His team went through as injury ravaging season in 2005 unlike any ever experience at UK or most anywhere else. And if there's anything to the old adage, ‘What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' this should be a mentally and physically tough football team.
Any winning team has the tough mentally whether it's Pete rose running over a catcher in a all-star game; Jamal Magloire intimidating someone on the basketball floor; or Melvin Johnson make several bone-rattling tackles on the football field. After several of those hits on the practice field, Coach Bill Curry once stop the practice momentarily and introduce to the team, "I want you'll to meet Mr. Johnson."
More so than any spring recently, the words attached to various players this spring is toughness and physicality. Is that any reason to believe this is going to be the team that Brook declared it would be? This won't definitely be known until September.
This spring, Brooks has been more vocal, exhorting, and demonstrative than any time in his tenure here. Think he's feeling the pressure? One such example early in spring practice was when he got up in running back Alfonso Smith's grill screaming at an octave level heard all over the field, exhorting him to be more physical! Smith among several others, we will espouse coach's quotes as well as our observations.
"He did a good job of trying to be physical and finish runs," coach Joker Phillips said of Alfonso Smith's spring game performance. "We all know he's got good speed. The thing we wanted to see was if he could finish runs and come out the back end when there's a tackle. We don't need Alfonso to get knocked back and he was falling forward today. That was a huge statement for him.
"Alfonso will do exactly what you tell him to do," running backs coach Ron Caragher said. "He won't back up from a challenge. Coach Brooks said some of these kids take to coaching. He said they wouldn't run away and hide.
Brooks said: "T.C. Drake maybe one of the toughest tight ends since we've been here. He might make a mistake but he's going to make it full speed and if you are in the way, he's going to hit you." Tight Ends coach Steve Ortmayer said: "An outstanding young prospect is T. C. Drake. He is very physical. He brings everything to the table that we are looking for in a tight end both as a blocker and a receiver. He has rare physical explosion. It's just a matter of he's very young."
Brooks on wide receiver DeMoreo Ford: "He won't back up! He can block, just ask Joe Shuler. He's a tough guy. He has no fear in his heart."
Brooks said offensive tackle Aaron Miller is much more physical; Phillips said Joe Joe Brown has a big body and will blocker you; Brooks said Ravi Moss is a ornery guy and tough, and has a tremendous drive; center Matt McCutchan epitomizes orneriness and toughness --- The defense in Part ll.