LEXINGTON — Offensive guard Larry Warford, a preseason all-Southeastern Conference pick, says Kentucky can’t wait to play at Louisville on Sept. 2 and start having a chance to prove the skeptics wrong.
“Honestly, I believe in this offense. I¿will back this offense up any day. I feel like we have progressed so much since last year. Everybody is willing to get better, willing to work, willing to respond to tough coaching from what I¿have seen,” said Warford, a preseason all-Southeastern Conference pick. “I am so excited about going into the season even with all the negative comments.¿If nobody believes in us, what do we have to lose? We are just working to prove everybody wrong and get it going this season.”
He says not only have the team’s seniors been responsible for players working out more, studying more film or even asking to be on special teams, but all of the players who suffered through last year’s 5-7 season have been anxious to avoid another disappointing season.
“Basically, the starters who have played know what happened last year. They remember the feeling and know how it felt to be beat every week and feel torn down and all that,” Warford said. “We really don’t want that, so this offseason we just got together as an offense, actually as a team, and brought all the young guys together and told everybody that we were going change something about this team. That has really been the determining factor in how well we are playing here lately.”
Warford shared these other insights after about the team as it gears up to start pregame preparations for Louisville on Thursday following an off day today:
Question: How well are receivers LaRod King and Demarco Robinson doing?
Warford: “LaRod, he is just catching everything. He is being our leader. He is a senior and has come along. Demarco was a little rough when he got here, but he has really matured in such a quick time. He is really becoming a factor on this team.
Question: Can the offense build on its 98-yard scoring drive in Saturday’s scrimmage for the rest of preseason camp?
Warford: “It gives us a lot of momentum. It shows us what we can do and what we are capable of. We just have to be consistent throughout the next couple of weeks.”
Question: Are you convinced this offense will not only be better, but a lot better than last year?
Warford: “I am absolutely convinced. We have great chemistry on the team. Everybody working hard, nobody just content with where they are at. Everybody wants to keep progressing. I am happy with where we are, I really am. I like this offense.”
Question: What has been the biggest improvement in the offense since spring practice?
Warford: “Honestly, I would have to say the O-line. We did struggle in the spring. We were not very consistent in our play. We had (center) Matt Smith out, so I had to play center. We had a bunch of young guys coming in and they really didn’t understand the offense, so we got a little time in the offseason for everybody to work it out together and build chemistry. I feel like we have improved so much since then.”
Question: What will be the toughest challenge for the line going into the Louisville game?
Warford: “They do a lot of stuff on the defensive line. Actually, the whole defense does. They throw a lot of blitzes at you and all that, but our defense does the same thing.¿Probably more so. I am really not worried about much. We are basically getting ready for them right now going against our defense.”
Question: What have you thought of the freshman receivers?¿Has one stood out?
Warford: “(Demarcus) Sweat is just amazing. He is so quick. He is going to be a player. I promise you that. Actually, all the freshmen. They are so quick and athletic. You can’t really just choose one, but I would say Sweat right now.”
Question: Has competition from so many young players made veterans improve their play in preseason camp?
Warford: “Yeah, as a senior or veteran player you don’t want to lose to a freshman. They just came out of high school, and you are supposed to be someone who is so much better than them. They are going to up their game and coming in as a freshman you want to prove yourself. It basically builds on top of each other and makes everybody better. It really is a factor in how good this team will be.”
Question: Is it a bad thing if a lot of freshmen play against Louisville in the opening game?
Warford: “Whoever is the best is going to play. It is not if they are a freshman or not. If you can play, you can play. Looking at it from the future standpoint, sometimes you do want to redshirt freshmen. You want to have depth and build your depth, but if they are good enough to play, they are going to play.”