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Cats in the NFL

Brittany Wagner and Za’Darius Smith reunite

Brittany Wagner and Za’Darius Smith reunite

Here at KSR, we’re big fans of both Last Chance U‘s Brittany Wagner and Za’Darius Smith, so imagine our delight when we saw the two reunited this afternoon at the Baltimore Ravens practice facility, on Wagner’s birthday nonetheless.

Wagner and Smith go back to his days at East Mississippi Community College, where she was his academic counselor. Now, Smith is with the Ravens by way of Kentucky, and Wagner has started her own nonprofit organization, 10 Thousand Pencils, through her exposure on Last Chance U. It’s awesome to see them staying in touch. .


@UKFootball

Best picture ever?

@UKFootball

Best picture ever. Welcome home, guys.

And, do my eyes deceive me or is that Lynn Bowden in the background? What advice do you think Cobb was passing along to him?


Randall Cobb expected to be at the game Saturday

Saturday’s game vs. Tennessee is huge for obvious reasons, but if this report is true, there will be some major star power in the house. According to KSTV, Randall Cobb is expected to be at the game Saturday night for the reunion of Rich Brooks’ 2006, 2007, and 2008 bowl teams.

The Packers are on a bye this weekend, so the opportunity is there for Cobb to return to the Commonwealth to honor his former coach. How perfect is it that it’s the same night Kentucky plays Tennessee, the school that famously passed on Cobb all those years ago? With the chance to send Butch Jones packing?

Already telling myself not to geek if I see Goldeneyes in the press box. Must play it cool. Must not pass out.


America hates Danny Trevathan at the moment

America hates Danny Trevathan at the moment

Danny Trevathan is not a popular man right now after landing a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless Packers receiver in the Thursday night game. The hit was completely uncalled for and left Packers wide receiver Davante Adams lying stiff as a board on the field.

See for yourself:

Adams gave a thumbs up as he was carted off the field, but he didn’t make any movements other than that.

The former Kentucky Wildcat can expect a suspension coming his way.


WATCH: Acceptance speeches for UK Athletics Hall of Fame inductees

WATCH: Acceptance speeches for UK Athletics Hall of Fame inductees

Day 1 of one of the biggest weekends in recent memory for UK Athletics started with the induction of the Class of 2017 into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. Most of you know that the two stars of the major sports, John Wall and Randall Cobb, are being inducted, but they are joined by baseball’s Collin Cowgill, broadcaster Ralph Hacker, cross country and track runner Sherry Hoover, and volleyball’s Sarah Rumely.

These six athletes made a mark on UK Athletics that will never be forgotten. Check out their acceptance speeches from tonight’s induction ceremony, thanks to the crew over at Kentucky Wildcats TV. Make sure you bring your tissues for when John Wall thanks his mom for being his mom and everything she did for him growing up.

Congratulations to all six of the newest members of the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. This is an honor well earned, and we thank you for the impact you had on this university.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


ESPN: Randall Cobb is no longer the “forgotten guy” in Green Bay

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

After establishing himself as one of the league’s top receivers in 2014 with91 receptions, 1,287 yards, 12 touchdowns, Randall Cobb has struggled to stay on the field.

The former Wildcat dealt with nagging knee and ankle injuries in 2015 and 2016, limiting him from taking the next step up into superstardom as Aaron Rodger’s go-to target in the slot.

Back in July, Cobb told ESPN his main focus this season was to just stay healthy.

“One of the two most important abilities for any player in this league is durability and availability,” Cobb said. “I’ve had a little bit of an issue with that the last couple years being banged up and missing a few games, trying to play through games I probably shouldn’t have been in. That’s something I have to try to do. I have to try to stay healthy and do everything that I can.”

On Sunday, Cobb led the Packers in receptions with nine and receiving yards with 85 in the team’s 17-9 victory over Seattle to open the year.

The seven-year veteran was happy with his season-opening performance.

“Just trying to get open, trying to make the plays when they were there,” Cobb said simply. “We had opportunities, and [I] just tried to make the most out of them.”

Teammate Jordy Nelson said that Cobb always has the ability to make something out of nothing, something Kentucky fans know all too well.

“We all benefit from one another,” Nelson said. “We know the more weapons we get on the field, the more opportunities we get, the more one-on-one matchups we get. You’ve just got to go win your matchups. [Cobb] had some big plays for us — big plays early. He’s a guy that can take a 5-yard catch and turn it into 50 in a heartbeat. For somewhat of a smaller guy, he’s extremely physical and takes a lot of pride in what he does.”

