Happy New Year From the Wildcats

Cat Scratches: Newton looking to capitalize on second opportunity

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky football team opened 2011 with a two-hour practice Saturday morning in the Nutter Field House.  

Saturday's practice was the third in a series of four "bonus" practices the Wildcats have gotten during this bowl season.  In previous seasons after the Christmas break, the team has reported directly to the bowl site.  But because of the date of the BBVA Compass Bowl (Jan. 8), Kentucky was able to get four additional workouts in Lexington before traveling to Birmingham.

“It has been great," Phillips said.  "It is good work for us to get the young kids (extra practices) and getting heavier into Pitt. We will practice tomorrow morning and meet back Monday in Birmingham. Then on Tuesday, we will start into a normal game week. We will practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and than a walk-through on Friday and be ready to go.”

One of the story lines this year has been the recent addition of co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter and the influence he will have on the bowl game.
"Coach Minter is meeting a little bit more with those guys and we don’t have any time limits so he is meeting with them a little bit more," Phillips said.  "We are in a period where we can meet as long as we want and we are doing that to try to learn each other, for him to learn them and for them to learn him. That is what we are trying to do so we can make sure that we have the right personnel on the field at the right time. We have got some adjustments that we have made so they are meeting a little bit longer.

“There are not a lot of changes. When I took over offensively, I told you that we are changing names of things but you really have the same schemes. Therefore, you think that you have a new (system). He has changed the names of a couple of things, not a lot of things, and added a couple of things just to (adjust to) what Pitt is doing. They (the players) think they have a new defense but it is kind of a subliminal-type deal. They think they have a new defense but he is just calling things different.”

Sideline Seats Available Through UK: Tickets are available to the BBVA Compass Bowl for both season-ticket holders and the general public.  Fans are encouraged to buy directly from the Kentucky ticket office, as all tickets from the UK allotment are sideline seats.  All tickets are $50 each.

Tickets may be purchased:

•         In-person at the UK Ticket Office in the Joe Craft Center, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•         By calling the ticket office during the hours listed above at 800-928-2287

•         By mail or fax; print a ticket application from UKathletics.com and mail or fax (859-323-1269) to the ticket office.

'Operation Win' to Benefit Birmingham: To implement the 'Operation Win' initiative in the community, Coach Joker Phillips and the Cats plan to sponsor children from elementary schools around Legion Field, as well as Birmingham-area military personnel.  Building off the GAMEDAY READY tour that traveled around Kentucky this past summer, the Wildcats hope to give back to the Birmingham community by providing game tickets sponsored by Wildcat fans and supporters.

Fans can participate by:

 *   Making a 100% tax-deductible contribution to the Operation Win Birmingham Fund
 *   Contributions can be made in $50 increments - the cost of one BBVA Compass Bowl ticket
 *   Ticket blocks will be donated to local Birmingham elementary schools and military personnel
 *   Help provide an opportunity for youth to experience Kentucky football
 *   Fans can make contributions to the Operation Win Birmingham Fund in addition to purchasing their BBVA Compass Bowl tickets
 *   Fans will receive three K Fund points for every $100 contribution
 *   Fans will receive one K Fund point for a $50 contribution
 *   The Operation Win drive will continue throughout December, as these tickets will be assigned separately from any priority ticket requests

To contribute to Operation Win Birmingham, fans may fax the application back to the UK Ticket Office at (859) 323-1269.  Contributions are also welcome by phone by calling the UK Ticket Office at (800) 928-2287 or the K Fund Office at (859) 257-6300.