While you were getting ready for the Blue-White game last night, Shannon Dawson, Patrick Towles, Boom Williams, C.J. Conrad, Jeff Badet, and Sihiem King all met with the media after Tuesday’s practice.
Here are the five main points from the meeting:
The team had an open forum on Monday. Right before one of the toughest stretches of the season, several players spoke in a team meeting. “We had some players get up and say something,” said Towles. “We’re a very tight knit group. we’re definitely a family and families have their problems and were no different from that. The important thing is how you handle them and how you respond to them. I think we did that well and I think practice today was super sharp.” Towles hinted at this and spoke about avoiding complacency. “Last year we had the tendency to get complacent towards the end of the season, and I definitely don’t see any hint of that right now and I don’t think that will be an issue,” said Towles. The team knows there are adjustments that need to be made heading into the final five games of the season. The vibe from today’s interviews is that there is no panic and that everyone is coming together for the common goal.
Kentucky could not exercise the long ball against MSU. “They played two safeties back; when people play back you’ve got to take underneath stuff and run the ball,” said Dawson. “You can’t force things vertical, which, probably at times, I did, because I want to take shots.” Mississippi State forced Kentucky to take underneath routes and protected their corners against UK’s explosive wideouts. “They didn’t give us many looks to push the ball down the field,” said Towles. “When you’re down you’ve got to throw the ball and we were put in some unfavorable situations and that’s because their defense is really talented.”
We will see more of Sihiem King. Dawson said King will “absolutely” get more reps earlier in games. King ran for 31 yards on three carries on Saturday. “I always tell kids to give me a reason to play you more, so he went out and gave us a reason to play him more.”
Tennessee is extremely active on athletic on defense. “They play extremely hard and their D-line coach has done a great job with those guys,” said Dawson. “They are active and they get off blocks. They do a good job of getting seams and hitting them. Well coached, good, athletic defense.” Towles added his thoughts on Tennessee’s defense. “They’re super athletic up front and they get lots of tackles for loss. Their linebackers are super aggressive and play downhill.”
Towles is ready to play Tennessee. “I think I missed some throws and I wasn’t necessarily accurate,” said Towles on his performance last year against Tennessee. “I know for a fact I’m better with the football, I’m throwing way better than I was last year. Being a Kentucky fan, I love playing Tennessee. I have a lot of fun doing it and I take a lot of pride with how I play against them.” Towles will look to improve on a performance where he completed just over half his passes for 168 yards and an interception last year in Knoxville.