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From the Pressbox: Previewing Central Michigan

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Junior offensive lineman Larry Warford won't pull any punches when it comes to acknowledging a subpar outing for him and his mates in UK's front wall.  But the preseason All-SEC right guard is also confident in how that group will respond.

"If we're going to be the strength of this team, we can never have a game like that--and we won't from here on out."

Warford says most of the breakdowns were technical and thus, can easily be corrected in time for tomorrow's game against Central Michigan.  And being at home will be a nice boost, too.

"We need our fans with us.  We need support.  We have a great fan base here and that's not going to be a problem."

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The O-line wasn't the only part of the offensive unit to draw the ire of the Big Blue Nation. 

With seven dropped passes, the wide receiver corps got a big share of the criticism after the 14-3 win over Western Kentucky and wideouts coach Tee Martin has had a simple message for his guys this week.

"Make the plays when they come to you.  Pretty simple.  If we had made some plays early, we would feel a whole lot better about the (Western) game," said Martin.

Martin says confidence is a big key for a receiver and so as their coach, he's not going to join the critics in piling on.

"We got keep giving those guys confidence and keep believing in them.  We have who we have.  We're going to mix some guys around.  Guys have got to be consistent and make plays.  We're coaching them up and I'm confident in these guys," Martin explained.  "Those are my guys.          

"I was on a national championship team where the first game was uglier than that and we won it by one point.  We learned a lot about ourselves, what they do well and what they don't do well," he continued.  "It's one game.  I look forward to Saturday and seeing how much better they'll get."

A freshman, Demarco Robinson, figures to play a bigger role in the offense this week.  Martin says the rookie from Georgia flashed a confident attitude last week.

"He didn't flinch at all and that gave me some confidence that the little man might be ready to go do it," said Martin.  "We're going to put him out there and see what he has."

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Central Michigan won its opener 21-6 over South Carolina State last Thursday and CMU radio voice Don Chiodo got a chance to catch the second half of the UK-WKU game on TV.

"It looked like a first game for a team that was struggling on offense and we kinda had the same thing," he observed in an interview on Wednesday's "LeachReport" radio show.

CMU ended a run of four consecutive bowl games with a 3-9 finish last season.

"Last year, we had a lot of close games.  We lost five games by a touchdown or less," he noted.  "Had a lot of trouble with the kicking game."  A negative-11 turnover margin was also a major factor, he said.

When the Chippewas threw a scare into Kentucky back in 2006, they had an NFL-caliber dual-threat QB in Dan Levour.  Ryan Radcliff runs the show now for CMU.

"(He) has a better arm than Dan but he doesn't move around as well in the pocket.  If he's on, he throws it about as well as anybody in the midwest," Chiodo said.

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UK grad assistant coach Tommy Cook is one of the few people in the UK football program right now who was on the campus here when 9-11 happened a decade ago. 

"I had just gotten done with a 6 a.m. lift and the news was on and the entire group was huddled around, trying to find out what was going on," said Cook, then a wideout for coach Guy Morriss' team. 

"We didn't practice.  We came in and (coach Morriss) addressed the team in a meeting and said 'go home, call family and friends'.  We didn't know about our game that weekend and it was a little bit of an adjustment.  But that was the least of everybody's concerns because we did have some guys on the team with family members up there," he continued.   "They found pretty quick that everybody was okay.

"You just took a step back and see what really mattered," Cook added, "and what matters today."

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