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Rich Brooks Press Conference Quotes - Jan. 5

Head Coach Rich Brooks

On the possibilities of getting a new defensive coordinator …
“Until I know different it will be the same as it was last year. I am sure we will have a chance to visit. Mike [Archer] is down at a clinic in Gatlinburg today and we will visit this weekend and see where it goes from there. That happens this time of year. When you have a good staff, it probably ought to happen. If you are doing the right things and you have good people on your staff then people should be interested in them, this year is no exception to that.”

On an out-pouring of support from his family and friends …
“I had a lot of family and friends there so that took care of a lot of it. Certainly I had a lot of phone messages and emails in the past week and it is always nice to touch base with some people you haven’t visited with in two or three months, or longer in some cases. Many people had a chance to see it on television and see the excitement on our sidelines and in the stands.”

On the Kentucky fans embracing him …
“It is kind of interesting how the rope burns on my neck have healed [laughter from the audience]. Even though I am the same guy that I was six months ago, three months ago, or six weeks ago, the perception is totally different at this point.”

On what he will remember about UK’s historic 2006 season …
“I am going to remember players who were committed to doing it the right way and committed to getting it done. They really just kept getting back to work and rolling up their sleeves until we got the thing right. It is a combination of things that have to happen, you see maturity in some players - they grow up. You see younger players emerge and start making plays, just a combination of a whole lot of things. You have to remember that everybody you play is trying to do the same things you are trying to do and you’re basically judged at the end of it by who wins and who didn’t. We got it turned to the point that we have accomplished some things that haven’t been accomplished here in a long time and I think that our players can take great pride in that. To me we talk about turning the corner and certainly this needs to become a habit not an aberration. We need to go back to postseason next year, and the year after, and the year after. And if you fail in any of those years, you don’t fail badly, you’re in the hunt, you are competitive, you are doing things that give you the opportunity to beat teams that Kentucky hasn’t beaten in a long time.”

On similarities between building UK and Oregon …
“Probably to the chagrin of a lot of people I talked a lot about the process there. I felt when I came here it wouldn’t take as long to get it done as it did there because there were so many things that had to be done there on top of getting better players and winning football games. You had to get a fan base, you had to build facilities, you had to do a whole myriad of things. There were not a lot of things in place at Oregon, here there are a lot of things in place and you just turn around down at the game and see the stands and for the national perception that this is a basketball school is an absolute fallacy.

“This is a football school that is waiting for football success to match basketball success. You just turn around and see the stands of the traditional power in Clemson and one that hasn’t had that kind of success in Kentucky and you know that this is a great situation just waiting for results.”

On facing opponents prepared for a good UK football team in 2007 …
“It is a totally different challenge and it is not an easy challenge. The fact that we got it done, we were able to win the bowl game is a very significant step and now there will be an awakening of some of the teams in our league that maybe have taken us a little less then 100-percent in intensity in the past to know that know maybe they better step it up or they might fall victim to an upset and that we are a more competitive team. We will be catching, on a more regular basis, a team’s better effort at the upper echelon then we have in the past. So that is a different challenge for this team to understand, to know that what we did this past year isn’t going to be good enough, that we are going to have to do it a lot better to get the same results, let alone get different results.”

On the potential of juniors Keenan Burton and Rafael Little pursuing a future in the NFL ..
“I talked to both Keenan and Rafael and they are still in the process of determining what they are going to do. They should have by today all the information from the committee that evaluates the NFL draft prospects and I would expect to visit with them, if not in person, then on the phone in the next three days and see what their decision will be. I am sure they will make a decision based on their individual situation.”

On if he has any gut feelings about if Burton and Little will return to UK for a senior year …
“Not really. The only gut feelings I have are on fake punts [laughter from the audience].”

