DEMAREE: Music City Bowl, then looking ahead

The Football team will not start preparing for opponent Florida State in the Music City Bowl until next week. In the meantime, the coaches are out on the recruiting trail looking for more talent to continue to stock this team for the future. There will be more news on the recruiting successes later.

UK loses its best linebacker Wesley Woodyard and perhaps its best defensive player. At one point early in the season when Woodyard's broken hand was on the mend, they were experimenting with Braxton Kelly and Micah Jones in the lineup at the same time. Defensive coordinator Steve Brown expressed his thoughts that combination looked pretty good. But if that is in the plans next year, then the blueprint calls for some depth to be built in the middle and at the weak-side outside linebacker.

Back last spring practice, there was a lot of excitement stirring over the development of a redshirt linebacker, Brandon Thurmond. This young man was robbed of that development when he tore up his knees and had to have reconstructive surgery. Thurmond said it's a possibility of him returning for the bowl game at least in the dressing out capacity. As in any of those situations, there's a matter of gaining strength and confidence in the knee.

As far as the youngsters that are already on the team, there are at least two other linebackers that are expected to be heavily in the mix of development when spring practice rolls around. In addition to Thurmond, the coaches will be working with the development of two other promising prospects, Ronnie Sneed, 6-foot-2, 235-pounds, and Antonio Thomas, 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, both redshirts. Sneed was voted the defensive scout team player of the year for UK.

Coaches are constantly watching the improvement of said players.

"You constantly watch them throughout the year and their attention to detail and how they handle themselves," defensive coordinator Steve Brown said. "A lot of the times how they handle themselves in the class room is indicative of how they handle themselves out here (on the field). All three of those guys are going to be good players for us. We've just got to make sure Brandon Thurmond continues to rehab his knee and gets stronger and become more confident."

Brown said Thurmond will be available for spring practice but he doesn't know medically how far along he is. He said that any time you have something like that, the important thing is how ready mentally he is. Whether he is ready to apply pressure to it and trusting your cuts but the coach said he is working and he is getting better. What was all the excitement about this past spring surrounding Thurmond Brown said - "He can run, he was showing some aggressiveness, he's fairly athletic, good size, all these things go in to making a nice linebacker. Not that he was a finished product, but you said, man, if he can keep progressing, he can be a very good player for us."

Well, first things first, this team has a bowl game to try to win against a Florida State Seminole team, whose coach Bobby Bowden is full of tricks and will not hesitate to use them. But after that...

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