LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Wildcats are in the middle of preparing for Vanderbilt and defensive players and coaches were available to talk after practice Wednesday.
Kickoff against the Commodores is set for 4 p.m. ET Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network. Here’s what you need to know from the latest round of interviews.
What we learned
- Last year’s loss to Vanderbilt was still on Mark Stoops’ mind Monday, and sophomore CB Derrick Baity said Kentucky still has a sour taste from that game. Both teams are sitting at 2-3 and a loss will push either team to the bottom of the SEC East: “I feel like this is our defining moment right here,” Baity said. “This would give us the confidence we need to go into the meat of the season.”
- Sophomore DE Denzil Ware sees Saturday as a revenge game: “We’re gonna give them boys everything we got because, like I said, that game last year really hurt the team a lot. We really want this win.”
- Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said the Wildcats are getting closer to being two-deep at several positions. One of those is linebacker where redshirt freshman Eli Brown and freshman Kash Daniel are both expected to see more reps moving forward. Here’s what Eliot said about Brown’s progression: “Eli was just with our scout team last year and didn’t get any reps within our scheme, so where he needs to work is continuing to understand the scheme and execute the scheme,” Eliot said. “He’s getting better, so that’s why Eli is getting more playing time and I think the better he gets the more playing time he’ll see and the more plays he’ll make.”
- Junior LB Courtney Love has noticed Brown filling in for leading tackler Jordan Jones when needed: “For Eli to step in there and come in and replace him, and play just as good as Jordan, it’s phenomenal,” Love said. “That just shows you the amount of growth that we have in our second group.”
- Brown’s felt himself improve in the ways Eliot and Love talked about: “It’s a big jump from the first game to now,” Brown said. “The very first game, if you watch film, I was getting thrown around. The speed was just totally different. But now I’m settling in, I can move with the speed of the game.”
- Sophomore DE Kengera Daniel and sophomore LB Jordan Bonner were two other young players Eliot named that could see the field more often.
- Eliot was asked what he’s seen on film of Vanderbilt: “They make sure that they’re gonna keep the ball in their offense’s hands, and they do that by running and effective pro-style offense, and like I said, they run the ball very well and we’ve got to be able to stop them,” he said.
Watch: D.J. Eliot interview
Quote of the day
“We’ve gotta win this game. That’s the type of game it is. We have to win.” — Derrick Baity on playing Vanderbilt