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Cats in the NFL

Vote for your favorite Wildcats in the Pro Bowl

NFL Pro Bowl voting is now live and the UK alums could use your help in making it to Hawaii, assuming the game is still in Hawaii. It’s Orlando now? Oh. Ok. Making it to Orlando then.

By my count, the University of Kentucky has seven players on the ballot:

Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver
Avery Williamson, Inside Linebacker
Wesley Woodyard, Inside Linebacker
Danny Trevathan, Inside Linebacker
Jacob Tamme, Tight End
Larry Warford, Guard
Corey Peters, Defensive Tackle

So get on over to NFL.com to place your vote(s). You can vote everyday and the fan vote actually has a strong impact on who will make it, so stay on it until we see our boys in Hawaii. I mean Orlando.

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Monday’s Top 10: Big Blue Madness, UK Football looking up, and Karl Towns being awesome

Monday’s Top 10: Big Blue Madness, UK Football looking up, and Karl Towns being awesome

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

I don’t know about you guys, but life improved considerably for me over the last five days. When I left Nashville Thursday morning for a UK Basketball mega weekend, I was excited about the upcoming season, but when I got back home yesterday morning, I was absolutely giddy. Between Media Day on Thursday, Big Blue Madness on Friday, the Timberwolves/Heat game on Saturday night, and friend and family time in between, I got very little sleep, but left the Bluegrass energized and ready to roll for this season.

With the Mississippi State game on Saturday and bowl dreams still in reach, this is also a huge week for football, so let’s break everything going on down into today’s top ten.

1. Big Blue Madness was a success

Can we be real for a minute? I generally think Big Blue Madness is pretty overrated. Over the years, the event has grown and grown, morphing into a national recruiting rally for John Calipari; however, this year’s event was better than most. Maybe it was because of the new scoreboard, the blue carpet entrance, Michael Buffer, or the generations of players joining Calipari on stage, but Madness was bigger and better than usual. Kudos to Nathan Schwake and the UK staff for putting on a top-notch event, the impact of which is still to come (more on that in a second).

Before we move on, I need to see Matthew Mitchell’s dance one more time, because it pretty much sums up my mood this morning:

2.  What impact did it have on recruiting?

Six of the best recruits in the 2017 class were in attendance on Friday night: Mohamed Bamba, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, Nick Richards, Trae Young and Quade Green. Several members of the 2018 class were also there, including Romeo Langford. Feedback from their visits are still trickling in, but so far, it seems overwhelmingly positive. Trae Young, the top target in the class, was reduced to emojis:

Quade Green, another top point guard in the class, included Kentucky in his final five, which he released last night, and PJ Washington has the Cats in his final four alongside Arizona, UNLV, and Washington.

I’ll have more on recruiting as the day goes on.

3.  The new team is lots of fun

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It’s hard to tell much from Kentucky’s ten-minute scrimmage during Madness, but I know one thing for certain: this team is A LOT of fun. Like Madness, Thursday’s Media Day was better than most because this group’s energy is infectious. There are still some players who hate talking to the media (cough, Briscoe, cough), but the freshmen are embracing the spotlight so far, talking candidly and confidently about the team’s chemistry and talent, all while having fun. Last year’s team was good, don’t get me wrong, but I left the Joe Craft Center feeling ridiculously upbeat and ready for what’s on the horizon.

4.  But can they shoot?

From last week’s televised practice to now, shooting has become the primary concern for this squad in the eyes of the media. Personally, I think those concerns are a bit premature and probably based on the fact that Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox — two of the primary ball handlers — aren’t known for their shooting. Malik Monk may not be Jamal Murray in terms of shooting, but he showed us in the McDonald’s All-American 3-Point Contest that he can light it up from the outside, and we all know what Derek Willis is capable of. Again, tough to tell much from a practice and a ten-minute scrimmage, so I’ll be paying special attention to shooting during the Blue/White game on Friday night.

5.  SEC Basketball Media Day, Blue/White game, and Women’s Clinic coming up this week

The first exhibition game is still a few weeks away, but there are three major basketball events this week: SEC Basketball Media Day on Wednesday, the Blue/White game on Friday, and the Women’s Clinic on Sunday. I’ll be at attendance at all three (they were kind enough to move SEC Basketball Media Day to Nashville this year, hoorah!), so stay tuned for plenty of basketball news to go along with football.

