The loss to Texas A&M hurt more than most losses. The wait to shake off the loss lasted too long.
“It was a long week. The guys were ready to get back out here and get back to work,” Terry Wilson said after today’s practice. “I just wish we could’ve kept going.”
Kentucky played far from perfect football, yet still had a chance to win at Kyle Field. The win that slipped from their grasp hurt, and they couldn’t beat out the bad feelings on another opponent the following Saturday.
“I tell ya, after that Texas A&M loss, it really upset a lot of us. For the lack of a better term, it pissed us off,” said C.J. Conrad. “I personally haven’t felt that way after a loss in a long time. I think that’s what kind of has motivated us to stay one game at a time because we don’t want to have that feeling again.”
In their first game week practice since the loss, Kentucky brought a vindictive attitude. They practiced like a team ready to right their wrongs.
“We had great energy at practice today. We had a great bye week and got healthy. The energy was up today at practice,” Conrad said.
His offensive coordinator agreed. “I loved where they were today,” Eddie Gran said. He has seen teams fly out of the gates coming off a bye week, while others have fallen flat.
“You’ve gotta be somewhere in between. You gotta come out, you gotta be consistent, you gotta have the energy, you gotta have the enthusiasm, you gotta be focused and locked in.”
Last year the Kentucky football team fell flat out of the bye week, blown out 45-7 in Starkville. It all started in practice. Mark Stoops met with his player unity council earlier this week to show them what went wrong.
“Some of our levels in practice weren’t very high and it was a direct reflection of how we played,” Conrad said. “This week at practice it’s nothing crazy. We just have to keep the intensity up and practice hard. That’s what we did today and we’re on good track right now.”
Drake Jackson is Back
Jackson said it would’ve been tough to play last Saturday, but this week he is feeling much better. He’s still considered day-to-day but the plan is to play against Vanderbilt.
Integrating New Pieces
Part of the coaches’ Bye Week agenda is to self-scout and reevaluate their approach. One piece of the puzzle is adding a few new potential playmakers into the mix at wide receiver. Ahmad Wagner and Zy’Aire Hughes were the first two to emerge.
“They are improving and things are starting to click.” Gran said Wagner had two or three impressive catches in today’s practice, while Hughes has steadily shown more and more over the last three weeks.
Hughes’ Odd Nickname
The former McCracken County quarterback turned UK wide receiver is known by his teammates and coaches as ‘Fish.’ Why? I do not know, yet. The KSR investigative team will be on it ASAP.
Terry Touchdown Maker Dorian Baker
Want to hear more from the UK Football team? Listen to what Terry Wilson and Doran Baker had to say before they take on Vanderbilt Saturday night at Kroger Field.