In this edition of "Coach's Corner," defensive coordinator Rick Minter talks about the win over Kent State and what the Cats will be facing from Western Kentucky on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: You held Kent State to 14 pionts. Was that a step in the right direction?
RICK MINTER: It was. We still have a lot of holes to fix. You can't let somebody rush for a couple hundred yards on you, but the style of play that Kent brought is kind of the evolution of the college game. It's a side-to-side, zone-read thing. It's not going to be the last game we play against that style of play, so we've got to get better and iron out the wrinkles.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: A couple of big plays hurt you.
RICK MINTER: They had two big run plays. On the 40-something yarder, I knew where the mistake was made as soon as it happened. I could tell from the sideline. On the other one, I told the kids I took the blame for it. I sent an all-out blitz, and they checked into an outside zone read, which was a good call on their part. They took us up the sideline for the distance. That was a bad call on my part. It took the hit on that one. But overall, I appreciate how they battled. This was a defense that was much maligned the last week after our first performance, and we deserved it, coaches and players. But this was a step in the right direction. Not anything great, kind of bend but don't break stuff, but something we can hopefully build on. It was nice to see the smiles on their faces after the game.
(Later in the week, Minter noted that the run defense was not as suspect as he orignally thought. Kent State picked up 73 yards on two touchdown runs of 47 and 26 yards, but averaged only 3.1 yards per attempt on its other 35 carries.)
KENTUCKY SCOUT: You were able to get a lot of different kids on the field in that game.
RICK MINTER: We played a lot of kids. We played guys who really didn't even practice in the game plan, but deserved to get some reps on the field. We got a little soft at times, but that's part of it. We played about every linebacker we have. That's what we've got to do. We've got to develop more players here. There's some future stars out there. We've got to help them develop.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: Do you find that getting so many guys involved helps with the following week of practice?
RICK MINTER: Oh, absolutely. I've always believed as a coach, the more kids you play in a game, the better your practices are going to be the next week because the morale and the spirit are lifted, they believe they're going to play, and they know they can count on each other in the game.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: There have been some adjustments in the first two weeks of the season, especially with Bud Dupree.
RICK MINTER: We've got Bud working at both inside backer and weakside backer, which allows us to shore up some other areas and get Taylor Wyndham on the field. We're looking at is as how do we get our best 11 guys on the field. That's kind of the consensus for the move there. Bud's got a lot to learn, but I think he's a natural football player and he grasps the concepts pretty quickly. We'll try to make a little more progress each week.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: How does that affect your other spots moving forward?
RICK MINTER: Well, you rob Peter to pay Paul. You put Taylor Wyndham on the field, but you shorten the depth at that position. We're trying to raise more inside linebackers, trying to groom them and develop them – Khalid Henderson, Malcolm McDuffen at times. I think Khalid is really going to be a good football player.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: Bud seemed to handle it well.
RICK MINTER: He got a crash course there. There's guys who don't know what to do at the Will who have been here for two years, and he was there four days. Shows you his aptitude. He's a pretty sharp kid.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: What have you seen from Western Kentucky on film?
RICK MINTER: We're going to be challenged this week by hard-nosed, physical football team. We've got to answer that challenge.
Coach's Corner with Rick Minter
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