"You don't compete, you're going to get embarrassed out here. I feel like we're going to be a better team because of it."
That assessment comes from senior Darius Miller, who says coach Calipari's praise of Terrence Jones' work ethic on the practice floor is not an exaggeration.
"T Jones is extremely focused. You could see it in the way he prepares himself for practice and how he trains," Miller said.
Two years ago, the UK men's basketball team broke out black uniforms for a game honoring the late Mr. Wildcat, Bill Keightley. And later that year, coach Billy Gillispie brought them out for an SEC Tournament matchup with top-seeded LSU as a motivational ploy.
Miller remembers how excited the players were so he completely understands the buzz about the new black uni's for the football team this week.
"We really enjoy it, just mixing it up and getting a new look," he said. "Hopefully we get a chance to do something like that, too."
It wasn't anything fancy that got UK's offensive line playing better.
"Just trying to focus on our assignments and improving our technique," said senior left guard Stuart Hines after practice Tuesday. "We've been trying to stay positive. Now, we're just trying to keep the momentum going."
And Hines admitted that it felt good for him and his O-line mates to hear positive reviews.
"Obviously there are still things we need to clean up," he acknowledged, "but it was nice to get a little bit of praise."
It's obvious that the loss of all of the big play guys from last year's football team has taken a significant toll on this season's offense. But here's numerical verification:
Kentucky ranks 118th in the nation in plays of 10 or more yards with only 58 of them. Last season, with Randall Cobb, Derrick Locke, et al, Kentucky ranked 30th with 198 (according to cfbstats.com)
"The yardage kinda snuck up on me. I didn't know I had that many," said Coshik Williams of his career-best 148 rushing yards last Saturday in the win over Jacksonville State.
And Williams made sure to take care of the guys who took care of him.
"After every play, I tried to congratulate guys becuase they did really good," he said of the offensive line. "I feel like they've got their confidence back."
How did a young man from Hiram, GA end up being a walk-on player at the University of Kentucky?
"Trevard, he told me to give them a tape," Williams said of former UK star Trevard Lindley, himself a product of Hiram. "He gave it to coach Joker and he (Joker) to me to come up. It's alwasy tough sitting on the bench. But you just have to be patient and humble and when your chance comes, be ready to go. When guys go down, somebody has to step up."
And step up he did.