Future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers was proud of No. 18’s accomplishments and impact on the team’s victory.

“I thought Randall was great. He’s sometimes a forgotten guy in the mix, especially with the way Davante played in training camp and Jordy’s pedigree and the stuff he’s accomplished,” Rodgers said. “But Randall is a great football player. He’s very reliable. He ran a number of great routes [Sunday] to get open, and he just made some really heady plays for us.”

You can read the rest of ESPN’s article on Cobb here. 


Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

BBNFL: Cobb’s big game fuels a Packer win

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of NFL action is finally here and several former Kentucky Wildcats were on the field contributing for their respective teams. Not too many things I would rather do with my weekend than watch the Cats win on Saturday, then watch the NFL Cats in action all day Sunday.

 

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

Entering his seventh season with the Packers, Cobb looked to be Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target today against the Seattle Seahawks. Cobb was targeted 13 times resulting in 9 receptions for 85 yards, all of which were game highs. Green Bay was able to pick up a win in a low-scoring defensive battle, 17-9.

Here’s Cobb’s 29 yard reception, his longest of the day:

Wesley Woodyard, LB, Tennessee Titans

Veteran linebacker Wesley Woodyard saw a big drop in production last season for the Tennessee Titans, only accumulating 57 tackles, his lowest season total since 2010. Today was a great start at getting back on track this year for the defensive captain. He tied for the most total tackles on the team with 8 today, including 5 solo tackles, a sack, and another QB hit.

Avery Williamson, LB, Tennessee Titans

Fourth year linebacker Avery Williamson is poised to have a really solid year alongside Woodyard in the Titans’ linebacking corps. Williamson finished today with 6 total tackles, including 4 solo. Unfortunately, the effort from the two Wildcat linebackers was not enough, as the Titans fell to the Oakland Raiders by the score of 26-16.

Here is what Titans’ head coach Mike Mularkey had to say about Williamson before the season started:

Za’Darius Smith, LB, Baltimore Ravens

Former Kentucky lineman Za’Darius Smith has moved into more of a pass-rushing linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens this season. Unfortunately for Smith, his season opener didn’t last too long. After quickly getting three tackles and a sack, Smith went down with a knee sprain and had to be carted off the field. He didn’t return to the game, so we’re hoping for a speedy recovery for big Z. The Ravens embarrassed the Bengals in Cincinnati, shutting them out 20-0.

Danny Trevathan, LB, Chicago Bears

After missing seven games due to injury last season, Danny Trevathan is hoping to get back into the swing of things with a bounce-back season this year. It was incredible that Danny was even on the field today, recovering extremely fast from his knee injury in the second half of last year. Trevathan had two solo tackles today, along with one QB hit. The Bears fell to the Atlanta Falcons by the score of 23-17.

Check out the story on his recovery just before the season:

Corey Peters, DT, Arizona Cardinals

While Corey Peters may not be an every-down player for the Cardinals, but they do rely on his efforts as a substitute on their defensive line. Peters had two tackles today and one QB knockdown. Peters only had four games last season where he had more than 2 tackles, so this is a solid start for him.The Cardinals lost to the Detroit Lions, 35-23.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Za’Darius Smith carted off the field vs. Bengals

Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun

Some rough news to report, former Wildcat and current Baltimore Raven, Za’Darius Smith was carted off the field with an apparent knee injury today.

The Ravens report that Smith has knee sprain and his return to the game is doubtful. Our thoughts are with Za’Darius that this injury is not too serious and that he will be back next week.

Stay tuned to KSR for updates regarding the former Cat.


NFL team picks up Boom Williams

UK Athletics

After being cut by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, former Kentucky running back Boom Williams already has a new home…for now.

According to Nate Bouda at NFLTradeRumors.com, the Denver Broncos claimed Boom off the waiver wire from the Bengals today. Back in May, Boom signed a three-year $1.66 million contract with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent, and stands to make base salaries of $465,000 and $555,000 over his first two years if the Broncos keep him. Given the Broncos’ deep backfield, that’s probably a long shot, but hey, it’s a shot.

During Boom’s three-year career at Kentucky, he rushed for 2,513 yards on 367 carries and had 38 receptions for 292 yards receiving for 20 total touchdowns. Last season, he had 1,170 rushing yards, making him the ninth player in Kentucky football history to surpass 1,000 yards in a single season.

