Blue/White scrimmage will feature player draft

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Saturday’s Blue/White Spring Football Game will be played as a regular game with evenly matched teams from a player draft, Coach Rich Brooks has announced.

This will be the first time in Brooks’ six years that the game will be played in that format. In the past two years, the Blue/White Game was played as an offense vs. defense scrimmage. In the 2003-05 spring practices, the Blue/White Game was in a regular game format, featuring first-team offense and defense vs. the remainder of the squad, with predictable wins by the first team.

The draft of players between the 2008 Blue and White squads will be released on Thursday. The head coach of the White Team is defensive coordinator Steve Brown, who will be joined by defensive line coach Rick Petri, quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Steve Ortmayer, and running backs coach Larry Brinson.

The head coach of the Blue Team is offensive coordinator Joker Phillips, whose staff will feature offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins, linebackers coach Chuck Smith, defensive backs coach Chris Thurmond, and defensive graduate assistant Dontae Wright. Phillips won a coin toss and will get first pick in the draft.

“It should be a relatively close game, I would think. It will be interesting to see how it plays out,” Brooks said. “It gives you a more competitive game and a better evaluation of your players in a more competitive situation than we’ve been able to do in past years.”

Meanwhile, after struggling to put points on the board in Saturday’s scrimmage, the UK offense bounced back with a strong showing during Wednesday morning’s practice at the Nutter Training Center. One highlight was a 95-yard touchdown drive, finished by a 15-yard scoring run by tailback Alfonso Smith, who later added another long run for a TD.

“The first-string offense not only got it out of the shadow of the end zone and made a first down, but they took it all the way down and scored. (It was an) Extremely impressive drive,” Brooks said. “On the other side, talking about the defense … you not only let them (the offense) out of there, you can’t let them drive down and score.

“I can’t be happy on both sides, but offensively, it looked like they had a little hangover from Saturday’s scrimmage and decided their first opportunity to scrimmage they were going to take it out on the defense. It was a very impressive drive. The execution was outstanding.”

Blue/White Game Information: The Blue/White Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium.

· Admission and parking are free.

· Stadium entrances for the game include gates 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.

· Concession stands and the Nike Team Shops will be open on the stadium concourse.

· Game programs will be on sale for $1, with proceeds benefiting the K-Association letterwinners organization.

· The game will be a radio broadcast on the Big Blue Sports Network, including WLAP in Lexington.

· Fans may renew their 2008 season tickets at the game, see below.

Season Ticket Renewal Deadline is April 30; Tickets May be Renewed at Blue/White Game: The deadline for renewal of 2008 Kentucky football season tickets is Wed., April 30. Tickets may be renewed on the Internet at, in-person at the UK Athletics Ticket Office in the Joe Craft Center, or by mail.

Fans also may bring their season-ticket renewals to the Blue/White Spring Game. UK ticket-office personnel will be available to accept renewals from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the ticket booth outside Gate 4 of the stadium.

2008 Team Leadership Council Announced: The Leadership Council for the 2008 Kentucky football team has been elected by the Wildcats, Coach Rich Brooks has announced.

The council is comprised of seven players, each elected by his own position group. The role of the council is to represent the team on issues that need player input and to bring team concerns to the attention of the coaching staff if needed. This year’s council includes:

Defensive Line – Corey Peters, Jr., Louisville, Ky.

Linebackers – Braxton Kelley, Sr., LaGrange, Ga.

Defensive Backs – Marcus McClinton, Sr., Fort Campbell, Ky.

Offensive Line – Garry Williams, Sr., Louisville, Ky.

Tight Ends, Specialists – Tim Masthay, Sr., Murray, Ky.

Wide Receivers – Dicky Lyons, Sr., New Orleans, La.

Quarterbacks, Running Backs – Tony Dixon, Sr., Parrish, Ala.

(Kentucky Football Notebook, page three)

“These players (council members) have earned trust from their teammates, have demonstrated their commitment to the football program, and now can bring additional leadership to the team,” Brooks said.