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UK shifts schedule ahead preparing for Thursday game

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Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot

With Kentucky set to play its first Thursday night conference game in six seasons this week, the Wildcats have shifted their practice schedule ahead by two days.

The Cats prepared for Mississippi State on Saturday and Sunday as they would on a typical Monday and Tuesday.

"We just took an approach like it was a regular Tuesday and they went out there and practiced like it was a regular Tuesday," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said on Sunday.

With no game on Saturday, players and coaches were able to watch more games from around the Southeastern Conference. What they saw was one of the most memorable days of upsets in recent memory.

"I think the league is a strong league and every week you gotta come to play regardless who you're playing," Eliot said. "This weekend just justified that. All those teams that got those upsets are on our schedule and we still gotta play them. We just approach it one week at a time and know that there's no shortcuts in this league. I think that every team in this league knows that."

Unranked Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt defeated No. 6 LSU, No. 11 South Carolina and No. 15 Georgia, respectively. No. 24 Auburn also took down No. 7 Texas A&M on the road.

"I wish we could have played yesterday," defensive end Bud Dupree said, smiling. "We probably would have upset somebody real big."

As much as the Cats feel like they missed out, the string of upsets serves as a reminder of why they continue to work so hard each day.

"I don't feel like we've laid down all year," linebacker Avery Williamson said. "I feel like we've just given up certain plays and then played good at times. I definitely feel like we've been continuing to fight. If we keep that mentality, we can still win some games in the second half of the season."

Also working in UK's favor looking ahead to the second half off the season is a bye week well spent. Williamson, nursing a bone bruise, was wearing only a wrap on his injured hand after previously playing with a cast. Dupree, meanwhile, said he was allowed much more contact on Sunday as he recovers from an injured pectoral muscle that kept him out against Alabama.

"I feel like we're significantly healthier and the off week was good for us for that reason," Eliot said.

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