Four days removed from making his first career collegiate start, Matt Elam told reporters in Lexington Wednesday that the Mississippi State loss had him feeling discouraged.
The sophomore nose guard was part of a Kentucky defense that gave up a season-high 42 points and relinquished six touchdowns to Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott.
Elam has taken over for senior Melvin Lewis, the starting nose tackle who fractured his fibula and is out for the season. For the sophomore, his sudden role change has come with a new set of adjustments, as well.
Elam said his nose guard position is one of the most misunderstood by casual fans. Got lots of "you suck" from folks. "I took it hard."
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) October 28, 2015
But while Elam wasn’t satisfied, his defensive coordinator, D.J. Eliot, said he was pleased with the performance he saw. Elam’s strongest suit doesn’t lie in the pass rush, but his ability to limit the run game is to Kentucky’s liking.
“He was a very good run stopper. I thought he held his gap well and I thought that he shut down the middle, which is the job of a nose guard,” Eliot said, according to the Courier-Journal. “Obviously he has things that he can get better at. As far as stopping the run, I thought that he did a good job and did his responsibility.”