On a post Music City Bowl victory hangover …
“I don’t know because the first thing you have to do is get them back down and get their feet on the ground when they get back and start the winter conditioning. There is going to be a lot of backslapping, accolades, and congratulations. Sometimes for a team that is not used to that it is difficult for them to understand how they got here in the first place. There may be a little hangover on getting their attention on what they need to get better at and we need to get better at a lot of things.”

On potential position changes …
“No, and I think speculation may be a little premature. I saw comments that Micah [Johnson] may be moving to defensive end and I have no intention of doing that. We just need to get the players back and get them better at doing what they are doing at the positions they are at and if we don’t feel like we have enough good players at a certain position then we might evaluate. If someone is stacked up at a certain position and they can help us at another one then we will approach that as it comes but as of right now we are not planning on switching anybody’s position.”

On Micah Johnson seeing increased time in the backfield in short-yardage situations …
“Possibly, yeah, if he continues to take the handoff, not slip and fall and get into the endzone. He obviously is a guy that had carried the ball in high school and hopefully we can do that and if we do, we need to expand it a little bit as well to two or three plays.”

On Nick Saban going to Alabama and continued growth of salaries …
“I think it is probably a good and bad thing. The good is that you get the return of a guy who has already won a national championship for the SEC. You get a lot of attention put on the league, which is already a very difficult league to win in. For those people who are not happy about what college coaches get paid, there is a simple solution. You don’t have to go try to go buy somebody else’s coach. You can always promote assistant coaches; you can go hire head coaches who have had success from a smaller level. You always don’t have to get a big-time head coach.”

On some of the focus of spring practice …
“We have a lot of things to get done. We need to get better in a lot of areas. We have some holes to fill on the offensive line. We need to replace three starters on defense – Karl Booker, Lamar Mills, and Durrell White. We need to improve every position performance wise. Like last year, every job on this team will be wide open and there will be competition for every job on this team again. Obviously, there are some people who have separated themselves. It is hard for me to sit up here and tell you that Andre’ Woodson is going to have to compete for his job but he is - he is going to have to compete for it. I expect Andre’ to get better and if he doesn’t then maybe that becomes in jeopardy. You can’t have someone getting comfortable, thinking they have arrived, and thinking that they can’t get better. All of our players can get better and they have to understand that. We have some players who have performed at a very high level, not just on our team but nationally. And those players, if they take care of business, should be safe in earning a starting spot. The other spots should be competitive, very competitive. I think there are less concerns then at anytime since I have been here and one of the reasons is because we are finally approaching recruiting scholarship numbers that will be closer to the 85 maximum. And we will have more players returning in that category for spring practice then we have in the past. We didn’t lose as many [players] as a lot of teams lose because we didn’t have a lot of seniors on our roster.”

On some roster changes in the offseason …
“It is a fluid situation, it always is. You never know if someone isn’t going to make is academically or if someone is going to leave. Different scenarios always happen and they always will. As long as I have been in it you have somebody you think is in good shape coming back sometimes don’t always come back. The recruiting class] will probably be in the low 20s, but that will have to remain to be seen. We are enrolling two JUCO offensive linemen this week. Chris Cessna will be enrolling as a grayshirt. Chris Cessna will count back on last year’s 25 and the two JUCO players coming in will count on this year’s 25.”

On the importance of the additional bowl practices …
“It was very important just to continue the fundamental work that you are trying to do. One of the things that happened in that game is that we tackled better and we had a lot of tackling in practice. It wasn’t always against bodies, but against (what we call the) ‘popsicle’ (tackling apparatus). If you don’t have good fundamentals when you try to tackle that thing and take it to the ground, that thing will take you to the ground, it is that tough to tackle. So we got a lot of good work on that and we got to see some players that looked like the light switch went on. Stevie Johnson is one of them. He had two weeks of great practice, in the bowl practice and he showed it in the game. You can’t really put quantitative figure on how important it is but believe me it is extremely important to get those extra practices for the development of your football team - physically, mentally, and technique-wise.”

 

 

2014 National Signing Day Commonwealth Stadium