Posts from Monday, Sept. 21
Brooks the Bill Snyder of the SEC?
Posted at 4:48 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations
Florida head coach Urban Meyer didn’t mince his words Monday when he was asked about what the Kentucky program was like when he arrived at Florida in 2005.
“With all due respect, they weren’t good,” Meyer said at his weekly news conference. “When I first got here that first year, they were bad.”
Meyer wasn’t saying that to dog head coach Rich Brooks or his team, rather to compliment Brooks on the outstanding turnaround he’s managed to orchestrate at Kentucky.
“Rich is a good friend of mine,” said Meyer, a two-time national champion coach. “What he’s done up there I think is one of the great coaching jobs, a little bit like what coach (Bill) Snyder did at Kansas State.”
Bill Snyder? That’s quite a compliment coming from one of the nation’s best – if not the best – coaches in college football.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Snyder, he’s responsible for one of the all-time greatest turnarounds in sports history. Before Snyder arrived in Manhattan, Kan., the Wildcats of KSU had mustered just 299 wins in 93 years of play compared to 510 total losses.
Snyder’s rebuilding project didn’t happen overnight, but he went on transform the Kansas State program completely around and turn it into a legitimate national contender. Snyder’s team captured the Big 12 championship in 2003, the school’s second conference title.
Meyer handed out more than just compliments to Brooks. The fifth-year Florida head coach said he’d put UK in the upper third of the Southeastern Conference in terms of personnel, and he said he’s extremely concerned with what he calls one of the best kickoff return teams in America.
“(Derrick) Locke is 200-meter guy, extremely fast,” Meyer said. “I’ve never seen a guy catch a ball and cut to his left and run like that one he had against Louisville. Nobody was within 10 yards.”
Meyer said he’s worried about Kentucky’s screens, which he said gashed them two years ago in the 2007 game at Commonwealth Stadium, as well as UK’s solid defense.
Lipsitz talks about his team, goalkeeper play
Posted at 3:31 p.m. EDT – Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations
I’ll have some more posts on football as the day and week progresses, but I also wanted to shine a light on women’s soccer coach Jon Lipsitz, who spoke at Monday’s football luncheon.
According to UK spokesman Tony Neely, Lipsitz was quite possibly the loudest fan in Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. For more on that and Lipsitz’s evaluation of the Cats’ 3-2-3 start, here’s the man himself:
“I think that’s true. I was definitely one of the loudest people in the stadium Saturday. That was a wonderful moment. Being new here, I think I learned very quickly about the rivalry with Louisville when I showed up for our game earlier this year against Louisville and the players couldn’t hear me on the field when I was yelling and trying to direct them because the fans were so loud. That was a very wonderful moment and obviously congratulations to coach (Rich) Brooks and his entire staff and all the players for a fantastic win.
“We had a good weekend this weekend. We started scoring some goals finally. We’re been working hard on that. We won 3-0 yesterday and that should get us rolling for SEC (play). The SEC decided to do me a favor as a new coach and send us on the road for games against two top-10 teams. That was very sweet of them and I appreciate that. It’s a very difficult trip. I’ve known the coaches at Florida and South Carolina for a long time. They’re good friends. We look forward to those kinds of games. That’s the reason that I’m here, being in a fantastic conference and playing against such great teams. We’re excited moving forward. We’ll have a great week of training and leave Thursday for Gainesville and unfortunately miss out on a small battle here against a team from Gainesville over the weekend, but you know we’ll be watching and hopefully start some good vibes for the weekend on Friday night against them.”
How much did the first goal help you in the match yesterday get to those other two?
“I think it was huge. We’ve been in those spots all season. All season we have had great services, we’ve had moments in the box. Whether from just a bad bounce – and I don’t talk about that a lot – but I don’t feel like we’ve had a good bounce in the box the entire year, but more than that, just not quite getting to the spot or getting there and not finishing. We just haven’t’ quite gotten going in most games. Part of that is you get momentum and you feel fortunate as a team and you do something positive and you feed on that on the bench. We just haven’t had that. Getting that early goal changes everything. You relax, you know it’s coming, and I felt like, ironically, it wasn’t our best half in the first half – we just finished. But it certainly led to our play in the second half. We played very well in the second half yesterday, very enthusiastic, had a lot of chances and hopefully that will move us forward from here."
How much does it help to have an experienced player like Sydney Hiance in goal, especially when you’re going to play two top-10 teams?
