Tamme makes most of first start at UK

September 21, 2004|MARTY WARREN

LEXINGTON - Jacob Tamme wondered when he was younger what it would be like to play for his beloved Kentucky Wildcats.

He played sparingly in the season opener two weeks ago against Louisville, but the redshirt freshman from Boyle County got the first start of his college career Saturday night against Indiana and made the most of it with three catches for 18 yards in the 51-32 win.

Until last year the only time he had missed any part of a football season was when he broke his leg during his sophomore year at Boyle. Tamme is the first to admit, though, that the redshirt season he endured last season was the best thing for him.

"I was able to get stronger and was able to learn the offense," Tamme, one of six freshmen to make their first collegiate start against Indiana, said. "It helped make me a better football player. I learned the offense with the help of some great receivers like Derek Abney, Tommy Cook and Chris Bernard. I was able to work with the scout team and while you don't really think about it, our starting cornerbacks helped me out a lot. I felt more comfortable coming into this year."


When senior Gerad Parker went down it practice with a leg injury last week, Kentucky rewarded Tamme with his first start.

"That wasn't exactly the way I wanted to get on the field (with Parker's injury), but when you get the opportunity, you have to make the most of it," Tamme said. "It felt great being able to finally contribute. We really needed this win after the way we played against Louisville, and with two really good days of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, we played with more emotion and focused on our responsibilities."

Had to work hard for playing time

Kentucky has a talented selection of receivers for quarterback Shane Boyd to use. He completed passes to seven different receivers against Indiana. Tamme said he knew coming into the season that he would have to work hard for playing time.

"This is not like playing in high school where you are the go-to guy all the time," Tamme added. "We have a lot of guys on the team that can catch the football. Sure, I would love for more passes to come my direction, but I have to realize that my time will come. I just have to focus on catching everything that comes my way. If it goes to somebody else, I'll just have to find someone to block downfield to try to get him more yards."

Which was something that happened on a punt return in the second quarter by Dicky Lyons Jr. when Tamme mistakenly thought he was called for a block in the back that was actually called against teammate Karl Booker.

"He made a great block on that play and killed the guy," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "It was a good block. But he's got to get a little better on his blocking overall. He needs to know who he is going after. Once he sees the field more and gets more reps (repetitions), he will get better. He made some nice catches and converted them into first downs."

Kentucky's offense was stagnant against Louisville in the season opener, but Tamme said the Kentucky coaches decided to spread the field more with three and four receivers to give Boyd and the running backs more room to run.

"We wanted to make (Indiana) sacrifice whether they wanted to cover us or stop the run," Tamme said. "As it turned out, Shane did a nice job of throwing to his receivers and checking off at the line of scrimmage. I was finally able to be a part of what we hope is a new era of Kentucky football.

" I'm used to winning (while at Boyle County) and would love for it to carry over to here. We know all of the naysayers are out there, but we try not to pay attention to them. We were even bashing ourselves because we know we can play better. Hopefully, a game like we had (Saturday) will carry over into some good things to come for us."

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