AutoZone Liberty Bowl Blog

Leading up to Friday's game, team captains Braxton Kelley and Tony Dixon will be blogging from Memphis.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Braxton Kelley

“I thought we had a pretty good practice today. It was my last practice at the university and as a Kentucky Wildcat. It meant a lot to me to have my last practice with the guys, especially seniors like Johnny Williams, a guy that I’ve worked with ever since I have been here. We are the only senior linebackers, so we’re in the same group. As seniors we are looking forward to our last game together.

“At the final practice as seniors we always do the last tackle drill at the end of practice. It means a lot to a lot of guys because they may never play this sport again and go out into the world, get jobs and go different ways in our lives. Some guys will be able to play football beyond college. So it means a lot to each and every one of the seniors to go through that final tackling drill as a tradition here.

“For New Year’s Eve I just plan to go out tonight, chill with some of the guys and bring the New Year in right."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Braxton Kelley

“The team luncheon today was nice. The chicken was pretty good. Our guys received awards for All-SEC and East Carolina received awards from Conference USA. It was just an enjoyable experience today.

“Jeremy (Jarmon) had to make a speech today at the luncheon. I helped him a little bit last night when he was asking me some questions. He asked me how Coach Brooks built this program and I said that coach just brought great players in that really tried to compete, especially guys that may have been overlooked by other schools. He has been able to get those types of guys and mold them to play in the SEC. I think coach has done a wonderful job doing that. If we can continue to do that, UK will be on the rise for a long time.

“I thought Jarmon did really well. I always pick at Jarmon because he talks a lot but he does a good job of speaking in public and representing our team. I went to one his plays last year and he is just a real vocal guy. He’s the type of guy that really knows what he is doing when he has the microphone in his hand. He prides himself on going out and speaking in public. To do a speech like that, I give him a lot of props.

“Last night we had a great time at our welcome party. We got to hear Marcus (McClinton) sing an original song and he has a wonderful voice. Guys were displaying their talents other than football, playing video games and during the bowling and pool competitions. We just went out and tried to have fun and relax a bit. We come out to practice every day to play football but sometimes people don’t realize that we have other talents too.

“I loved Dicky Lyons’ Elvis impersonation performance last night. He’s always trying to act like Elvis and I figured he’d be the one guy to go up there and just blow it away. I never knew he could sing like that! He sounded a lot like Elvis. Dicky told us later that he didn’t pick up the guitar because then he couldn’t do his dance because he knows how to play the song also. He found himself in unfortunate position with his injury this season, but he has made the best of it and really kept all of the guys uplifted and laughing throughout the season.”

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tony Dixon

“It's actually the first time I have ever been to Memphis and I only live three hours away. The city is unique and is something different. There are a lot of different restaurants and places to go out and have fun. I have been out to Beale Street a couple of nights. It's exciting. They have the street blocked off; I have never really seen that before. They don't allow cars on Beale Street ; it is only for people walking up and down.

“It's exciting to be in my third-straight bowl game. You know, when I came here the school was down in football. One of my goals was to come to UK and really help change the football program around, and be an integral part of changing it around. We are succeeding in our progress.

“I'm looking forward to the rest of the week and experiencing New Year's Eve during the bowl week. This is a completely different experience from anything I've ever done; I'm looking forward to all of the events this week. I just want to enjoy myself on my last bowl trip.

“I don't have a roommate this year on the trip so I have my own space. I don't have any good stories to share yet, but I am sure they'll come along. The bowl game events begin tonight. But I love the Peabody Hotel. I just heard today about the traditional duck processional in the hotel lobby. I am going to have to check that out and report back to you.”

Braxton Kelley

Hey Wildcat fans, this is Braxton Kelley, No. 56 for your Kentucky Wildcats. I will be blogging from Memphis for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, giving fans an inside look at our preparations as we get ready to face Conference USA Champion East Carolina on Jan. 2 at 5 p.m. ET.

We all arrived in town on Saturday night and had a team meeting. We then got to work on Sunday, beginning our first practice down in Memphis, practicing at Rhodes College. The field was a bit sloppy, thanks to some heavy rains on Saturday night, but we all enjoyed getting out there and having a good time, while getting focused on a big game.

We are very excited to be down here and be able to enjoy such a nice town and beautiful hotel. The Peabody is where we are staying and it is quite a hotel in a good location, which gives us lots of things to do. It is a really nice hotel and we are all really enjoying staying here.

I haven’t had any bar-b-q yet, but I am pretty sure Jeremy Jarmon, my roommate (and Memphis area resident) has all the local establishments scoped out. He is going to take us to all the nice places to go and eat.

Tonight we get together with East Carolina for a big Liberty Bowl Welcome Party down on Beale Street, so we are excited to get to hang out together and get to open up the bowl festivities.