Brooks said that he has not previously had an opportunity to coach against the legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, though he has known him since 1980 when they were on the initial Nike trip along with Joe Paterno when Nike was first getting involved with college football.
"To me he's on of the icons in the coaching profession," Brooks said. "We had a great experience at the Music City Bowl last year." He said it would be no less exciting this year.
"Sure, it would've been more excited to play in the SEC championship game or for the national championship."
Cynics may question the excitement and faithfulness of the Kentucky fan to return to ‘been there and done that.' The fans' faithful once again has dispelled that motion by selling out their allotment of tickets. Football SID Tony Neely said the season ticket holder allotment of 11,000 was already accounted for and when the announcement was made where the Cats were destined, another 16,000 thousand ticket were made available and were sold out in fifteen minutes.
"I realized we had unbelievable fans when they were continuing to come when we were not very good in the Commonwealth Stadium," the mystified Brooks said. "But I realized just how good they were when we walked in that stadium a year ago (in Nashville) and that was really one of the more memorable occasions in my coaching career." He said having been to the Rose Bowl and some other bowls and had half that attendance and when they saw that stadium full of blue and white was truly one of the more impressive things he's seen from a fan base.
Brooks said when the name Florida State is mentioned it signifies speed, speed and more speed. He said its one of the great places for producing professional players. They are a program that has been to 26-straight bowl games and now Brooks wants to start a string of bowl games for Kentucky. The coach said – "I said last year at the bowl that we need to follow up on this bowl game." Brooks said this 7-5 record was much different than last years, given some of the accomplishment of this team and the grueling schedule they had to face.
The players expressed enthusiasm going back to the Music City Bowl and to have a chance to continue on the good times they had in Nashville last year. Keenan Burton said he has wanted to emulate Florida State wide receiver Peter Warwick when he watched him dismantle Tennessee in the National Championship game "It is something I will never forget," Burton said. "A lot of the time when I was high school, I would get crank phone call from my friends saying, "this is Bobby Bowden calling." Burton said when you line up against Florida State, you think about the Warwick Dunn's, the Peter Warwick's and the great players in the present program and if you can't get excited about playing in a game like this, something is wrong with you."
Andre Woodson said that from what he was hearing the Tennessee versus LSU game had no bearing on where they were going and that the decision had already been made. He said that although when watching that game, he felt like they should've been the team to beat Tennessee.
One of the fun things that were mentioned throughout the press conference was the karaoke contest led by musically gifted Wildcat, Marcus McClinton. "I'm sure Florida State has some good talent, so it's going to be fun to watch and another chance for people to meet one another and to just have fun," a smiling Andre Woodson said.
So the Kentucky fans will get a possible chance to bring in the New Year in Nashville, hopefully with a win.
DEMAREE: Sweet music to the Cats' ears
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