The UK defense has been struggling so far through two games this season, giving up touchdowns and points at a rate that they have not for years under head coach Mark Stoops. In the last game, the Cats surrendered 42 points against Ole Miss after going 18 straight games without giving up 30 points or more.
UK defensive coordinator Brad White put the blame on all 11 guys, saying they have to execute better together in order to dig themselves out of this early-season hole.
“It was a complete game failure to execute throughout the game,” he said. There was at times when we executed and everybody did their responsibility, we looked good and we played good as a defense, but all it takes is one. That’s the beauty of this game is that everybody is relying on the guy next to them to do his job.”
Sometimes the players would be in the right position, but miss a tackle or get called for pass interference. Knowing that, junior linebacker Jamin Davis told reporters that he feels confident in the defensive talent, they just have to execute.
“Honestly I feel like we’ve already arrived at where we need to be, we just gotta do it,” he said. “It just puts a lot of pressure on our defense, on us as a team, to go ahead and step up and take that next step, and just show what we really about.”
Senior linebacker Boogie Watson echoed that, saying the defense was in position to make plays and feels the team will come together and fix what has been going wrong.
“I think any game that you look back on, you see plays that you could’ve made, things you could’ve done different to make certain plays here and there. So I think myself, and the rest of the guys on the defense, know that there’s play that could be made across the board,” he said. “And I’m aware of those plays as well. I think everyone’s conscious of what needs to be fixed, and I think that’s something that we better get fixed going forward.”
The Cats have forced zero turnovers so far this season, shining an even brighter light on their inability to be in an advantageous spot whether in coverage or rushing the passer. Defensive coordinator Brad White did not mince words when talking about that statistic, calling it “unacceptable.”
“That’s not giving the offense any chance to have those short fields,” he said. “We need to continue to find ways to make plays.”
Against an explosive offense like that of Mississippi State, who Kentucky will be playing on Saturday, it is all the more crucial to figure out ways to convert on opportunities to get turnovers and take as much momentum as possible. Stay tuned here at cameronmillsradio.com for more coverage on UK as they look to win their first game of the season in a battle against the Bulldogs.