'Thursday Night Lights' energize UK workouts

'Everybody is hyped' by time change

jsmith3@herald-leader.comJuly 14, 2011 

La'Rod King looks down at his left arm and shows it to the media hovered around.

"I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it," King said.

The junior wide receiver's bumpy affliction came on as he was discussing Kentucky's most recent workout last Thursday night under the lights behind the Nutter Training Facility.

He called the workout the "craziest, most phenomenal energy I've ever felt. The whole team came together as one."

UK strength and conditioning coach Rock Oliver is calling the new Thursday night ritual Thursday Night Lights.

"It's crazy," senior linebacker Winston Guy said of the energy surrounding the new night training. "I like it."

Guy was on a committee of players who worked with Oliver to start the Thursday night event.

Instead of running at 6 a.m. on a Friday, the players opted to do some team cardio work on Thursday nights.

"People are still sleepy and there's not enough energy going around," Guy said of the Friday morning sessions. "People were just wanting to get through the workouts and that wasn't doing it."

Guy believed there'd be more electricity at night.

"The energy under the lights here would mean more people would be into the workout instead of just going through the motion," the former Lexington Catholic standout explained on Wednesday.

King doesn't know if it's the energy off the lights or the energy coming from his teammates, but Thursday Night Lights has him feeling it.

He struggled to pinpoint the sensation, equating it with the butterflies a player gets as the season is about to start, even though it's only mid-July.

"I felt like everyone was on the same page," King explained. "Everybody has the same vibe. It was a feeling I can't even describe, like coming up on the tunnel before the game when everybody is hyped."

Several players in the past couple of weeks have said the team has struggled in the past with cohesiveness, that the chemistry wasn't always right.

But now they say there's been some bonding, especially under the bright lights.

"Our team is one now," King said. "Before in the past couple of years, it would kind of be like we had a group of guys here and a group of guys there. But now, it's like we're one heartbeat, one team."

Guy isn't quite as touchy- feely about it as his offensive teammate, but he senses something different, too.

"We get to come out here as a team and run together and do a lot of things like agility and stuff," he said. "That gives us more variety (of ways) we can come together as a team."

Cats on watch lists

Two UK players, Danny Trevathan and Larry Warford, were a part of the official Lombardi Award watch list, which was released on Tuesday. Trevathan, a linebacker, led the Southeastern Conference in tackles last season with 144. Warford, an offensive tackle, was a Second Team All-SEC selection.

■ Starting center Matt Smith, a Louisville native, was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list for top center in the country.

Control room added

There will be a broadcast control room added to Commonwealth Stadium, per an agreement between UK and XOS Digital Inc.

The control room will help power the new in-stadium video boards and will allow UK to record, manage and distribute video from multiple sources to many different endpoints within the football stadium, according to a release.

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