It's football time in the Bluegrass. Yesterday the Wildcats opened up fall practice with a media opportunity and tonight the Cats will open up practice to the public for fan day. If you are in the area, it is a great chance to see the team up close and personal. Doors open at 5, practice begins at 6, fans will be let onto the field for autographs after practice and the evening will conclude with fireworks at 9:30. If you have children who are into football, the night can't be beat for a chance to let them run around on the field and see the players up close.
I'll cover practice tonight and post my impressions tomorrow. WI-FI gods willing, I'll update tonight on Twitter @AlexScutchfield. Based on past experience, it is hard to tell much about the quality of play based on these drills. What we can tell, though, is who is working in with the various units, which freshmen are getting looks at certain spots and who took best advantage of the summer workout program.
Here are some notes on media day news and tonight's practice:
*Joker started his presser with some bad news. Marcus Caffey is academically ineligible. Caffey, you may remember, came to UK as a running back but was slated to start at CB this year after moving over in the spring. Phillips raved about his progress in spring practice.
*In response to this, the staff has done the most logical thing. Martavius Neloms will move back to corner, where he played as a freshman and sophomore, from safety. This will ostensibly move Ashley Lowrey, who played well as a true freshman last year, into the starting lineup. The Cats have more depth at safety than corner, and Neloms is in a reliable player who is in the best position to handle a switch.
*Philips has not picked a starter at QB. Maxwell Smith, Morgan Newton, Patrick Towles and freshman Jalen Whitlow will all have a chance to win the job. I'd be surprised if anyone other than Smith is the opening day starter, but the quarterbacks will be my primary focus tonight as I watch practice.
*I'll also have my eye on freshman punter Landon Foster, whose job it is to lose. The Cats are going to miss Ryan Tydlacka, who (truth be told) was the offensive MVP last year.
*Freshman DB Shawn Blaylock from Marietta, GA will miss the season due to a pre-existing knee injury and surgery. We wish him the best in his recovery.
*Max Smith is so impressed with true freshman WR DeMarcus Sweat, he asked to room with him. Sweat was a 3 star out of Stone Mountain, GA who held offers from Tennessee and West Virginia. I give this news two thumbs up.
*UK may not end up with a star at any one offensive skill position, but there are a number of options at each. In addition to the four QBs, there are four tight ends and several running backs and wideouts who will compete for time. Tonight should provide a some clues as to who the staff expects to emerge.
*Finally, a quick plea. This may be a long year. But a true fan of any program should feel "we are all in this together" whether that team is slated to go 11-1 or 1-11. Even if you don't think Kentucky Football deserves your support, there is no question it needs it. Anyone rooting for Joker to fail is missing the big picture. If you have no plans tonight, come out and show your support for these kids, grab a free poster, some autographs, and see some fireworks.
Follow me on Twitter @AlexScutchfield