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Cats have to start thinking only about Vols, forget Georgia

Terry Wilson (Vicky Graff Photo)

Hopefully this morning everyone with the Kentucky football team woke up thinking Tennessee, not Georgia.

It’s okay for fans to think back on Saturday’s 34-17 loss to Georgia in a game that could have sent UK to the SEC Championship game. But the coaches and players need to be thinking only about winning at Tennessee for the first time since 1984 and finishing the regular season 10-2.

That would secure a New Year’s Day bowl for Kentucky but losing at Tennessee would likely ruin that dream.

How does coach Mark Stoops make sure Saturday’s loss doesn’t turn into another loss at Tennessee because his team dwells on what might have been instead of what lies ahead?

You let them lean on the leaders of this football team. The guys, they are good in there. We got beat tonight, and we have to regroup and go about our business. We have strong leaders in there and I anticipate that we’ll be ready to go,” Stoops said after Saturday’s loss.

His players certainly said all the right things to make you believe that is exactly what will happen at Tennessee (4-5) when the Vols could use a win to help salvage another disappointing year for them.

“We know where our heads are at. We know what we have to do next week,” senior linebacker Josh Allen said.  “This game is in the past, we just got to  learn from our corrections and just move on and hopefully start Monday we can get back to practice and get a win next week.”

“We aren’t going to let this loss turn into two. Tomorrow is Sunday, we’re going to Tennessee, preparing for that week,” backup running back A.J. Rose said after the Georgia game. “We can’t let this happen again. We have a goal and we came short of that goal, but we still want to finish the SEC strong.”

“This team is special. I know we’ll win out,” quarterback Terry Wilson said. “The thing about this team is that we’re not going to give up.

“We have to continue to play hard and just keep getting after it. Keep working. We can’t get complacent and don’t get lazy and just stay united as a team and we’ll be fine.”

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  1. Yes we can move on and FINISH the season on a high note. The Georgia game is in the book no sense of swelling what ifcould have been done. We just got whip by a better team that’s all is to it. No complain from me because I saw some good things out of the game Saturday. We move the ball better than recent weeks. So let’s keep cheering them on for a date on New year date. GO cats!!

  2. UK can beat Tenn, but I want to see them get back to the way they were on defense. Our best Defense did not show up for Georgia. Earlier in the year, and then against Missouri in the second half, our defense really got after the opponent and had a lot of gang tackling. For some reason, they seemed to have a lot more enthusiasm in the second half against Missouri than they did against Georgia.
    Maybe being in the spotlight was just too distracting for them, I don’t know, but I do know Georgia did not get our “A” game from the Defense.
    Just need to get back to concentrating on playing D and they will be fine.

  3. Georgia has been in the playoff many times and runner up last year. This win gives them a rematch with the team that cost them the national championship. They have 17 – 4 & 5 Star players on the field. We had to play almost a perfect game to win and we fell short. It was not from lack of effort and we did not quit. We just got beat by a better team on that day!

    Our offense is getting better and there are just a few defenses that can slow Benny down. We can win the next game, if we give it our best effort and play up to our potential! Tennessee will not be easy, but it is a winnable game. Both Tennessee and Louisville can salvage a little pride by beating us. There is no such thing as an easy game anymore!

    Next years team can be as good or even better than this years team. Our defense will not be as strong, but still very good. Our offense should be much improved! Terry will have Bowden , Richardson and Robinson along with A. J. Rose and others for a much stronger offense.

    The future is certainly bright for UK Football. The last step is a strong raise and renegotiated contract for Mark Stoops and Matt House. We need for Mark to feel the love we show to Cal. Take him up to Cal’s pay level to keep him for a long time. Few programs have top ten teams in both basketball and football.

  4. UK should beat Tennessee on Saturday, but the question is how much this loss takes out of this team. That is a matter for Coach Stoops and these players to resolve, and hopefully, they already have done so.

    However, as a fan, this loss took a lot out of me. I have felt a gloom over a football loss like never before.

    I see UK v Tennessee as a 7-10 point UK win, and Vegas opened with UK by 4. I sure hope these projections are right on Saturday.

