Wideout LaRod King likes what he has seen on the practice field this week--he just wishes he had seen it earlier.
"They're motivated. It kinda makes me mad that it takes a loss to Florida to get them motivated. It should have been that way from day one," King said.
What about the dropped passes, a malady that has affect King and almost everyone else in the wide receiver corps.
"Definitely it is a mental thing. Everybody here can catch," King said. "We've got a lot of young guys and when you get to the game, the atmosphere is totally different and it's something that comes with experience."
Football coaches always preach about the importance of field position and here are some stats to drive that point home as it pertains to the Wildcats.
In the last two games, UK has started only one drive outside its own 40-yard line--and the Wildcats converted that one good-field-position-opportunity into a touchdown. Once UK crosses the opponents' 40, Morgan Newton's completion rate is 61 percent but it drops to 45% when the Cats are inside their 40-yard line. Inside his own 20, Newton's completion rate falls to 38 percent (numbers courtesy of cfbstats.com).
If Kentucky is fortunate enough to cross LSU's 40 this Saturday, then the numbers say put the ball in the air. LSU is allowing a 73 percent completion rate but less than one yard per rushing attempt.
Turnovers have been the biggest thorn in UK's side through four games. And LSU ranks fourth in the nation in turnover margin, with 11 takeaways versus only three turnovers commited by the Tigers. And turnovers have been a big problem for Kentucky. This season and last, in seven SEC losses, the Cats have given it away 21 times. It's hard to beat mediocre teams doing that, much less really good ones.
Joker Phillips had one of his best nights as a player when Kentucky won at LSU in 1983, 21-13.
Phillips caught two touchdown passes from Randy Jenkins to spark a second-half comeback for the Wildcats. UK scored only its only first-half points on the game's fourth play, when cornerback Kerry Baird picked off a pass and returned in 35 yards to paydirt.
Cawood Ledford would later note in his radio broadcast that the final score was "Franklin-Simpson 21, LSU 13," since Phillips and Baird were both FSHS products. Phillips says some folks in his hometown had bumper stickers printed up with those words on them.