UK football notebook: If Sneed can't make tackles, he'll make arrests

Herald-Leader Staff WriterMarch 10, 2012 

There are no guarantees for any Kentucky senior that went through the school's NFL Pro Day last week.

The time spent in front of the 20-plus scouts at Nutter Field House on Wednesday might be their only shot to catch the eye of a professional team.

Several of UK's outgoing seniors talked about trying to make the most of that opportunity.

Linebacker Ronnie Sneed knows there are no guarantees his name will be called on draft day.

"You know, you really can't tell when it comes to the draft," Sneed said. "I might get drafted and it might be late. If a free-agent deal comes through, I'm just as happy with that. I just want the opportunity."

But the 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker who was third on the team in tackles last season (71) is not putting all of his dreams in one NFL basket.

"You just have to have a backup plan if something doesn't come through," he explained. "I'm pretty sure things are going to turn out the right way."

So what is Sneed's backup plan?

"I kind of want to be a police officer: kick down some doors and throw on some cuffs," he said. "That's really what I want to do.

"I can't really be sitting behind a desk with a suit and tie on. That's not really me. So you might see me in your community, catching bad guys."

Sneed, who also had two interceptions last season, was asked what he would say to NFL reps should he get a chance to talk to them before the draft:

"I'm a dedicated, hard-working guy who has a family," he said. "So everything I do, I'm going to treat it like a full-time job, which is really what it is. It's not for game; it's my life. I'm going to throw my body in there, I'm going to work hard and I'm going to make plays for you."

Good timing?

Former Lexington Catholic star Winston Guy had to sit out Pro Day with a nagging left groin injury he sustained while training in Florida to get ready for the NFL Combine.

The timing for his injury couldn't have been worse, Guy remembered thinking.

But then this weekend, he decided maybe it couldn't have been better. It was Saturday that Guy became a father. His son, Jackson, was born a month and a half premature at 5:39 a.m.

"Everything happens for a reason," Guy said. "God probably didn't want me to be able to go today. Trying to postpone me because my child is here now. It gives me a chance to see my child, give me a chance to get my body right, get my mind right so I can prepare myself for the draft so I can take care of my family."

Guy, who said he has a scheduled meeting with Philadelphia Eagles representatives on March 19-20, said so far mother and baby boy are doing just fine.

'Own personal Zen garden'

If you're ever in Louisville and taking a leisurely drive down River Road, keep an eye out for flying footballs.

That long stretch of open field next to the Ohio River is a favorite spot of former Kentucky punter Ryan Tydlacka, who said he frequently drives around with a collection of footballs in the back of his car looking for places to punt.

Tydlacka, who was at Pro Day in the morning cheering on his former teammates before doing individual kicking for scouts later that day, said punting helps him relieve stress.

The former Louisville Trinity standout called the areas along River Road his "own personal Zen garden."

Tydlacka's days are filled with training and attending classes at UK, where he is working on a second degree in business marketing.

He said he likely won't be drafted but will sign as a free agent as former UK punter Tim Masthay (Green Bay Packers) did a couple years ago.

Tydlacka has individual workouts planned with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, and he said his agents are going to set up others in the coming weeks.

The Rock Oliver effect

One thing Kentucky players might have in their favor come draft day (and subsequent free-agent signing days) is that they trained with strength and conditioning coach Ray "Rock" Oliver.

UK Coach Joker Phillips said he helped get former Cats star Danny Trevathan on the phone with some general managers and high-level scouts in the past few weeks and one of the common discussions was how well Oliver gets Cats prepared for the rigors of the NFL.

"Rock's been at that level," Phillips said of Oliver, who most recently spent six seasons with the Bengals, and has had stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NBA's New Jersey Nets. "He's actually been at this level and prepared people for that level.

"That's been real helpful for us and it's been a huge selling point in recruiting, having a strength coach that's been a head strength coach in the NFL, head strength coach in the NBA and head strength coach at a major college program. That's been one of our selling tools is that Rock Oliver can get you ready for this Pro Day."

Several of UK's players went off to train individually, but Phillips said he was pleased to see that the players who stayed in Lexington to train under Oliver had a good showing on Wednesday, too.

"The guys who stayed here and trained with Rock did really well today," the coach said. "That speaks volumes in how far our program's come in the weight room, too."

But there is more to getting prepared to play on Sundays than just brute strength, though. And Phillips said UK tries to get players ready for those things, too.

"We try to get them prepared as a whole person, not just a football player," he said. "Again, we want to teach our kids something other than football. That's our job. Our job is to get them prepared to sit down and have a conversation with a general manager and understand how to deal with people of all walks."

'My job is done'

Kentucky's coach roamed the sidelines some early Wednesday morning, but when Phillips was asked if he gets nervous at UK's Pro Day, watching his former seniors try to catch the eyes of the guys at the next level, he said he did not.

"No, not at all," Phillips said. "My job is done."

The coach said he tries not to get too emotional about the process.

"You feel for them when they don't do well and you also get excited when they do well," he said. "I try not to get caught up in it. It's their moment. Again, this is their day that we try to set aside to showcase their abilities."

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Email: Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog:,

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