VAUGHT: Brooks unhappy with UK defense

Rich Brooks doesn't think there is anything wrong with Kentucky's defensive alignment. Instead, he had another view of why the Wildcats could not stop Idaho State's running game Saturday.

"I don't think it was X's and O's. I think it was a lack of energy and a lack of tackling," Brooks said Monday. "For some reason, our defense thought it was good. If we missed nine tackles versus Louisville, how did we miss 27 versus Idaho State? Same guys, same jerseys, same stadium."

Maybe Idaho State was quicker than Louisville? "No," Brooks said.

The Kentucky coach was not any happier with UK's pass rush, calling it "pretty non-existent" against Idaho State. "We've been late getting off the ball," Brooks said. "Indiana throws well and has a good offensive line. It will be critical (Saturday) to get to the quarterback. The times we got interceptions (against Idaho State), somebody was harassing the quarterback. We are more active in coverage, but we need a pass rush."

Brooks said the Wildcats blitzed "quite a few times" against Idaho State, but may blitz Indiana quarterback Blake Powers even more Saturday in Bloomington.

"Obviously, this is a critical game for us before we go into SEC play," Brooks said. "We've got to have players step up and fill the void (to replace injured players). It's a great opportunity for others that have not been playing that much."

Brooks still isn't sure if defensive tackle Ricky Abren will play or not. He's missed the first two games with a broken wrist.

"He's still not able to straighten his elbow all the way," Brooks said. "He's getting a new cast on today. He may take some reps in practice. His playing status will be determined later in the week."

Brooks did say that defensive tackle Jason Leger had no ill effects from the 26 snaps he played last week after missing the first game with a knee injury.

However, Brooks did raise the possibility that talented receiver Keenan Burton could face a long recovery from his broken foot. "They'll operate Tuesday and put a screw in," Brooks said. "It depends on his pain and healing as to how long he'll be out. It might be four or five weeks before he can run and play. It might be six or seven weeks. Or it could be not at all (this year)."

Brooks even joked that he might use Herald-Leader beat writer Chip Cosby at receiver this week. "We've just got so many guys hurt that about all you can do is shake your head and go on," Brooks said.

Kentucky also announced that it's game Sept. 24 with Florida will either air as a CBS-TV game at 3:30 p.m. or be a Jefferson-Pilot game at 12:30 p.m. Word on that should come either Sunday or next Monday.

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