Brooks: Cats lacking 'intelligent effort'

November 01, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Physical effort is not Kentucky's problem.

"I think we are trying physically," said Brooks. "But I am not totally convinced that we are spending enough time mentally as they should be. The effort is there, but it's not always intelligent effort."

He said his team's combination of using numerous inexperienced players and "not paying attention to detail" has hurt UK's offense as much as opponents' defenses.

Brooks said his team, which lost 22-7 at Mississippi State Saturday, does not face the physical mismatches against UK's scout team at practice that it does on game day against Southeastern Conference teams.


"Breakdowns are more noticeable in games because we are going against better people," Brooks said Sunday. "But the most disappointing thing is I thought we would be making more progress like we were early in the season."

Instead, Kentucky is 1-7 headed into this Saturday's game here with No. 8 Georgia.

Last in the nation in total offense

The Wildcats are now last nationally in total offense and continuing to search for any sign of success. However, Brooks said he was not going to "scrap" the season and starting playing only young players, including redshirt freshman quarterback Andre Woodson. Brooks indicated Shane Boyd, who threw an interception on the opening series at State that was returned for a touchdown, would continue to be UK's starter.

"We have played Andre. He played the entire game at Auburn. He played a little bit this week," Brooks said. "Unfortunately, one of the drives he took over was one we had our best field position, and we did not get anything out of it.

"He continues to struggle with the same things. We're going to continue to play him, but we are not going to scrap the whole thing to get him ready for next year. That doesn't mean only at quarterback, but at a lot of positions. It's not fair to players on the team. We still need to go into each game with the best opportunity to win."

Brooks defended his decision to punt on fourth down late in the game from deep in Mississippi State territory with his team trailing by 15 points rather than hoping for a first down and miracle finish.

"Sure, it was a thought (to go for the first down)," Brooks said. "But I thought we had done so poorly that I did not want to totally demoralize our defense. The score went from 13-7 to 15-7 to 22-7 within maybe 20 or 30 seconds. I just felt it wasn't fair to the defense to necessarily put them in a hole two series right in a row. But then State broke a long run and almost scored any way."

Brooks said his intention is to stay positive for the final three games and hope his players can win again to build momentum for next season.

"We have to approach (Georgia) as positively as we can," Brooks said. "This is an opportunity for us to put a lot of negative stuff that we brought upon ourselves behind us if we find a way to upset Georgia. We have to put as positive a spin as possible (on beating Georgia) knowing the task is very difficult."

Crowd may not be as large or vocal

With the way Kentucky has struggled offensively and continued to lose, the crowd in Commonwealth Stadium for the Georgia game might not be as large, or vocal, as it was earlier in the season. The game is also on TV and will start earlier than usual at 12:30 p.m.

Brooks said a big, vocal crowd could only help his team.

"I don't know if that is overrated or not, but I don't anticipate it in this situation, either," Brooks said. "Players obviously play harder when they have great crowd support in the stands. You see that every week where a player is trying to get fans in the game and encourage the team. Some of that we have to earn by the way we play."

Kentucky seemed ready to do that when it scored 51 points in a win over Indiana. Since then, UK has managed just 60 points in seven games.

"That is one of the great mysteries," Brooks said. "Why does a team step up and play great one week and not the next week and the next week? Some has to do with defense, but a lot has to do with our execution as well."

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