Live chat took place June 9
Dough : Do you really think Tennessee is deserving of the #2 ranking in college football? Go Cats!
Rich Brooks : I think it's very difficult to rank the top teams in a preseason poll. Tennessee is probably as deserving of that ranking as anybody else at this point in time.
Jeff Seymour, TN : how are the offseason workouts going and will the 747 or kick blocker extraordinare be back for 2005? I want coach to know that me and my father are big Cat fans and we support you all the way. Good luck in 2005
Rich Brooks : Lonnell Dewalt will not be back and is attending a junior college in Mississippi. We just have started our summer conditioning workouts and the players are doing very well.
Joe C. : Hi coach. How different will the offense be this year? How is the defense looking? Thanks for all you do coach. Don't listen to all of the negative out there. There are many of us who are supporting you and your staff! Go CATS!!
Rich Brooks : Thanks for your support. I believe the offense will be much more productive than it was a year ago. Even without Aaron Miller, our line will be much improved. Andre Woodson had a great spring and I believe he will establish himself as a very good SEC quarterback with good tight ends, running backs and receivers to help him. Defensively, we are young at linebacker but faster and stronger and I believe we will improve on our run defense from a year ago.
Brian from Georgia : Coach Brooks, how do you see Demoreo Ford helping the team this year?
Rich Brooks : DeMoreo is just one of the talented players that we have gotten from LaGrange High School and I believe he will be a factor as a return man and will strengthen what is already a talented receiving corps.
BigBlue : How do you feel about the defense this year and do you think the junior college transfers from last year will be able to get more opportunities to play this year, especially Cedric Koger?
Rich Brooks : B. Jay Parsons came out of spring as a starter at left defensive end. Cedric worked both at defensive end and defensive tackle but is currently a backup player and needs to improve on his aggressiveness to earn a starting spot.
Kim : Coach Brooks, With Joker Phillips' new offence, can UK fans expect a higher scoring game?
Rich Brooks : Obviously we expect to be a more productive offense because of the improvement of some of our younger players. Rafael Little, Andre Woodson, Keenan Burton, Jacob Tamme and Micah Jones are all what I would consider to be outstanding sophomores who should put us in the endzone more often than a year ago.
Bill From Louisville : Coach Brooks, Why does our home schedule include so many late games? Some fans live out of town and are late getting home. Are the late games a result of Keenland's time?
Rich Brooks : Yes, in October the late starts are related to Keeneland. September late starts are related to heat. Changes can take place in both Sept. and Oct. when preempted by television. I personally would like to see earlier starting times as well.
aaron from georgia : is it possible that the cats will go to a bowl game this year?
Rich Brooks : It is possible, but we have to stay healthy at the right positions and obviously overcome the naysayers' predictions that have us at or near the bottom of the conference.
Kyle Travis : hi coach brooks, now that there is a twelth game coming in place for next season how do u feel about that? and after this season we will no longer play indiana and the twelth game schedule will be in place do you know any of the teams in for consideration for the twelth game and the team to take indianas place?
Rich Brooks : We currently have 11 games schedule for 2006 and are looking for a 12th game. It is complicated because we would like that 12th game to be a home game that would generate more revenue. We are currently exploring teams to come up with a 12th game for '06 and beyond. Our non-conference games in 2006 are Central Michigan, Texas State (home games), and Louisville on the road at a date yet to be determined since it is not officially scheduled.
supercatfan : What are some of things that must happen for Kentucky to beat louisville on Sept. 04 ??
Rich Brooks : We obviously need to do a good job defensively and slow down the most productive offense in college football the last two years. We also must be a more consistent offensive team and score more points. The special teams will play a big role and we must make fewer mistakes than we have the last two years against them.
jonathan : How much do you think the team will improve from last years season?
Rich Brooks : I don't think there's any question that we will improve in most areas. How that will translate into victories remains to be seen. But I would be extremely disappointed if we didn't surprise some people with some upsets.
Jim Maddox : Hello Coach, keep your chin up. It seems like every week brings a new challenge for the Cats to overcome. I'm confident that Coach Heggins can restructure the line after the loss of Aaron Miller as long as he has the bodies to work with. My question is about Kalavi Blanchard; is he going to be academically eligible to join the team? And how is Ernie Pelyao's shoulder - will he be able to step-up and contribute this year? Good Luck this season.
Rich Brooks : Kalavi Blanchard has some work to do in summer school before we can declare him on the team this fall. Ernie Pelayo's shoulder is rehabbing well from his most recent surgery and we are counting on him being a major factor for us this fall. Fatu Turituri will move from the left guard to the left tackle, a position he played for two years in junior college.
Jim Maddox : Hey Coach I was wondering if the recent loss in the Oline will cause you and Joker to re-evaluate the offensive game plan for the upcoming season. Go Cats!
Rich Brooks : We don't anticipate any changes in our offensive strategies with the loss of Aaron Miller.
Jamey : Hey Coach, just wondering if John Logan is going to be getting more reps this year, thanks and GO BIG BLUE!
Rich Brooks : John improved a great deal this spring but will have to continue that improvement to get more playing time in what is a talented receiving group.
Mike : Hey coach, What do you think about all the preseason magazine's? Kentucky is rated anywhere from 66-95 and espn Has you leading the coaches hot seat. Will this make you lose focus on this year?
Rich Brooks : There is nothing that will make me lose focus on this year. Although I'm not going to suggest we're going to win the SEC Championship, but in 1994, my Oregon Ducks team was picked at or near the bottom in most magazine and I was in the coaches hot seat that year as well. (Ed. note: The Oregon team won the PAC-10 Championship and played in the Rose Bowl and Coach Brooks was named the Paul Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year.)
John : Hey coach. Do you and the staff ever go home? I have been fellowing recruiting and y'all have 30 offer (WOW) last year we made like 10. I see your in it still for the long hall. Good Luck this Year.
Rich Brooks : We obviously are very active on the recruiting trail and feel like we are in the hunt with some very talented players. We plan to continue to bring in SEC caliber players and add to the ones we currently have. Although our recruiting classes haven't been ranked in the top of the SEC, we are clearly bringing in players that will help us move to the top of the SEC on the field.
J.K. : Coach, Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. This will be your third season at Kentucky. Are your expectations greater for this year than they have been for the previous two?
Rich Brooks : My expectations every year are probably greater than most fans'. I have been disappointed by our performance the past two years and expect us to improve greatly this year.
Alan Whittington : Coach Brooks this is your year to shine, and you can make it happen! The state of Kentucky has some great high school talent that lately has either gone to Louisville or other big schools. How are you selling UK to the top Kentucky high school football players?
Rich Brooks : As Kentucky high school football has improved over the last 10 years, there are more Division I players that are being recruited by out of state schools. We always sell that we are in the SEC - in my opinion the best conference in college football - we have a great academic institution, we have great facilities that are improving as I write this, and we are coming off of probation and rebuilding a program with young players, many of whom are Kentucky high school graduates. So come and help us!
ukathletics.com : Thank you to Coach Brooks and to all the football coaches for their participation in the spring live chats. And thanks to all the fans who submitted questions.
Rich Brooks : I'm sorry that time did not permit answering all the questions that were submitted. I personally want to thank the Kentucky fans for their continued support and desire to have a winning program. Our coaching staff and team will do everything we can this season to make you proud to root for the Big Blue. Go Cats!