WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Brooks Says Cats Must Improve Quickly

So much for moral victories.
Two days after a valiant but ultimately futile comeback against
No. 2 Alabama, Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said the Wildcats need to
get better quickly if they want to be considered a contender in the
Southeastern Conference.
Kentucky (4-1, 0-1 SEC) hosts South Carolina (4-2, 1-2) on
Saturday hoping to end a 16-game losing streak against Steve
Spurrier-coached teams. Brooks said he believes his team is good
enough to beat the Gamecocks, but admitted that momentum is
swinging in the South Carolina's direction.
"We're looking at a South Carolina team that looks like they
got their act together last week (against Mississippi),
unfortunately for us," Brooks said. "They got things going."
Brooks said he was disappointed with his own team's performance
during the 17-14 loss to the Crimson Tide, citing mistakes by the
defense and quarterback Mike Hartline.
"It was very frustrating looking at the film, once we saw all
the mistakes we made," said defensive end Jeremy Jarmon. "It
didn't look like the same defense that had been playing the first
four weeks of the season."
Kentucky has often relied on its defense to bail the young
offense out during this season. Brooks said the offense will need
to make its own big plays. The Gamecocks will truly test Hartline,
Brooks said, because of South Carolina's numerous defensive
formations that are designed to confuse opposing quarterbacks.
Brooks said he hopes he can get more out of the running game,
which has been inconsistent.
Having a healthier offensive line would help. Kentucky has
struggled with several injuries on its offensive line which has
created a lack of continuity. Brooks said the lack of continuity
has slowed down the running game and kept it from helping take some
of the pressure off Hartline.
Running back Derrick Locke said the Wildcats have to take
advantage of what few opportunities the Gamecocks' defense will
provide.
"There's not going to be too many creases out there," Locke
said. "We're playing against a top defensive team in the SEC. But
I feel like our offensive line is doing alright. It's going to be
tough, but if you give the running backs more carries, we'll do
alright."
Locke said he thinks Kentucky could benefit from increasing its
commitment to the run. It would probably help out Hartline, who has
played well at times but has struggled to get the ball downfield.
Still, tight end T.C. Drake says that there won't be major
changes in offensive strategy against South Carolina.
"We know we have the potential to do great things and that's
what we need to do," Drake said. "We have to do everything right.
We'll just go out and play hard."
The Wildcats will be without offensive linemen offensive linemen
Stuart Hines and Jess Beets. Both are out indefinitely after being
injured against Alabama. Brooks said wide receiver DeMoreo Ford is
doubtful with a shoulder injury.
The Wildcats could get a boost from the return of defensive
tackle Ricky Lumpkin and quarterback Randall Cobb.
Cobb will play as a receiver and backup quarterback, though he
isn't 100 percent, Brooks said. Strong safety Ashton Cobb, who had
been suspended from the university, will practice again this week
and will be available Saturday.


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