Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks is using
his team's rare appearance in the national spotlight to highlight
the talents of his two top skill players.
Brooks said after practice Tuesday that he believes quarterback
Andre Woodson and halfback Rafael Little should be in the
conversation when discussing the best players in the country.
Woodson, a third-year starter, completed 30-of-44 passes for 275
yards and three touchdowns in last Saturday's 40-34 win over
then-No. 9 Louisville. The victory was Kentucky's first over a
top-10 opponent since 1977, and first against its in-state rival
since 2002. The win also catapulted the Wildcats into the
Associated Press poll at No. 21, their first appearance in the poll
since the end of the 1984 season.
"I've said it all along," Brooks said. "Andre's as good as
anyone in the country. He's my player, so I'd say he's probably the
best, but that's for other people to decide."
Brooks added Woodson's accomplishments must be viewed with
additional luster because the quarterback has led Kentucky's
"What Andre has accomplished in a tradition-starved program is
light years ahead of somebody who's doing it at a program that wins
every year," Brooks said. "He's the main catalyst for everything
that going on with our football team."
Brooks also praised Little, who is healthy this season after
battling injuries throughout his career at Kentucky. Little carried
27 times for 151 yards against Louisville.
"I think he's as good as anybody," Brooks said. "He's
probably the best combination runner and receiver maybe in the
nation at the tailback spot."
Improved play from the offensive line has allowed Little to
become a more versatile back, Brooks said.
"He can run tough, and he has run tough," Brooks said. "The
difference is we've got a little better line blocking for him now,
and it's coming together and gelling. It's more athletic, and we're
able to do more things in the running game than we have in past
Brooks also commended the development of senior wide receiver
Steve Johnson, who caught two touchdowns against Louisville,
including the game-winning 57-yard pass from Woodson with 28
seconds remaining. Johnson came to Kentucky last season as a junior
college transfer and had a difficult time adjusting to Division I
"There's always a transition period," Brooks said. "It's just
like a freshman coming in. Even though he's a junior college player
coming in, there's just a lot of different things that he has to
learn. Unfortunately, it didn't come along quite as quickly and we
had some pretty good receivers that were productive ahead of him,
so he didn't get as many chances early as he did later in the
season. But when he got those chances, he took advantage of them,
and certainly he's become a major factor for us this year, which we
thought he would at the end of last season."