April 02, 2009
We owe you a sincere apology, readers. Yesterday's cantankerous characterization of Rich Brooks, though based on years of observing him stomp the sidelines as though the grass itself had offended him, was clearly in error. Spring has sprung, Kentucky practice has commenced, and Coach Brooks has uttered the word "fun" in a sentence. It's a new day, indeed:
Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks began the "fun part" of his job when the Wildcats opened spring practice on a sun-splashed Wednesday morning at the Nutter Training Facility.
"I think there's great enthusiasm amongst our team. Now we just have to polish things off and get better. It was a pretty good day for the start of spring ball. Beautiful weather. Outstanding."
The Lexington Herald-Leader, for its part, is buying into the newer, cuddlier Brooks, no questions asked, stopping just short of describing a water slide in the secondary. Having spent much of our formative years tagging along behind our passel of linebacker cousins in the shadow of Commonwealth Stadium, we can attest that these college facilities, well, idyllic they ain't. But don't tell that to Brooks while he's channeling Whitman:
[A soft chorus wafts along a beam of sunlight] "Will you look at Randall Cobb out there, in that field, under these great open skies of America? Such a sophomore, his very flesh is a great poem. And I say to you, brother: Mike Hartline's really stepping up. Stepping up into the pocket, into the future, with the confidence of the young that all faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect pass protection." [A chirping thrush lands on Brooks' shoulder, cheerfully whistling the Kentucky fight song.] "And if there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero, DeMoreo Ford has become a great tradesman indeed, on this sun-splashed Wednesday at Nutter Training Facility. Oh, indeed."
Brooks then meandered into a patch of shade, picked up his sketchbook, and began tracing out patterns on the linen pages with fine charcoal, a daffodil clamped firmly between his teeth.