KERRI BROOKS: Coaches, team deserve a break

Oh, the frustration, the complete and total frustration. You know what I really want to say? Give my Dad a BREAK! Give Mike Archer a break! Give the team a break! Give Andre Woodson a break! I may be going crazy here, but some fans act as if my Dad took a successful team and ran it into the gutter. Last time I looked, it was a past coach who did that, yet the coach who took the difficult job of rebuilding the program is the guy some fans are trying to run out of town during that rebuilding.

For people who have nothing nice to say about the football program, you might have been part of the mass exodus at halftime of the Florida game. You missed some good football if you left at the half. You also failed to support the team that you so adamantly claim to be a fan of. You don't want the players to quit, but, you the fans, are quitting on the team! How is that fair? Isn't it hypocritical to yell that the football team gives up, when you are giving up on them?

The battered, bruised, injured Wildcats took the field after a first-half spanking, and fought back. They fought back to beat Florida 21-0 in the third quarter. They fought back and scored another touchdown against the Gators' starting unit who went back in the game! They did not give up.

You know what I saw in the third quarter?? I saw us on a level playing field with the Gators. When they had their second string in the game, we kicked their butt. The negative people may say, but it was their second string! Hey, have you noticed we are playing with our second string? I saw the future of Kentucky football in the third quarter. With a little more time and game experience on our side, our young players are going to be battling it out with the best of the SEC.

It has been hard to keep count, but isn't our injured list numbering around 22 or so? Didn't we lose eight starters to injury? Unbelievable as it is, the injuries have been so severe, this bye week will not help us get any of them back on the field. Could things get any worse? If you search deep in your heart and soul, don't you think we would be sitting with a different win/loss record had we not suffered so many injuries?

I know the hot topics lately have been things like; if we fire Brooks, will we lose recruits? Will players leave? Someone actually posted that the administration should not listen to the players who were supporting the staff. What? Should they listen to the fans? The fans that didn't even stay and support the team in the second half of the game? The fans who didn't even see our great young players outplay the Gators?

It isn't hard to figure out that rebuilding a program coming off probation that was not highly successful is a difficult task. Last year was the year we took the hardest hit. This year we have all scholarships back, but the majority of the team is young. This is not a time to be passing judgment based on wins and losses. The injuries we have sustained would probably end a lesser team's year. The fact that these Cats still have any fight is amazing. Our youngest players are being tested by fire. I like what I see.

Your role in supporting the Wildcats is extremely important to the future of your program. If you think about it, every home weekend, some high school kids are evaluating whether or not they want to come play in Kentucky.

If I were a high school athlete, it would be very disheartening to think that the fans would turn their backs on a program that was suffering. Pull up your boot straps and get back out there. Everyone has a role in rebuilding a program. Don't quit on your team. Don't quit on your coaches. Don't give up on your school. The Kentucky Wildcat football team is not quitting on you.

Kerri Brooks is a CBS Camera operator with substantial college football and NFL experience. Her job takes her to venues throughout the country, and she is fortunate to have met and formed relationships with many football coaches, analysts, and other experts in the field. And yes, she is the proud daughter of UK head football coach Rich Brooks. Visit with "BrooksDaughter" on the KSR Premium messageboard, where she appears to talk football, answer questions, and just be another UK football fan.

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