UK Football: Team Speed, Strength Improved

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Legendary Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles once said, "Luck follows speed." If that's so, the Kentucky football team might be in for more "luck" in the 2009 season.

Results from the team's winter strength and conditioning program have been tabulated by Marc Hill, UK Director of Strength and Conditioning. The numbers show significant improvement in overall team speed and quickness, along with some gains in strength, as compared to the results of March 2008.

In the 40-yard dash, 27.5 percent of the Wildcats were timed at 4.63 seconds or better, up from 23 percent a year ago.

The 20-yard shuttle, which measures lateral movement and ability to change directions quickly, featured 70.6 percent of the team timed under 4.5 seconds. That's a jump from 66.3 percent of the squad that was under 4.5 seconds last year.

In judging strength, progress was made in all three of the primary lifts.

• 30.4 percent of the Cats topped 500 pounds in the squat lift, up from 29.5 percent last year

• 21 percent of the team hit 350 pounds in the bench press, up from 20 percent a year ago

• 20.8 percent of the team hefted 300 pounds in the power clean, up from 18.2 percent in 2008

An interesting note is that the speed testing is conducted in the Nutter Field House, in which the playing surface was replaced last May. The new FieldTurf is much softer than the previous hard surface, which led Hill to suspect that this year's times would be slower than previous years. In fact, however, the opposite occurred.

"I was concerned that the softer turf might lead to slower numbers but that didn't happen," Hill said. "The bottom line is that the coaches continue to recruit better players and better athletes, and that's showing up in our testing."

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