Little wants the football staff to remain

One big reason Rafael Little came to Kentucky was because he sensed that coach Rich Brooks and his staff cared about him and made it clear he would be important to the Kentucky football program. That's why all the talk about Brooks' future at Kentucky upsets Little, UK's leading rusher and best offensive threat, so much.

One big reason Rafael Little came to Kentucky was because he sensed that coach Rich Brooks and his staff cared about him and made it clear he would be important to the Kentucky football program. That's why all the talk about Brooks' future at Kentucky upsets Little, UK's leading rusher and best offensive threat, so much.

"I hate all the talk. I came here to play for them. I don't want anybody to talk about my coaches. If they are talking about them, they are basically talking about the whole team. I'm just trying to take up for them whenever I can," Little said. "We heard some of the same talk last year. We can't let it get to us."

Little has indicated that if Brooks is not back, he might consider transferring to another school. Obviously, that's an emotional response from a player who cares about his head coach. However, Little now is determined to do all he can to make sure Brooks' future at Kentucky is secure.

"They (the coaches) are going to be back. I am going to try and do my best the rest of the year to make sure of that. I don't want them to leave," he said. "Losing is hard on everybody. I don't ever like losing. But we are not going to let down and quit playing. We want to win more and carry that over to next year. We have so many good young players. It's easy to tell next year will be better because we'll all be more used to each other and how we play. Plus, we just have a lot of young talent that will be better because of the experience we are getting this year."

Brooks is glad that Little feels the way he does. However, he's not overjoyed that a sophomore player has felt like he has to defend his head coach.

"What is meaningful to me is how the players responded after the Indiana disappointment. We came back and played hard. We hurt ourselves with mistakes at South Carolina, but it wasn't from a lack of effort," Brooks said. "We've had spirited workouts. Players are still working hard. That's rewarding to me. They won't do that unless they want to be here and want to do what you are asking them to do. They want to believe in what we are telling them.

"I feel bad that any player feels like he has to come out and say the type of things Rafael has. I don't think any player should be put in that position."

Brooks says despite the team's excessive injuries, he feels his team is doing "fairly well" considering the circumstances and is making progress.

So could his team be better than many realize despite the 1-4 record? "I think that, but that isn't what counts right now," he said. "But all we can do is keep working as hard as we can and these players are doing that."

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