"The guys are still talking to me when it comes to football like I am their teammate, not their coach," said Sumrall. "That allows me to stay in touch and know what is going on with the team.
"I am not the kind of guy that gets ticked off unless somebody is not doing
things the right way. If a guy is not doing his summer workouts, I might say
something to him. The biggest thing we need is to make sure everybody on our
team keeps showing up, trying to get better and doing things the rigth way. We
don't need anybody trying to take any shortcuts."
Sumrall figured to be UK's team leader at middle linebacker this season before
his career ended early in spring practice when doctors determined he risked
permanent damage, including paralysis, if he kept playing.
But that doesn't mean Sumrall is no longer part of the team. He knew the
attitude change it was going to take to give the Cats a chance to win this season.
"The main thing I see is that we are more of a team than we have been the past
few years. I think we are all finally pulling the same direction. It's not
like the past where guys just did their own thing and had their own goals,"
Sumrall said. "Now the most important thing is our team goal. Whoever gets
awards after the season, so be it. The biggest thing now is we all want to win.
"I think everybody has bought into the team first concept. In the past, it was
a situation where some guys bought in, but not everybody did. I really think
this is the closest I have seen the offense and defense since I have been
here. You can sense that in practice, or just when guys are together. There's
more intensity, more excitement than ever."
Sumrall says the players realize Kentucky needs an improved year to assure
that coach Rich Brooks and his staff return for the 2006 season. While some
may still question how the players feel about the staff, Sumrall says the
coaches' situation has given the team a needed sense of urgency.
"This is the third year for coach Brooks and his staff here. Our guys want to
win. I think for the first time guys also realize that the coaches do care
about us and want the team to be the best it can be," Sumrall said. "Guys
finally realize the criticism is only to make us better. In the past we had
locker room lawyers doing too much talking. That won't happen this season and,
trust me, that's going to make a big difference on our team."
VAUGHT: Sumrall sees a change in attitudes
AllWildcats Top Stories
GALLERY: Kentucky vs. Mississippi StateKentucky improved to 4-3 on the season with a thrilling 40-38 win over Mississippi State on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium thanks to a 51-yard field goal at the buzzer by junior…
Gran: "God's got a great plan for this team"Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran spoke emotionally about the Wildcats after their 40-38 win over Mississippi State on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
McWilson Talks Big Plays, Big Win for CatsKentucky senior safety Marcus McWilson made the biggest play of his career with the Wildcats on Saturday, picking off a fourth-quarter pass and returning it 45 yards for a…
AllWildcatsYesterday at 10:52 PM
MacGinnis on Being UK HeroJunior kicker Austin MacGinnis gave Kentucky a 40-38 win over Mississippi State with his 51-yard field goal as time expired on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
AllWildcatsYesterday at 10:41 PM