Running back Arliss Beach joins Tommy Cook, Keenan Burton, Bo Smith, Ernie Pelayo, and others who are making their return to the playing field from the disabled list. For Beach his return has been painful.
For most of last season, Beach played with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but didn't know it. He was in pain for most of the season, but doctors didn't find the tear until the season was over and he had surgery in December.
"My shoulder was killing me all season," Beach said. "It would just fall in and out of place, even when I was just standing there."
Despite the bad shoulder, the Ashland native played in every game last season. He split time at running back with Tony Dixon, Rafael Little and Draak Davis. Proof that the Cats need a healthy Arliss Beach -- his best two games came coincidentally in UK's two wins last year when he rushed for a season high 69 yards against Vanderbilt and also picked up 44 against Indiana.
"I'm 100% better now," Beach said. "I'm still healing from the surgery, but I'm taking shots on it (the shoulder) now, and I'm getting healthier."
Beach was UK's leading rusher two years ago as a sophomore when he rushed for a team high 366 yards and scored a team high 8 touchdowns. He now has to wear the "red" jersey during spring practice to try and protect the shoulder, but now that he's a senior, he's ready to get on with the upcoming season.
He says, "I don't care if I'm playing or starting. I just want to do my job and see what happens."
With Dixon's status still in question due to academic problems, Beach added that he would love to get the ball 20 times a game, but he's got a bigger goal in mind.
"I'll just be happy to go to a bowl game. To get 7 wins and to get to a bowl game. I've never been. We get to a bowl game, and then I'll be happy."
UK football fans couldn't have said it better.