Rich Brooks took to the stage today with his weekly Monday press conference and, despite sounding like he’s either battling a cold or regretting smoking a carton of Kool’s in celebration of Saturday’s win, he had some things to say in anticipation of the Mississippi State “Black Out”.
On Injuries: Trevard Lindley ran yesterday and is sore today, so they’ll see tomorrow how he feels tomorrow. Lindley, accoridng to Brooks is more on the doubtful side than the questionableside . Also, Micah Johnson had an MRI and it showed an isolated MCL tear. His status will be determined this week. He’s questionable to doubtful as of now. Also, he said again that Mike Hartline’s progress is coming along slowly and they’ll likely know soon if he’ll be available at all this season.
On Mississippi State: Very impressed with how their defense plays and that they put a lot of pressure on Tim Tebow. Offensively, able to move the ball and do some good things against Florida and had an outstanding offensive game against LSU, which they should have won. “Very good football team and we’re going to have our hands full”.
On success against the West lately: Brooks asked “Do I get credit for the 7-4 record? Does that make me a winning coach now?”. He also said that the problems UK faces in the East are more defined as the streaks they have to get over and the humps they’ve traditionally felt. A little more inconsistency with the teams in the West and less focus on a losing streak makes it easier.
On black uniforms: “I haven’t seen black in our school colors. I think we’re blue and white. I’m an old traditionalist, I guess. They tried to sell me on black shoes a few times too and that didn’t work out.”
On similarities betweent the two teams: He said both UK and MSU look at each other as the “have to beat them” game on the schedule because both face such top-tier teams regularly. They both want to get to the top, but they face the same difficulties.
On UK’s rush defense: So far, they’ve had one really bad game (Florida). He thought they did a good job against Alabama despite Ingram having a few good runs. He said it’s better than it looks statistically. Micah Johnson’s availability will affect how well their run defense plays although he thinks Ronnie Sneed has a good future at middle linebacker ahead of him. But, Brooks added, “When facing a big phyisical running back, you want a big physical linebacker in there”.
On the passing game: “Our downfield passing is not good and neither is our mid-field or short field passing.” It’s a little more difficult to get the consistency with mixing quarterbacks and the Wildcat, but they have to do that because the running game is the strength right now.