Speaking of…

6.  UK Football is suddenly looking up

This weekend, Vandy beat Georgia in Athens, Missouri got pummeled by Florida, and Mississippi State lost at BYU. Because the SEC East is a dumpster fire, Kentucky is tied for second in the division with Tennessee. Some fans scoffed at Kentucky’s win over Vanderbilt last week, but man, that win sure looks better now, doesn’t it? Despite the horrible start to the season, Mark Stoops and the Cats are still in control of their own destiny, thanks in part to several teams who are much more vulnerable than first thought.

7.  We’ll hear from Mark Stoops at noon

Kentucky’s quest for six continues Saturday with the Mississippi State game, which looks infinitely more winnable than it did at the start of the season. Dan Mullen’s squad only has two wins so far this season, one in conference play (South Carolina) and is currently a three-point favorite. Hopefully, the bye week was kind to the handful of Cats suffering from injuries. We’ll hear more from Stoops at noon.

8.  This Kentucky fan did some scouting on Friday night

Clearly, Kentucky already has the mental edge in Saturday’s matchup due to this man’s stoic stare down.

9.  SEC Nation coming to town

The SEC Network’s Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears, Paul Finebaum, Laura Rutledge, and Maria Taylor will be in town on Saturday to host “SEC Nation” live from the lawn outside the William T. Young Library from 10 a.m. to noon. Start a day of tailgating right by making a clever sign and representing the BBN well. It’s been a roller coaster season so far, but right now, Kentucky still has a chance to make a run at a bowl, so let’s cling on to this optimism while we can.

10. Karl Towns is still the greatest human being on Earth

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Shoutout to @drdusto for the picture on the left. Without it, I don’t think anyone would believe me when I say it happened.

In a weekend full of great basketball moments, the biggest highlight for me may have been seeing Karl Towns play in the Timberwolves/Heat game at the Yum Center Saturday night. The crowd wasn’t great for the game (I hate that it was at the same time as the Kings/Wizards game at Rupp) and I was exhausted, but it was all worth it when Karl came over to the press seats towards the end of the game and gave me a hug. We’ve been pals since the Bahamas trip, and the fact that he made the effort to not only wave or say hello, but give me a hug and talk for a while after the game speaks volumes about Karl’s character and means the world to me. This is nothing new; we’ve all known Karl is special since the moment he committed to Kentucky back in 2012, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say once again that, as good as Karl is as basketball, he is even better in life.

Here he is with some other fans Saturday night:

Radio from Ryan’s colonoscopy in an hour. (Now there’s a segue I never thought I’d make…)


Former Cats in the NFL: Randall Cobb catches first TD of the season

David Welker | Getty Images

David Welker | Getty Images

After struggling to start the season, Randall Cobb had a huge game last week, when he caught 9 passes for 108 yards, including the catch for a first down that sealed the win for the Packers over the New York Giants. Cobb was a little banged up after that game, so some wondered how he’d fare this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Cobb managed to catch 7 passes for 53 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Unfortunately, not even Green Bay’s stout defense could slow down the rookie duo in Dallas, as the Packers fell 30-16.

Josh Forrest had one of his better efforts of the season for the Los Angeles Rams today. He recorded three total tackles, including two big tackles for loss in a losing effort. The Rams fell to Larry Warford and the Detroit Lions, 31-28.

Avery Williamson led all players from both teams in tackles for the Tennessee Titans in their game against the Cleveland Browns this afternoon. Williamson recorded 9 tackles, including a sack. Also for the Titans, Wesley Woodyard made 3 tackles, and also added a sack. The Titans take home the victory, 28-26.

Staying on the defensive side of the ball, Danny Trevathan had four tackles and a QB pressure in the Chicago Bears one-point loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Can’t forget about Jacob Tamme down in Atlanta. The Falcons fell to the Seahawks in Seattle, and Jacob Tamme wasn’t a huge factor in the offense. He caught two passes on three targets for 16 yards.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Today’s NFL Cats Lineup

Today’s NFL Cats Lineup

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Here is today’s list of games featuring Cats in the NFL!


Jacob Tamme slams Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” defense

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve heard Donald Trump’s extremely lewd comments from 2005 that surfaced over the weekend in which he bragged about hitting on married women and kissing and grabbing women without consent.

‘‘When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said in the video, adding seconds later, “‘Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.’’

Trump chalked the comments up to “locker room talk,” a defense which has rubbed several professional athletes the wrong way, including former Cat and current Atlanta Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme. After Trump once again referred to the comments as “locker room talk” during the debate last night, Tamme sounded off on Twitter.

