With only 32 days before the Sept. 3 season opener between Louisville and Kentucky, the two in-state rivals got the ball rolling Wednesday afternoon at the University Club in Lexington with a golf outing, luncheon and coach speak at the annual Governor's Cup Kick-Off Luncheon.
If you were looking for hard news about the season opener at the event, you'd have come away disappointed.
However, both Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and Kentucky coach Rich Brooks addressed a throng of assembled media about the upcoming game and the 2006 season.
The Cardinals and Wildcats will both open camp later this week, and the two coaches sounded excited about getting back on the practice field.
"We're looking forward to Friday and getting out on the practice field," Petrino told the crowd. "Our players have worked very hard this summer. This team is very hungry."
"It's time now to stop talking and get ready to play football," Brooks said. "The good news is that we have better depth, but we're still young. I do feel better about our talent level and size level."
One of the first questions asked of Petrino was the status of quarterback Brian Brohm, who is returning from off-season knee surgery.
"Brian is doing great," Petrino said. "He's healed. He's full speed and ready to go."
Brooks also said his team will enter the season healthier than it did last season.
"Basically everybody that missed spring practice is ready to go," said Brooks. "That's a very positive thing for us heading into the season."
Petrino said his team's focus to start preseason practice will be to improve and getting ready for Kentucky.
"Our challenge the next few days is to get better each day and get ready for that first game," Petrino said.
Brooks, who is 0-3 against Petrino and Louisville, provided the most candid moment during the brief press conference.
"We haven't done our part in this rivalry," he said. "Louisville has dominated us in recent years. So I don't call this a rivalry. We need to step up and make this more of a rivalry for the Big Blue Nation. This is an extremely important game."
Brooks, who said he expects to play 10 or more true freshmen this season, said his team will have to slow down Michael Bush and the Louisville running attack to have a chance against the Cardinals in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium next month.
"We know we're playing a great football team," Brooks said. "We need to do a better job of stopping the run so they have to throw it. That may not be good news since they have Brian Brohm throwing it. But we have to step up our rush defense."
Perhaps the most watched situation in Lexington during the next two weeks will be the battle between Andre Woodson and Curtis Pulley for the right to start against Louisville. Brooks said Woodson will take the first snap during fall camp, but that Pulley would rotate snaps, at least during the first week or two of practice.
"We'll probably make a decision in 10 days to two weeks," said Brooks. "I expect both players will play but I want a one quarterback system."
STADIUM EXPANSION UPDATE
Tom Jurich told Joe B. Hall on the Joe B. and Denny Crum Show Wednesday morning that expansion on Papa John's Cardinal Stadium is moving forward.
"It's going to be an expensive project and one that our fans will have to bear most of the cost," said Jurich. "But I think we've got the energy to get it done.
Jurich explained that current plans call for an expansion to 63, 500 seat with the addition of 45 luxury boxes on the east side of the stadium. Jurich also explained that a 50 foot wide concourse would connect the east and west sides of the stadium in the south end zone.
"It's going to get done," Jurich said. "It's now just a matter of when."