DEMAREE: Weighted story for some players

What we have discovered with the football team is not axiomatic but instead it the bare facts so of the matter. With several UK football player having suddenly morphed into real live SEC football players. There has been numerous strength and size gains, which is unmatched as it relates to any other period in UK history.

I can vividly remember UK getting pushed around and knocked off the ball by the Louisville Cardinals. So much so that it was obvious UK noticeably the weaker team. Not so last year and very likely not so this year. So what brought such a difference - we are told every year they are working harder than any previous year.?

One such example is Matt Lentz, whose weight jump from 210-pounds to 225-pounds. He now sports some imposing guns (biceps, triceps, deltoids, etc.). "I hit the weight room hard because this is the SEC and I felt I needed it." He now is at 340-pounds on the bench, 520-squats, 330-power clean.

Alfonso Smith is now at 215-pounds, down from 220-pounds. He said he played at 198 or 200-pounds last season. What precipitated the change? "I watched the Combine (Indianapolis Combine) drills and watched what the coaches look at," Smith said. "I am now at 21 times on the bench with 225-pounds on the bar.

Many of the players said they have taken pride in their team and it's plight for greater things. Wide receiver Gene McCaskill, who went from 175-pounds to 195-pounds, talked about this very thing - "Previous to me coming here and in the past football here was just a sport. Now we have bound together with a different attitude to do bigger and better things. We want to challenge for a SEC championship."

Tight end Ross Bogue said he is at 253-pounds up from 245-pounds last year. What was his take on the weight and strength gain phenomenon? "Personally, I wanted to be able to hold my own weight blocking," he said. "When you go against defensive ends that are weighing 285-pounds, 300-pounds and also running 4.7 - 4.6's, you have to prepare yourself for that. We all as a team wanted to make great strides in the weight room this year and we got to work. We ate right, we got our rest all in the hunt for a bigger bowl. We are happy with the three bowl wins but everybody wants better."

Offensive center Marcus Davis walked on to the UK football team from Boone County weighing 265-pound and now he's at 290-pounds. He is in fierce competition for the starting center position in the wake of a one-game suspension for center Jorge Gonzalez. To what does he attribute the strength and weight gains? "That goes a lot to the strength coaches," Davis said. "And everybody wanting to get better, I know I'm stronger now then any time since I've been here. Everybody wants to go to a bigger bowl game and that's putting in time extra, anytime you've got free time and not just getting through the reps, getting through the sets. It's going through that little bit extra. We have a lot of great players, too, a lot more talent, too. Going to bowls is not good enough now."

What hasn't been said is the benefit of going to bowls. Prior to three years back UK was putting their football gear in the moth-balls in late November. The lapse time from then to winter strength and conditioning workouts was just short of two-months. Now with the bowl trips there is about two-weeks lapse time from organized workouts. This parlays into better conditioning and strength and weight gains.

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