WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Joker pleased with 2nd Birmingham practice

The Kentucky football team turned in another good effort during a two-hour practice Wednesday afternoon at Hoover High School, Coach Joker Phillips said.

"Again, upbeat," Phillips said when asked about the workout. "We have a team that understands how to practice. That's what we like about this football team. They come out with good attitudes, know how to practice fast. We have a team that understands how to practice and it starts with enthusiasm and excitement. Tomorrow is another day to get ourselves better, hone up some assignments, make sure everybody knows what they're doing. We will go a little bit lighter than today, go over some situations, be ready for the walk-through on Friday and play on Saturday."

Phillips continues to be pleased with the contributions made by new co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter.

"He's made a huge impact," Phillips said of Minter. "He coaches every day, every minute, teaching football. Rick is all ball. Does he like to have fun with the kids off the field? Yes, but when it's time for ball he's a no-nonsense guy."

Kentucky will have its final practice on Thursday. The team will have a walk-through on Friday before taking the field Saturday at noon ET (11 a.m. CT) at Legion Field against the Big East Conference tri-champion Pittsburgh Panthers.

Davis Represents UK at FCA Breakfast: Several Wildcats got their Wednesday morning started by attending the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast at the Sheraton Hotel. Former Alabama running back Siran Stacy was the keynote speaker at the event. In addition, both the Kentucky and Pittsburgh teams had a player speak, with Andrew Janocko speaking on behalf of Pitt and senior offensive lineman Marcus Davis giving his spiritual testimony on behalf of the Wildcats.

Davis said he was blessed to be raised in a Christian home and that as he got older he had a growing desire to know Jesus. Davis also discussed the importance of having mentors in your life. Shaun Alexander, former National Football League Most Valuable Player with the Seattle Seahawks, is a cousin of Davis and the Wildcat talked about the influence Alexander had on him.

"When Shaun was with the Seahawks and came home, he would have my brother and me get some friends together," Davis said. "He talked to us about what it meant to be a godly man and be good stewards of our time and money. He taught us that what is most important is glorifying God in everything we do."

Davis also discussed the spiritual gains he made through the adversity of the 2009 season. After three years of little playing time, Davis began 2009 as Kentucky's starting center, only to suffer a season-ending injury in the first quarter of the season opener.

"When I got injured in the first game I was mad at God," Davis said. "I felt like I was doing all these things for Him and He let this injury happen. I spent a lot of time in the training room looking out the window at practice. I learned how temporary football is. It learned that life is fleeting as well. I had to ask myself the question, 'What's really most important in my life?'

"I had to learn the lesson of Philippians 3:8, 'I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.'"

Stacy and one of his daughters were the survivors of a horrible car accident in 2007 in which his wife and five children died. Stacy challenged the crowd to ask themselves the question, "Who do you serve?" and to put away the false gods of this temporary life on earth.

Weather Report Continues to Improve: The projected weather for Saturday's BBVA Compass Bowl continues to get better. The forecast according to weather.com calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 50 degrees in Birmingham on Saturday.

"Cat Walk" Set for 8:45 a.m. Central time: Fans wishing to participate in the "Cat Walk," cheering the Wildcats when they enter the stadium at the BBVA Compass Bowl, should be at Gates 16 and 17 of Legion Field at 8:45 a.m. Central time.


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