LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Comments from Kentucky coach Guy Morriss during his weekly Monday press conference, Sept. 17, in preparation for the Florida game:
On getting back to a more normal routine in the wake of the terrorist attacks on America:
"I think it's time to get back to what we do this time of year, which is playing in the fall. I pretty much concur with our President (George W. Bush) that it's time to get back to work. We feel the same way. It's time to get back to playing football. We're looking forward to playing Florida this weekend. I think our kids are excited about the opportunity coming up."
"We treated this pretty much as an open week. We continued to work the varsity kids about 45 minutes a day, every day this past week and this weekend with the exception of Saturday. What we did a lot of is work our young players, our redshirt players, who have not gotten many reps during the course of a ballgame. We let them have a 40- or 50-play scrimmage for three days. It kind of gave them a chance to get a feel of the offense, the defense; a chance to show us what they could do, how they've progressed. I think that was good in terms of getting them more work that they ordinarily wouldn't have gotten."
On the team's psyche:
"I know Tuesday it was really on their mind. They were really buzzing about it like the whole world was. I think some of our kids were in shock. We didn't ask them to put it out of their minds completely, but to set it aside while we got our work done Tuesday. We were a little bit better Wednesday, and then as we went through the week, I think it got better.
"We had invited the receivers over to the house Wednesday night. They got their tray of food or plate of food, and we've got a big screen (TV) down in the basement. I had it set on ESPN. I figured they'd come over and get some food and want to watch some sports, but they immediately grabbed the clicker and changed it to CNN, so that tells you what they were thinking... They were watching it over at the lounge at Nutter, too, trying to stay up on current events. I'm sure they were wondering how this was going to affect their lives, too. It's a big deal to them."
"Obviously, they're not totally going to forget what's going on in the world. But we've got to put it aside for three hours this afternoon and through the week, and we've got to concentrate on getting ready to play this ballgame this weekend."
On how it impacts quarterback Shane Boyd to miss a game prior to facing Florida:
"Well, there's no substitute for game experience, obviously. In the beginning, we were a little bit disappointed that we didn't get a chance to play Indiana, but I think the events as the week passed, that was probably the right decision. But, yes, he could have benefited from that greatly. All of us could have used another game under our belt, a chance to get better."
On facing the No. 2 ranked team in the nation:
"It's a big challenge for us. Florida's a great football team. Coach Spurrier's done a really nice job. He'll have those guys ready, I'm sure, and we'll have our hands full. We've got to get our kids refocused and concentrating on what we need to get done this week. Hopefully we'll go out and get a good effort out of our kids. We've got to be sound in the kicking game, we can't give up big plays, and we've got to hold on to the football. We've got to give it a great effort and let the chips fall... We've got nothing to lose. Nobody believes we can win the game, so we'll give it our best effort. That's the way we'll approach it."
"I believe we can win every game we go into. That's why you play them. But it's something that we've got to convince our kids of, and go out and get it done... They feel like we've got nothing to lose, so let's go take our best shot. Their attitude's been like, 'Hey, we've got nothing to lose and nobody believes in us, so let's go out and circle the wagons and get after it."
On Florida's improved defense:
"It seems to me like maybe they're a little more simple. Maybe they've cut out some of the things they were doing last year. And I think the fact that it's their second year in the system has made them a better defense. They're learning and reacting better. There's not quite as much thinking, those type of things."
"They've got great personnel at every spot, and plenty of depth. It seems like every year they graduate a bunch of seniors or lose them to the draft, and they just plug in the next guy and don't ever lose speed. They've recruited real well. They've got a lot of depth. I think right now there's two or three kids who jump out at you. We've been real impressed by (Marquand) Manuel, their strong safety. He's a great player, all over the field making plays. Andra Davis, their middle linebacker, is a good-looking kid making plays. And of course you've always got to be worried about Alex (Brown at defensive end). He's a great pass rusher."
"They just have great personnel."
On how much better the UK defense can be, despite having only two games under their belts, and in comparison to last year's 59-31 loss at Gainesville:
"I don't know yet exactly. I'd be interested to see how much better we're going to be. I think that we'll at least be lined up right, which helps. Offensively, we've got to do some things to help keep our defense on the sideline, taking time off the clock and things like that. We've got to hang on to the football. If you remember back to last year, we had two turnovers right before halftime that pretty much just buried us right there."
On Dewayne Robertson's injury status (ankle), as well as other players:
"He's going to practice (Tuesday), but we'll limit his reps. That's just a precautionary measure, but he'll be back on the field tomorrow."
"Jeremy (Caudill) is going to try it again (Tuesday). We rested (his back) for another week. He wants to try it, he wants to play this weekend, so we'll put him out there and see how it goes... If he can get through the week and not have a lot of pain, yeah, he'll play. He wants to play... But if he can't do it tomorrow, chances are he's probably not going to be able to do it."
"(Jeremy) Bowie's going to play. He's closer to full speed. David Johnson's another one we're going to look at Tuesday and see how he does. I think the only one that there's really a question about it Caudill."
On Florida coach Steve Spurrier suggesting earlier in the day that UK would likely play a lot of zone coverages against the Gators:
"And you believed him? [Laughs] I think that Steve has seen us play two ballgames, and he's smart enough to know that John Goodner's probably not going to change a heck of a lot. We're going to do what we do best, and that's what we're going to line up with Saturday. We'll probably mix some coverages, but we won't rely strictly on zone, no."
On the talent level of Florida wide receivers Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell in comparison to the Deion Branch-Zek Parker combination UK faced against Louisville:
"I think they're comparable, yeah. Gaffney and Caldwell are good receivers, no question about that."
"(Gaffney) has great speed. He's a big kid, about 6-1, 200 pounds. He knows how to run routes, knows how to uncover and get open. He's got great hands. He'll make an acrobatic catch with his great vertical leap. He's got a lot of courage. He'll catch it in a crowd. Every ball within three or four feet of him, he acts like it belongs to him. That's the kind of attitude all the great ones have, and he's got all the physical tools to go along with it."