LEXINGTON Ky. — The Wildcats finished their midweek practice Wednesday and defensive players and coaches were available to talk afterward ahead of the Alabama game.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium and the game will be broadcast on ESPN. Here’s what you need to know from the latest round of interviews.
What we learned
- Jalen Hurts is the first true freshman quarterback to start at Alabama since 1984, and count Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot in the can’t-believe-he’s-a-freshman camp: “He’s extremely talented, very athletic, a strong arm — for a freshman he’s really got a grasp for that offense. It’s very impressive.”
- Sophomore OLB Denzil Ware is coming off the biggest game of his career against South Carolina, and he’s not getting as caught up in the face off with Hurts: “He’s nothing that we haven’t seen before,” Ware said. “I’ve played against Lamar Jackson who’s considered to be the next Michael Vick.” Ware was quick to follow up with his respect for the Crimson Tide.
- Kentucky is a 32.5-point underdog in Saturday’s matchup. The Wildcats don’t have many options other than embracing the role and seeing what happens: “There’s a lot of teams that aren’t gonna give us a chance because we’re Kentucky and we’ve struggled a little bit, but we’re getting better every week and our only emphasis is to get better ourselves,” linebacker Courtney Love said.
- Nose guard Matt Elam has been used less against spread offenses, but Eliot said he’ll get his chances against Alabama: “I think so,” Eliot said. “Matt, his strength is his size and he’s hard to move. Power run teams and teams that have bigger personnel groups out there are more of his fit.”
- Defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh said Elam thrives against big offensive sets: “That’s where his bread and butter is,” Brumbaugh said. “We talk about it all the time. In the NFL some of those big noses, they play 25 to 30 plays a game but make millions of dollars. That’s his job.”
Watch: Courtney Love interview
Quote of the day
“We don’t have nothing to lose. That’s why we’re going out there and we’re going to give it all we got cause at the end of the day we have something to prove to ourselves, and we we have something to prove to the world that we’re not scared and that we want our respect.” — Denzil Ware, sophomore outside linebacker.
- Junior WR Dorian Baker is getting closer to returning from a nagging hamstring injury.
- Sophomore LB Kobie Walker is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. Eliot said he’s practicing but not at 100 percent.