After coming so close to taking down a top-ten team, one would think Kentucky’s players would be a little melancholy at Monday’s press conference. It was the exact opposite. DL Tristian Johnson, OT Kevin Mitchell, and DE/LB Bud Dupree met with the media, and were proud of the way their team fought against South Carolina. All three guys were excited about the prospects of this team going forward, and hope to stun a physical Mississippi State team this weekend.
-Johnson was very impressed with the performance of the defense on Saturday. He thinks if the group can continue to play at the level they showed against the Gamecocks, they can be a “really good defense.”
-The series that stands out in Johnson’s mind was the goal line stand Kentucky had in the first half. Johnson said the coaching staff keeps saying the group is “really close” to being the type of group they know they can be.
-DT Mister Cobble (infection) suited up for the game, but didn’t log any snaps. Johnson expects him back this weekend, though. Both guys will likely share time on the field.
-Dupree thinks the defense is still struggling at the point of attack because of a lack of size up front. Being without the 330-plus of Cobble surely didn’t help the matter.
-Dupree believes that his linebacker group is playing well, but they have to hit running holes a little faster. A couple of big plays were given up to USC RB Marcus Lattimore because they weren’t able to get to their spots in time. Dupree thinks they will be able to adjust quickly, and will be a lot better against Mississippi State.
-Mitchell was very impressed with QB Jalen Whitlow’s poise in Saturday’s game. “He’s a young quarterback and he’ll figure it out. He’s learning more and more of the playbook.”
-Nothing changes for the offensive line without QB Maxwell Smith under center. “We still have to block. We have to continue to play hard no matter who is behind us,” Mitchell said.
Coach Phillips‘ press conference video will be up in just a bit. He talked extensively about the quarterback position going forward… a must watch. Stay tuned.