Think what it must be like to be a starting linebacker on a team that has been outscored 137-20 the last three weeks?
"It is very frustrating. You have to try and keep your composure and continue to go out there and work hard. The hardest thing is to go out there and wake up every morning knowing you just came off a heck of a loss and have been losing the last four weeks. You have to dig into your character. It is more of a character issue rather than anything to do with football right now," junior linebacker Ridge Wilson said.
Wilson has 35 tackles, the fifth best mark on the team. He's probably playing the best he has since he's been at Kentucky. Yet individual success means very little when a team is being beaten the way UK?is.
"We have to do things we didn't do in the first six games no matter what is is mentally or physically. I?feel like coming into this week we will get a lot better," Wilson said.
He hopes last week's open date was good to "take a break" and do more than ease the "wear and tear" of playing six straight games.
"It was a good time to realize how much football really means to you and the team," he said. "We have no choice but to forget the first six games. If we continue to keep focusing on losses and negative things, we will never be able to get out of this slump.
"I have been playing football probably my whole life. You are always going to hear negative things when you lose. Friends and family will tell you when you do good and get on you when you do bad. You just have to take it and run with it. Never too high, never too low. When things are going good, you can't be too excited. When things are going bad, you can't beat yourself up about it.
"Regardless of what anyone else says, for us individually and as a team, in the back of our minds it is kind of hard to get this together and figure out what is it we are not doing right. It's not like we want to be losing. But at the same time you have to go out there and try to keep a level head and work hard. We have to stay together as a team and finish. Regardless if the offense doesn't put up points or the defense doesn't stop them, we have to stay together as a team and learn to finish games."
A win would help. But a loss to an Ohio Valley Conference team Saturday when there is already talk of a low fan turnout could be devastating to the program no matter how much athletics director Mitch Barnhart says he'll stand behind second-year coach Joker Phillips. This is a must-win for Kentucky.
"We do kind of fell that pressure, but at the same time we have to play as a team. Regardless of who we play, I?feel like any given night anyone is beatable. If we go out and play to our capability and to what we know we can do, anything is possible," Wilson said. "We have to make stops. Point blank, we have to put points on the board and get turnovers on defense. Regardless of wo we play, we still have to go out there and make plays."
"(Defensive) Coach (Rick) Minter has a speech with us every day about every game to try and get us motivated. I feel like football is a game of individual games. Regardless of what he says or coach Phillips say, we have to go out there and take care of our business. Each player has to win his battle," Wilson said.
True, but UK has not been doing that, especially on offense where UK ranks next to last nationally in total offense and has shown few reasons to make anyone think the offense is suddenly going to click.
Imagine what toll that must take on UK's defense, which played well early against Florida, South Carolina and LSU before wearing down by having to continually go back out on the field after Kentucky's offensive ineptness.
"It is hard. You try to be as positive and motivated as you can, but at the same time we are a team," Wilson said. "Last year we didn't really have a very good defense. I feel like individually we probably have some of the best players on the team on defense, but for some reason it is not clicking. I don't know what it is. We have to win some games. The offense has to score, but the defense has to do better, too."
However, Wilson is not ready to write off the season like many fans are. He still talked this week about winning enough games the second half of the season to make a bowl game, something that seems a huge leap of faith for this 2-4 team.
"Even coming off four losses, you can't lose faith out there. You have to stay positive and believe," Wilson said.