Jen Smith on UK Football

Getting to know UK football one position at a time

The 2016 football season kicks off on Saturday night against Southern Miss.
The 2016 football season kicks off on Saturday night against Southern Miss. Herald-Leader

From Kentucky center Jon Toth learning about toughness from his mother’s terrible motocross accident to tight ends fighting over whose burrito is best to linebacker Courtney Love never wanting a teammate to feel abandonment like he experienced as a kid, our position series has a little bit of everything. And here it is in one handy location ...

Tight ends

Not even a burrito is safe from the non-stop competitions between Kentucky’s tight-knit tight ends.

Wide receivers

New coach Lamar Thomas is changing the attitudes, swagger in that position room in his own unique ways.

Running backs

Might Kentucky’s running backs sub themselves in and out of games? Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran has used that plan before.


Drew Barker driven to continue legacy of standout quarterbacks from the Bluegrass.

Offensive line

Kentucky center Jon Toth learned a lot from his mother. The value of hard work. Perseverance. Toughness. Watching her almost die made him understand completely.

Special teams

With Kentucky’s Sept. 3 opener with Southern Mississippi approaching, Mark Stoops says the battle between Grant McKinniss and Bryan Kirshe to be UK’s new punter is a case of “splitting hairs right now.”


Meet Kentucky’s “other cornerback” Derrick Baity, whom coaches and teammates said is primed to have a big season. The sophomore from Tampa promises that “it’s really going to be my breakout year.”

Defensive line

Former Florida State star Travis Johnson, a first round NFL Draft pick in 2005 that played six seasons in the league, said Kentucky defensive linemen Alvonte Bell and Courtney Miggins “could both play on Sundays.”


Courtney Love has never played a down of college football for the University of Kentucky, but he’s already one of the team’s leaders. It’s easy to see why when you understand his background.