Moore-Losing upsets players

November 21, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Ellery Moore knows University of Kentucky football fans are not happy with how the Wildcats played in last week's loss at Vanderbilt.

The junior defensive lineman also knows Kentucky's 4-6 record has put pressure on first-year coach Rich Brooks and his staff.

"But the fans are not too tough. Any time, if you have a program where fans want you to win and excel, there will be pressure on the coaches and players," said Moore. "What people forget is that we put pressure on ourselves, too. It's not just fans and alumni upset when we lose. We are, too, because we know how good we could be, and should be. Losing upsets us as much as it does fans."

Kentucky plays Saturday at No. 6 Georgia before closing its season next week against No. 9 Tennessee. The Cats will be - and should be - big underdogs in each game.


Moore says Brooks pushed the Cats harder than former coach Guy Morriss did even though the Cats went 7-5 last year.

"But we needed that hard work. Now we understand that," Moore said.

He says defensive coordinator Mike Archer challenges players mentally.

"He's not as tough physically as much as he is mentally," Moore said. "Coach Archer wants you to be polished in your mental game. Then you have coach Brooks who wants the same thing because he knows we have the physical tools, but he knew it was mentally where we needed to get over the hump and we haven't done that."

"It would have been tough for any coach to come in this year. It has nothing to do with how great a coach that coach Brooks is. When you have seniors who have been with three different coaching staffs, it's tough. They don't know you and it's like, 'Man, I am tired of this. I just had a new coach and now I've got another one.' That's hard for any coach to overcome."

Moore said the 62-year-old Brooks is definitely "old school" with his philosophies, but that he's adjusted to being back in the college coaching ranks and understood that he couldn't overwork the players every day.

Moore said he's had no trouble going to Brooks when he has a problem.

"He might not accept what you are saying or like what you are saying, but he'll listen and respect you," Moore said. "He'll give you his attention and tell you what he thinks.

"He just has to keep doing what he's doing. We've let him down some with the way we've played. But he's going to get the job done here and when he does, the fans are going to love it."

Boyd backer: Kentucky receiver Chris Bernard thinks junior backup quarterback Shane Boyd will do just fine next season when he gets his chance to be UK's starter.

"Shane is a great quarterback. I always read on the Internet that he can't throw the ball down the field, that he can't make the right reads," Bernard said. "But he can throw the ball and he knows what he's doing."

Yet Bernard won't dispute that Boyd will be a running quarterback first, and then a passing quarterback.

"When we run our routes, I am thinking that if he has not thrown to me by the first or second read, then he is taking off and running," Bernard said. "I start looking back to see I can block for him. About four seconds is as long as he'll be in the pocket, then he's gone."

Making money: Kentucky won't make money on women's basketball this year. But it will have more fans at the games.

New coach Mickie DeMoss' team plays its first game tonight and about 1,600 season tickets have been sold. That's about 1,500 more than were sold last year.

Athletics director Mitch Barnhart has done all he can to breathe life into the women's program. He's spent money promoting the program and season tickets cost only $20.

"There's probably not a better value out there anywhere (than the $20 season ticket)," Barnhart said. "We want to build a fan base. It is family friendly. You get close and personal with the athletes. You can get autographs. With some other sports we have, it's hard to get close with the players. Here you are right there with coaches and players. You can even spend time after a game with them."

Barnhart knows less than 10 women's basketball programs made money last year.

"We didn't take in much last year. We probably took in between $20,000 and $25,000 at the gate and didn't make much in concessions," Barnhart said. "The program probably cost in the neighborhood of $1 million to run. Anything you can put against that total is important.

"We've invested in a coaching staff and some promotions and marketing. We are going to invest in our athletes. Hopefully it will pay off with more wins and getting people in the stands. Our goal is to put a quality product on the floor and give the women a chance to win a championship and build a fan base."

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