By Guy Ramsey
It’s been a dodgy week weather-wise in Lexington, ranging from storms to oppressive heat, but things cleared up in a big way on Saturday, Aug. 5.
That was just in the nick of time for Kentucky football’s annual Fan Day.
“I hope everyone enjoyed practice and Fan Day and the whole deal,” said coach Mark Stoops (pictured with senior wide receiver Charles Walker at UK Media Day). “It was a really beautiful day. Couldn’t ask for a better day. Great practice this morning as far as the weather is concerned.”
The day began at 9 a.m. with an autograph session featuring the entire team – including freshman Lynn Bowden, who is cleared and officially has joined the team. A large crowd was waiting, with the first in line having been there since 1 a.m.
“Huge crowd, and that’s awesome being able to see the BBN fans come back and see everyone supporting us and see everybody that’s excited about UK football,” sophomore offensive tackle Landon Young said.
For a UK team that’s a week into fall camp, Fan Day served as a reminder of why the Cats are working so hard. They hear the cheers on game day, but Saturday gave them a chance to put some faces with the noise.
“Being able to be able to go in there and actually talk to us and sign something for them, you get to know a little bit about each person that comes through the line and get to know what people are expecting, what people aren’t expect, what people want out of a season and stuff like that,” Young said. “That’s really interesting to see and hear.”
Denzil Ware enjoyed interacting with the many children in attendance, especially one baby named Layla.
“I thought she was going to cry once I reached for her, but she came and was playing with my beard,” Ware said. “It was pretty fun today. I had a great time seeing all the fans and really all the little kids and giving them high-fives, take pictures with them.”
The autograph session was a change to UK’s pre-practice routine, but once the Cats hit the field it was all business. Fans were treated to plenty of highlight-reel plays and some impressive throwing and catching from UK’s quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Those were nice, but Stoops is more focused on the way his team’s competitiveness and willingness to learn.
“I thought we did some good things and guys had some good energy,” Stoops said. “Better in certain areas and need to keep on improving, but I like the mentality of this team. I love the work ethic. They’re trying to get better each and every day. That’s what we like about them. We’ll get back to work with some meetings this afternoon, but pretty good morning session.”
Photo by UK Athletics