BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – 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.
Sideline Seats Available Through UK: Tickets are available to the BBVA Compass Bowl for both season-ticket holders and the general public. Fans are encouraged to buy directly from the Kentucky ticket office, as all tickets from the UK allotment are sideline seats. All tickets are $50 each.
Tickets may be purchased:
· In-person at the UK Ticket Office in the Joe Craft Center, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
· By calling the ticket office during the hours listed above at 800-928-2287
'Operation Win' to Benefit Birmingham: To implement the 'Operation Win' initiative in the community, Coach Joker Phillips and the Cats plan to sponsor children from elementary schools around Legion Field, as well as Birmingham-area military personnel. Building off the GAMEDAY READY tour that traveled around Kentucky this past summer, the Wildcats hope to give back to the Birmingham community by providing game tickets sponsored by Wildcat fans and supporters.
Fans can participate by:
* Making a 100% tax-deductible contribution to the Operation Win Birmingham Fund
* Contributions can be made in $50 increments - the cost of one BBVA Compass Bowl ticket
* Ticket blocks will be donated to local Birmingham elementary schools and military personnel
* Help provide an opportunity for youth to experience Kentucky football
* Fans can make contributions to the Operation Win Birmingham Fund in addition to purchasing their BBVA Compass Bowl tickets
* Fans will receive three K Fund points for every $100 contribution
* Fans will receive one K Fund point for a $50 contribution
* The Operation Win drive will continue throughout December, as these tickets will be assigned separately from any priority ticket requests
To contribute to Operation Win Birmingham, fans may call the UK Ticket Office at (800) 928-2287 or the K Fund Office at (859) 257-6300.