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Jokers Thoughts on Auburn Loss
We are at that all so familiar place. Another week and another loss for the Kentucky Wildcats football team. Despite a comeback effort, the Wildcats have again fallen short of getting back into the winning game and bringing in their first SEC win of the season. Now, they have to face the team that defeated the number one squad in the nation, South Carolina. Before then, the Auburn loss will be dissected. We start with Jokers thoughts.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
First, our injury situation: Cartier Rice had a quad which happened on Wednesday and did not play, and Evans tweaked his ankle again, and played a few plays. Derrick Locke had a left shoulder, left and right shoulder, a stinger, and then he had a bruised elbow. So that’s the reason why he didn’t go back in the game.
First, my heart aches for these guys. They played their hearts out we asked them to come in and prepare like champions on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and we got that. I told you guys. We prepared like a big-time football team’s supposed to prepare.
I mean, our guys were into it, played hard, played inspired, played with emotions. Made plays when we needed to have them made, just came up a little short.
But my heart aches for those guys because I asked those guys to play and leave everything on the field, play with heart, play with emotions and they did it.
0-3 in the league, but we’re back home next week with South Carolina, and we’ve got to prepare the same way. For three solid days we’ve got to get ourselves physically and mentally ready to get up to play a South Carolina team that’s playing good football at this point.
[I]Is that the way, in the second half, you expect your defense to play all season?[/I]
Exactly. We’ve got to get stops. We’ve got to get stops. Our defense created a lot of stops in the second half, and our offense just came up a little short in the two series. Which is a bad time, because we had been moving the ball pretty well, and we kind of sputtered in the two series.
We’ve got to put points on the board when we get stops, especially the way they had played in the first half. I mean, we didn’t get them stopped in the first half, and we were down two scores. We had a big kick right before the half. Made it a two-score game, and we needed to come out and play fast, give us a stop then go put points on the board.
We got a turnover, and we didn’t get anything out of it, and the second series was the same. It was not until the third series, I think, that we got something on the board.
We’ve got to, when we get the momentum, we’ve got to take advantage of it, and our offense didn’t in the first two series of the second half.
[I]Did you do anything different in the second half? [/I]
No, played technique, stayed in gaps, and blitzed them when we had the chance. Throwing downs is when you need to call up blitzes against an offense like that. So we got them in some third and longs that they were able to come with some heat on it. Made a couple of plays, made a couple of stops and got the offense with some opportunities.
[I]What is your thought as they got to the 15-yard line in the last minute and a half? Did you consider to let them score and try to get the ball back? [/I]
No, no. Anything can happen. I mean, we’re playing for the turnover; that’s what we’re playing for. We’re not playing to let them score. We’re playing for the turnover.
They put the ball on the ground four times tonight. We didn’t get any. The ball bounced — didn’t bounce our way tonight. But we were playing to get a turnover. We weren’t playing to let them score.
[I]Can you talk about Cobb’s performance tonight?[/I]
Not much needs to be said. If you watch the game, this guy’s the best football player I’ve ever been around. Just makes plays. From the time he’s got the ball in his hands, something exciting is going to happen.
He’s hard to tackle. He makes people miss. He catches the ball in tight spaces. Not blessed with great speed, not a real strong guy, just makes plays. He’s got the knack of making plays. He has “it.” And we’ve tried to describe what “it” is numerous times, you guys have. I don’t know what “it” is. But we need to get more guys that have “it.”
Have you learned a little something about your team when they come back in the last half?
I always knew what this team was about. This team will fight you to there are zeros on the clock. This team has heart; there’s no question about that. I hope everybody else recognizes that. This is a team that has a lot of heart and will fight you till the zero is on the clock.
[I]After you tied the game in the fourth quarter, did you ever think your team wouldn’t get the ball back? [/I]
No, there was no doubt in my mind that we would get them stopped and our offense is moving the ball on them. There was no doubt in my mind that we’re going to win the game.
I mean, they try a reverse and we tipped the ball. Actually tipped, get a fingernail on the ball and it kicks right back to them. If we get just a pinky on it, it probably kicks away from them. We got just a fingernail on it, it kicks right back to them. We get them backed up, and there is no doubt in my mind that we’re going to hold them because we’ve held them the whole second half.
Only given up three points, and there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to get them stopped and our offense was moving the ball on them. There was no doubt that we were going to go down and score.
[I]I assume they’re a Top 10 team and they come in and you guys are so competitive. But do you worry about the psyche of a team when you’re on a losing streak and you lose one this close?[/I]
No, you guys asked me that question last week, too. Many of you thought this team was down and out. This team is a team of fighters, and we’ll be ready next week. We’ll prepare the way we need to prepare over these next three days. Prepare our minds mentally on Friday, Saturday and be ready to play again next week.
There is no doubt in my mind that this team will be ready to play next week. And last week it was the same question, and I had no doubt last week, and it showed. This is a team that has a lot of heart.
[I]The defense played with a lot more emotion in the second half? Did you say something to get them going? [/I]
We talked about it in the first half, too. That was just not something because we’re down 14 we’re going to talk about it. I thought they did, yeah. But I think a lot of that starts when you get them stopped.
We made a couple plays, and got them stopped, and, therefore, you start playing with a little bit more excitement, a little bit more energy, little bit more juice. After the first interception, it got the defense going, and the stops started coming after that.
[I]What did you think about Mike Hartline’s performance?[/I]
What was he? 23 or 28, couple drops. 25 or 28? I mean, Hartline’s playing his tail off for us. Please, you’ve got to recognize that. You have got to recognize that Mike Hartline’s playing like an SEC quarterback’s supposed to play.
He hasn’t taken sacks. He didn’t turn the ball over at all tonight. He made some big time throws, the slant throughout to Randall. That is a big time throw. That is an SEC quarterback. That is a big-time throw in any league.
You’ve been on the end of it as a player or assistant, does it hurt more?
No, they all hurt. They all rip your guts out. Whether you’re a player, I don’t feel any different than those players do, anybody, or those assistant coaches. They rip your gut out; there’s no question about that.
But we’ve got to pick ourselves up, still got a lot of football to play, and we’ll start getting prepared tomorrow.
[I]What did you think about Donald Russell’s performance?[/I]
He made people miss. Had a chance a couple times to pick up some blitzes and did that and made it. Made some plays down the stretch that gave us a chance to win the football game.