Both freshmen defensive linemen agree that UK's confidence was not hurt when it lost 59-28 to Louisville in its first game. "I really don't think confidence was ever a problem. Speaking for the defensive line, we all came from winning programs. We are all ready to win. We lined up and took those first few snaps, and it was kind of a shocker at Louisville. Just the speed and how physical it was surprised us. But that game woke us up," said Jarmon, a redshirt freshman from Memphis.
"I don't think last week really shook our confidence because after watching tape, you could see every little mistake that you made," said Peters, a true freshman from Louisville. "All the big plays were just one person making a mistake that we had to clean up. Our confidence was fine. We just made too many mistakes."
OK, but what about the fans? Did the players understand why the fans were so disappointed with the loss to Louisville and needed the kind of pep talk that a 48-7 win over Texas State provided Saturday?
"Absolutely. From the fans' standpoint, they never know what is going on inside the program. They are looking at Louisville like, ‘It's a rivalry game and our team should be out here and be ready.' When we came out and gave a poor performance like we did, the fans were like, ‘What is going on? Those guys weren't ready? So we needed to come out here for ourselves first and play like we needed to play and then we had to give our great fan base what they were looking for. We had to win them back," Jarmon said after the win over Texas State.
"I could understand why the fans were upset. I am happy they came back out to see us rebound. We just have to keep working now to show them they should keep coming back," Peters said.
Jarmon says not to worry about UK's intensity, at least on the defensive line, against Mississippi. Defensive line coach Rick Petri came to UK last year after being dismissed at Ole Miss. And Jarmon grew up in Memphis with absolutely no love for the Rebels.
"We just had a lot of hatred for Ole Miss. I know for sure our defense will be fired up not only because it is our SEC opener, but because we want to make some hits. I am going to make sure everybody here knows plenty about what Ole Miss thinks of a team like Kentucky. We'll be ready, for sure, for this game. We are not about to disappoint the fans again," Jarmon said.