Those tweets got a lot of national attention, and this morning, Tamme clarified that he doesn’t support either candidate.

Other pro athletes such as Trailblazers guard CJ McCollum, LA Galaxy player Robbie Rodgers, Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle, Cavaliers forward Dahntay Jones, Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley, and former NBA star Grant Hill also condemned Trump’s comments on social media.

At the risk of starting a comments section brawl, I also spoke out against Trump’s comments on Twitter last night and was sickened to see some of my followers jump to his defense and say this kind of talk happens in locker rooms all of the time. This weekend, I polled all of my guy friends (including several who played sports in college), and NONE of them said they’ve ever heard this kind of predatory talk in a locker room. Like Tamme said, it is not normal; it’s disgusting.

I know “boys will be boys” and men make off-handed remarks about women all the time, but Trump’s comments crossed the line, and I’m proud of Tamme for standing up and saying something.


Randall Cobb took a scary hit after getting the game-clinching catch last night

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Randall Cobb may have secured Green Bay’s win over the New York Giants last night, but it didn’t come easy. Cobb hauled in a nine-yard pass on third-and-six just before the two-minute warning, allowing the Packers to run out the clock, but as he went down, he took a scary hit in the neck from Giants safety Landon Collins:

Thankfully, Cobb appears to be okay and passed the team’s concussion test last night, but the moment was a scary one for him and his teammates.

“Got folded up like a lawn chair,” Cobb told reporters afterwards. “I laid there for a second. Then I turned over and, like, I had 15 faces in front of me. So I thought I had died or something. They kind of scared me more than anything. Yeah, I took a shot, and it hurt, but whenever I saw everybody standing around me, I thought I had died. And then I felt, I saw I could move my fingers and my feet. So I knew it was all right.”

“He’s an extremely tough, tough individual,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “He’s an incredible teammate, and I’m really proud to call him a friend. He played his butt off today. I mean, he was excellent. Took some shots, took a shot on the should-have-been touchdown, and took a shot there at the end.”

Cobb had his best game of the season last night, with nine catches for 108 yards, the first time he’s gone over 100 yards in a game since week two of last season. He’ll undergo more tests on his neck this morning and is currently listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. Dallas.

This play from earlier in the game was particularly impressive:

Heal up, Goldeneyes.

[PackersNews.com]


NFL Cats: Week 5 Schedule

NFL Cats collage

Some games I’m looking forward to in Week 5:

Patriots at Browns: Kickoff at 1:00PM; The Return of Brady.

Cowboys at Bengals: Kickoff at 4:25PM; The Vegas line has moved back-and-forth throughout the week. That’s how close this game is going to be. Will Dak Prescott continue his turnover-less Rookie season?

My game of the week:

Giants at Packers: tonight, Kickoff at 8:30PM; The stars will be out for this Sunday Primetime game. The Giants march into Lambeau with their star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., receiving more attention for sideline behavior than his on-field performance. Can the Giants stop their two-game losing streak and pull off the upset?

Eight former Wildcats will suit up for the National Football League in Week 5.

Here is when you can catch former Cats in action today:

espn.com

Josh Forrest: LB, Rookie

Week 5: versus Buffalo Bills, Kickoff: 4:25PM

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Za’Darius Smith: LB, 2nd season

Week 5: versus Washington Redskins, Kickoff: 1:00PM

2016 season stats: 6 combined tackles

espn.com

Randall CobbWR, 6th season

Week 5: versus New York Giants, Kickoff: 8:30PM

2016 season stats: 12 receptions, 132 yards, 12 rushing yards

 

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Jacob Tamme: TE, 9th season

Week 5: at Denver Broncos, Kickoff: 4:05PM

2016 season stats: 16 receptions, 157 yards, 2 touchdowns

espn.com

Larry Warford: G, 4th season

Week 5: versus Philadelphia Eagles, Kickoff: 1:00PM

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Avery Williamson: LB, 3rd season 

2016 season stats: 33 combined tackles, 1 interception

Wesley Woodyard: LB, 9th season

2016 season stats:13 combined tackles

Week 5: at Miami Dolphins, Kickoff: 1:00PM

 

Already played:

espn.com

Corey Peters: DT , 7th season

Week 5: at San Francisco 49ers, Final Score: 33-21 Cardinals Win

2016 season stats: 4 combined tackles

 

