Oh, what a relief it is!!

Two weeks ago Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart passed on the opportunity to give Coach Brooks a vote of confidence. One would imagine the coach got his first relief at that time because that gesture generally spells trouble. Barnhart chose to go directly to the final decision on Brook's future and bring back the Kentucky coach for another year.

That's the kind of vote of confidence Brooks needed to get on with the business of coaching the Cats in the last three games of the season.

Barnhart said coach Brooks and his staff understand there are no shortcuts to Kentucky being a consistent winner in SEC football; 1) means protecting players that should be redshirted; 2) means players that are suffering through injuries should not be played until healed; 3) means recruiting the best player possible; 4) and means insuring that those players remain committed to football and the university of Kentucky.

Barnhart felt the retaining of Brooks was necessary for the continuity of the program. "We've got some good young talent," Barnhart said. "We got some good backs and we've got a really good quarterback. We've played 14 true-freshmen. If you look at the games when we've had a full contingency of players, they have competed well. This has been ‘Apple Cart Upset' for a while here at UK."

Coach Brooks as well as Barnhart said it is time to put the probation issue in the rear-view mirror. As in anything, you can't go forward looking backward.

Brooks said about players having to answer questions about their coach: "Some players like their coach and some player don't like their coach." What are they going to say?

Brooks said this decision clarifies the situation in the media and the internet. "I'm pleased obviously that we are going towards and have something that's getting better. We have the players that will make it better.

"This clarifies the recruiting process. Given the circumstances, it is going remarkably well."

With this decision, what will the fans do? A reversal of Wildcats football fortunes seems to forevermore loom in the minds of the loyal fans. Sporadic success has kept them hanging on for years and the thirst for more of that success seems to be drug that is hard to kick. So my prediction is that the force of habit will bring the fans back to the stadium next year.

Brooks said that recruits and parents have been asking the questions if they were going to be here. The coach said with one more recruiting class they would be closer to the 85-scholarship limit. "Recently was took the players to the hotel (before a game), we had 66 players and of those there were 49 freshmen and sophomores," Barnhart said.

"We have players playing out of position and players playing every down in the games."

Barnhart said: "Coach Brooks came to Kentucky for the right reasons. He didn't need this job – he didn't need another notch in his coaching belt. What you've got to do is what is right and these coaches have now got to make it work."

Given the possible failure of Rich Brooks and his staff to make it work, the next press conference could be of a far different nature. If the program fizz's rather than flops, the coach may get his wish. That is to fulfill his hiring-day wish to be the longest tenured coach in the UK football history.

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