|Kentucky, Louisville eager to focus on football|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 24 August 2008 22:57|
The Louisville wide receiver was in a local nightclub during the July 4th weekend when someone inappropriately touched his fiancee. Words were exchanged. When Guy left the club he was attacked outside a parking garage. The assailants fired 19 times, hitting Guy once in the back.
Remarkably, less than two months later, Guy is ready to return to the field.
While it's doubtful he'll be able to play on Sunday when Louisville hosts Kentucky in the Governor's Cup, the game will provide a return to normalcy for Guy.
``Just to be out there with my teammates, that's what it's all about,'' Guy said. ``I just want to play.''
The same could be said for the state's two premier programs, who are only too eager to put a sometimes bumpy offseason riddled with several off-the-field distractions behind them.
Kentucky coach Rich Brooks dismissed Curtis Pulley earlier this month after two run-ins with the law. Quarterback Will Fidler was arrested on disorderly conduct charges last month getting in a dispute outside a Lexington restaurant.
Things have been perhaps even more difficult at Louisville, where Guy's shooting was just the latest in a string of off-the-field incidents that have tested coach Steve Kragthorpe's resolve. Wide receiver JaJuan Spillman was released after being arrested on drug charges for the second time in two years, and cornerback Rod Council was dismissed after allegedly robbing a gas station in North Carolina during the winter.
Kragthorpe instituted a curfew after the attack on Guy in an effort to protect his players and has preached to them that nothing good happens after midnight.
``Coach tells us all the time that we wear our names on our backs and a lot of people know who we are,'' Guy said. ``When we go out, people do know us. We just have to watch what we do.''
Maybe now more than ever.
In an age where everybody seems to have a camera phone and Internet infamy is sometimes one bad decision away, players are trying to become more vigilant about where they go and who they surround themselves with.
Three years ago, Kentucky wide receiver Dicky Lyons Jr. was a redshirt freshman who kept finding ways to get into Brooks' doghouse. A reformed partier, Lyons now advises the team's younger players on how to stay out of trouble.
``Everybody's got a Facebook page and a MySpace page and it's important to let guys know they're representing the University of Kentucky,'' he said. ``Hopefully they'll do a better job than I did my freshman year.''
These days a hot Friday night for Lyons is sitting on the couch with his fiancee watching cable TV. It's an option few of his teammates have, and Lyons knows there's plenty of guys who like to enjoy their time off.
``It's fun to go out every weekend and they have their fun, but it's important to just let them know what's important,'' Lyons said.
Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon is a budding actor when he's not terrorizing opposing offensive linemen, and has grown comfortable in the spotlight whether it's on the field or on the stage. Yet Jarmon is no fan of the paparazzi, no matter who is taking the pictures.
ight not be the case, but that's the story.''
It's a story the players are tired of reading. Guy said he's a changed man since the shooting and has traded the nightclub for church. He attends regularly with some of his teammates, including wide receiver Scott Long, who said Guy's shooting served as a ``wake-up call'' to the rest of the Cardinals.
``There are people out there that put the targets on our back because of who we are,'' Long said.
On Sunday those targets will give way to jerseys for two teams only too happy to put their troubles behind them.