Personnel changes likely for Wildcats

September 02, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Personnel changes are certainly possible for Kentucky because of what happened in the Wildcats' 40-24 loss to Louisville Sunday.

"We had some communications mistakes, and it's not like we have not made them earlier," said Kentucky coach Rich Brooks Monday. "Once you understand the breakdowns because you are freelancing, you either get better quick or you give someone else a chance to play.

"There are some people in jeopardy of losing playing time, or not starting. If you think because you started last year that your spot is in cement, it's not true."

Brooks found far more problem areas with his team than he anticipated going into the game. Some of them were:

* Defensive linemen did not always stick to their assignments.

"Physically we held up good," Brooks said. "Assignment-wise, gap control was a major problem."

Louisville broke runs of 26 and 32 yards when Kentucky had a defensive lineman abandon his assigned area and go to another gap. The coach also admitted there were too many missed tackles.


"The most important thing is that we've got to play better team defense and gap control is an extremely important part of that," Brooks said.

* The offense made some basic mistakes from having trouble getting the right play signaled to quarterback Jared Lorenzen to bad reads by Lorenzen to missed blocks in the line.

"There was some nervousness early, and we had some breakdowns," Brooks said. "We were not as stout at the point of attack as I thought we would be. We had a couple of missed routes by receivers. There were some missed reads by Jared where the ball could have come out earlier. On his interception, he had two chances where he could have got rid of the ball before he started to scramble.

"But there certainly was not a safe pocket. We need to do a much better job protecting and not allowing penetration to break down the pocket."

* The punting game was even worse than Brooks thought.

Punter Seve Sucurovic dropped a snap that led to a Louisville safety. Snapper Win Gaffron had a low snap on a punt that was blocked when the left side of the line failed to maintain its blocks.

"We knew there might be a problem, but not a problem like this," Brooks said.

Brooks didn't count the play of Shane Boyd as a problem even though Boyd threw an interception on his first pass that led to an easy score for Louisville. Brooks wants to use Boyd and Lorenzen in the game together to take advantage of Boyd's athleticism, but the offense looked stagnant when both quarterbacks were in the game together.

"I still have confidence in it. We just have to execute better," Brooks said. "Nobody likes to throw an interception. He's a good athlete and player. He will come back and be fine."

The Cats did not have any major injuries in the game. Linebacker Deion Holts (head), tight end Jeremiah Drobney (hip pointer), receiver Derek Abney (hamstring) and linebacker Dustin Williams (strained neck) may all be held out of practice today, but all should play Saturday against Murray State University.

Brooks isn't worried about his team underestimating Murray.

"I would be disappointed if they did not feel awful (after losing)," Brooks said. "We can right the ship much like Louisville did last year (after losing to Kentucky). There's a lot of the season left. I don't like to come out of the barrel losing to an in-state rival, but our season is in the dumper only if we let it be.

"We just have to get our focus back and execute our assignments. Most of the time we played hard, but not always smart. We've got to bounce back and become a team."

UK NOTE: Kentucky's game at Alabama on Sept. 13 will be shown on ESPN. Game time is now set for 7:45 p.m. EST.

Central Kentucky News Articles