Go get ’em, Boom.

[NFL Trade Rumors]


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cat Larry Warford settling in with the Saints

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Former Madison Central and UK lineman Larry Warford signed a fat, 4 year, $34 million contract with the New Orleans Saints earlier this year. After cutting his teeth in Detroit during his first four years in the NFL, Warford cashed in, and according to the Canal St. Chronicles’ John Hendrix, he has the tools to be a valuable player in NOLA for years to come.

What I see is an agile, technically sound guard who is excellent on screens and in space, who doesn’t make many mistakes, and who has become much more consistent over the past year or so. The closest thing to a knock is that he isn’t the type of player who’ll dominate his opponent completely out of the play, but I wouldn’t consider that much of a negative. Given his age and familiarity with the system, he should have the right guard spot locked down for at least the length of his contract and hopefully longer.

It’s fun to bring out-of-state guys through Lexington on their way to the league, but it’s even more special to see a homegrown talent become a valued asset to an NFL team.

The full piece from Hendrix can be found here.

@JayWinkKSR


Madden NFL 18 player ratings for all former Kentucky Wildcats

Madden NFL 18 player ratings for all former Kentucky Wildcats

EA Sports’ Madden NFL 18 is due out next week (plan accordingly) and someone has already leaked each rating for the however-many-thousand players on the game.

Tom Brady, this year’s cover boy, is a 99 overall, as is Aaron Donald and Von Miller, making them the only three players with a perfect rating.

As for the former Kentucky Wildcats, Randall Cobb leads the pack with an 87 overall rating at wide receiver for Green Bay. He is the Packers’ fifth high-rated player behind Aaron Rogers (98), David Bakhtiari (91), Jordy Nelson (91) and Martellus Bennett (89).

Danny Trevathan (84), Wesley Woodyard (82) and Larry Warford (81) are the only others Wildcats to earn 80+ ratings on this year’s game.

See the full list of former Cats below:

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers, WR: 87 OVR
Danny Trevathan, Chicago Bears, LB: 84 OVR
Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans, LB: 82 OVR
Larry Warford, New Orleans Saints, G: 81 OVR
Avery Williamson, Tennessee Titans, LB: 79 OVR
Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers, LB: 75 OVR
Za’Darius Smith, Baltimore Ravens, LB: 71 OVR
Chris Matthews, Baltimore Ravens, WR: 68 OVR
Josh Forrest, Los Angeles Rams, LB: 63 OVR

And on that note…


Today on KSR: UK Football’s First Scrimmage

Scrimmage SZN

Today’s scrimmage at Kroger Field is arguably the biggest day of training camp.  The first scrimmage of the year, the coaches get to see how players react “when the bullets are flying” for the first time.

Freddie calls it “Separation Saturday,” where the men set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.  I like to refer to it as a “Moving Day,” because it’s an opportunity for players to prove themselves and move up the depth chart.

We’ll hear the initial prognostication from Coach Stoops around 1:30, but be warned, usually coaches are hesitant to provide specifics on who outplayed the competition until after watching film.  Still, we’ll get a good idea of where the 2017 team currently stands after today’s scrimmage.

Views from Practice 10

Boom’s First Preseason Action

Last night Boom Williams (once again referred to now as “Stanley Williams”) hit the NFL field for the first time with the Cincinnati Bengals.  He received 2 carries for 5 yards in the Bengals 23-12 win over the Bucs.

McWilson’s Debut is Tonight

The former UK safety should see significant action tonight at 10:00 for the Oakland Raiders.  Prior to tonight’s game against the Cardinals, McWilson shared with KSTV how UK prepared him to make the jump to the NFL.

In other preseason action, the Cowboys play the Rams at 9:00 and the Jets host Wesley Woodyard, Avery Williamson and the Tennessee Titans at 7:30.

Go to Reece’s Make-A-Wish Yard Sale

Right now in the Louisville suburb of Anchorage, there is a yard sale at Anchorage Presbyterian Church to benefit Reece’s Make-A-Wish Foundation.  By attending and donating, you can help make Reece’s Wish come to true: to raise $1 million to support those battling pediatric cancer.  You can also get the chance to meet Jon Toth from noon-2:00.

Freddie Maggard’s favorite football player, the former UK center surprised him on The Depth Chart Podcast.  The spontaneous reaction is one of the best podcast moments in KSR history.  If you haven’t listened to it yet, listen here.

