UK Notebook: Bernard hunting for more than a victory this weekend

September 12, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Kentucky senior wide receiver Chris Bernard will be hunting for a victory Saturday night when the Wildcats open Southeastern Conference play at Alabama.

On Sunday, he'll be hunting something far different.

"Some of my teammates are from out in the country, and they are actually talking about going dove hunting Sunday. I'm planning to go with them," said Bernard.

Bernard is a California native who transferred to Kentucky after his junior college career ended to play his last two years. His "country" teammates are Dan and Andrew Hopewell, who live outside Burgin.

"He was supposed to come hunting one time before, but he didn't," said Dave Hopewell, a former UK center and father of the two current Kentucky players. "We're hoping he will come because I think he'll have a lot of fun."


Bernard understands going to the beach. He doesn't understand the concept of hunting.

"I can't see myself killing animals. I couldn't do it," Bernard said. "But hunting is a pretty common thing here, or at least that's what a lot of my teammates tell me.

"I am going to go out in the country with them and shoot guns like they do, or at least try. I've never really touched a gun and certainly have not shot one. I can't leave Kentucky without at least trying it."

Bernard said the Hopewells told him it was "cool" when they "shot some birds" and that he would like it. However, there's another part of the hunt he's not sure about.

"Dave says he just cooks up the birds and they eat them after the hunt," Bernard said. "I don't think I could ever do that. No way could I eat one. I can't imagine actually shooting one, much less eating it. But I'm going to give it a try."

The Hopewells have brought other teammates home with them to try their hand at shooting.

"Derek Abney and Tommy Cook came down recently to do some skeet shooting," Dave Hopewell said. "Derek had never shot before, either. It was kind of funny to watch him."

Theft: Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen, along with former Highlands and UK teammate Derek Smith, was in Commonwealth Stadium in 1997 when Kentucky beat Alabama 40-34 in overtime.

"I stormed the field along with thousands of other people. It was the first time I had ever been at a game where the goalposts came down. Probably that was the night I knew I was coming to Kentucky," Lorenzen said.

It's also the first time he got close to his favorite UK player, quarterback Tim Couch.

"I was out on the field and Couch came by," Lorenzen said. "I just reached out and stole his towel. I used it the rest of our season. I'll never forget that."

Staying put: College players currently cannot make themselves eligible for the National Football League draft until they have been in school three years. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, a former head coach of the St. Louis Rams and assistant coach with the Atlanta Falcons, hopes the rule is not changed to allow football players to go pro at any time as they can in basketball.

"I think the rule might change, but I don't think it's good for the NFL or college football if it does change," Brooks said. "All of a sudden, the NFL can't get as good a read and do their homework on players.

"There will be a lot more mistakes made in the draft if that were the case. For 95 percent of the players, that extra year or two in college will benefit them. I think it's like a double-negative."

Hurting: Cornerback Warren Wilson won't play at Alabama because of swelling in his knee. Tight end Jeremiah Drobney broke his hand in practice Wednesday, but will have a cast put on today and be available to play.

Brooks also announced Thursday that offensive tackle Matt Huff had regained his starting spot. That means Jason Rollins will move back to left guard after switching to Huff's tackle spot last week when Nate VanSickel started at guard.

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