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Staff changes for Joker

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

It didn’t take long for Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips to get the ball rolling on changes to his coaching staff for next season.

Phillips was non-committal when asked about potential staff changes during his Monday press conference, but on Tuesday morning UK spokesman Tony Neely confirmed a couple of shakeups to Phillips’ staff.

-First, running backs coach Larry Brinson and safeties coach Chris Thurmond are no longer on staff.

-Secondly, a new defensive assistant coach will be hired, and that coach will serve as co-defensive coordinator with Steve Brown.

Two assistant coaching positions were posted on UK’s web site on Tuesday. Jobs must remain posted for seven days before an official hire can be made.

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Cobb, Trevathan named first-team All-SEC

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

Kentucky junior receiver Randall Cobb and Danny Trevathan were both named to the Associated Press All-SEC first team.

Cobb had a league-leading 79 receptions for 955 yards and seven touchdowns. He ranks second in the nation in all-purpose yardage and was named to the first team as a receiver and all-purpose player.

Trevathan led the league in tackles with 130 and was also third in the nation in tackles for loss with 16.

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UK to play Pitt in BBVA Compass Bowl

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

The University of Kentucky has accepted a bid to play Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham’s Legion Field on Jan. 8. The game will kick off at noon at be televised by ESPN.

It will mark the fifth-straight bowl bid for the UK program, who ended the season with a 24-14 loss at Tennessee.

The Panthers (7-5, 5-2 Big East) could be a formidable foe for the Wildcats depending on which team shows up. Pitt was ranked No. 15 in the preseason and were the favorites to win the Big East. But the Panthers stumbled at Utah 27-24 in the season opener and then were blown at home 31-3 by Miami (Fla.) three weeks later.

Pitt did have its moments and managed to clinch a share of the Big East championship with a 28-10 win over Cincinnati on Saturday. Its most impressive outing of the season came in a 45-14 win at Syracuse on Oct. 16, and the Panthers also handled Louisville 20-3 on Oct. 30. UConn won the Big East automatic BCS Bowl bid by winning at South Florida on Saturday.

Led by former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins Coach Dave Wannstedt, the Panthers have plenty of NFL talent on its roster.

Sophomore tailback Dion Lewis won several National Freshman of the Year awards last season and ran for a career-high 261 yards and four touchdowns in Pitt’s 28-10 win over Cincinnati on Saturday. Lewis has 956 yards and 12 TD’s on the season while his backup, sophomore Ray Graham, has run for 832 yards and eight scores.

The Panthers also have one of the country’s most dangerous receivers at its disposal in Jon Baldwin, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior who is projected as a first-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.

Senior defensive end Jabaal Sheard was named one of six finalists last week for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Pitt’s other end, Greg Romeus, was the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year but is out for the season with a knee injury. The Panthers are ranked in the Top 20 of the FBS in three different categories: total defense (11th), pass defense (17th) and rushing defense (18th).

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Pitt likely UK bowl opponent

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

The Associated Press is reporting that Pittsburgh has accepted a bid to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 8.

Nothing official on the Kentucky front as of yet, but the Wildcats have been widely speculated to be the SEC representative in the bowl, which will be played at Birmingham’s Legion Field.

We will have more when word becomes official

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Russell granted release; Porter pondering future; Cobble could possibly play in bowl game

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips had several major announcements following Sunday’s practice, according to UK spokesman Tony Neely.

First, sophomore running back Donald Russell has been granted a release and intends to transfer. Russell entered the season as the No. 2 back behind Derrick Locke but eventually fell behind freshman Raymond Sanders in the rotation.

Also, freshman defensive tackle Elliot Porter missed Sunday’s practice and is pondering his future. Porter was a late arrival at UK after originally signing at LSU.

And lastly, defensive tackle Mister Cobble, who missed the season due to academics, could possibly suit up for the bowl game provided he takes care of business in the classroom. Phillips said that since Cobble redshirted as a true freshman last year and has already lost his sophomore season, playing in the game wouldn’t have any effect on his eligibility clock.