New UK Kicks Coming Soon

The shoes given to the UK Football team by Nike can be yours this Monday.  Here’s a little tease of what you will find at Nike.com Monday morning.

Get Your Alumni Game Tickets NOW

We are less than two weeks away from the annual UK alumni game at Rupp Arena.  If you’ve been before, this year’s twist brings something completely different to the table, with guys like Kevin Grevey and Kyle Macy teaming up against Rex Chapman and Jamaal Magloire as the undercard to the game that will feature current NBA Cats.  Tickets start at just $5.  It’s an opportunity you can’t pass up. Make the right decision and click here to get your tickets.

FC Cincinnati vs. Lou City FC

Louisville Slugger Field is almost sold out for tonight’s rivalry match with FC Cincinnati.  With ideal weather in the forecast, tonight is the perfect night to experience the atmosphere at a Louisville City soccer match.  Even if you’re not a soccer person, I promise you’ll love it.  Get your discounted tickets through KSR here before they’re all gone.

More UofL News

I thought the well would have run dry by now, but that university can’t stop producing high quality content for the BBN to laugh at.  There’s so much that came from yesterday’s appeal, I’ll let Drew Franklin explain how they’re trying to keep their Final Four banners.

UofL appeal: NCAA ruling is “draconian”; Final Four participants should be eligible

Stay AWAY From UK’s Campus

This is the first move-in weekend of the fall semester, bringing thousands of new students into town.  The blissful, traffic-less days of a summer are over.  Do yourself a favor and stay as far away from UK’s campus as possible.


Dominique Hawkins worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles

Dominique Hawkins is still in search of a professional contract, and he hasn’t limited his options to just basketball.

Lachlan McLean brought Hawkins on to his Louisville radio show this morning to discuss Hawkins’ prospects in basketball, only to find that Hawkins had an NFL tryout last week. Hawkins told McLean that he worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia isn’t the first NFL team to inquire about Hawkins’ football potential; the Dallas Cowboys attended one of Hawkins’ pre-draft workouts with Lakers back in May.


The Name of the Game for NFL Cats: Stay Healthy

Chicago-Tribune

There are cliches in every sport, but like most things, football reigns supreme.  The reason why the coach-speaky cliches remain is that there’s truth to every one of them.

“One of the two most important abilities for any player in this league is durability and availability.”

It’s a reality all NFL players face, but one Randall Cobb has learned all too well over the last two years.  Cobb told ESPN his primary goal this season is to change his injury luck from bad to good.  The easiest way to control the seemingly uncontrollable: know when you can’t go.

“I’ve had a little bit of an issue with that the last couple years being banged up and missing a few games, trying to play through games I probably shouldn’t have been in. That’s something I have to try to do. I have to try to stay healthy and do everything that I can.”

Despite his recent rash of injuries, the Packers are willing to make Cobb a punt returner this season to get more touches.  He has three return touchdowns in his career, but none since 2012.

Another Wildcat needs to prove he can take returns to the house, or he might not make the roster.  Cincinnati Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons said prior to training camp, “It has to be one of his unique skill-sets,” in order for Boom to make the 53-man roster.  To show off those skills, Boom has to be healthy, which has not been the case.  Yesterday Williams left practice early with cramps, something that plagued him throughout his time at Kentucky.

To end on a positive note, Super Bowl Champion Danny Trevathan returned to the field for the first time in a limited capacity.  After inking  a $25 million deal with the Bears prior to the 2016 season, Trevathan ruptured his patellar tendon in late November.  They didn’t believe he’d be back in time for training camp, but yesterday Trevathan was able to participate in individual, non-contract drills with the linebackers.

“It felt so good to be back out there, man,” Trevathan told the Chicago-Tribune after practice. “I felt like I was back to my normal self. But (everyone) did a good job telling me to keep calm and just slow it down.”

It will be good to see Trevathan and all of the NFL Cats back on the field when the season kicks off September 10.


John Wall and Randall Cobb are headed to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame

John Wall and Randall Cobb are headed to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame

If you’re listening to KSR, you just heard DeWayne Peevy announce some big news. John Wall and Randall Cobb headline the 2017 UK Athletics Hall of Fame class, which also includes Collin Cowgill (baseball), Ralph Hacker (broadcaster), Sherry Hoover Bordner (cross country/indoor track/outdoor track), and Sarah Rumely (volleyball). The group will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 22-23, in conjunction with the football home game vs. Florida.

