Kentucky football players say team is forged by challenges of camp

Team-building top priority as camp starts

jsmith3@herald-leader.comAugust 5, 2011 

Anthony Mosley (14) celebrated his game-clinching interception against South Carolina during the Cats' 31-28 victory in 2010.

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

  • Upcoming eventsMedia Day — Friday

    Fan Day — Saturday6 p.m., at Commonwealth Stadium

    Season opener — Sept. 19:15 p.m. EDT, vs. Western Kentuckyat LP Field, Nashville

    Home opener — Sept. 10Noon, vs. Central Michigan

The University of Kentucky's football players don't mind moving to the dorms.

They don't mind sleeping on mattresses that sometimes feel as thin as a slice of bread.

They don't mind giving up their car keys for a couple weeks.

That's all a part of camp, which started Thursday.

What the players do seem to mind is the heat.

"My cleats molded to the turf last year," junior wide receiver La'Rod King said when asked about the soaring temperatures in August. "I couldn't move."

His teammate on the other side of the ball agreed.

"You look out at the field you can see the heat in waves," linebacker Ronnie Sneed said.

The heat seems to magnify everything.

"Sometimes you get a little more frustrated, you get a little bit more fatigued," senior cornerback Anthony Mosley said.

Wide receiver Brian Adams said he tries to beat the heat mentally.

"Being from Georgia, the heat up here feels like fall," Adams said with a smile. "This is not that bad at all to me. I just have a good time with it."

That's the biggest piece of advice the older players say they will dole out to the newcomers as they start camp this week: Have fun.

"It's football all day, every day," Adams said. "What more could you want? You don't have to go to school, you don't have to do anything else except play football."

But Sneed admits he doesn't always paint such a fun picture of camp to the newbies.

"Really we try to scare the young guys," the senior said, relaying the messages he gives them like: " 'You might not make it out. You better be prepared.'

"We try to shake them up a little bit."

King said it's a part of the football rite of passage to make the young ones fret a bit.

"You can talk all the stuff you want to right now, but once you put pads on for the first time and get hit, it's like, 'Oh, OK. I know where I'm playing now, in the SEC,' " King said he's told the new players. "They're going to feel it in the morning."

All jokes and warnings aside, the veterans said they do their best to help the young players along.

Sometimes camp can be difficult, but it also can be rewarding, Mosley said.

"Go through it and don't take mistakes personally" is the advice Mosley gives most often. "A few years ago, I used to take mistakes hard. You always want to do it perfect, you want to show the best that you can do."

Through the jabs and the actual tips, something pivotal happens at camp.

A team starts to form.

"You really build friendships at this time," Sneed said. "You're rooming together and you're with each other 24-7. That's probably the best part."

It's also the most important part, he said.

"When it comes down to it, on Saturdays, your teammates are all you have."

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