While the game might seem to be a mismatch on paper, Brooks said it would be another huge mistake for his team to underestimate Eastern as it might have done against Mississippi State.
"I think that Eastern is a very good football team. They are about three plays away from being undefeated. They went on the road in their opener against Indiana. They lost by six points when late in the fourth quarter they fumbled inside the five going in to take the lead," Brooks said.
"So they are a team that is definitely dangerous and I'm sure that they are looking forward to this opportunity to come into Commonwealth Stadium and make their year, maybe making their decade. But certainly this is a dangerous game for us and we need to play a lot more focused and better than we did a week ago."
Kentucky (4-4) likely could be without leading rusher Derrick Locke, who leads the SEC in kickoff returns and is fifth in the conference in rushing. He hurt the knee he had offseason surgery on last year against Mississippi State.
The Wildcats also had linebacker Micah Johnson, offensive guard Chris Johnson, tailback Alfonso smith, defensive end Patrick Ligon, offensive tackle Dave Ulinski, linebacker Jacob Dufrene and linebacker Ridge Wilson all missed practice because of the flu.
Wide receiver Gene McCaskill (ankle), fullback John Conner (shin) and safety Matt Lentz (toe) were also limited.
Have to deal with it
"You just have to have other people step up and fill those spots," Brooks said. "The question you don't know is who or when they'll be back and who else is going to be down with them. It's just one of those things you have to deal with."
Cornerback Trevard Lindley practiced for the first time in a month since spraining his ankle against Alabama and went through the majority of drills.
Brooks knows his team has to do a better job creating turnovers, an area where Lindley could help, as well as protecting the ball. In last week's loss Smith fumbled on the second play of the third quarter and Newton threw an interception when Kentucky had the ball inside Mississippi State's 5-yard line.
"The turnover situation is always a concern. If you look at us now, I think we're a minus two on the year. The turnover/takeaway thing is always critical and certainly when you're going to play a team that's as crafty as Eastern — they do stunts, they shift their line and they give you multiple looks and they're very quick and athletic. They're not as big as SEC teams are typically but they are very quick and active," Brooks said.
Eastern redshirt freshman quarterback T.J. Pryor has thrown for 1,590 yards and four touchdowns and has rushed for 193 yards and four touchdowns. The top rusher is C.J. Walker with 516 yards and seven scores while Garnett Phelps, who had a career-high 15 catches for 119 yards two weeks ago, had 48 catches for 610 yards and two touchdowns.
"The redshirt freshman has got a good arm. He's a taller, lanky guy that is athletic and runs the ball well," Brooks said.
Brooks said receiver Cody Wells also creates some problems when he moves to quarterback.
"The other one is playing receiver but he comes in and does some things at quarterback as well. So we're going to see portions of the same offense we've seen for now the last three games with a little bit more of a throwing game than some teams we have played," Brooks said.
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
1 p.m. Saturday, Lexington
LAST MEETING (9-1-07)
Kentucky is 4-0 against the state's regional universities, including 2-0 against Eastern Kentucky.