Vandagriff continues to impress

Published 4:08 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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Quarterback Brock Vandagriff has impressed Kentucky teammates and coaches since transferring from Georgia. However, that’s no surprise to long-time Georgia fan Mary Alice Gilbert who watched him play in high school in Georgia.

“He is a phenomenal guy,” she said. “I saw him play for several years in high school and he has quite an arm. He is also very smart and knows how to get out of the pocket if needed.

“He’s a very classy, Christian young man. He lives his faith and I just think he is a really good player. In high school he was so much fun to watch. He could throw the ball so well. He won all but one game his junior year and then won them all his senior year.”

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She felt he should have been the starting quarterback at Georgia last year and thought he might to go Auburn or Oklahoma before landing at Kentucky where he’s expected to be the starter next season.

“I would like to see him beat Georgia and he is only one I would like to see ever do that because I am a Georgia fan,” she said. “I know they have a really good quarterback at Kentucky now and I think he will be great.

“He gets along with all his teammates. He is very likable and sociable. He’s just a great guy and fans will love him. Very friendly, very gracious, very honest. I know that’s the way he is because he’s always been that way. I hate that he is not at Georgia but I know he’s going to do great at Kentucky.”

Pope glad he made FTs in title tilt

Kentucky coach Mark Pope remembers beating Syracuse in the 1996 national championship game and how he worried he might blow the game for coach Rick Pitino’s team if he missed free throws late in the game.

“There was, give or take, a minute left. The only meaningful play I made in my entire career,” Pope joked. “They were pushing the ball down the floor and I trip and fall and it is deflected and they give me a foul. That is how good I was.

“So it happened right down there in the Meadowlands and I started to walk from there to the free-throw line, I don’t know, 50 seconds left, maybe up three (points), maybe up five, and there was only one thought.

“This is honestly the truth. I was not thinking about form or team or celebration or score, I literally was walking, and I promise this is true, the only thought that came into my mind is, if I don’t make this they are going to kill me. And who wants that?

“That is why we are here, guys. That is what we do.”

Hamdan had to mesh with staff, players

New Kentucky offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan inherited a roster when he came to UK from Boise State and had to learn the strengths and weaknesses of his players during spring practice. However, the coach has also had to learn to work with a new coaching staff.

“A lot of times there is a good amount of luck with the staff meshing,” Hamdan said. “This is not my first time going through this experience and getting new coaches and guys to rely on that I didn’t know before.”

Hamdan likes the UK football culture and assistant coaches that Mark Stoops had in place when he arrived.

“I get the opportunity to work with a line coach (Eric Wolford) who I believe is one of the best in the nation,” Hamdan said. “Then you have Vince (Marrow) with the tight ends who has had so many opportunities to leave for another job. Jay (Boulware) does an outstanding job with the running backs and (receivers coach) Daikiel (Shorts) is one of the fastest rising coaches in the nation.

“I count my blessings here. I have been in situations that were not like that at all but these guys all were quick to buy in and the loyalty is where it needs to be because of the culture here.”