UK Football

Cats RB Allen ineligible for Liberty Bowl

MEMPHIS — University of Kentucky sophomore running back Moncell Allen is academically ineligible for Friday's AutoZone Liberty Bowl and did not make the trip to Memphis.

Allen, a 5-foot-7, 225-pounder from New Orleans, was listed as No. 3 on the depth chart at tailback. He has played in 12 games this season, rushing for 202 yards on 38 attempts (5.3 yards per carry).

The loss of Allen leaves UK with just two scholarship tailbacks for the Liberty Bowl matchup with East Carolina: senior Tony Dixon and junior Alfonso Smith.

"That'll just mean more carries for Tony and Alfonso," UK Coach Rich Brooks said.

Cats get JUCO tackle

Kentucky has added some defensive line help for its 2009 recruiting class. Mark Crawford, a 6-1, 305-pound defensive tackle from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, has committed to UK and will sign and enroll in January. Crawford selected UK over offers from Louisville, South Florida, Kansas and Illinois. He visited the UK campus the weekend of Dec. 19. Crawford is listed as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and is expected to help fill the void at tackle with the departure of senior Myron Pryor.

Crawford redshirted his first year at Coffeyville and will have three years of eligibility remaining. He will also be available for spring practice.

Sanders returns

UK quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders arrived in Memphis and participated in practice Monday after being hospitalized in Lexington on Saturday because of kidney stones.

Ex-UK assistant at ECU

Rick Smith, who had two stints as an assistant coach at Kentucky, is the assistant head coach/secondary coach at East Carolina.

ECU Coach Skip Holtz hired Smith on a recommendation from defensive coordinator Greg Hudson.

"I had never worked with Rick before I hired him here, but Greg came and told me that we needed to hire him," Holtz said. "It didn't take long to realize why Rick is special. He's done a great job with a young secondary."

Smith coached defensive backs for Bill Curry at UK from 1990-96 and then for one year under Guy Morriss in 2001.

Weather forecast

Fans headed to Memphis shouldn't have to worry about extremely cold temperatures, according to Weather.com. The early game-day forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 46 degrees. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. EST at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Rendezvous alert

Wildcat fans hoping to get a taste of the famous barbecue at Rendezvous restaurant will have to either arrive in Memphis early or wait until after the game, as Rendezvous will be closed on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. The restaurant will be open Jan. 2 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. CST.

Smelling the Roses

Ben Oldham, a distinguished services professor at Georgetown College, has been selected as the replay official for the Rose Bowl matchup between Penn State and Southern Cal on New Year's Day.

Oldham was an on-field official for the Southeastern Conference and has been affiliated with the league for 33 years. His final game as an on-field official was the 2000 BCS national title game between Florida State and Virginia Tech.

Liberty Bowl Cat Walk

The Cat Walk for the Liberty Bowl will take place at 1:45 CST. The team bus will arrive via Mississippi Avenue. Players and coaches will walk around to the entrance at the South Tunnel of the stadium.

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