October 29, 2011

Black jerseys received well by players despite loss

For the first time in program history, the University of Kentucky wore black jerseys. And despite a 28-16 loss to Mississippi State, the uniforms drew rave reviews from players and recruits.

An announced crowd of 57,891 attended Saturday's blackout against Mississippi State, but none of it helped UK earn its first Southeastern Conference game of the season.

"We might have had more energy tonight," wide receiver La'Rod King said. "It was something new but a jersey is a jersey. It doesn't matter how bad or good you played, your physical appearance had nothing to do with it. It's all about going out there and playing the game."

When UK unveiled the new jerseys Tuesday, head coach Joker Phillips said if the Cats lost, they wouldn't be worn again. After Saturday's game, Phillips said he's in no rush to be back in black.

"We won't see them for a while," Phillips said. "I don't think we need to see them next week."

In 2009 UK organized the first ever "Black Out" at Commonwealth Stadium against Mississippi State. The fans wore black, but the team didn't. Two years later UK finally debuted the black uniforms.

With only four regular season games left in his career, senior linebacker Danny Trevathan hopes to see them again before he graduates.

"I'm going to be pushing (for black jerseys), for anything I can get," he said said.

Trevathan said he felt like a monster being decked out in all black.

"I loved the environment, it made me feel like a monster" Trevathan said. "I love wearing black. It's my first time since high school wearing all black and I take it seriously."

Saturday's crowd was the 11th smallest since Commonwealth Stadium expanded in 1999. Despite that, the fans made noise when the Cats needed a big play. Most fans, especially those in the student section, wore black.

"I thought the environment was great, we appreciate the fan for coming and supporting us," wide receivers coach Tee Martin said. "It was great for our kids, going through the "Cat Walk" and seeing a lot of fans wearing black and our kids were really excited about that gesture."

And while the Cats wish they could have won in their new black jerseys, the dark threads could make for wins in the future thanks to its appeal with recruits.

Martin made sure he was standing next to the recruits as the Cats ran onto the field, and he couldn't help but smile seeing the high schoolers react.

"I can't repeat some of the words but they were really excited and they really liked them," Martin said. "I'll have to call some more guys to see what they thought but we looked good. Coach Phillips did a good job and recruits really like that."

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