Not playing in Week 5:

espn.com

Danny Trevathan: LB5th season

Sidelined with a thumb injury

espn.com

Stevie Johnson: WR, 9th season

Sidelined for 2016 season with knee injury

espn.com

Bud Dupree: LB, 2nd season

Sidelined after abdominal surgery in pre-season. Placed on Injured Reserve

twitter.com

Ronnie Shields: TE, rookie

Placed on Seattle Seahawks Injured Reserve

espn.com

Chris Matthews: WR, 3rd season

Placed on Baltimore Ravens Injured Reserve

@colleenwag_KSR


Jimmy Fallon gave Randall Cobb a superlative on “The Tonight Show” last night

Jimmy Fallon gave Randall Cobb a superlative on “The Tonight Show” last night

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The Green Bay Packers play the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football this week, and to celebrate, “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon did his thing by handing out superlatives to players on both teams. Which superlative did UK Football legend Randall Cobb receive? “Most Likely to Be Either 20, 30, or 80 Years Old,” according to Fallon:

Meh. Fallon’s superlative for Letroy Guion is much funnier, if you ask me.


Avery Williamson Named One of Nashville’s Most Beautiful People

Former Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson has a lot of things going for him.  Add “one of the most beautiful people in Nashville” to that extensive list.

The Tennessee Titan will be featured in the October issue Nashville Lifestyles as one of the Music City’s 25 most beautiful people.  His teammates have been teasing him, calling him “Top 25.”  Getting teased for being good looking; what a travesty.  I don’t know how he sleeps at night.


Jacob Tamme on last night’s show of unity at the Falcons/Saints game

Lost in the debate drama last night was this emotional moment before the Falcons/Saints Monday Night Football game in New Orleans. Yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of the first post-Hurricane Katrina game at the Super Dome, and during the national anthem, both teams put the rivalry aside to come together in a ring of unity at midfield:

In the wake of police shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte and national anthem protests by Colin Kaepernick and an increasing number of players in the league, Saints coach Sean Payton reached out to Falcons coach Dan Quinn to brainstorm ways their teams could protest injustice while remaining unified and respectful of the anthem. Matt Ryan and Drew Brees came up with the idea for the circle, and the players spent a minute holding hands in thought and prayer.

After the game, former Kentucky star and Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme released a statement on Twitter about the gesture.

“Unity does not mean that we all have to be the same,” Tamme wrote. “Our differences are a big part of what make this country great. But it’s not our differences in themselves that make us great, it’s our ability to love and care for one another despite our differences that make us great. That’s unity. That’s what we wanted to attempt to show tonight.”

Tamme’s complete statement:

 

Well said, Jacob. Keep making us proud both on and off the field.


@CoachBrooks

Late Night Notes to Distract You from the Debate

Even though Fake Barney tempted me to pull the trigger on a Presidential Debate LIVE Blog, I listened to the commenters’ cries, “STICK TO SPORTS!”  For those sick of the politics, here are some sports.

Rich Brooks had a Busy Weekend

After getting inducted into the UK Hall of Fame, he hopped on a plane to finish a football weekend at Lambeau Field with Randall Cobb.  Cobb got one catch for 33 yards but he probably won’t get his Pro Bowl jersey back.

@CoachBrooks

@UKCoachBrooks

DeMarcus Cousins Owned Media Days

He did a little talking at the Kings’ Media Day, but like most, he preferred Jenga.

@SacramentoKings

@SacramentoKings

He also played a little Show and Tell.  With an Olympic medal, he wins every time.

@BryanMayTV

@BryanMayTV

Ladies, find you a man who looks at you the way DeMarcus looks at his Olympic gold medal.

The Best Thing You’ll See All Day

The Marlins mourned the loss of Jose Fernandez in the most miraculous way possible.  Everyone wore Fernandez’s No. 16 before it is retired forever.  After a ceremony in the middle of the field, the game began with Dee Gordon at bat.  Wearing Fernandez’s helmet, he began batting right-handed to honor his late friend.  Then, this happened.


(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Cats in the NFL: Week 3 Edition

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Since Wesley Woodyard was elected into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame this weekend, let’s start with his and Avery Williamson’s game for the Titans. Tennessee fell to the Oakland Raiders by the score of 17-10. Woodyard accumulated 3 tackles, while Williamson racked up 9 tackles and had an interception as well.

Randall Cobb had his least productive week of this short season today against the Lions. Despite the fact that the Packers put up 34 points, Cobb only managed one catch for 33 yards.

