By LARRY VAUGHT
Recovering a fumbled punt against Vanderbilt that led to a Kentucky touchdown was a big play for redshirt freshman linebacker Eli Brown.
But it was not a confidence-building play.
“I always had confidence in myself but I am a hard critic. I feel like there is a lot more to improve. I am never satisfied. I am not going to live on that hype,” said Brown. “I never played special teams in high school. That was my break time. Now any chance I get to get on the field, I am going to take it and do 100 percent of all I can.”
Brown certainly is playing more this year since he was redshirted last season. And he has impressed his coaches at times with what he’s done on the regular defense.
“I take what the coach gives me. I am not the guy to bring bad vibes. When the coach says, ‘Go in,’ I am going in locked and loaded,” Brown said. “Right now they need me on special teams and I am in 110 percent. If they want me to go in on defense, I will do it. They needed me at Alabama and I stepped up and played like they needed.”
Brown said going into the season that he felt the healthiest he has in years. Midway of the season going into Saturday night’s game with Mississippi State, that has changed.
“I am banged up. It’s college football. You have to learn to play with injuries and fight through it,” Brown said. “In high school, you get breaks and then coaches tell you to sit out. In college, you got to practice every day. No matter who you are, you are going to practice. I love that about college.
“But I feel like you get more beat up in practice than games. It’s hard. If you play that hard in practice, then games are easier.”
Brown likes the vibe going into Saturday night’s game that UK fans hope will propel the Cats to at least three more wins and a bowl bid.
“We are feeling comfortable now. Not to the point we are relaxed, but like we can play with any team. We go in not second guessing ourselves and we practice like we are going to win,” Brown said.