LEXINGTON Ky. — They’ll be on opposite sides of the field when Kentucky’s defense makes its first appearance of the new season, but that’s as far apart as Chris Westry and Derrick Baity get.
The sophomore cornerback duo is the diamond of the UK defense. Westry on one side, Baity on the other. Westry at 6-foot-4, Baity at 6-foot-3. Westry started all 12 games in his freshman season, Baity played in all 12 and started the final four of 2015.
The numbers show the similarities, but it goes beyond that for the two Florida natives—Westry from Orange Park and Baity from Tampa.
“That entire group is tight, but Derrick and Chris of course,” defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale said. “They’re like best friends.”
They’ve lived together since moving off campus after their freshmen season. Bowling, go-karts, mini golf and movies are just a few of their escapes from football.
“Outside of here, we’re pretty much the best of buds,” Westry said. “We’re two chill dudes when it comes to outside of football because we don’t want to be too tense 24/7.”
The friendship will function differently under the lights at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Southern Miss. Westry and Baity will be staring across at Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens, an all-conference player with multiple school records. Coach Mark Stoops said Wednesday that Mullens will be one of the best quarterbacks UK will face all year.
“He’s pretty much proved his colors,” Westry said.
And now Westry and Baity have a chance to prove theirs.
“If you play defensive back, if you play corner, you’re going to give up some passes,” Stoops said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s just the way it is. But it’s on to the next play and we have to win our fair share.”
Corner can be a lonely position with the one-on-one matchups on the edge of the field, but Baity and Westry don’t see it that way.
“Being out there with each other,” Baity said, “it just comes natural for us.”
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