UK seniors expected better in first game against Louisville
Senior LaRod King caught eight passes for 77 yards and one TD against Louisville Sunda. (Clay Jackson / September 4, 2012)
“We beat ourselves,” said Kentucky senior receiver LaRod King, who had eight catches for 77 yards and one score in Sunday’s 32-14 loss, said. “We are much better than this. Saying this is the first game is a bunch of bull in my opinion. First game ... get the jitters. We prepared way too hard and way better than we showed out here today.”
Senior center Matt Smith, a Louisville native, was visibly shaken after the loss and admitted he got a bit emotional in the dressing room with teammates.
“We wanted to look like a team that was ready to go, not a team paying the first game,” Smith said. “We worked hard to be better than this. When we were in our prime, you could see the offense moving the ball and the defense making plays. You just can’t come out and let some things happen that we did. Give them credit,
Louisville rolled up 466 yards on Kentucky and had two 100-yard rushers against a UK defensive line that coach Joker Philips said was expected to be a team strength.
“We should have stopped them,” senior defensive end Collins Ukwu said. “We should have been better defensively.”
Phillips was sure they would be, too.
“One of our goals was to win up front. We didn’t win up front,” Phillips said. “We didn’t win the physical battle.”
Phillips said after watching UK go through preseason camp, he didn’t see UK “getting pushed around up front” like it did. He also didn’t anticipate backs CoShik Williams and Raymond Sanders both fumbling and stopping scoring drives.
“I like our talent level,” Phillips said.
Quarterback Maxwell Smith said the Wildcats can only get better.
“Maybe this was a smack in the face, we all need to get better,” Smith said. “I know our defense is going to get better.”
Defensive coordinator Rick Minter knows the defense has to get better.
“For us to compete in our league, we have to play a whole lot better, particularly up front,” Minter said. “Did we expect more up front? Sure we did. But it is not about finger pointing at the front versus the back. Everybody had a hand in giving up 30 points plus, 460 (yards) plus and not being very good on third downs. Coaching to players front and back. So we have a lot of work to do.”