Many Kentucky fans considered the UK offense's meager performance against Western Kentucky University a bit of a nightmare. Yet in UK's 14-3 season-opening win, Cats offensive guard Stuart Hines lived the dream.
On the final play of the first half of last Thursday's game, the 6-foot-4, 295-pound senior from Bowling Green looked up from pass blocking and the football "came straight to me. It was pretty neat," he said.
Quarterback Morgan Newton's pass had been deflected by a Western defender, meaning it was legal for an offensive lineman such as Hines to catch it.
He did, and 'ran' for six yards.
Never miss a local story.
"A dream come true for me," Hines said. "I lay in bed at night before I go to sleep and dream about catching a pass or running the ball. I think it would be the dream for any offensive lineman."
Amazingly, Hines almost had a second reception in the game.
In the fourth period, a Western defender broke up another Newton pass attempt. The ball ricocheted around the field like a pin ball, going off the umpire, bouncing off Hines before finally being intercepted by WKU's Jared Clendenin.
"The second one, I saw the ball out of the corner of my eye and tried to react to it," Hines said. "But it got on me (so quickly), I wasn't ready for it."
Had the offensive guard caught the second deflection, he would have gone into Saturday's game with Central Michigan tied with wide receivers La'Rod King and Matt Roark for the Kentucky team lead in receptions.
Four-star safety Glenn Faulkner was the highest-rated player in Kentucky's 2011 recruiting class. Yet he was not one of the eight true freshmen who played in UK's season opener.
Cats Coach Joker Phillips says because Faulkner was not cleared for eligibility by the NCAA until just before practice started, the East St. Louis, Ill., product is behind some of the other UK freshmen.
"He was far behind because (the other freshmen) have been here all summer, since June, working out," Phillips says. "Then (Faulkner) shows up like a week before training camp and has to get going. Then he missed a whole week (of practice) with a death in the family. He's definitely behind the other freshmen."
Phillips says the 6-2, 194-pound Faulkner has been putting in extra time in the film room trying to catch up on UK's schemes for defense and special teams.
"I think he'll have to help us the quickest on special teams because there is not as much to know as there is on defense," Phillips said. "We've got to get him going because he is a talented guy. He's a fierce tackler and a real smart guy."
Scouting a recruit
Kentucky has a verbal commitment for 2012 from an offensive lineman, Jordan Watson, who plays at Josh Clemons' former Georgia high school, Whitewater. Watson is a 6-4, 285-pound offensive lineman who is rated a three-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout.
"He plays left tackle for us, but I think he'll need to move inside in college," says Wes Hardin, the offensive coordinator at Whitewater. "He's got good feet, I think he can play either guard or center in college, though he's never snapped the ball before. He's a really good run blocker. The guy is just a mauler."
In his second game for Northwest Mississippi Community College, ex-UK quarterback Ryan Mossakowski went 14-for-24 for 161 yards passing with four touchdown passes and no interceptions in a 42-19 victory over East Central.
Safety/linebacker Winston Guy and punter Ryan Tydlacka have been named game captains for Central Michigan. Linebacker Danny Trevathan and guard Stuart Hines are permanent Kentucky captains.
Any member of the U.S. Military or anyone who works for the police, fire department or other first responders can present a service ID at Commonwealth Stadium's Gate 4 ticket booth and receive a complimentary ticket for themselves and a guest for Saturday's game as long as supplies last.
Fans wishing to participate in the pre-game "Cat Walk," showing support for the Wildcats when they enter the stadium, should gather near Gate 1 of Commonwealth Stadium around 9:45 a.m.
Quote of the week
Joker Phillips on Winston Guy: "He's a violent player. And he's a more violent player when he is closer to the line of scrimmage."