Za’Darius Smith is still struggling to rack up big numbers for the Ravens in his second year out of Lexington. Today he recorded 3 tackles, equaling his total from Weeks 1 and 2 combined. His three tackles were enough to help Baltimore pick up the W in Jacksonville over the Jags.

Corey Peters had two tackles for the Cardinals today in their loss to the Buffalo Bills, in one of the more surprising results from today’s slate of games.

Jacob Tamme and the Atlanta Falcons take on the New Orleans Saints tomorrow night in Monday Night Football. Tamme has had two solid games this season, so he’ll look to continue to rack up the yards in Week 3. (Or at least I hope so, for my fantasy football team’s sake)


Wesley Woodyard made a young Detroit fan’s day

Wesley Woodyard made a young Detroit fan’s day

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A young Detroit Lions fan is now a fan of the Tennessee Titans after a pre-game interaction with his Lions’ opponent in the stadium tunnel last Sunday.

The little fella was looking for a couple of high-fives as the Titans took the field but he got more than he bargained for as Wesley Woodyard passed by. The former Wildcat swooped him up and carried him around for a moment before taking the field.

The boys mother wrote on Facebook, “It’s the little things that will leave a lasting memory! Thank you Wesley Woodyard for taking a moment to show my little football fan some extra love! This video will forever make me smile!”

See for yourself:

It was great day for the kid (he also got a TD ball from Titans tight end Delanie Walker) and a great day for the Titans because they beat Detroit with a touchdown in the final minutes.

Go Titans.


Danny Trevathan is Sidelined with a Thumb Injury

Stacy Revere | Getty

More bad news for Cats in the NFL.

John Fox told reporters today that Danny Trevathan injured his thumb during last night’s Monday Night Football game against the Eagles.  He will have surgery tomorrow but Fox doesn’t consider the injury a season-ender.

After winning a Super Bowl for the Broncos, he made bank by signing with the Bears in the offseason.  In his first game against the Texans he had 11 tackles and a sack.  Last night he had four tackles, which includes the smashing of rookie Carson Wentz near the sideline.  I think Wentz will slide next time.

Trevathan’s former UK backup, Avery Williamson, left yesterday’s game with an injured back.  Luckily, he shouldn’t miss any playing time.  Stevie Johnson isn’t as lucky.  He won’t be leaving the injured reserve this season after tearing his right meniscus in the preseason.

As soon as I thought I was done writing this post, I found more bad news: the Colts released Winston Guy.  The former Wildcat safety specialized in special teams, but was starting to earn more defensive reps, appearing in more than half of the snaps in the first two games of the season.  Godspeed Winston, Godspeed.


Cats in the NFL: Jacob Tamme Steps Up for the Falcons

Cats in the NFL: Jacob Tamme Steps Up for the Falcons

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With the UK football team picking up a win yesterday, it made NFL Sunday a little easier to sit through as my Bengals fell to the team who shall not be named from Pittsburgh. Let’s take a look at what some of the former Wildcats did in their NFL action today.

Jacob Tamme picked up where he left off in Week 1. This week, Tamme caught 5 passes for 75 yards and a TD against the Raiders, after he caught 6 passes for 51 yards last week against the Buccaneers. Very solid start to the season for the tight end out of Danville.

Randall Cobb and the Packers just started their game versus the Vikings in the late night game. So far tonight, Cobb has one reception for 5 yards. Cobb had 57 yards on six receptions in Green Bay 27-23 win over the Jaguars in Week 1. Cobb was a captain in Week 1, a huge honor for the former Cats.

For the Titans today, Avery Williamson recorded 6 total tackles, while Wesley Woodyard had a total of three. Those are the same stats the two recorded in Week 1 as well. Tennessee picked up a come from behind victory over the Detroit Lions, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter to win 16-15.

Za’Darius Smith and the Ravens battled back from a 21-0 deficit to beat the Browns, in the most “Cleveland Browns” thing of all time. Smith had 2 tackles, including one tackle for a loss, and one QB hit.

The Indianapolis Colts fell short of the Denver Broncos, and Winston Guy Jr. recorded only one tackle on the day. It was late in the fourth quarter, helping to give the Colts a comeback chance, but it wasn’t enough. Guy left the game shortly after with an ankle injury.

Danny Trevathan had a big week in the Bears opening game, racking up 11 combined, tackles, including 7 solo and a sack. This week, the Bears will be playing on Monday Night Football against the Eagles.