By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky junior linebacker Kash Daniel says he watched New Year’s Day bowl game growing up and calls it a “blessing” to now have a chance to play in one when Kentucky goes to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando to take on Penn State Jan. 1.
On the significance of playing in a New Year’s Day bowl …
“This team’s worked really hard to get where we are. I don’t like to use the word deserving, but I think this team has earned where we are, and I think we’ve earned the right to be playing this game,” Daniel said. “We’re very thankful that the Citrus Bowl wanted us to come and to be a part of this great bowl, and we can’t wait to get to work and get down there and experience it.”
Daniel says not only does Kentucky get extra practices, but it gets a change of venue and alters its normal routine.
“All year you practice in the same spot, I mean you practice in either the indoor or out on the practice field, but now you get a chance to go to a neutral site that you’ve never been before with a locker room that you’ve never been in, familiar with it and stuff like that,” Daniel said.
“Getting those extra bowl practices in, not only down at the bowl site but up here as well, especially for young players and guys that are developing. I think that’s really key for them because it’s almost like you’re going through an extra spring ball schedule because you get 15 of them just like you do for spring ball.
“A lot of it too is you get back to technique, you get back to form, what makes you a football player basically, refine those things and get tuned up before you get ready to go full blast on it again.”
Daniel says freshmen linebacker Chris Oates and DeAndre Square along with redshirt freshman Jamin Davis should benefit from the extra work.
“Not just those guys but everybody in every position room from the DBs to the D-Line to the receivers, running backs, you name it. So, we’re all very excited to see what our young guys can do,” Daniel said.
He’s also anxious to get a 10th win, something no Kentucky team has done since 1977.
“It would mean the world. That’s something that hasn’t been done here in a very long time, and not only just to be a part of it now, but when I’m done playing football and all that stuff, I can look back and say that was my team and be proud of it and be something I can hold on to for the rest of my life,” Daniel said.