Questionable future impacts recruiting

Questions about the future of the UK football staff abound following Saturday's disappointing loss at South Carolina. Those questions are carrying over to football recruiting, as recruits ask about the future of the UK staff.

Mainly the questions come from in-state recruits, but Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said today that those questions about his future are not helping recruiting.

"Recruits all want to know what their opportunities are to play and get on the field," said Brooks. "We get asked about our future here. That is a question we have to continually address. I did last year as well, but not as much as this year."

So is does hurt recruiting to have so much speculation about his future at Kentucky? "I think it hurts a great deal," Brooks said.

Brooks hoped his team could win at South Carolina Saturday and squelch the talk about his future. Instead, four turnovers in a seven-play span in the second half enabled South Carolina to turn a 17-16 lead into a 44-16 victory that leaves Kentucky 1-4 and searching for more answers.

Brooks said he told his team today that it had two choices. "We can roll over and play dead or get upset and try to get this right," he said. "You can never give up or give in to criticism and tough times. The only way tough times go away is to battle through them."

I'm old enough to understand that logic. But what about Brooks' players? Most are freshmen and sophomores who only know the Cats aren't going to a bowl game and that the coaching staff that recruited them could be in jeopardy of being replaced.

"I worry every week about whether we are ready to play. Our guys really gave a good effort (at South Carolina). They played very hard. It is very difficult to keep going back to that emotional well when you are not getting any reward. Devastating loss after loss hurts. It takes a little out of you possibly, but you can't give in to it. That's just not a choice."

What about the coach? Has the talk about his future taken a toll on him recently?

"I told you a couple of weeks ago that I would not discuss those issues, and I won't," Brooks said. "I am just trying to coach this team. Whatever happens, happens. I don't control that side. It's amazing that recruiting continues to go fairly well. We are playing a lot of younger players.

"I've discussed with them about nobody giving up, including me. We are trying to get it right. We have a week off and a chance to go to Ole Miss and get a SEC win. That's all we're thinking about, or at least all I want them thinking about."

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