When the football Wildcats travel to Tuscaloosa this weekend, they will do so by chartered plane. As is the case with a majority of Division one schools, UK's athletic budget allows for some of the school's teams, like football and basketball, to travel by jet to games around the country. It's a luxury some can't afford.
For Rich Brooks' squad, it's a big undertaking to transport a large number of players, coaches and staff, AND their equipment. That's why this year, the Cats' gear is traveling in style.
After years of using a couple of smaller trucks to get helmets, pads and other essentials to games, this season the Wildcats will load all the equipment onto a single truck. Donated by a company in southeast Kentucky, this 53-foot semi will be taking to the road for all UK away games. BIG blue made its debut at Louisville.
The Wildcats have always packed extra gear, but the additional space provided by the new trailer allows them to take everything, including the kitchen sink.
Equipment guru Tom Kalinowski says his crew will pack 18 extra helmets, extra shoulder pads and shoes in case something breaks. He also will load two sets of gear for every player and coach, in case of rain.
UK is one of the few schools that bring their own benches for the sidelines. They'll go in, along with cooling fans, communication systems for the coaches and gear for the trainers.
The truck will leave Lexington on Thursday, which allows the UK locker room inside Bryant-Denny Stadium to be set up on Friday.
The trailer is "wrapped" in images that would make Wildcat fans proud. It's a rolling tribute to Brooks and his team, and the success they've had over the past couple of years.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.