and what's best for them. When they ask me questions, I try to play the big brother role that my teammates played for me last year.
"College can be shocking for a freshman, because everything is so much different than high school. Everything is much more serious. It takes time to get used to. The summer is the best and easiest time to do it."
UK guard Darius Miller is traveling around the world to China for a basketball tournament. Will he return a better player?
Barring a complete destruction of self-confidence should he get dunked on by a 5-foot-9 foreign player, yes. Playing more basketball with good players and good coaches will help. Darius Miller post-China should be better (and more cultured) than Darius Miller pre-China. By how much, and improved in what aspects, is harder to determine, but anyone associated with international competitions invariably says it's a beneficial experience.
Incoming freshman point guard Marquis Teague, who played for the 2010 U-17 team that won a gold medal, said late-round games bring a different kind of pressure. The U.S. is widely expected to win these 2011 Games. The team has won a medal in every competition since 1965, and this is typically one of the weaker international events played. If the U.S. advances deep in the tournament, the pressure will be that of finishing the job as an expected favorite -- where Miller and UK will often find themselves.
"He's a guy who looks like a young Danny (Trevathan)," UK head coach Joker Phillips said. "Whether or not he'll develop into a Danny Trevathan, who knows? But he looks a little like Danny did when he was a freshman."
"He's shown some flashes that remind us of Danny," UK linebackers coach Chuck Smith said. "... Athletically, he's got the tools. He's fast, he's quick, he's explosive. He's going to be a good one."
And this from new Wildcat defensive coordinator Rick Minter: "I wasn't here when Danny was young. All I know is Danny now, and that's darn good. But Malcolm's on his way. He's a big positive for us and the future. The best thing about him is, he's got his whole future ahead of him."
1. What are your expectations, considering last year you finished in the top 16? ---My expectations this year is to simply play my game and focus on what I do best, However making the sweet 16 last year will help me this year knowing what to expect going into the tournament this year.
2. What preparations are you making for the championships in New Haven? ---I am playing many tournaments before the championships in new Haven. This will help me be match tough which will be important in the sweet 16 in New Haven!
Command is the key for Paxton. His walk rate was rather high at Clinton, but his stuff was so good he thrived anyway. His command has been excellent in his recent run of starts and the results are obvious. He didn't walk a lot of guys in college, but his command within the strike zone was inconsistent, and scouts felt he was hit harder than he should have been given the quality of his fastball and breaking ball. Note that Kentucky plays in a high-offense context, and his K/IP and K/BB ratios for the Wildcats were more indicative of his potential than the elevated ERA. In pro ball, the results have matched the potential.
There have been a few rumbles that Paxton could be promoted for September, but it seems more likely that he'll be a candidate for 2012. He is one of the top pitching prospects in the game, and profiles as a number two starter if he continues to progress with his command.
"About four or five of us guys jumped on the truck and reached in there and turned the keys off and just tried to make sure he wasn't going anywhere," he said.
He says it was a harrowing experience, but when he discovered there were young children in the backseat, he knew it was worth it.
"We were just worried because he could have put it in drive at any time and maybe ran somebody over, or while our arms were in the car, just kept going and we could have been drug or something. I'm the type of guy that, I want to make sure everybody else is alright. I saw it, I moved out of the way, I'm fine. My truck got hit, that's replaceable. I was just thankful nobody got hurt and the kids were fine," said Harrellson.
It was just one pre-season game, but former Kentucky standout Tim Masthay seemed to pick right up where he left off last season, booming punts Saturday night in the Green Bay Packers' loss to the Cleveland Browns.
"He's having a great (camp)," kicker Mason Crosby told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "From our off-season together to seeing him hit the ball the way he did (Saturday) was awesome.
In case you missed it yesterday, Eric Lindsey announced that he will be "moving downstairs" to work as the new content editor for CoachCal.com. It goes without saying that Eric is a big loss for both UK Athletics and Cat Scratches.
He's the biggest reason why this blog is what it has become and it's our responsibility to ensure that we sustain that and build upon it. Eric leaves some big shoes to fill and it is currently being determined how that will be done. In the interim, Metz Camfield and I will be doing our best to continue to provide that "inside and unprecedented look into UK Athletics" that Eric talked about in his farewell post.
We wish Eric the best and I look forward to posting a bunch of links to the good work I know he's going to do over at CoachCal.com.
Amazingly, this weekend marks the end of the off-season for UK Athletics. With women's soccer kicking off its season next Friday, this weekend is the final one of the summer without an event, game or match for any Kentucky team. Even so, there is plenty going on:
Darius Miller and Team USA opened play in the 2011 World University Games early this morning in Shenzhen, China with a big 108-67 over cross-border rival Mexico. Miller got the start at forward for the Americans, playing 19 minutes. He didn't shoot particularly well, scoring just two points on 1-for-5 shooting, but he posted eight rebounds and a blocked shot. Ashton Gibbs of Pitt led five Americans in double figures with 20 points. Team USA will play their second game of the tournament Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. eastern) against Hungary. Here are a few links if you want to read more about the game, as well as a video of the opening ceremonies from earlier today.
Divers Greg Ferrucci and Lisa Faulkner have participated this week in the 2011 AT&T Diving Championships and have represented UK very well. Ferrucci, who just closed out one of the best freshman seasons in UK history, earned a bronze medal in the one-meter finals. Faulkner, who graduated this spring, finished eighth in the one-meter springboard event. Ferrucci also qualified for the final round of the three-meter springboard, which takes place this afternoon. NBC Sports and Universal Sports are televising the event, with the three-meter final taking place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Universal Sports. Check your local listings and tune in if you can to support a diver who has a chance to be one of the best ever at UK.
UK football is holding its first scrimmage of the fall this afternoon after a solid initial week of practice. I know I am very interested to hear what comes of this scrimmage and how the offense and defense fare against one another. I will be heading to Commonwealth Stadium later this afternoon to talk to players and coaches and will be writing a feature on the happenings, so keep an eye out for that later this evening.
A number of former Wildcats have taken the field over the past couple days for the opening of the NFL preseason. With five games on tap Saturday evening, including Randall Cobb's anticipated debut with the Green Bay Packers, I will have a full breakdown of how Wildcats in the league fared in the first batch of games sometime tomorrow.