“It makes all the difference. I’ll be honest, part of what coaches do, especially with the fall sports, is they stress all summer about what your potential weaknesses are. You talk with your staff about how are we going to accentuate our strengths and how are we going to hide our weaknesses come game day. We didn’t believe goal keeping was going to be a strength of ours this season. I think if you look at some of the save percentages from the past, we did not believe that it was going to be what it has become. All the credit to the work of Sydney and to Laura Burton, our other goalkeeper, and especially to our goalkeeper trainer, Aaron Rodgers. It has become an amazing amount of strength for us. We have great confidence in her and in our backline completely and I think it’s shown this season.”
In football we’ve heard so much about the flu outbreaks and players missing practices. Has that been a concern with your soccer team and have you done anything in particular as a precaution?
“One of the things I don’t want to do is stop the congratulatory handshake at the end of the game. I think that’s an important part of sportsmanship and class, but if you watch at the end of the games, our trainers walking behind the players have literally as we finish shaking hands and going through the line, they’ve been directed (by the trainers) not to touch their face and immediately (our trainer) is going around with a bottle of (hand sanitizer) and squeezing copious amounts. She does it multiple times with everybody. There is hand sanitizer all over our locker room, all over our desks and they have to use it on a daily basis. We’ll do what we can. There are some things you can’t control, and we don’t talk about it a lot, but we’re going to do everything we can.”
NCAA Tournament to return to Lexington in 2013
Posted at 2:09 p.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations
The world's greatest postseason tournament is returning to college's most storied basketball arena.
The NCAA announced Monday that the 2013 NCAA Tournament would return to Lexington for the annual 65-team tourney. March Madness will revisit Lexington's Rupp Arena on March 21 and 23 in 2013 for the first and second rounds of the tournament.
The 2013 championship will mark the historic 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament.
Lexington was one of eight cities tabbed for the first and second rounds of the tournament, which includes Auburn Hills, Mich., Austin, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, Kansas City, Mo., Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Utah and San Jose, Calif.
Indianapolis, Ind., Los Angeles and North Texas were tabbed for the regional rounds, but one regional site will remain unnamed while details are being finalized. The 2013 Final Four will take place in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
"It's no accident that cities which have been part of the rich history of this championship were selected to return in 2013," said Dan Guerrero, director of athletics at UCLA and current basketball committee chair, in a news release. "The 2013 championship will be a nationwide celebration of `March Madness,' its tremendous history and the fan following of one (of) the world's best sporting events."
It will mark the 22nd time the tournament has been played in Lexington and the first since 2007.
Down the road, Louisville will host the first and second rounds of the 2012 tournament in its new arena.
The 411 on the Cats' injuries; Locke earns SEC honors
Posted at 1:34 p.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations
The Cats are still managing to avoid the injury bug so far this season. Although a few Cats are dinged up, UK is in pretty good health heading into the matchup with No. 1 Florida.
Wide receiver Kyrus Lanxter remains doubtful for Saturday's game with a hamstring injury. Center Jorge Gonzales (strained MCL), tailback Moncell Allen (quad bruise) and defensive end DeQuin Evans (hip flexor) all didn't practice Sunday, but head coach Rich Brooks is hopeful they can return to the field Tuesday or Wednesday.
Brooks confirmed Monday that backup defensive tackle Antwane Glenn is out with the flu, although he did not specify whether or not it was the H1N1 virus.
The most severe injury remains to be offensive coordinator Randy Sander's broken left arm. Brooks said the fracture occurred near Sanders' wrist. The injury could require surgery down the road, Brooks said, but at this point they'll keep it in a cast and see how it progresses.
Also of note, tailback Derrick Locke was named the Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Louisville. The junior return specialist had four kickoff returns for 191 yards, including a 100-yard touchdown scamper in the first half.
Locke became the first player in school history and third player in SEC history to have two 100-yard kickoff returns in his career. The 191 kickoff return yards broke Keenan Burton's previous record of 185, set against Louisville in 2006.
The speedy tailback totaled 310 all-purposed yards and two touchdowns on the day, including 47 receiving yards and 72 rushing yards.
UK-Alabama game time set
Posted at 1:14 p.m. EDT - Eric Lindsey, UK Media Relations
The UK-Alabama game on Oct. 3 has been set for 12:21 p.m. EDT on the new SEC Network.
The Cats will be back on TV this week against No. 1 Florida. That game is set for 6 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.
Here's what the Oct. 3 TV selections look like:
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