  5. We not only got beat by a better team but a better coaching staff as well and the difference for both was wider than final score might have indicated. There has been a loss of external confidence in the team as indicated by a 4 pt spread between # 12 team in the country and a struggling, unranked team. Let’s hope that this staff can keep the internal confidence under control and that the Cats can recover their swagger a little.

    The two biggest questions that I have are 1. Why have we regressed on both lines of scrimmage at this point in the season? The OL has not played well since A&M and the DL only faltered last weekend, but it is the depth of falling in just one week that has to be of concern. Why is it that all of a sudden we can’t tackle, maintain gap control and outside contain?, and 2. Why is it that our wide receivers never seem to be able to get open like they do on almost all other teams? This has been a problem for the last few years.

    1. It could be we have faced two quality teams in Georgia and Missouri. Look at what Missouri did to Florida and Georgia is strong except for LSU. All teams have off games in a season. In the past, we have had terrible second part of the football season. This Tennessee game will answer a lot of questions if this team can finish strong.

  6. Tennessee is a whole lot better than their record indicates, and they seem to have UK’s number in Knoxville. If UK don’t come to play Sat, and shed the
    Big Orange “mind game” they will fall. No win in Knoxville since 1984.

    The UK defense was “WHUPPED” not spanked against Georgia last Sat. UK must come in a bad mood against the Vols, no fear, and play like a ranked team. Again, Gran must use all of his play makers. I thought Gran called a fairly good game against Georgia. The problem was the UK OL was not opening holes for Snell against Georgia in the run game. That can’t happen again Sat for UK to have any chance. Stoops must get this team ready for a war. Tennessee will be jacked, just watch, and Neyland is a tough place to play and win in for Kentucky as history shows..

  7. Not sure how much is true, but one of the ESPN people stated that there has been some dissension in the UK locker room. Not sure how they know or what it is about but that would kind of explain some things.
    It would not surprise me if the Defense is getting tired of carrying the load for an offense that cannot move the ball. UK’s offense did move the ball some but with no results. UK didn’t get any real production until Georgia kind of pulled back because by then they knew they could do what they wanted, when they wanted.
    When UK came out and threw the ball on the first play, I thought Gran was going to really mix it up; however, that did not happen until the game was already decided. Wilson seems to do much better with a fast pace where he just has to react to what he sees.
    Stoops used to complain about his Defense getting tired because UK scored too quickly, so he fired the OC. I would rather have my Defense tired because we are scoring rather than being tired because we can’t move the ball.
    There has to be a balance and Gran just isn’t getting it done.

    1. Pure speculation! Our offense is young and inexperienced and our defense struggled for the pat two years and now with age and experience are having their breakout season. If anyone, the defense should understand what the offense is experiencing!

      The next few years we should start to experience a complete team and continue to grow stronger each year. Just be patient and enjoy the trip, we are about to take the step to the upper echelon of the SEC. It is so important that we support the team and reward the coaching staff to keep them at Kentucky.

      Chasing Alabama is difficult and requires constant effort. Just ask Georgia how hard they work and how much time it takes. Georgia is about to experience our situation in the SEC Championship game. We will see how they handle it.

    2. OF you and I agree on much, but the UK offense was not the biggest problem Sat. The 9th ranked Wildcat defense gave up 331 yards of rushing, and over 500 yards of total offense. That is what lost UK the game. That and all those 5* athletes Georgia has. As for ESPN, they hate UK. They will say anything to hurt UK. Earlier in the year they were trashing UK football, and do so every chance they get. It killed them that UK was in the East championship game, because UK had proven them wrong in 2018. The old Lee Corso hate UK attitude. You can’t go 7-1, and 5-1 in the SEC, and have a chance to play for an east championship with dissension in the locker room, No way. They lost because they were beaten by a much better football team, a team that has been there before.

  8. The only good thing about the loss is that we don’t have to play Bama. Stoops said today that Benny is beat up from all the snaps. Does he not realize that he bears some culpability for this? He was the one that hired this clueless Gran. Rose should be seeing a lot more action than he has, but we can say that about a lot of other offensive assets that don’t get the chance to show their abilities. FIRE GRAN!

    1. I don’t think Georgia beats Alabama, and I am no Kirby Smart fan, but I hope they do.

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