BROOKS: The future of Kentucky football

The future of Kentucky football is around the corner, and I believe it starts today. The Brooks house was filled with some of the guys who are going to play a large part in changing the face of Kentucky football. With a group of seventeen gathered to give thanks and share a meal, we had discussions about some of the traditions that have gone by the wayside, and how they would like them brought back.

As I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with part of my extended Kentucky family, I truly saw the future of Kentucky football. The future of Kentucky football is around the corner, and I believe it starts today. The Brooks house was filled with some of the guys who are going to play a large part in changing the face of Kentucky football. With a group of seventeen gathered to give thanks and share a meal, we had discussions about some of the traditions that have gone by the wayside, and how they would like them brought back.

When Joker Phillips played on the Kentucky football team (the last time we beat Tennessee), he said that there used to be a Catwalk that stretched from the Nutter Field House to Commonwealth Stadium. Some of the players would like to know why there isn't a Catwalk anymore, so I went right to the top. (With the help of Leslie Philips who is going to be there with signs held high screaming her head off!) We asked what time the players will arrive for the walk. Steve Hellyer, the Director of Football Operations, and Coach Brooks discussed it back and forth. The team will be departing the team hotel at about 10:15 am. The drive is less than 10 minutes, so we came to the conclusion that if people wanted to participate in the Catwalk; they should be there by 10:20 for a walk somewhere between 10:25 and 10:30 or so. (If you are not sure where the Catwalk is, it is near Gate 1)

We weren't able to hammer down an ‘exact' time, but the Kentucky Wildcat football team would love to see their fans at the Catwalk to help pump them up for what will be their biggest game of the year. Wesley Woodyard's family and Keenan Burton's family have been on the internet trying to get people involved. They have stated that it really helps pump the guys up as they walk into the stadium.

This game can define not only the Kentucky football team, but the Kentucky football fans. We have the home field advantage, and we need to take advantage of it. We need to do everything in our power to help give these guys an edge over this flailing Tennessee team. This is the last game some of these kids will ever play, and they deserve a send off in Kentucky spirited fashion. Get your kids, make some signs and let the players know how much you support their efforts on the gridiron!

Christian Johnson, Micah Jones, Sefo Blaylock, James Alexander, and JoJo Brown were a few of the guests at the Brooks' house on Thanksgiving (along with other coaches' families). When we were discussing the Catwalk, the players said they wished we had a tradition like Auburn's. The Tiger Walk at Auburn is so impressive; it has even begun to happen on the road at many stadiums they go to. The Tiger walk is actually listed on the game day itinerary at Auburn, and I believe they even have recruits walk through the end of it to see how incredible it is.

The largest Tiger Walk in history is believed to have had more than 20,000 participants line the streets back in 1989. (Can you imagine having a recruit walk through this crowd of screaming fans?) The tradition of the walk started back in the 1960's, and has become a part of Auburn football culture. I was so impressed with the first one I ever witnessed in person, that the thought of it is emblazoned in my memory.

I have been lucky enough to spend time with some of the players, and I am proud for Kentucky that they wear the Blue and White. When they came here, Kentucky coaches told their parents that they would be in good hands at a good school. Those good hands extend way beyond a small circle of coaches and family. Those hands belong to the Kentucky supporters who want the program to succeed. Those hands should be slapping high fives to the guys as they make their final walk of the '05 season into Commonwealth. (Oh, come on, you could even give a high five to a coach, it won't hurt you!) Those hands should be red and sore by the end of the game from all the clapping you will be doing!

In Fed Ex field where the Redskins play there are stickers along the inside of the stadium, in front of the seats, all the way around. The stickers read: "Be Loud! Be Proud!" It is time you had something to be proud about; and these players and coaches want nothing more than to give it to you.

This day can mark the beginning of better things to come. We can beat Tennessee. We can start a new winning tradition, and everyone can be a part of it.

The players ask you, the families of players ask you; PLEASE JOIN THEM SATURDAY AT THE CATWALK. Please be there at the Gate 1 side of the stadium by 10:20 to line the walkway they will use to enter the stadium. You can make a difference. You can be a part of a new winning tradition. It is time to put the past behind us and move into the future.

Twenty years is long enough, go out there and get it done! GO CATS! Beat the Vols!

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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