Paul M. : If UK doesn;t make a bowl this year how soon do you think it will be until the next one?
Rich Brooks : I feel we have a great opportunity to make a bowl game this year and will be even a better team the following year. Look at our roster and see how many seniors there are and you'll understand why I say that.
Dave Myers : How much of our current problems with the quarterbacks have to do with getting used to a new coach?
Rich Brooks : I don't believe there is a major adjustment for our quarterbacks with a new coach because the system has virtually stayed the same. Coach Sanders has great experience and knowledge and will be an asset to all our quarterbacks.
Paul M. : What are going to be the deciding factors in choosing the starting quarterback?
Rich Brooks : Major things that the starting QB must do are manage the game by eliminating negative plays and being able to move his team into scoring position.
BB1F : Coach thanks for helping us take our program to the next level. I can see that we have more depth this year and you have recruited well. I was just wondering if Micah Johnson was going to play some DE this year. Thanks
Rich Brooks : We have no plans on playing Micah at DE. We will give him every opportunity to play at linebacker which I believe he will do very well.
Fred Shimfessel : In regards to rebuilding the program, when you took the job. Obviously, you knew it was a tough one. Has the challenge been more difficult than what you thought when you first stepped aboard?
Rich Brooks : I don't think the challenge has been more difficult than I thought, it has just taken longer to get back to the scholarship numbers than I anticipated. We also have some very good teams that we have to climb over in this league before we can say we've turned the corner.
Casner : Coach, what are your thoughts on our front 7 on defense this year versus last, and how this bodes on our chances for improvement on stopping the run this year? Who has stood out?
Rich Brooks : I believe our front seven will be much improved. We have more experience and depth, not only at LB but at the defensive line position. Size and strength has also improved and I'm confident we will be much stronger against the run this year.
Jameson - Frankfort : Hi Coach. I think one player we will miss more than any is Taylor Begley. Who will assume placekicking and kickoff duties for the CATS this year? Good luck.
Rich Brooks : Brian Scott and J.J. Housley came out of spring as our 1 and 2 kickers and they will receive serious challenges from Lones Seiber, an incoming freshman signee.
Mike Taylor : Coach, Many teams have started freshman QB's in recent memory or at least more than I recall from 10 years ago. If Hartline comes in and shows the ability to master the playbook, would you consider starting a true freshman at QB? Thanks.
Rich Brooks : I would consider Hartline or Fidler if either of them show that they're ready to play this fall. I think, however, that this is unlikely but not impossible.
Mac : Coach, thank you for your time. What are the chances of Jacob Tamme being utilized more as a WR (slot receiver) than a TE this year? Considering our depth at both positions. Good luck on the season! The Big Blue Nation is pulling for you.
Rich Brooks : Jacob Tamme is just now getting into full lifting after having both shoulders operated on in the offseason. Jacob will remain at tight end although you will see us use him as an H-back as well as flexed in some formations.
Dan Biller : Coach I cannot wait for the season to start and I know we will go bowling this year. My question is, do you think the punting game will improve this year and who will be the primary return men on punts and kickoffs? thanks and good luck this year.
Rich Brooks : Tim Masthay improved quite a bit in the spring and I expect continued improvement this fall. We have many options on the return end with Rafael Little being one of the top punt returners in the nation last season, joined by a healthy Keenan Burton, Dicky Lyons, Tony Dixon, David Jones and John Logan. That doesn't include some freshmen that could be in the mix.
Shane from Louisville : What positions do we need to improve the most over last season to have a winning season? Go Cats!
Rich Brooks : We must improve at almost every position over last season if we expect to go to postseason play this year. Our punting must be better, our run defense, our passing game, etc., etc. I do expect we will be improved in most of those areas.
Marc : Coach Brooks - do you exercise direct input on the offensive schemes, play calling and player selection or do you delegate these responsibilities to Coach Phillips? Thanks and good luck to you and the CATS this season!
Rich Brooks : Coach Phillips is in charge of game plan and play calling with some input from me and the rest of the offensive staff. I obviously have the final say and the final responsibility but I like to give my coaches the support and freedom to show what they can do.
Adam : Coach Brooks...the best of luck to you and the CATS in 2006. Now that scholarship numbers are back to normal and depth is much better, what do you see as being the biggest obstacle to overcome this year?
Rich Brooks : We now must step up and finish games in the fourth quarter. Also, we must eliminate the turnover/takeaway deficit that has plagued us the past several years.
Droops : Coach, thanks for stopping in. Do you know if any of the other recruits from this year's class have arrived on campus, other than those that were here for Spring practice? If so, who? Thanks, a lot of fans are excited about this year!
Rich Brooks : We have several players enrolling in summer school and starting classes tomorrow and quite a few more will be enrolling in the six week session in a couple of weeks. This should help them not only adjust academically, but jump-start their conditioning and preparation for fall camp.
Mike McGrath : How long will it take (number of seasons) for Kentucky Football to be a bowl contender again and why?
