LOUISVILLE - Freshman Fred Tiller was a standout receiver and cornerback in Georgia and an all-state high school selection last season who made a big impression during Kentucky’s preseason camp.
He was one of six true freshmen to play for UK in Sunday’s 32-14 loss at Louisville. The backup cornerback had one tackle in his limited playing time.
Here’s what he had to say after the game:
Question: How did it feel to play in your first collegiate game?
Tiller: “It felt real good but I wish I could have played more though.”
Question: Is it bittersweet to make your debut in a game where you team is beaten 32-14?
Tiller: “I mean we played our hardest. We came out slow today. The second half we did better. This week we are going to grind and get a win (against Kent State).”
Question: Was the atmosphere what you thought it would be?
Tiller: “It was overwhelming. I loved it. I wish I could have played more like I said.”
Question: Does this loss demoralize, disappoint you?
Tiller: “I am not disappointed. I came to UK for a reason — to win and get better. That won’t change.”
Question: Were they just more physical?
Tiller: “The offensive line, we thought they were not that good, so I guess so. The defensive line could have gone harder. This week we will get better.”
Question: Didn’t this team truly believe it would beat Louisville?
Tiller: “Yes we did. I thought we were going to win, bring home the (Governor’s) Cup and just have a good time.”
Question: Did the team maybe underestimate Louisville or overestimate Kentucky?
Tiller: “I don’t even know. I think we underestimated them a little bit. They just came out and I¿guess they wanted it more.”
Question: Is the defense better than what it showed against Louisville?
Tiller: “It is way better. We just didn’t expect what they were going to come out in today. They surprised us with some things. That two-point conversion and all the deep balls.”
Question: Will we see more from you and other freshman secondary players as the season progresses?
Tiller: “Yes. Like Coach (Joker Phillips) said today, we are one play away from playing a lot. I think we are all going to do some good things.”
Question: Was it a surprise to you to be on the two-deep depth chart for the season-opening game?
Tiller: “No. I worked my butt off this summer. I went hard in the weight room, went hard on the field and got the job. I am gunning for a starting position now.”