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My Top 25

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

Here’s my AP Top 25 ballot for the week of Dec. 6

1-Auburn

2-Oregon

3-TCU

4-Wisconsin

5-Stanford

6-Ohio State

7-Michigan State

8-Arkansas

9-Oklahoma

10-Virginia Tech

11-Boise State

12-LSU

13-Oklahoma State

14-Missouri

15-Nebraska

16-Alabama

17-Nevada

18-Texas A & M

19-Utah

20-South Carolina

21-Mississippi State

22-UConn

23-West Virginia

24-Hawaii

25-Florida State

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My All-SEC ballot

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

Just turned in my All-SEC ballot this morning. Here’s how it looks:
First-Team

QB-Cam Newton, Auburn
RB-Knile Davis, Arkansas
RB-Marcus Lattimore, S.Carolina
WR-Alshon Jeffery, S.Carolina
WR-Julio Jones, Alabama
TE-D.J. Williams, Arkansas
L-Barrett Jones, Alabama
L-Bryon Isom, Auburn
L-Derek Sherrod, Miss. State
L-Lee Ziemba, Auburn
C-Ryan Pugh, Auburn

PK-Josh Jasper, LSU
All-Purpose-Returner-Randall Cobb, Kentucky

Defense
T-Drake Nevis, LSU
T-Nick Fairley, Auburn
E-Devin Taylor, S.Carolina
E/OLB-Justin Houston, Georgia
LB-Danny Trevathan, Kentucky
LB-Chris White, Mississippi State
LB-Kelvin Sheppard, LSU
CB-Patrick Peterson, LSU
CB-Janoris Jenkins, Florida
S-Ahmad Black, Florida
S-Mark Barron, Alabama
P-Chas Henry, Florida

Offensive Player of the Year-Cam Newton, Auburn
Defensive Player of the Year-Nick Fairley, Auburn
Coach of the Year-Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Freshman of the Year-Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

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Las Vegas Bowl not an option for Cats

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

Recent scuttlebutt had Kentucky possibly getting an at-large bid to Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22, but Las Vegas Bowl representative Mark Wallington said UK is no longer on the bowl’s radar. Wallington said the Las Vegas Bowl was looking at the Cats as an at-large team, but once it became assured that the SEC would get two teams into the BCS, UK came off the board.

The Las Vegas Bowl takes place Dec. 22 and pits a Mountain West team (likely Utah) vs. the Pac-10’s No. 4 or No. 5 team. But with only three Pac-10 teams currently bowl-eligible, the Las Vegas Bowl started looking at teams for other conferences to fill the open space.

If only one SEC team had made it into the BCS, there would have been one team left out of the league’s eight non-BCS bowls, which would have allowed the Las Vegas Bowl to come in and scoop up Kentucky as an at-large.

Now the Cats appear headed to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham on Jan. 8, where they will face a Big East (most prognostications have them facing South Florida).

Here’s my predictions for how the SEC Bowls will shake out.

BCS National Championship-Auburn vs. Oregon

Sugar Bowl-Arkansas vs. Ohio State

Capital One Bowl-LSU vs. Michigan State

Cotton Bowl-Alabama vs. Nebraska

Outback Bowl-Mississippi State vs. Iowa

Chick-Fil-A-Bowl-South Carolina vs. Florida State

Gator Bowl-Florida vs. Penn State

Music City Bowl-Tennessee vs. Miami (FL)

Liberty Bowl-Georgia vs. UCG

Birmingham Bowl-Kentucky vs. South Florida

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UK commit has scholarship offer pulled

Kentucky
Content provided by Chip Cosby on UK football.

According to Bleed Blue Kentucky, UK has pulled its scholarship offer to Texas linebacker Blake Terry, who committed in June.  The 6-foot, 235-pound Terry is a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. Terry told Bleed Blue Kentucky that the Kentucky coaching felt he lacked the speed to be an SEC linebacker.  U K now has 21 known commitments for the 2011 recruiting class

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Poll: Will Randall Cobb leave early for the NFL?

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(H-L photo/Amy Wallot)

(H-L photo/Amy Wallot)

Quick question after Kentucky’s loss to Tennessee on Saturday centered on Randall Cobb and the NFL?

Will he stay at UK? Or will he go?

Chip Cosby of the H-L reports that Cobb has until Jan. 15 to decide.

If I were voting, I would say he is leaving.

What do you think?

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