The Kentucky Wildcats are finding out
how tough it is to prepare to play Florida State when the Seminoles
will bear little resemblance to the team they expected to be
playing in the Music City Bowl on Monday.
The Seminoles will be without 36 players due to an academic
cheating scandal, injuries, violations of team rules or other
reasons. So the Wildcats were a little uncertain Thursday in their
first bowl practice at Vanderbilt University in Nashville about
whom they will be playing.
"They'll fill those spots, but I don't know what they have
behind those, because we've never seen a depth chart behind those
guys," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said.
Florida State was hit hardest on defense. Linebacker Dekoda
Watson, cornerback Patrick Robinson, who had six interceptions, and
three key defensive tackles are among the players who will be out
Partly due to Florida State's troubles, Kentucky is a heavy
favorite now. Brooks has warned his team about being overconfident.
"The coaches have really tried to get that across," Kentucky
quarterback Andre Woodson said. "We have to understand that this
game is not going to be easy at all. We have to do a wonderful job
of preparing ourselves mentally and physically to play one of the
best games we've played all season."
Brooks is trying not to let Florida State's short-handed roster
distract his team from capping a solid two-year run.
Kentucky, which beat Clemson 28-20 in last year's Music City
Bowl, is seeking back-to-back bowl wins for the first time since
"It's a little bit of a shame that this came up, but we can't
do anything about it," Brooks said. "We have to focus on what we
can do fundamentally and try to go out and try to play our best
game of the year, because I think that's what it's going to take to
win this game."