"It was emotional for me all day just thinking about him and seeing that he just got to go home," Davis said. Outside of those two particular players, there are more Cats on the back-end who make a difference. Kentucky sat at 0-2 following a 29-13 loss to Auburn and a 42-41 loss to Ole Miss. "I just wanted to do whatever I could to play really well for him and his family, my brothers beside me as well.”, Brad did a really nice job of keeping them off balance -- and he rushed four, everyone's going to think it was drop eight all night, it wasn't," Stoops said. "It’s all easy when things are going great. In wins over Mississippi State and Tennessee, the Kentucky defense surrendered just seven total points. This was an important bounce-back game for a defense with big expectations in 2020. ". When a pair of Tennessee linebackers recruited by third-year coach Jeremy Pruitt stacked up Georgia's Zamir White at the goal-line on the final play of the first half just a week ago, the Volunteers appeared to be on the cusp of returning to national prominence. And you have a good idea of what Mike likes and they like space. “That’s hard,” White said. UGA football plays at Kentucky Saturday in an SEC East clash. 20: Kentucky has only allowed opponents to score 20 points twice this season. "We tell the players that all the time. The defense knows how to close out football games, bottom line. Not what we expected at all coming into the season. “Putting up that 50 extra yards and scoring another touchdown would have put us out of that completely.”. So you have to be patient at times and Brad really did a nice job. It’s always that constant balance you have to wager.”, Also:Some Kentucky football fans are unhappy with the offense — and Mike Leach may be to blame. Mark Stoops had a look of relief on his face while speaking with the media via Zoom. All rights reserved. The loss will provide Tennessee fans -- and Pruitt -- with plenty to commiserate over. While Kentucky and the rest of the SEC had a couple of extra weeks to prepare, the Wildcats have not been immune from many of the miscues spotted in those early games. 0 Replies | We hit that skid last year, and the guys said, ‘Enough is enough’ and they galvanized and played really good football down the stretch.". It’s on all of us right now.”. I think it should be considered. “Our identity honestly is just to prove everybody wrong and just remember that one day they can be rooting for us and the next day they can turn their backs on us,” junior linebacker Jamin Davis said. Those comments speak well of the culture Stoops has built within his program, but the reality is Kentucky will not find much success in an SEC-only schedule without a better defensive performance. Through the halfway mark, this is the best defense Kentucky football has ever had, and they can make a case for being the best defense in the SEC. We had good technique. “I’ve got to make sure I put them in position to make plays and dial up a call or two that gives them an opportunity to get a free run on a quarterback or get their hands on a ball. With a harder road thus far, Kentucky has shown they can limit some of the best teams in the nation. The other 20-point game came last week in College Station, a game which went into overtime. But the floodgates opened once Josh Paschal made a tremendous jump on a pass and returned an interception 76-yards to set up an easy touchdown for Chris Rodriguez. Only behind Georgia and Mississippi State, the Cats have a premier SEC defense. Email Jon Hale at jahale@courier-journal.com; Follow him on Twitter at @JonHale_CJ. It doesn’t get any easier going forward either. Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial. "We mixed in four, four-man rushes a decent amount. Right now, we have to find ours. Guys executed it very well.". 1, even White acknowledges coaches must walk a fine line between allowing players to let their natural talent take over and preventing them from trying to do too much. 3: Kentucky ranks third in the SEC in total defense. Kentucky football picked a bad year to have a bad offense. Bo Nix and Matt Corral have combined for a 195.63 passer rating. “… Each year, each team has a new identity and, so this group has to step up and I am certainly going to lean on the leadership on this group and everybody is going to have to look at themselves. https://www.si.com/.../georgia-football-defensive-players-watch-kentucky Through the first half of the 2018 college football season, the Wildcats have received recognition as one of the best defenses in the SEC. Two games will not define a season, but White’s defense has apparently answered that call and more. Kentucky went from -4 in the turnover category to +1 after one game. “We just had to put it together. Yeah, throw it out the window. The first game of the season, the Cats gave up 20 points to a scrappy Central Michigan team.

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