Saturday is Jared Lorenzen Day at Kroger Field and Kentucky is pulling out all the stops to honor one of the program’s most beloved players.
“It’s a special day, it’s a special week to remember Jared Lorenzen and we’re proud to honor him this week,” Mark Stoops said in his press conference today. “One of the most beloved and iconic players to ever play at the University of Kentucky. And it will be an honor for us to recognize him and recognize his family this week. So just more incentive for us and for our team.”
It’s no coincidence that Kentucky chose the Arkansas game for its tribute to Jared. Sixteen years ago, the Cats were trailing the Razorbacks in the second half when Jared famously yelled to fans who were hitting the exits early, “Where the hell y’all going? Y’all are gonna miss one hell of a game.” Even though Kentucky ultimately lost, he was right. The seven-overtime thriller will go down as one of the most memorable games in program history.
"Where the hell y'all going" -Jared Lorenzen (2003) pic.twitter.com/ZU44fC0hmw
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) December 18, 2018
The current Cats were just kittens during Jared’s playing days, so Kentucky’s staff is putting together highlight reels to help them understand his significance to the program. Stoops said he also wants to introduce the team to Jared’s family.
“Everybody, they’re working on some things to put together for me to show them some highlights and to talk about Jared. And they even mentioned to them and trying to find the right opportunity this weekend when they’re in town — I know they have some activities planned on Friday — but I would sure like to bring them and introduce them to the team and talk to his son and daughter and his mom and dad and just let them know that we’re thinking about them and recognize them and really want to play well for him.”
Even though the two were not close, Stoops said he admired Jared’s competitive streak, which he hopes his players emulate.
“First of all, it’s hard not to like Jared as a football player and as a person. What little I knew of him, you really liked him personally. And again, I don’t pretend to have a best friend relationship with him. But what I did know of him I really liked. He’s a beloved player here and rightfully so. I think because any player, you’re going to have respect for if they go out there and lay it on the line for your team week-in and week-out.
“And I think any time you go back and watch any of his films and see the things that he’s done, and trying to put the weight of the team on his shoulders and running it, passing, spinning around, tossing it, any which way to make plays for his team, it’s hard not to admire that. I think that’s what everybody remembers. Again, I think our team, we really try to exemplify that a little bit by playing the game the right way, respecting the game, playing it hard, laying it on the line, doing the best you can.”
Kentucky is still offering discounted tickets — $22 off with the promo code “TWENTYTWO” — and commemorative rally towels will be handed out upon entry. Jared’s family and many of his former teammates and friends will be in the stands. It will be an emotional day for all of us; hopefully the memories and stories will help us smile through the sadness.
“I just think that you look at him, you admire him, you watch some of these highlights that are popping up and that will pop up throughout this week, and some of the highlights I’ll show the team,” Stoops said. “And you can’t help but put a smile on your face and a little chuckle because it’s like, how did he just do that?“