"Ole Miss looked like a totally different team last week than they did against Memphis," Brooks said today. "They are a very physical football team. They really didn't play as fast on the road as they did at home. Missouri ran a similar type offense to Texas State and spread them all over the field. Missouri moved the ball and controlled the ball on offense. Their offense was struggling, and that did not look to be the case against Memphis."
Brooks warned that the Rebels have numerous athletes, especially on defense, despite giving up almost 500 yards to Missouri. And then there is that speed that gave UK so much trouble in its first game. "It (the speed) worries me a lot," Brooks said. "It is the conference opener at our place. We are 1-1. They are 1-1. Somebody is going to be 1-2 and not in good shape."
The only new injury from Saturday's romp over Texas State was to tight end Jacob Tamme. He strained his right hamstring running a pass route in the third quarter. Brooks doesn't expect to know the exact status of the injury until at least Tuesday. "I don't know if it was bothering him before that or not. We'll just have to see if it settles down or turns black and blue," Brooks said.
While the coach would prefer to have his starting tight end available, he says the Cats have "more options" this year thanks to Zipp Duncan, T.C. Drake, Ross Bogue and Tyler Sexton. "You certainly don't want to go into your SEC opener without Jacob, but if we have to, we have to."
Brooks said UK also likely would be without defensive tackle Myron Pryor for the second straight game. His status will be re-evaluated Tuesday also, but his foot injury is expected to sideline him again.
The Kentucky coach did like what he saw from a number of true freshmen who played on defense Saturday. Tackle Corey Peters and safety Ashton Cobb both made their first starts. Cobb had the hit near the goal line that prevented Texas State from scoring after UK had fumbled deep in its own territory.
"I thought Corey Peters had a very good game in his first start. He played extensively and played well," Brooks said. "Ashton Cobb caused the fumble on the goal line. He put hat right on the ball. He had some good plays, and then he had some freshman plays."
Brooks said linebacker Micah Johnson the same thing as Cobb. "He has to get his reads better and keep improving," Brooks said.
He did praise cornerback Paul Warford "for a real hustle play" when he prevented a Texas State touchdown by running down a receiver on a reverse pass after two teammates had vacated their responsibilities.
"(Linebacker) Sam Maxell had a couple of nice tackles and (lineman) Jamil Paris made his presence known as a pass rusher. He has to be better against the run," Brooks said.
Defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, a redshirt freshman, also caught Brooks' eye. "He still has to use his hands better, but he's a big body that can run. His playing time will probably increase. So will Peters'."