UK football women's clinic showcases players' hard work

jsmith3@herald-leader.comJuly 27, 2013 

The shrieks and squeals could be heard from Cooper Drive as Coach Mark Stoops took his place on the stage.

For a moment or two, it had the octave level of a boy band about to start its first set.

Getting the rock star treatment for this specific new kid on the block has been interesting and fun.

"It's really nice," a slightly sheepish coach Mark Stoops told the media during Kentucky's annual women's clinic at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday morning.

The event, which probably could have brought in even more fans if it had been publicized, drew a record crowd of 523 women, up more than 400 from last season's clinic.

"It inspires us to come out here and see a packed house, no matter whether it's the luncheon yesterday in Louisville or the women's clinic today, it's great to see the energy and it's great to see all the support," Stoops said. "It's exciting times."

The campers were treated to a fashion show of uniforms (although no new ones of varying colors were unveiled). They heard from assistant coaches and coordinators.

"When things don't go well this season, you can point to these guys," Stoops joked as he introduced his support staff.

Erik Korem, the new high-performance coach at UK, explained the system he brought from Florida State and noted that the team collectively had lost 560 pounds of fat and added 260 pounds of muscle this off-season.

Some of that was on display Saturday, too, with introductions of several key players, including a couple of freshman newcomers in defensive lineman Jason Hatcher and running back Jojo Kemp.

Stoops said the players should be proud of the hard work they put in this summer under Korem.

"You can't go around just talking about it and just because the crowds are here and everybody's excited, that alone is not going to prepare us," he said. "When they put in the hard work, that's what will prepare them and make them more confident. The players have worked extremely hard and they should feel better about themselves."

Senior linebacker Avery Williamson was in charge of player introductions and made the most of it.

"I've been having a good time, being goofy, being myself," Williamson said from his place in the middle of an extra-long autograph line. "I just want to have fun."

It's been fun seeing the fans reinvest in the program, he said.

This "gives us momentum going into the season knowing the fans are excited about it," Williamson said. "This is great for everybody."

Several coaches, including special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto, played to the audience's of shrieks and squeals: "If you're gonna have success, you gotta have good women on your side," Peveto said.

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com.Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com.

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