VAUGHT: Petrino places great value on UK game

Louisville not only is winning the annual football game against Kentucky, but the Cardinals are also winning the pregame battle for how to approach the game.

While UK officials seem more concerned with when the game is played than how it is played, Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and his staff make no secret that the game is a key to their season. Louisville assistant coach Greg Nord, a former UK player and assistant coach, said he loves Petrino's approach to the game.

"He breaks our season into two parts. Part one is the Kentucky game. Part two is the rest of the season. That way our players have no trouble understanding just how important this game is," Nord said.

Petrino's team might be picked to be among the nation's elite this season and considered a huge favorite against Kentucky, but he keeps saying all the right things. "I have tremendous respect for Kentucky. They have a lot of energy, a good young quarterback and some receivers we've got to defend.

"The great thing about the (season) opener is that anything can happen. They have a new offensive coordinator (Joker Phillips). They are making the transition from a 3-4 to 4-3 defense, I think. They are really excited. We know how difficult the game will be."

But one thing you have to like about UK coach Rich Brooks is that he's not afraid to admit the obvious. Rather than overestimate his talent or downplay Louisville's talent, Brooks acknowledges that the Cardinals and their high-powered offense have become the far better team.

"The Miami game (that Louisville barely lost last year) made a statement about where their program is. We have to work our fannies off to get there. They are really good. They are really fast. They don't have a big weakness," Brooks said. "They recruit well. They coach well. They play well. They just keep winning and getting better. That's what we have to do."

AllWildcats Top Stories