Coach's Corner with John Goodner

The UK defensive coordinator talks about last week's game against Florida and the Cats' upcoming matchup with Ole Miss...

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- This edition of "Coach's Corner" features the thoughts of defensive coordinator John Goodner on his unit's performance against Florida and its preparation for Ole Miss:

BBD: What did the film reveal from last week's game against Florida?

"What you're hoping is you get a little bit better every time you go out on the field Saturday, and I thought we got better... quite a bit better. Again, I thought we played hard and had a good effort. We were lined up right, we executed most of the stuff we prepared for. The stuff we didn't was my fault. I didn't have us prepared enough for a couple of things Florida did.


CB Leonard Burress (27)
puts the hit on a Gator WR.

"I thought our secondary showed me some things. They may have given up 4,000 yards or whatever, but I know they were more aggressive covering and going after the football. We had corners breaking on the ball and getting their hands on the ball. We came up and made good solid tackles after the balls they caught. I thought our safeties made some good plays, even though they have to start tackling better. Overall, I thought it was a big step up for our secondary.

"I thought we made enough plays to keep us in the ballgame. What we were trying to do was keep us in the ballgame going into the fourth quarter and hopefully have a chance. Those two deals (a negated interception and a negated fourth-down stop via penalties) kind of broke our back. I think it took some of our resolve away. But nothing to take anything away from Florida because, boy, they're a good football team. Good people, good athletes.

"We gave up some yards, I know that, but if you hang in there and keep making people drive 70, 80 yards --- our special teams did a great job of that --- then somebody should make a play to give you a chance. That's what we're looking for. Whether you're tired or not, we need more people making plays in the fourth quarter."

BBD: How much have the offensive unit's struggles hurt the defense late in the game?

"Well, I think their performance in the fourth quarter is probably like our performance in the fourth quarter. Neither one is where it needs to be. But our feeling is where it's 23-10 with about a minute left to go in the third quarter, we've given ourselves a chance to win. But Florida's a tough deal when you're out there all day..

"On our side, what we've got to do is develop some more depth. We've got to have some more depth everywhere. We got Earven Flowers in there a little bit... We need Warren Wilson and Mike Williams playing a little bit more. Mo Lane came in and did a good job on a few snaps. I know coach (Chris) Lancaster played Richard Hardin and Otis Grigsby a bunch. The tackles rolled in and out. Those are all positive things that will help us develop some depth where we don't have guys in the fourth quarter who have played 60 snaps.

"But I told our kids we were trying to make something happen in the fourth quarter, and we were gambling a little bit more than what we normally would, trying to give the kids a chance to win. We blitzed and hooked a linebacker (Chris Gayton) up on that running back (Robert Gillespie) a couple of times, and he just couldn't cover him. That's my fault. I hung him out there hoping we could make something happen (with the blitz). But, again, that's Florida. When they get you in a situation, say, down 10, that's really when they start to do some things because you're taking more chances trying to stay in the game."

BBD: What difference did it make having Jamal White back in there?

"All the difference in the world. Jamal's a big-time athlete. He made several plays with his athleticism. That's what he gives you. He made a couple of plays, just speed-wise, that we couldn't have made otherwise. We didn't get a chance to blitz him as much just because of Florida's scheme. Florida doesn't let you do much of that. They take care of their quarterback really good and have answers for you more often than not. They're really well-coached."

BBD: What are your thoughts on Eli Manning and preparing for Ole Miss?

"The second half of Auburn, he looked awfully impressive, bringing them back from being so far down. I see a lot of his brother (Peyton) in him. If you look at him, he looks just like him. He's 6-4, 215, something like that... Archie Manning was one of my heroes.

"They do a lot of different things with that offense. It's going to be a big challenge. Like always, we've got to stop the run first. They can really throw the ball, but they like to set it up with the run. We'll have to be solid up front and get the same kind of effort from our secondary we had last week."


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