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First Impressions from UK Media Day

 freddie-christie-mitch

On Friday UK held its annual Media Day. The 2016 Cats didn’t physically resemble the version that was last seen surrendering a significant first-half lead against Louisville. Mark Stoops’ offseason adjustments paid noticeable dividends. Strength and Conditioning coaches Mark Hill and Corey Edmond earned their collective pay and then some. By far, the most comprehensive observation from Media Day was the prevalence of body transformations.

Offensive Line

UK averages 6’5, 313 pounds across its starting offensive line. While observing player pictures being taken before the start of interviews, I noticed that Cole Mosier, Kyle Meadows, Ramsey Meyers, Nick Haynes, and Jon Toth were void of belly fat and their waist line seemed to be much smaller. This grabbed my attention.

The OL looked fit while maintaining target weights which allows the big fellas to keep the strength mandated by position. Lower body fat percentages mean increased stamina. I can only take this as a precursor to Eddie Gran’s desire to play at an up-tempo as well as a testament to offseason player dedication.

Defensive Line

In the past three years, Matt Elam has weighed as much as 380 pounds. Friday saw a different variety. Standing 6’7, Elam indicated that he’s down to 350 pounds and possesses the body type of a defensive end or offensive tackle. I’m very proud of Matt. His weight loss is great for his life both on and off the field. But I took it as a step in maturation. Understanding that if he is to play professional football and help his team win, he could not do so while tipping the scales at 380

Rookies TJ Carter and Kordell Looney look the part. Alongside Regie Meant, Alvonte Bell, Courtney Miggins, Adrian Middleton, Jacob Hyde, and Tymere Dubose; the group looked the part of a SEC defensive line. That doesn’t always translate to effective Saturday play. Only time will tell, but much like Matt Elam, the DL has obviously dedicated themselves and made the most of the offseason.

Players that Looked the Part

Tight end CJ Conrad is closing in on a healthy 250 pounds. That’s up from 230 from a year ago. While speaking to the sophomore, he said that added strength and weight will help with line-of-scrimmage blocking as well as receiving yards after catch.

Outside linebacker Josh Allen played his freshman season at approximately 210 pounds. He’s up to 235 and has taken on the look of a veteran SEC defender. Same can be said about fellow linebacker Jordan Jones who gained 15 pounds and is now 220.

6’4 Freshman All American cornerback Chris Westry weighs 200 pounds or more. Proud of his new body, Westry flexed his arms while on set. He struck me as a humble young man who is eagerly hungry to be great. Of all the interviews I conducted today, Chris Westry was the most impressive. He’s not a flashy talker. He didn’t use big words or try to be Mr. Thesaurus. Chris spoke softly, honestly, confidently, and with team-first intent when asked if he’s had to prepare differently since he is now a marked man in the Southeastern Conference.

Drew Barker

barker-media

Drew Barker looked like, talked like, and acted like a starting quarterback in the Southeastern Conference. Confident, self-assured, and surprisingly humbled; the third year sophomore has accepted the role of being a team leader. Again, translation to on-the-field play is yet to be seen, but it was obvious that Barker has taken instruction and his new-found role seriously.

-Barker spoke of the advantage of being a starting quarterback on an offense that returns nine starters. He went on to discuss the benefits of having Jon Toth at center and how if he makes an incorrect call, Toth automatically makes on-line corrections to ensure the play’s success. There are two types of leaders: Self-aware and self-absorbed. Basing this off spring and Media Day interviews; I view Barker as a self-aware football player.


