Kentucky Football Notebook
Wildcats to Play in Hula Bowl, Senior Bowl: Four Wildcats are slated to play in post-season all-star games on Saturday, Jan. 20.
Offensive lineman Omar Smith will play in the Delchamps Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The Senior Bowl begins at 1 p.m. EST and will be televised by ESPN.
Cornerback Kenneth Grant, running back Derek Homer, and linebacker Marlon McCree will play in the Hula Bowl in Maui, Hawaii. The Hula Bowl begins at 8 p.m. EST and will be televised by ESPN.
Wildcats Shine in Gridiron Classic: Four Wildcats played in the Rotary Gridiron Classic on Jan. 13 in the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, with three UK defenders helping Team Florida shut out Team USA, 10-0.
Florida natives Eric Kelly, Marlon McCree, and Matt Layow all made big defensive plays in the shutout. Kelly had four tackles and one pass breakup. McCree nabbed an interception, had a pass breakup, and added three tackles. Layow had a quarterback sack, good for an eight-yard loss.
UK running back Derek Homer was the leading rusher for Team USA, gaining 24 yards on 10 carries.
Excerpts From Hoefer Article: New UK safeties coach Larry Hoefer was the subject of a Jan. 16 article by Darren Hunt, who writes for the El Paso Times and the Rivals.com internet site that covers Texas-El Paso (texaselpaso.rivals.com). Here are some excerpts from that article:
Gary Nord, the man who brought offense to UTEP, may be staying put. But Larry Hoefer, who delivered defense to El Paso, is gone. UTEP's one-year defensive coordinator was named the new safeties coach at Kentucky Monday.
The news brought a sudden and surprising end to a brief, but successful stint featuring the revival of the Miner defense that helped lead to the program's first winning season (8-4) and bowl game in 12 years.
Hoefer spent five of his six seasons at Texas Tech (1994-99) under [new UK defensive coordinator John] Goodner and also has ties to [UK head coach Hal] Mumme. H e was a coach at Tarleton State when Mumme played there. The pair then coached together at West Texas State (1981) and UTEP (1982-85), where Hoefer was previously recruiting coordinator.
"I think the world of him," Mumme said.
So does UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull, who recommended Hoefer to Nord when former defensive coordinator Ronnie Jones departed after the 1999 season. Hoefer, like Stull, is a common denominator in UTEP's only three winning seasons (1987-88, 2000) over the past 30 years.
Utilizing Hoefer's eight-man front, UTEP made drastic improvement, going from surrendering 208.2 rushing yards per game in 1999 to just 153.8 last year. Five Miner opponents were held under 100 yards rushing, UTEP ranked 19th nationally in pass efficiency defense and registered a school-record 31 sacks. His defense was also credited for one of the Miners' biggest wins, a 23-13 victory over Fresno State, a huge obstacle on the way to the school's first co-Western Athletic Conference championship.
"He was the key to the development of the defense," said senior defensive end Menson Holloway, who led the Miners with
13.5 sacks. "Everyone on defense loved him."