Jeff Drummond: "This one is an interesting situation. It's always a big topic of conversation among fans and media, but the players are seldom aware of it until it's brought to their attention. That is popping up a bit this week, but they're not really giving it much play. I think they see themselves largely as a "new program" that's trying to separate itself from UK's past results."
Q. Why do UK fans suddenly hate Joker? I've heard someone started an internet rumor of him negative recruiting UK, which seems silly as the two programs are usually not even recruiting directly against each other and considering its his Alma Mater, any idea where this came from? what do you expect that reaction to be for him?
Jeff Drummond: "The vast majority of UK fans have always liked Joker. I think that's the vocal minority who may be causing that impression. There's a segment of fans who feel like he was handed something strong from Rich Brooks and took it back to where UK had been in the past. I always feared that when Joker went from assistant to head coach. The demands and expectations of you become so different."
Q. What do you think Stoops brings with him into this game from his experience v UF as FSU's DC?
Jeff Drummond: "I think he brings some insight and different approaches to Florida that maybe Kentucky's former coaches haven't embraced. The old regime seemed to accept the fact that Florida would get its share of yards and points, employing a "bend-but-don't-break" mentality. This staff doesn't operate in those terms. We saw a little bit of that in the Louisville game. It was one of the best defensive performances (at least for a half) that UK fans have seen in a long, long time."
Q. How Well will Kentucky's o-line handle Florida's defensive line?
Jeff Drummond: "That's the biggest question in this matchup for me. UK's line has had good moments this year, but has been inconsistent. This is by far the biggest physical test to date, and perhaps all season. I think their plan will be to play at a tempo that maybe frustrates and wears down the Gator front. (Easier said than done.)"
Q. Do you feel the bye week has helped the team get healthy?
Jeff Drummond: "It's been a huge plus. They were in no shape to play an SEC game last week. The football gods smiled on them for a change when that open date fell into place."
Q. Is Quinn ready to go at CB?
Yes. He's full-go, and looked quite good at times against Louisville. He's a difference-maker in their secondary."
Q. Maxwell Smith, is he ready to go after injuring his shoulder against Louisville?
Jeff Drummond: "They say Max had two great days of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. They're going to monitor his shoulder one more day, and if he's feeling good after Thursday's workout, he should be the starter on Saturday. But he's been splitting reps equally with Jalen Whitlow this week, and the staff says Whitlow will definitely play at times against the Gators."
Q. Since usually there are not a lot of Division 1 recruits in Kentucky, what areas does Coach Stoops and his staff concentrate their recruiting efforts?
Jeff Drummond: "They've hit Ohio extremely hard with Stoops and assistant coach Vince Marrow's ties up there. They've also hit Florida much harder than Joker Phillips' staff did. We've seen a national approach so far. They'll go anywhere for a kid under this staff."
Q. How much recruiting will he and his staff do in Florida, based on his recent coaching experiences at FSU?
Jeff Drummond: "Quite a bit. I think part of that is due to their time spent at FSU, but let's face it, most of it revolves around the ridiculous amount of talent the Sunshine State puts out every year. Their rivals over at Louisville have made a living off of bringing Florida talent to the Bluegrass State. UK has focused more on Georgia and South Carolina in the past, but the strategy is trending more toward Florida now."
Q. From an overall recruiting perspective, how does the 2014 recruiting and beyond look? How much, if any, does UK's basketball program help or hurt UK's football recruiting?
Jeff Drummond: "The 2014 class looks great so far. We believe they're going to challenge for a top 10-15 class if they can keep it together. The big "IF" is how the recruits respond if their season goes really bad. The schedule is brutal. They could go 2-10 or 3-9. Will all of those guys stay on board, or will they sway?"
Q. Are UK fans as anxious to see the hoops games between the 'Cats & Gators as we are?
Jeff Drummond: "Definitely. I think they're just eager to put 2013 behind them. That was a train wreck of a season. Thankfully, another No. 1 recruiting class looks to be a quick fix."
Q. How much of a weapon is Ryan Timmons at UK? I remembered we were recruiting him last recruiting cycle?
Jeff Drummond: "He's huge. We've seen a few flashes of it already, and he's gradually becoming a bigger part of the offense. I told everyone who would listen the last two years that he was the best prospect in Kentucky. He should have been a 5-star recruit. He didn't get as much attention as some other guys, like James Quick, but he was the biggest offensive playmaker I've ever covered at the high school level. The kid scored a TD something like every 2.7 times he touched the ball. He's equally dangerous as a runner or receiver. A lot of people have compared him to former Gator Percy Harvin in his athleticism and versatility."