Anderson says Cats must deal with injuries

August 31, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Linebacker Chad Anderson knows Kentucky's chances of beating Louisville Sunday would be a lot better if cornerback Bo Smith, linebacker Dustin Williams and defensive end Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns were playing.

Instead, Smith (head injuries) and Williams (torn hamstring) are definitely out and Burns (knee) likely will play no more than 15 to 20 plays at most.

"No matter who is injured, 11 guys are still going to suit up and play," said Anderson. "We have some guys hurt. We have other guys who are questionable. But if we don't have them, then we have a whole team here that is waiting for a chance to play. Some will prove themselves, some may not. But we just have to play and not worry."

Anderson has been waiting for this game since the Cardinals beat Kentucky 40-24 last year in Commonwealth Stadium. Anderson was suspended for the game for disciplinary reasons and was so upset that he didn't even come to Commonwealth Stadium for the season-opening game.


"I watched on TV last year," Anderson said. "I didn't want to be there and have to answer all the questions about why I wasn't playing and what I thought about the game. I didn't feel like dealing with it. I wasn't going to be allowed on the sidelines with the team, so there was no way I could have watched from the stands."

Anderson didn't enjoy seeing UK's turnovers turn into points. He enjoyed it even less when the Cardinals wore down the Wildcats with their running game. He blamed himself each time the Cardinals broke a big run in the second half.

"I looked at it like a lot of that stuff would not have happened if I was in there," Anderson said. "I kept watching and thinking, 'Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?' I knew I could have helped. But I also know now that it was unfounded talk. I didn't know if I really could make plays yet or not. But I still firmly believe I could have helped us in that game."

SEC leader in tackles per game

Anderson slowly worked himself into a starting position after the game and finished the season as the Southeastern Conference leader in tackles per game. He'll be going into Sunday's game as one of UK's defensive anchors.

"I am older, wiser now. I am experienced. I know I have to be patient. The more frantic I get, the worse I play," he said. "But I can't wait to play Louisville and prove that I could have made a difference last year, too. I want to make up for what I couldn't do last year."

Not that Anderson, one of UK's more vocal players, was ready to guarantee a win Monday as he looked ahead to the game.

"There is no guarantee in any game. They are going to be prepared just like we are," Anderson said. "We have a good defense. They have a good offense. The best team will win."

Anderson has been watching film of Louisville's offense and looking for weaknesses. He's not found any.

"The quarterback is a veteran, the running backs are strong, the receivers are proven and the line is big and agile," Anderson said. "It is going to come down to who is more prepared and who will execute.

"They are really efficient on offense. They run a lot of plays that cause problems for the defense. It's not just like they drop back and pass. They run a lot of bootleg and misdirection. It can cause a lot of problems if you don't read your keys right.

"They do some different things. The tight end will be blocking and fall down. Then who is on him will not pay attention and suddenly he's down the sideline wide open. They run a lot of plays like that. If we read our keys, we can stop them. If not, we're going to have problems."

No redshirts: Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said Monday that guard Micah Jones, wide receiver Lonnell Dewalt, running back Tony Dixon, safeties Wesley Woodyard and Marcus McClinton, defensive lineman Jason Leger and cornerback Jarrell Williams are true freshmen who definitely will play against Louisville. He said the status of several others, including receiver-return specialist Dicky Lyons, would be determined this week.

Reinstated: Brooks has reinstated reserve linebacker Ryan Schumm for Louisville's game after charges against him in Oldham County District Court were dismissed even though he said Schumm may not even get in the game. Schumm was involved in the fight in which Bo Smith was injured. Brooks said if an Oldham County grand jury indicts Schumm that he would serve a game suspension then.

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