Check out bios of each member below, courtesy of UK Athletics:

Sherry Hoover Bordner, Cross Country/Indoor Track/Outdoor Track, 1986-89

A seven-time All-America honoree … Won SEC championships in the mile and on a pair of relay teams during her career … Set 10 school records during her career, including outdoor records in the 800- and 1,500-meter runs, 4×800 meter relay and the distance medley relay, and indoor records in the 1,500 meter run and 4×800 meter relay … Broke outdoor freshman record in the 800 meters and indoor freshman records in the 1000-yard run, 1,500-meter run and the mile … Member of the 1988 national champion cross country squad, which remains the only women’s national championship team at UK.

Randall Cobb, Football, 2008-10

Arguably the most versatile, dynamic playmaker in UK football history as a wide receiver, quarterback, punt returner and kickoff returner … First-team All-America as a junior … Two-year first-team All-SEC … Set SEC single-season record for all-purpose yardage (2,396 yards in 2010) … Set UK career record for touchdowns (37), although he played only three seasons … Clutch player who scored five game-winning fourth-quarter touchdowns in his career, vs. Arkansas, Louisville and South Carolina at home, also at Auburn and Georgia … Left UK after his junior season and was a second-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers … Has been a star wide receiver during his six-year career with the Packers, making the 2011 NFL All-Rookie Team and being selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2014 season … Returned to UK and finished his degree. 

Collin Cowgill, Baseball, 2005-08

One of the top players in Kentucky baseball history, paced UK from a last-place finish in 2005 to its first-ever SEC Championship in 2006 … First-team All-America in 2008 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, leading UK to a then-record 44 wins and a berth in the NCAA Tournament … Also first-team All-SEC by the league coaches … A two-time Academic All-America selection … Ranks among the UK career leaders in runs, homers, RBI, walks, on-base percentage, sac bunts, sac flies, hit by pitches and steals … Fifth-round pick by Arizona in the 2008 MLB Draft … Reached the majors in 2011 and has played for the Diamondbacks, the Oakland Athletics, the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians.

Ralph Hacker, Broadcaster, 1966-2000

Spent 34 years on the UK Radio Network … Served as the men’s basketball analyst for many years with legendary broadcaster Cawood Ledford … Following Ledford’s retirement, he took over play-by-play duties for eight years, including UK’s 1996 and 1998 national championship seasons … The play-by-play voice of the Wildcat football team for five seasons … Was president of HMH Broadcasting, building a prominent network that featured then-UK flagship station WVLK … Also hosted head coaches’ pregame and postgame shows, as well as the weekly “Big Blue Line” call-in shows … All totaled, he was on the radio call for three men’s basketball national championships, seven Final Fours and four football bowl games. 

Sarah Rumely, Volleyball, 2006-09

Only player in program history to be named SEC Freshman of the Year (2006) and SEC Player of the Year (2008) … Two-time AVCA All-American … Four-time All-SEC … Academic All-American third team … Led team to NCAA Tournament four times, including the Sweet 16 in 2009 … Finished career owning UK records in career assists (5,703) and aces (165) … 5,703 career assists also ranked fifth all-time in SEC history … Capped career ranking in the top 10 in sets played (3rd), block assists (9th), digs and attack percentage (10th) … Only player to record a triple-double in a match in program history (10 kills, 56 assists, 18 digs vs. Ole Miss) … Led team to No. 7 national ranking in ‘09 … Played professionally overseas … Currently an assistant coach at LSU.

John Wall, Men’s Basketball2010

First national player of the year in program history as winner of the Adolph Rupp Trophy … Named 2010 USBWA National Freshman of the Year … Consensus first-team All-American … 2010 SEC Player of the Year by Associated Press and SEC Coaches … SEC Freshman of the Year by the AP … First-team All-SEC … Named SEC Tournament MVP … Led UK to a No. 1 national ranking, SEC regular-season championship and the SEC Tournament championship … Set single-season assists record with 241 assists (broken 2016 by Tyler Ulis) … Averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists … First No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick in UK history … Four-time NBA All-Star through first seven seasons, averaging double-figure scoring every season … Tabbed third-team All-NBA in 2017 … Washington franchise career leader in assists and steals.

I think this calls for a little T-Rev, don’t you?