There should be no doubt about Angela Todd of Stanford being a die-hard Kentucky football fan.
Her husband,¿Jason, is a former Lincoln County three-sport standout who played football at Kentucky. On Saturday, she attended the UK Women’s Football Clinic for the second time — and did it after running a 5-kilometer road race in Lancaster before leaving for Commonwealth Stadium.
“It's sad for me how negative the fans have gotten the last couple of years. There are so many positives happening in our football program, but they can't see it and want to find the negatives,” said Todd. “When they actually boo during games, it's sad. It doesn't matter if they're booing the coaches, those kids on the field have to think it’s for them and it breaks my heart. Nobody's child should have to be treated like that. Would they want their kid subjected to that?
“Do they not know that hurts in recruiting? Which in turn hurts the program? It takes a number of years to turn a football program around, unlike in basketball, based on sheer numbers alone unless we start breaking rules and doing things to jeopardize the integrity of the program.
“We're moving the right direction. Kentucky football is doing things that hasn't been done before or at least in a long time. Positive attitudes get more results than negative ones. Maybe the fans ought to try to find the positives for a while. Big Blue Nation is more than just men's basketball.”
Todd shared her thoughts on the women’s clinic that had about 200 participants:
Question: What made you decide to attend the women's clinic, especially since you ran the Jingle in July 5K in Lancaster before you headed off to Lexington Saturday?
Todd: “It's football! I had attended a women's clinic two years ago and really enjoyed it so I was eager to go to another one. I had conflicts last year that prevented me from going and I was really disappointed, so this year I was determined to go. My husband and I run at least one race every weekend so I couldn't not run, plus it was for a good cause. I just had to find a way to make it all work.”
Question: How did this one compare with the previous one you attended?
“This program was different in little ways. We still got to tour the luxury boxes, tour the game day locker room in the stadium and the coaches were still very accessible and eager to answer any questions we may have had. But this time we got to run onto the field and run through some drills. This year we got to tour the newly renovated Nutter Training Facility, which is really nice. I'm sure they vary the program a little each year especially since some ladies attend year after year.”
Question: What impressed you the most during the clinic?
Todd: “I would have to say the coaches. They are all so very nice and down to earth. Their passion for the game and their love of the University of Kentucky is evident. They genuinely care about their players. I get the sense that the team is a family. The coaches smiled and joked around a lot and made the day very fun. They were able to talk about their schemes and philosophies in a way that it didn't matter your knowledge level of the game. It wasn't too basic to be boring, but it wasn't over our heads, either.”
Question: What was your favorite part of the event?
Todd: “That's a tough question. I would have to say being able to run out onto the field. I always get teary eyed on game day when the players and coaches run out. As I ran out onto the field at the clinic I could feel myself tearing up. I can't imagine all the emotions that go through their heads on game day!”
Question: What players made an impression on you and why?
Todd: “Probably all the freshmen. As the coaches called their names and they came forward, I'd have to remind myself they were freshmen. They were so big. Looking at them you'd think they were upper classmen. All the players that were there that day left me feeling positive. They all seem like good kids who are excited about the program.”
Question: As the wife of a former UK player, do you just bleed blue or just bleed football — or maybe both?
Todd: “I definitely bleed blue. Like coach Phillips said, it doesn't matter what the sport is he bleeds blue and always will. I feel the same way. Now that's not to say that I don't have a soft spot in my heart for football. I've always loved football even before I met Jason, but having a former Wildcat as a husband makes me feel like part of the UK football family.”
Question: By the time the clinic ended, were you more optimistic about the upcoming season because of what you heard and saw?
Todd: “Yes I am! I was so pumped leaving the clinic I was ready for a game now!! Ending the season with a win over Tennessee was awesome. Five of the last six years we've been to a bowl game. Something that has never happened in Kentucky football. The energy at the clinic was palpable, I can't imagine how it is at a practice.”