Wilson eager to play again at UK

August 19, 2003|MARTY WARREN

LEXINGTON - All sophomore cornerback Warren Wilson wants to do is get back on the playing field and show Kentucky's new coaching staff what he can do.

He was all set to start at cornerback last year when an August knee injury forced him to have reconstructive surgery and sit out all of last season.

"I think the surgery and rehabilitation have helped my knee get stronger and I am faster now than I was before," Wilson said. "I look at the injury at a blessing. I have learned the value of patience and have been constantly watching tapes trying to better my game since the injury."

He missed spring practice in 2002 while rehabilitating a shoulder injury, but he is now at full strength and expects to see a lot of playing time in defensive coordinator Mike Archer's 3-4 defensive scheme.


"I think this scheme will give the offenses a lot of problems and at the same time it will be harder for us to adapt," Wilson said. "Having only three down linemen forces us to play more zone. I think it will be a lot of fun."

Wilson realizes that he may be a little rusty after not playing last year.

"I still have the same expectations for myself, even though I have been out of football for a year now," Wilson, who had nine tackles and a pass breakup during his freshman season, said. "I want to come out and show everyone that I can come back from both of my injuries and play the same way I was playing before I got hurt.

"I have a lot of things to improve on and also a lot of things to prove all over again. I think I can still accomplish the things I did in the past. My knee isn't bothering me and my shoulder feels great. I'm just happy to be playing."

The revolving door of coaches is something that Wilson said he didn't expect when he signed with the Wildcats.

"It sort of feels like I am still at Kentucky, but I'm transferring at the same time," the Texas City (Texas) native, said. "Everybody has a brand new slate. I just have to start all over again and prove myself just like everybody else. I want to go out and show the new coaching staff that, despite the injuries, I can still perform to my best at this level and that I haven't missed a beat. If I take care of business, things on the field will take care of itself."

UK has lost seven starters on defense each of the last two seasons and returns just two senior starters on this year's squad.

"We are a young team on defense, but I think we have a lot more talent than people gives us credit for," Wilson said.

Wilson said it was a great experience to get into 10 games as a true freshman in 2001.

"It used to be that true freshmen played a lot, but times have changed and you don't see much of that anymore," Wilson said. "You have to work hard to earn playing time at this level, and I feel blessed that the coaching staff felt I was worthy of playing as a freshman. Now I just want to get that same opportunity again."

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