Shoulder surgeries sideline Tamme

Kentucky sophomore Jacob Tamme did not produce the kind of breakout season many forcasted in 2005. It shouldn't be a surprise that Tamme didn't have the big season that was expected. Jacob's production was limited as he became the focal point of defenses, was a victim of Kentucky's poor passing game, and he was hit by the injury bug. Shoulder surgery will further limit Tamme's offseason participation. It is hoped he will be cleared to begin offseason workouts in June.

Going into last season many thought sophomore Jacob Tamme not only could emerge as Kentucky's go-to receiver, but also as a possible all-Southeastern Conference performer. He had size, adequate speed and great, great hands. Get the ball close to him and it is a given that he'll catch it.

Tamme didn't have a bad year. But he certainly didn't have the banner year many expected even though he was second on the team in receptions with 29 for 251 yards and one touchdown. But most of us thought he might catch at least twice that many passes.

Looking back, it probably should not be surprising that Tamme didn't have huge numbers. First, opposing teams paid special attention to him. Second, UK struggled with its passing game most of the season. Third, Tamme was hurt.

He's already had surgery on one shoulder and is scheduled to have surgery on the other one soon. "At the end of the year, he couldn't block anybody a lot of the time," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "But he showed a lot of toughness by continuing to play."

The bad news is that Tamme will be held out of spring practice. Even worse, he won't be able to do any upper body weightlifting for several months. Brooks hopes he's cleared to resume full speed workouts by June.

"Jacob certainly will not be where he would like to be from a strength and size standpoint next year, but it is not his fault," Brooks said. "That's just a given when you have both shoulders operated on. Early on in the season he probably will still have some problems. It's difficult to block with pain in your shoulders. The important thing is for him to get cleared so he can build his strength level up to the point that he won't get hurt again. Three months should be time for him to do that because he's already shown me he can handle pain pretty well."

The Cats had already moved redshirt freshman Zipp Duncan from defense to tight end. They also have T.C. Drake, a January signee from Hargrave Military Academy, to add to the tight end mix at spring practice.

"That position will be very young and competitive in the spring," Brooks said.

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