Vols worry Brooks

November 24, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON -- Kentucky coach Rich Brooks didn't like what he saw when he watched game tape Sunday.

He wasn't displeased with his team's effort in a 30-10 loss at No. 6 Georgia. What he didn't like was what he saw of Tennessee in the Volunteers' 48-0 victory over Vanderbilt, a team that beat Kentucky in its previous game.

"Tennessee annihilated Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt could not hardly get a first down, much less score," Brooks said. "Tennessee's defense is in the same category with Georgia's. It might not be as highly rated nationally, but it is good. Then they have a power offense with a lot of speed.

"I hope we can get a win. I still think if we play hard like we did last week and get some takeaways, which we haven't done the last two weeks, then we have a chance. But we've got to play our best to have a chance."


The Wildcats (4-7) host No. 7 Tennessee Saturday in their last game of Brooks' first season as UK's head coach.

Kentucky could be well below full strength for the game. He said offensive tackle Antonio Hall (head) and special teams player Andrew Hopewell (ankle) are probably out along with backup linebacker Kamal Ahmad (knee). He listed cornerback Bo Smith (groin), linebacker Ray Fontaine (ankle), defensive end Vincent Burns (ankle), receiver Derek Abney (toe and foot), receiver Keenan Burton (knee), cornerback Earven Flowers (forearm) and cornerback Warren Wilson (hamstring) as questionable for Saturday's game.

"There's no question our lack of depth has played a part in some of these injuries," Brooks said. "Not being able to rotate in on offense and defense has had an impact on us."

Brooks would like to be able to win Saturday's game for UK's seniors, who have had three head coaches and as many as four position coaches during their careers.

"They've been through more than any class ought to go through," Brooks said. "They had a very successful year last year and did not get to go to a bowl through no fault of their own. This year they had bowl aspirations. We came close some games, but we didn't get it done.

"Still, this group needs to be recognized for what it has accomplished and some (Jared Lorenzen and Abney) are even in the record books. These guys have competed, played and tried to battle through everything. We've yet to be blown out and that speaks volumes about the players on this team."

Brooks doesn't think close losses to Florida and Arkansas as well as losses to Louisville, Alabama and South Carolina where UK had a chance to win in the fourth quarter have demoralized his team.

"It did not take any fight out of us against Georgia," Brooks said. "We just did not make a big play or two.

"It's important, particularly for this senior class, to go down swinging and try to get a win against an opponent that Kentucky has not had success against in many years. We had shots against Florida, Arkansas and Georgia. Now we go against Tennessee, which is one of the best teams in the nation."

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