VAUGHT: How do others see UK football?

So what do other players think about the Kentucky football program? That's a question I decided to pose to several different players during the Southeastern Conference Media Days without letting them know that Kentucky was a team I covered on a regular basis.

The answers might surprise you because the players genuinely seemed to respect UK's program despite the Cats lack of success.

"Any team in the SEC can beat you, including Kentucky," South Carolina tight end Andy Boyd said. "Look at how close they were to Tennessee last year. You might say Kentucky is not a powerhouse team, but no SEC team can be sure it will beat Kentucky. They are a very well respected team in the league. It's just a matter of them executing and making big plays when it counts to win more games."

"Kentucky showed us last year how good it could be," Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen said. "A lot of people may think Kentucky is not very good, but they are capable of beating a lot of teams. Their talent is not nearly as bad as some people want to believe."

"I thought Kentucky's defense hit hard and ran to the ball well last year," Mississippi State running back Jerious Norwood said. "They should have a good team this year. They just might need to play with a little more confidence, but I don't think anyone takes a win over Kentucky for granted."

Wait a minute. Surely Georgia already has a win over Kentucky written down again.

"No we don't," Georgia offensive lineman Max Jean-Giles said. "We are going to pound the ball at them, baby, because that's what we do to everybody. But everybody is talking about Kentucky's offense and how much better it will be. They are one of those teams that could surprise a lot of teams this year."

Do you believe those players or figure they were just saying the politically correct things? My guess is that the players were careful not to say anything inflammatory, but I also sensed they also were being fairly truthful.

"Players don't usually lie," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said. "Coaches do that. We always overestimate opponents publicly. That's part of our job. But when a player tells you something, normally you can believe him."

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