Brooks Talks Practice, Rivalries

Sept. 16, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A day after a disappointing performance on the practice field, Coach Rich Brooks felt better about Wednesday's workout and also gave some thoughts about the unpredictability of rivalry games, which his team has this week against Louisville.

“Practice was much better today, more focused, a little more attention to detail, which is something we need to do,” Brooks said. “It doesn't mean I'm less worried about anything (regarding the game) but I feel better about how we practiced.”

As a veteran coach, Brooks has a long history with rivalry games. As head coach at Oregon, he had a 14-3-1 record in the “Civil War” against Oregon State. His first four Kentucky teams lost to Louisville before bouncing back with victories the last two seasons.

The UK-UofL series has been very unpredictable since the renewal in 1994, with so-called favorites and home-field advantage seeming to mean little toward the outcomes.

“Because it's, as much as anything, an emotional game,” Brooks said of those unexpected trends. “Usually the underdog has more emotion because they hear it year-long. What my concern is we have to match or surpass that emotion and make sure we continue to execute while we do that.

“I've been upset and I've upset other people being heavy underdogs. Point spreads, other than giving fans and public something to either get happy about or grouse about, it really is meaningless, particularly in a rival game.”

The Wildcats play host to the Cardinals on Saturday at noon. The game is a sellout and will be televised on ESPNU, along with Insight Cable in Lexington and Louisville.

Injury Updates for the Louisville game: