TAYLOR: UK has rare opportunity

Kentucky has a rare opportunity. The Wildcats, who have played Florida in their Southeastern Conference opener 12 of the last 14 years, will attempt to win their first conference opener since Jerry Claiborne dealt Ole Miss a 35-7 setback in 1987.

Since 1992, Kentucky has played just two conference foes besides Florida and came close in both contests. The Cats dropped a 35-27 loss to Mississippi State in 1997 and suffered a 27-17 loss to Alabama in 2003.

When asked about the possibility of winning the conference opener, Brooks said "It's night and day (being 1-0 or 0-1). We have an opportunity to do something Kentucky hasn't done in a while," he said. "To accomplish that, we have a lot of work to do and we need to get better. We made strides as a team last week, but we need to continue to make some major strides if we want to be successful."

Kentucky receiver Keenan Burton said beating the Rebels would be "very important."

"Not only would it be a good start in SEC play, but a good start to our season also," he said. "A lot of people were upset after the Louisville game, but we came out with a win on Saturday and we're right where a lot of people said we would be. It's important this week that we come out strong and hopefully we can be the better team."

Brooks also emphasized the importance of staying on the right course.

"We did not play to our capabilities in our first game; they (Louisville) flat out took it to us," the UK coach said. "We would have had a better chance against them if we had played to our level. Last week, we played closer to our level against a team that was obviously not at the same level as our first week's opponent. "Now, we are going to play against an opponent that is closer in level to our first week's opponent and we still need to play at our level."

Thus far, Brooks has been happy with his team's ability to strike a successful big play on offense, which has proved beneficial during the first two weeks of the season.

"We have people making big plays," he said. "Last week, we protected the quarterback better. We seem to be catching the ball when it is thrown to us."

However, Brooks added that he would like to see longer, sustained drives.

"I don't like the consistency of our offense right now," he said. "I don't think we're having enough 6-8-10-12- play drives. We either hit it big or we punt the ball. We turned it over twice last week and I didn't like that at all."

As for Ole Miss, Brooks said he isn't sure what type of offense his defensive unit will be up against. Against Memphis, Ole Miss primarily ran the football, while spreading the field against Missouri.

"We're a little perplexed as to what to prepare for," Brooks said. "They're going to present some problems just because we don't have consistent reads on them."

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