Overall Media Day was a success for the Kentucky football team. It presented itself as a confident, understanding, and hungry team that recognizes and is willing to correct past mistakes. UK won the day. That’s not always been the case. I’ve witnessed Wildcat teams that portrayed a false sense of value as well as others that were defeated before the start of the season. Not this group. Now let’s see if that translates to winning football on September 3.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

14 Comments for First Impressions from UK Media Day



  1. Howdy Doody
    11:49 am August 6, 2016 Permalink

    Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows everything that’s wonderful
    Is what I feel a-when we’re together, brighter than a lucky penny
    When you’re near the raindrops disappears, dear
    And I feel so fine just to know that you are mine

    My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
    That’s how this refrain goes, so come on join in everybody

    Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, everything that’s wonderful
    Is sure to come your way, when you’re in love to stay

    Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, everything that’s wonderful
    Is what I feel a-when we’re together, brighter than a lucky penny
    When you’re near the rain cloud disappears, dear
    And I feel so fine just to know that you are mine

    But my life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
    That’s how this refrain goes, so come on join in, everybody

    Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, everything that’s wonderful
    Is sure to come your way, ’cause you’re in love
    You’re in love and love is here to stay

    Lesley Gore – Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows

    EVERY stinking season…THEN reality sets in.



    • whatwasthat
      12:20 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

      Sounds like you need to find a new team to follow, or you probably already do, say Loserville. Look bud, true football fans know this university or its boosters have never truly supported the most important program on a college campus, the football team. UK will never be Alabama or USC, but Being a solid winning program is easily doable and the powers that be are finally getting on board. Is coach stoops the answer, verdict is still out on that one, but following the disaster of the joke the man deserves more time. Yes I know the coaching decisions have cost the kids some victories the last three years, very frustrating, but with no head coaching experience but a big name in coaching circles its the price you pay. He can recruit, let’s see how it plays out next coming of years, when these kids have some maturity and muscle.



    • dshwildcats
      12:51 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

      Got news for you, Howdy Doody–“Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows everything that’s wonderful” is the theme taking place right now on the campus of every college/university that plays football at any level, brother!! It’s been that way for years! “Bigger, faster, stronger” is not a mantra exclusive to Kentucky Football!

      I’ve seen quite a few of your Cardinal brethren that believe Louisville has a legitimate shot at being one of the four College Football Playoff teams this season! Or, your coach, Bobby Petrino, who just a few weeks ago talked about how it is the goal of Louisville Football to win the National Championship! How’s that for “sunshine, lollipops and rainbows”??? I believe that was Schnellenberger’s goal (promise) 31 years ago as well! Still waiting on that, BTW!!



    • whatwasthat
      1:30 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

      So true dsh, I look over there every once and while and those morons think they are going 11-1 and playing for the national championship, lol. That zip they have over there needs to be committed, but those loons are good for a laugh.
      It’s better to start with hope than none at all, how many times do the basketball fans start out thinking UK is going undefeated, ludicrous. But the basketball fans only take great pleasure pissing on the football team, do they not understand what a successful football program brings to the university, oh well. While I expect ignorance from Loserville fans I find the same in a lot of supposedly UK fans.



  2. whatwasthat
    11:51 am August 6, 2016 Permalink

    Good as always Freddie, keep the football post coming. I’m calling 7 regular season wins and think that the kids manhandle southern, in all your write ups to my knowledge, you have not mentioned Ware, think he will be a beast this year. Really looking forward to improvements on the defensive side of ball this year. Looks like Korem is not being missed, coach Stoops still has a lot to prove to many, but think he has built a strong foundation going forward.



  3. ThePawn
    12:51 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

    Every year it’s the same ole thing.It’s always how much better the UK football players look physically than previous seasons.It’s hard to get excited when you’ve heard the same thing year after year but when the games begin nothing ever changes.



    • LexJim
      3:55 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

      Are you talking about UK football or wedding anniversaries? Or both?



  4. runningunnin.454
    1:13 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

    Yeah, we’ve all heard the song, and it’s your party and you can cry if you want to…..
    WHAT A WASTE OF SPACE.



