UK Football: DL Wyndham trying to leave a legacy for younger Wildcats
Kentucky defensive lineman Taylor Wyndham celebrates following a fumble recovery during the Wildcats' loss to South Carolina on Sept. 29. (Victoria Graff / October 25, 2012)
“I hope it is intimidation. I don’t know if it works. Those guys (on the offensive line) are way bigger than me, so I don’t really know if I scare them that much,” Kentucky defensive lineman Taylor Wyndham said. “It’s just what I am doing to try and scare people.”
Kentucky’s defense has not put a scare into many opponents going into Saturday’s game at Missouri. Wyndham, a senior, shared these thoughts on a variety of things after a practice earlier this week:
Question: How much responsibility do you feel to set the right tone for the younger players?
Wyndham: “It’s a huge responsibility. I have to leave a good legacy for the guys behind me and what they can do to get where I am right now. This has not been the season we wanted. But we can win out and still make it good.”
Question: How do you feel when the younger players say they are playing for the seniors?
Wyndham: “It makes you feel good when guys tell you they are playing for you and it is your season. It always feels good and hits you in your heart. It says a lot about our team. It says guys are really about the team and really want to do it for us, not just for themselves. That really means a lot to me.”
Question: How do you deal with 1-7?
Wyndham: “It is difficult. It is something that you can’t look at like that. The past is the past. You have to move on. You have other games in front of you. It is something you have to take week by week. You can’t look at it like you are 1-7. You have to be 1-0 this week.”
Question: Can you imagine 5-7 if Kentucky could win out?
Wyndham: “Exactly. You have to think about each week that you have to be 1-0 and forget 1-7. You just have to play to get better each and every day. You have to do what you can to put your team in the best position to win regardless of what your record is or the outcome of the season will be.
“I am allowed to play with these young guys, and that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is fun.”
Question: What challenges does Missouri’s offense that likes to spread the field present?
Wyndham: “It is a lot of challenges. We haven’t done too well in the passing game. It will be quite the challenge because it is not the typical offense you see in the SEC most weeks. I love rushing the passer, but I will drop back if I need to. I love hitting the quarterback.”
Question: What do you tell young players going through this adversity and losing?
Wyndham: “I just tell them they have a lot of ball ahead of them. They have a lot of years ahead. This is just a down year. It happens. They just have to keep their heads up and keep working hard. Because things are tough doesn’t mean you have to let down. You have to play harder.”
Question: Is it good or bad to be going to Missouri, a place no one on this team has played at before?
Wyndham: “It’s a good thing. It might seem not so because it’s young guys and we have not done so well, but it’s a learning experience. It’s good for them to get in a new atmosphere and see a different offense than what typical in the SEC.
“I am excited. It will (be) fun to go. I have never been there. I am ready for it.”
Question: What’s it like to have so many true freshmen playing on defense?
Wyndham: “I just look at it as I need to step it up even more and put it on my shoulders to lead them, and also make myself get after it to get them a better position to be in position to make plays.
“They have phenomenal talent in the secondary to be freshmen. Those guys come in now and are really going to be good. They are getting their feet wet quick and fast. They had to grow up real quick. That will help us in the future.”
Question: Do you pay any attention to the speculation about the coaching staff’s future?
Wyndham: “I don’t ever listen to that stuff. I tell my teammates that is what is outside and you have to stay focused on what is the task at hand.
“The only people who can determine what is going to happen are the ones in here, your brother next to you. That’s the only thing you can do. If you listen to what everybody says, it is going to hurt you.”
Question: So you can’t just get all emotional and play to save the staff’s jobs?
Wyndham: “You just have to take it day by day, play by play each and every time. It’s something that you can’t think about. You can’t focus on the outside world. You just have to focus on you and the team.”