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From the Pressbox: Friday Notes

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Kentucky has not committed a turnover in the past two games--something that had not been done since a three-game stretch to start last season. And the last time it happened in back-to-back SEC games was the contests against South Carolina and Auburn in 2009.

And Vandy quarterback Jordan Rodgers has not thrown an interception in his last two games.

Which rookie quarterback will blink tomorrow--if either will?


"One thing Max does not lack is confidence, which is a good thing. I don't think he's cocky but he is confident."

That's UK offensive coordinator Randy Sanders' assessment of freshman Max Smith's personality as a quarterback. Smith is the kind of QB who doesn't let a mistake affect the next play but Sanders also knows that Smith has some mistakes from which he needs to learn. One example is to make the opponent pay when you have the right play called against their defensive scheme.

"You gotta keep throwing it and taking your shots. If we had really been on our game, we'd have had 35 points in the first half," Sanders said after the game. "You can't miss those plays. (I told him) 'if you're going to be the type of quarterback you want to be and I want you to be, we can't let those oportunities get away from us'. You only get so many opportunities in a game and you got to take advantage of them."


Kentucky is a huge favorite to win its season opener tonight against Marist but game two next Tuesday night in New York will have the Cats facing a challenge expected to be considerably tougher in Kansas.

But ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes says Bill Self's team should be a notch or two below the level at which KU has played the past couple of seasons.

"They are a different team. Kansas will step back a little bit from where they have been," Dykes said on "The Leach Report" radio show recently. "They don't have the talent, or pros they have had in the past. With that said, they will still be terrific. They will be well-coached.

"It may look different than other Kansas teams. They will have to rely on their defense and fight for loose balls. It's built around Taylor and Robinson. If those two guys have great years, Kansas will be good," he added. "If those two guys have good years, Kansas will have a good year."

Dykes got a chance to see Kentucky in person last month when he covered Big Blue Madness for ESPNU. And he thinks the Wildcats' defense could be a key component to getting their offense clicking.

"When you are built to defend like they are, obviously you want to get turnovers, block shots and go. They need to score in transition and get the ball on the defeinsive end on the floor and turn turnovers into points. That is one way to score," Dykes observed. "I think this is a team that Anthony Davis can shoot, Kyle Wiltjer can shoot, Terrence Jones can shoot and they need to allow those guys to get around the perimeter and have a threat to shoot. Those are two components Kentucky will use all year long. How to dribble drive, set screens - Calipari will figure that out. He has a lot of things to work with."

And Dykes left with a very strong impression of the Cats' four-man freshman class.

"Teague is the next point guard in line going back to Calipari's days in Memphis. He doesn't come in with the accolades the others had coming in but he is going to do pretty good. He is really good defensively, and might be as good as Calipari has had as a freshman point guard," said Dykes. "Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a warrior. He is a classic 6'7 guy who wants to be great. He knows that he is best at attacking the basket and can rebound, play hard, a loose ball-getter, he can defend multiple positions. Kyle Wiltjer, . that kid is skilled. He can shoot and pass and has a feel for the game. Anthony Davis is a combination of being 6'10 and explosive and quick. That guy is special"

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