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Optimism in the face of certitude

As I have previously admitted in these pages, I am not much of a Kentucky football fanatic. While I dutifully check the cross-country scores in the paper on Sunday mornings and will watch a game on the rare occasion it's not national television, like many Kentucky fans I'm nervously pessimistic.

That's what decades of losing will do to a fan.

Thus, it is with guarded optimism that I relay -- belatedly, of course -- the Kentucky spring Blue/White game results. The offense and defense waged a promisingly even battle, with the Blue team (offense) narrowly defeating the White team (defense), 46-41.

When the goal of a program's spring practice game is stated by the coaches as "not getting anyone hurt" you can see the trepidation in reading too much into anything. A few bright spots made themselves known:

  • Redshirt freshman running back Alfonso Smith was the offensive star, and a surprise, by finishing with 97 yards on 14 carries.
  • Dominic Lewis, a defensive end, had a sack and four tackles, while defensive tackle Myron Pryon added three tackles and a sack of his own.
  • With the receiving corps woefully thin due to injuries and academics, sophomore DeMoreo Ford stepped up, hauling in a 59-yard TD from QA Andre' Woodson.
The Herald-Leader's Chip Crosby has a nice roundup of the spring practice for those looking for more in-depth coverage.

As a fan and not a true believer, I certainly hope that Rich Brooks & Co. can turn things around. For years, Kentucky basketball fans have paid more attention to the hoops Cats' recruiting than to offseason footballl, and with good reason.

I sat through four absolutely brutal season of football while a student in the early 90s, enough so that I have never really recovered my zest for the game. Watching 3-0 losses in a cold, empty upper deck was enough to convince me to wait and see when it came to the football Cats ... and that was three coaches ago.

But for a program like UK, I suppose it's about baby steps at this stage. As Defensive Coordinator Mike Archer put it bluntly:

"We made the most out of it. We all competed and nobody got hurt."