Taylor's Thoughts: Cohen on UK football, more

Kentucky baseball coach John Cohen knows football and knows it pretty well. Of course it doesn't hurt that Cohen was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and although Cohen makes his living on the diamond, he considers himself an avid fan of college football.

"I love college football," Cohen said. "I was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, and I just love college football, I always have."

As a youngster, Cohen spent most of his time admiring legendary Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and watching his weekly show on television.

"The Bear Bryant Show came on Sunday afternoons in the state of Alabama. I think you could have robbed any bank at any city in the state when that show was on," he said. "Coach Bryant did such a great job of recognizing anyone other than himself."

Cohen said Alabama football and Kentucky basketball are strikingly similar when it comes to the level of expectations.

"It's remarkably similar," he said. "I think the comparison might be the greatest between two different sports in the entire country."

Cohen said the fans' view of football in Alabama and basketball in Kentucky are different than any other two programs in the nation.

"People watch the games differently," he said. "It's harder for people to get excited about Alabama football because the expectation level is really high, which is great. When I go to Rupp Arena, I see the same thing. The knowledge of the average fan at Rupp Arena is just amazing to me.

"The average person on the street knew who Patrick Patterson was two years before he even put on a (Kentucky) uniform. That just doesn't happen everywhere. It's a very similar kind of situation."

Although his main focus is his own team, Cohen keeps up with Kentucky Rich Brooks and his squad.

"I love watching those guys practice," Cohen said. "Every morning I go jogging around the practice field and I get to watch Rich Brooks and his team practice."

Cohen, who led Kentucky to the SEC baseball crown in 2006, said Brooks has went above and beyond the call of duty in bringing respect back to the program.

"The job that those guys have done has just been inspiring to the entire university, especially to the athletic department," he said. "I has just been a lot of fun to watch how it all has developed.

"I am just thrilled at what Rich and his staff have done. I think it's the greatest coaching job in the history of the University of Kentucky in any sport.

"I think Rich and his staff have out-coached everybody they've competed against.

"It's just fun to watch those guys."

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