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Posts from Saturday, Aug. 22

Men's Soccer head coach Ian Collins spoke to the estimated 4,000 freshmen students at "Big Blue U".

Men's Soccer head coach Ian Collins spoke to the estimated 4,000 freshmen students at "Big Blue U".

Aug. 22, 2009

Big Blue U Event Held at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday

Posted at 10:18 p.m. ET by Brent Ingram

Got the chance to attend the third annual “Big Blue U” event at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night. The event is an annual pep rally for the new freshmen students on campus and features several UK Athletics coaches and student athletes.

The event started at 8 p.m., as an estimated 4,000 freshmen students started arriving at Commonwealth Stadium. The freshmen were greeted by UK’s student athletes, who handed out schedule cards and schedule key chains to the new students as they entered the stadium.

With the several thousand UK freshmen sitting in their customary student section at Commonwealth, UK football/baseball public address announcer, Carl Nathe, welcomed them to UK. Nathe went over his famous “First Down Kentucky” and “Touchdown Kentucky” calls with the freshmen.

After Nathe’s welcome, the UK cheerleaders and dance team were introduced. The UK cheerleaders, winners of 17 NCAA Championships, went through some cheers with the students before turning it over to UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart. Barnhart introduced the UK band, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, softball and track and field teams.

Barnhart introduced the UK coaches, including a rousing ovation for first-year head basketball coach John Calipari. Baseball coach Gary Henderson, men’s soccer coach Ian Collins, rifle coach Harry Mullins, swimming coach Gary Connelly, offensive coordinator Joker Phillips and UK hoops coach Matthew Mitchell were all present.

Collins stole the show before passing the mic over to Calipari, asking the students their opinion on his new pair of tennis shoes. Collins brought personable soccer freshman Cameron Wilder down to the field with him as he addressed the crowd and asked for Wilder’s opinion on his kicks. Despite being warned to think about the training session for the soccer team in the morning before answering, Wilder expressed his disapproval for Collins’ shoes.

Before turning the festivities over to Calipari, Collins told the students to “find their way to the UK Soccer Complex.”

Calipari was a hit with the new students as well, encouraging them to appreciate the state and university.

“Your state looks at this university with unbelievable pride,” Calipari said. “Enjoy this great university.”

After the event, while the freshmen were taking their class picture on the stadium field, Calipari addressed WTVQ-36’s Dan Reiffer, stating his appreciation for the event and the freshmen class.

“I am just prideful that I can get a chance to stand in front of them,” Calipari said.

Stay tuned for pictures of the event.

Post-Practice Recap

Posted at 10:00 p.m. ET by Brent Ingram

All reports out of the UK football scrimmage, held this afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium, were positive, so much so that coach Rich Brooks ended the scrimmage earlier than expected.

Got there late so I did not get to get too much of a report, although the always first-class Matt May, of the Cats Pause, and Brett Dawson, of the Courier-Journal, had things covered.

As part of the practice report, Brooks was very pleased with his team. Check that out for a complete recap, including quotes on key players.

“It was a much better scrimmage than last week,” Brooks said. “Lot more energy, lot more hitting. Really good plays on both sides of the ball. First-string offense, in the regular part of the scrimmage, only scored a field goal against the first-string defense. In two-minute (drill) they scored, and they also scored in the goal-line area.

“It was a pretty even scrimmage so I can’t be real unhappy with one side or the other. They kind of have me in-between today,” Brooks laughed.

Did get a chance to listen to some of offensive coordinator Joker Phillips post-scrimmage comments and in keeping with the theme, they were all positive.

Phillips singled out fullback Jon Conner as a player with a tendency to excel in short-yardage situations. Phillips stated a desire to get the ball to him in short yardage and goal-line situations. He also praised for their performances in the scrimmage were offensive lineman Dave Ulinski, quarterback Will Fidler and wide receiver E.J. Fields. He even noted an excellent special teams play that Fields made covering a kick, in addition to a pass reception on a fade route.

Saturday Links

Posted at 1:30 p.m. ET by Brent Ingram

With Eric off for the weekend getting rejuvenated at the lake for a rapidly approaching athletic season, I am going to attempt to put some stuff on the blog today and Sunday.


• Chip Cosby, the best dressed sportswriter on the Herald-Leader staff, writes about the backup center position and the progress of Marcus Davis and Matt Smith.
• Former UK athletics director C.M. Newtown takes up for Calipari in USA Today.
• Brett Dawson talks about replacing Jeremy Jarmon on the defensive line.

UPDATE: Just saw Kentucky Sports Radio did a great Saturday morning link post.

Thoughts from the soccer opener: Each August, there is some anticipating at this time of year for the athletics season to get underway. We spend all summer away from the thrill of collegiate competition and are always excited when UK returns to action. That happened Friday night, when UK opened the Jon Lipistz era with a dramatic come-from-behind win.

In his first regular-season game as the coach at UK, Lipistiz saw his club fall behind in an early 1-0 hole heading to halftime. UK responded in the second half with two unanswered goals and held off a late rally from Cincinnati.

I spent most of the game at the ring down table at midfield of the UK Soccer Complex. Having sat down there for countless games and seen the mannerisms of dozens of coaches, I could not have been more impressed with Lipistz. While on the sideline, Lipistz’s coaching methods were impressive, constantly encouraging the players and having educated and informative conversations with them during play. The players seemed to respond, taking it up a notch in the second frame.



Big congrats goes out to Sam Au, who netted her first career goal, and Jenna Goblirsch, who evened up the game early in the second half with an impressive goal.

My favorite line from Lipistz during the match, was when he was instructing a player on something they should not have done, he simply said “be coachable”. And in the second half against UC, his team was very coachable.

That’s all for now, but we will have a brief update from the football scrimmage later on. Enjoy the Saturday.


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