The second edition of Coach Stoops’ women’s clinic was moved indoors to Nutter Field House as Commonwealth Stadium is under construction–a fitting analogy for the attitude of this coaching staff and the ladies of the BBN yesterday. There’s a mixed air of optimism and realism for what lies ahead for this program after that 2-10 opening slog through the SEC (you may recall).
Over three hundred women made their way to Kentucky’s campus at 8 am on a Saturday in July, and while there wasn’t the frenzy of last year’s record-setting crowd, these ladies are clearly hungry for some football.
A few observations upon entering Nutter Field House:
1) I. Am. Tired. How do these women have so much energy?
A) They are getting to talk football with virtually no men around–except the real experts. I need to perk up.
2) Am I the only person not wearing blue?
It was clearly not just the impending season (or tailgating) that was on the minds of the women participating–there was a buzz about the room regarding the upcoming recruiting class, evident in Vince Marrow’s introductory ovation.
After a few Cal-isms from Stoops, it was time for a positional breakdown by each member of the staff of course to “impress your husbands and boyfriends.” Despite fact that these ladies know more about football than your average person, not just man, it did produce a number of interesting insights.
Neal Brown gave the crowd something they wanted to start off the day–“the quarterback position is probably gonna be the most improved position on offense this fall.” In response to a quick burst of applause, Brown chuckled, “yea, that’s worth a hand to me.”
Then Brown told us a bit about each quarterback and their progress this summer; it was in alphabetical order to avoid any of the notorious over-analysis we Kentucky fans are capable of. (George Brown DID put the Florida hat in the middle).
— Drew Barker has done a really good job learning the offense and is catching up quickly with the other quarterbacks.
— Reese Phillips has been under the radar a bit, but was the most consistent day in and day out in the spring. He throws a really catchable ball.
— Maxwell Smith may be ready before the season begins after his shoulder surgery, but it’s to be decided.
— Patrick Towles came from one of the better high school programs in the state (some would say the best), and he may be the most improved guy in the entire offense.
Brown assured everyone that he wants to name a quarterback sooner rather than later in order to get them settled in. Oh, and we are gonna be MUCH better on third down, thanks to the improvement on plays like the ones he ran at Texas Tech.
Next up we had running backs coach Chad Scott round up the running back corps: Braylon Heard is very VERY fast, Jojo Kemp talks a lot but he’s also grown a lot, and Josh Clemons has been through a great deal of injuries, but is a terrific leader with a great attitude. I’m truly looking forward to seeing where these running backs can take us in season 2 of the Air Raid.
Vince Marrow was the next presenter, and hot damn does he have a fun personality. Must be why the young’uns relate to him. He’s far too cool for me. He also played football for Nick Saban at Toledo after being a scholarship basketball player.
My favorite presenter just may have been Tommy Mainord, wide receivers coach transplant of Brown’s offense at Texas Tech. He’s a Texas native and fittingly so–he should have been cast on Friday Night Lights. The guy is intense and excited to see what a healthier wide receiver corps with a technically and physically improved Ryan Timmons, Javess Blue, Jeff Badet, and soon-ish to be ready Alex Montgomery can do.
Just finished speaking at our Women's clinic. Big crowd with a lot of energy! #BBN
— Neal Brown (@UKCoachBrown) July 26, 2014
After Coach Naivar (special teams) and DJ Eliot broke down some plays for the ladies, we got to hear some insight from now famous High Performance Coach Erik Korem and Nutritionist and Dietitian Monica Fowler on how they’re taking these guys to the next level.
Monica Fowler puts in a LOT of work, eating breakfast and dinner with the football team during training, being available night and day via text to answer any random question the guys may have. Though some of the players are eating 6 or 7 thousand calories a day to keep weight up, they’re now asking questions like “Can I gain that much in one week and it still be good weight?”
The last presenter was Col. Jason Cummins, the Director of the Impact Leadership Program and Senior Manager of Athletic Operations for Horizon Performance.
In the military, medals are awarded for sacrificing self for the team. But we live in a culture that rewards sacrifice of the team for self. We tell them all the time, ‘Who you’re becoming is more important that what you’re doing.’
The wives of each member of the coaching staff came up and introduced themselves to the clinic.
My favorite tidbits:
— There are soon to be 38 kids between the members of the coaching staff. Sounds like a nightmare.
— Mark Stoops and his wife Chantel hosted a recruiting dinner during the season with 100 people at the house. Chantel said that getting to know the parents, as well as their kids and have them under one roof helps to forge a bond between the families. The best part? Having all those football players isn’t good for plumbing. Three toilets were broken, which likely made a Lexington plumber very … happy?
— A member of the audience thanked them for sharing their sexy husbands with us. I’m uncomfortable.
The players may have been more excited to show off for the women of the clinic than we were to see them. Nate Willis was dancing, Jason hatchet was blowing kisses, and Javess Blue was backflipping, and each player made a point to give a special shout to the “beautiful ladies of the BBN”
Za’Darius introduced each of the players, from full football gear down to full Under Armour gear, and the ladies, especially the older crowd were going WILD, with several catcalls like “What’s underneath this?” to which Erik Korem replied, “Wrong clinic?”
Hide yo kids, hide yo wives.
We closed out the show with the stirring rendition of Happy Birthday for some of the campers (let’s call them campers) led by Rodney Cox. Though he complained of a sore throat, the dude’s got some pipes.
Drills, Drills, Drills
My favorite part of the entire program–running drills with the position coaches and players. Lazily standing to the side, watching these women getting in a stance and huddle up was absolutely brilliant. You were real troopers ladies. Though you need to pick up the pace, as Vince Marrow said to our group, “If you really were my players and you walked over here that slow, you’d be running laps.” Dang coach.
Stadium tours (synthetic turf is coming–this means football field wedding receptions people) a raffle, and autographs closed out a great day in Nutter Field House. And we have over a month until kickoff against UT-Martin. Can’t wait? Get in line.
Click the “more” button for some more pictures and Vines of the ladies participating in drills. You won’t regret it.
Jordan Aumiller looks intimidated.
Vince being intense.