LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Rich Brooks has spent the last
three years trying to bolster the Wildcats' depth, signing
oversized recruiting classes in hopes of developing a quality
program down the road.
Brooks hopes down the road starts showing up on Saturday during
the team's annual Blue-White Game at Commonwealth Stadium.
In a sign the Wildcats are starting to reap the rewards of
consecutive 8-5 seasons, the spring game will feature the squad
split into two separate teams. Offensive coordinator Joker Phillips
will run the Blue Team, with defensive coordinator Steve Brown
running the White team.
Brooks said the full-fledged game should give him a better idea
of who's ready to step in and fill some of the gaping holes facing
the Wildcats next season.
"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
Most of the cornerstones of Kentucky's surprising rise the last
two years are gone. Quarterback Andre Woodson, tight end Jacob
Tamme and wide receivers Keenan Burton and Steve Johnson are all
likely moving on to the NFL.
In their place will be the likes of Mike Hartline and Curtis
Pulley, who are competing to take over for Woodson. Brooks has said
the starting job is up for grabs, and while he's still a long way
from designating the starter for the season opener against
Louisville on Aug. 31, whoever performs better on Saturday could
have a decided leg up when training camp starts.
Brooks hopes the offense can perform better than it did during
last Saturday's scrimmage, which the defense dominated.
Hartline will lead the Blue team, with Pulley and Will Fidler as
the quarterbacks on the White team.
The Wildcats will also be looking for better execution from the
offensive line, which has struggled at times during the spring.
Brooks has mixed and matched lineups in hopes of finding the right
combination of players, but has yet to develop any rhythm.
Several players will miss the game due to injury, including
tailback Tony Dixon and defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin. Both are
expected to be ready when the regular season begins.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EDT.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)