MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Kentucky football team had its final full practice of the season Wednesday afternoon at Rhodes College.
The Wildcats worked out in helmets, shoulder pads, and sweat pants as they prepare to take on the East Carolina Pirates in the 50th edition of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
“We were polishing our game plan, making sure everybody is on the same page, getting in the final (on the field) preparation,” Coach Rich Brooks said. “I feel pretty good about the last couple of days. We have a lot of mental work between now and (the game). We have some film work to do, some corrections to make.”
The day’s practice was concluded with a Wildcat tradition – the final tackle drill. The players form two parallel rows and each senior runs between the rows to make one last hit on a tackling dummy.
There is no official bowl event on Wednesday night as the teams are on their own to welcome in the new year. On Thursday, the team will go to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium for a walk-through practice and team photograph.
The AutoZone Liberty Bowl will be played Friday, Jan. 2, at 5 p.m. EST (4 p.m. CST in Memphis). The game will be televised by ESPN and also will be carried on ESPN Radio, the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) and on ESPN360.com.
Wildcats Win Another off the Field: No surprise when Kentucky wins in basketball, right? Well, Wildcat hoopsters aren’t the only ones who can shoot the rock, as proved by a couple of UK football players Tuesday night.
Freshman free safety Greg Wilson and freshman wide receiver Gene McCaskill won a shooting contest vs. a pair of East Carolina Pirates during the Phoenix at Memphis NBA game on Tuesday at the FedEx Forum.
Receiving varying points for shots, based on degree of difficulty, McCaskill and Wilson defeated their opponents by a score of 19-4.
That victory improved UK’s record to 4-1 in friendly competition against East Carolina this week. At the team welcome party on Monday, Kentucky got victories from Jeremy Jarmon in Xbox 360 college football, Tony Dixon in billiards, and Dicky Lyons in the Elvis Presley impersonation contest. The Wildcat setback came in bowling.
There will be a more serious competition on Friday at 4 p.m. CST when the Wildcats take on the Pirates in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Masthay Represents UK at FCA Breakfast: Senior punter/kicker Tim Masthay represented UK during the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast held during the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Masthay’s dedication to his faith has been demonstrated in his abundant community service work, for which he was named to the national Good Works Team by Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association. Following graduation and his football career, Masthay plans to join the Peace Corps and serve in Africa.
Before a packed house of several hundred people at the FCA Breakfast, Masthay was interviewed by the event’s master of ceremonies, soccer legend Kyle Rote Jr.
Masthay credited his parents, Mark and Jean Masthay, for inspiring him to be in service to others. He said he first affirmed his faith when he was five years old, but that his collegiate years have been a time of additional spiritual growth, thanks to people he met at UK.
“When I came to the University of Kentucky, I was not really sure who I was and a few individuals really had an impact on me,” Masthay said. “The company you keep plays a huge role. Guys like Jacob Tamme, Taylor Begley and Michael Aitcheson, all these guys worked so hard and had so much going for them. I knew they were Christians and I knew there was something different about them.
“Another individual, who may not know that he had much impact on me, was our athletic director Mitch Barnhart. I remember as a freshman it was sort of intimidating to talk with the athletic director, but he was always really kind and showed a lot of interest in me and that meant everything in the world to me.
“I had examples in my life who showed me, and I saw what was possible in having Christ to strengthen me,” Masthay continued. “Seeking his kingdom first and praying about that; we have the word of God, absolute truth, at our disposal all the time. Just keep your mind and your heart set on things above.”
Forecast Looking Good: There is a favorable weather forecast for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Fri. Jan. 2. The website weather.com calls for a high of 55 degrees with partly cloudy skies and winds at less than five miles per hour.
Catwalkin’ in Memphis: Kentucky fans are invited to participate in “Cat Walk” on Friday by cheering the players when they arrive at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Fans should be at the stadium by 1:45 p.m. Central time. The team buses will arrive via Mississippi Avenue and stop where the avenue dead-ends (press box side of the stadium). The players will walk past Gate 4 and enter the South Tunnel of the stadium.