  5. Doug Hensley
    10:29 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

    Hey Freddie. Great work as always. Any chance there might be a Replay of yesterdays Media Day Show posted? Missed it while working. Thanks



  6. blueballs80
    11:49 pm August 6, 2016 Permalink

    ” I noticed that Cole Mosier, Kyle Meadows, Ramsey Meyers, Nick Haynes, and Jon Toth were void of belly fat and their waist line seemed to be much smaller. This grabbed my attention.”

    You got proof of this Freddie? Pictures say more than words.



  7. kentuckyrld
    7:32 am August 7, 2016 Permalink

    Talking about what might be is always fun and it is great to have confidence that this season will see improvements. I am very hopeful that UK will win 6 and make a bowl. Unfortunately, predictions don’t mean a thing. It is all about getting it done on the field. So far, this head coach has a legacy of being able to recruit on a middle of the SEC level but his game time coaching is bottom of the pack. Will that change this season? Who knows? Personally, I have my doubts and I fear this will go down as one of those “just wait until next year” type of seasons.



    • dshwildcats
      8:31 am August 7, 2016 Permalink

      kentuckyrld,

      You’re right, brother! It’s always fun to speculate on what might unfold over the course of the next four months. As we’ve already discussed, every program and its fan base is confident that their players are “bigger, stronger and faster” than last season. They are confident that their younger players have matured, and are ready to take on a bigger role for the upcoming season. But, none of that really matters come that first snap of the football on September 3rd! It has to be proven on the field.

      Like a lot of readers on here, I’ve questioned the decisions that Stoops and his staff have made during games at critical times over the last three seasons. But as “whatwasthat” pointed out, that’s the price you pay when you hire a coach that doesn’t have previous head coaching experience. There is definitely a big learning curve, especially in a conference like the SEC.

      Personally, I’m willing to give Coach Stoops at least this year and next to see if he can get this thing turned around. This upcoming football season will mark my 45th year of following Kentucky Football. I’ve seen this program try every possible avenue when it comes to head coaches, from John Ray to Mark Stoops, with very little success. To me, the problem wasn’t always the coach we chose. It was the fact that this university has never financially invested in this football program so that it could be competitive with the schools it competes with year after year. That financial investment is finally being made. Lets see if Stoops is the man who can build some positive momentum for the program. If he’s not the one, what have we lost? I will still be supporting this program 5 years from now, whether Stoops is at the helm, or someone else.



    • inside info2
      3:40 pm August 7, 2016 Permalink

      dshwildcats, while I agree with kentuckrld, I wanted to commend you on your mature response. You countered his points and did so in a very mature way. Sadly that is way too uncommon here. It is ok to be critical of the team and still want them to succeed. It is ok to be critical of the ones that are critical of the team. You did so in a positive way. Thanks.



  8. dshwildcats
    4:24 pm August 7, 2016 Permalink

    inside info2,

    You’re right, brother! It seems like there is a lot unnecessary bickering on here at times. I tried participating in some sports forums/discussion boards over the past few years that were made up primarily of Louisville fans. While I had a lot of good discussions/debates with the majority of fans, you run into the guys like scorpiocard, Heywood, Blueblueblueblue, etc., that don’t want to have a civil discussion. They are only there to ridicule, insult and provoke people. They add very little, if any, meaningful dialogue.

    I played football; I coach football; and, I’ve followed the game closely for the majority of my life. But, my philosophy or approach to something may be totally different than yours, or someone else’s. That doesn’t make either one of us wrong. It just means we have a different way of looking at, or doing things.

    I think all of us, if we’re honest, have/have had legitimate questions and concerns about Coach Stoops and his staff, and the way they do things on the field at times. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t give him and these players our support! It just seems like we have too many fans these days (and I’m not just talking about Kentucky Football fans) that have the “I’ll take my ball and go home” way of thinking if the coaching staff is not doing things the way “they” feel they should be done; or, if the players are not living up to “their” expectations. It’s my feeling that these college kids don’t owe me a thing out on that field except for their best effort, which I’m sure the majority of them give each and every Saturday!