Rich Brooks : I believe that we will be a bowl contender this season and should be in the position in the coming years as well because we have finally reestablished our scholarship numbers close to the 85 allowable. I also believe we have upgraded our size and speed with the last two recruiting classes.
Corey UK '08 : Hello Coach Brooks, first of all thanks for taking time out to discuss football with the biggest of blue fans in this chat today. I was just wondering how you were going to approach the opening game of the season against UofL considering it is Brian Brohm's first game since his knee injury. I have a feeling this game is deja vu of 2002, where the game was at Papa John's and UofL came in ranked in the preseason poll and no one thought much of us coming into the game. I don't think the Cardinals don't know what's going to hit them. Thank you for your time and good luck with this season, I think this team can do some great things. Go Bowl-Bound Big Blue!!
Rich Brooks : We will approach the first game as a very important and critical contest to our season. Brohm's injury won't have much to do with our approach in the game but we know we have to be much better on defense than we have the last couple of years to be in a position to win the game.
will : Is Bo Smith off the team for good? Who will be the next cornerback to step up?
Rich Brooks : Unfortunately, Bo Smith will not return since he just had one year of eligibility remaining. I wish him well and we are trying to assist him in getting situated for his last season. Trevard Lindley had an outstanding spring and appears ready to battle for the starting spot.
Catfan1717 : WHo do you think will have the biggest impact as a freshman next year.
Rich Brooks : There are many freshmen that could have a big impact on us this year. You all know the top names in our recruiting class and certainly many are expecting great things from some of them. I do caution that freshmen are freshmen and take some time to adjust to the level of play and speed of the game. Rather than single out any individual, I do feel that there will be six to ten newcomers that will be playing significant roles this fall.
Tony in Louisville : First of all coach, I would like to say that I have been behind you 100 % since you arrived at UK. My question is with the incoming recruits, will we be fresher in 4th quarters than in previous years?
Rich Brooks : I don't think there's any question that we will be fresher in the 4th quarter because we will have better depth at almost every position. There still will be some players that will need to maintain great conditioning because they will be called on a great deal for the entire game.
Wildcat Curt : Coach Brooks, considering the continued development and depth of the Offensive line and the dynamic players in the running game, will this year's offense be a more run oriented, smashmouth style?
Rich Brooks : I would not say that we will be a smashmouth type of football team, since you have to throw the ball well in this league to win. We do, however, want to run the ball well, and the depth at running back and o-line will definitely help us do that.
Todd from Owensboro : Hi coach. I think this will be the year where everything comes together. What do you think must happen in order for us to have a successful season. Go Cats!!!
Rich Brooks : We must play with passion, execute, and eliminate bad plays. Many of our young players must also step up and be ready to contribute for us to be as good as we can be.
BigBlueCatFan : Hi coach Brooks. When will we know who the starting quarterback is going to be? Is it between Woodson and Pulley or could someone else be in the mix? Thanks for your dedication and hard work. GO BIG BLUE!!!
Rich Brooks : The starting QB position hopefully will be decided after the first two weeks of fall camp. It's conceivable it could go into the Louisville week. Although Fidler did some very good things in the spring, and Hartline will be coming in this fall, I do think it is a two-man race between Woodson and Pulley.
Brian from Owensboro : Good morning coach. What do you think our strengths and weaknesses will be this season? Go Cats!!!
Rich Brooks : Some of our strengths will be depth at QB, RB, offensive and defensive line. What one could consider a weakness would be lack of experience at corner and depth at receiver.
harris08 : What kind of performance do you forsee from DeMoreo Ford?
Rich Brooks : DeMoreo was limited in spring because of knee surgery and still has further rehab to do. He could be a factor for us but has to show that he has the consistency to be a starter.
Dave : Any word on how the injuries to Braxton Kelly and Rafael Little are coming along? Also, do you envision Ricky Abren opening the season at end, and will this extra bulk on the d-line improve your run defense? Thanks!
Rich Brooks : Braxton will start full running and activity this month and will be ready to go when we start practice in August. Rafael will have his cast removed this week and will start rehab and have his pin removed around the fourth of July. He will be a little behind in upper body strength but ready to go when we start practice. I think Ricky Abren's presence at end or tackle, and the improved play of our linebacking corps will help our run defense.
aaron from georgia : I seriously think we can go to a bowl game this year, what do you think?
Rich Brooks : This will be the best opportunity for us to win enough games for us to get into postseason play. We have better depth, speed and size than any year since I've been here. Now we have to go out on the field and get the job done.
Mr.king : coach,I want to know how cornerback #29 timothy hargrett is doing? and will he be a starter this year?.
Rich Brooks : Tim is working hard to be a factor for us this season. He will not be a starter. He's undersized but works very hard.
ukathletics.com : Thanks to Coach Brooks for his time today. And thanks to all the fans and the coaches for all the live chats this spring.
Rich Brooks : I want to thank all the fans for their support and urge the fans to get into the stadium early this season to encourage and inspire our team. I would like to see Commonwealth Stadium be a feared site for our opponents. I also want all you fans to know how hard your players are working to take this program where you all want to be. We'll see you at the start of the season. Go Cats!