Just because Kentucky is 2-2 and coming off a solid performance at Florida doesn't mean that defensive coordinator Mike Archer is overjoyed about the way his unit has performed.
The Cats are allowing 214 yards per game rushing and 223 passing. Even worse, they are giving up 6.5 yards per play. Archer offers no excuses for the way the defense has played and admits he's as disappointed in the lack of run defense as any die-hard UK fan.
"I would have hoped we would be better against the run. We are still giving up too many big plays," Archer said. "We are kind of like last year where we will go periods and do OK and then we get gashed for 20 yards or more on a play.
"To be good, you have got to be consistent against the running game. In this league, if you don't play well against the run, it's difficult to be good in your pass defense. You are having to bring more and more people into the box and that makes it harder and harder to defend the run. Saturday at Florida was a good example. At times we did a good job on the run. At other times, we were not very good. We have to get more consistent in being gap conscious and taking care of responsibilities if we want to play the way I still think we can."
So who is at fault? Are the linemen not doing their jobs or what?
"It is the whole group. It is the front not taking care of gaps. It is the linebackers not taking care of pursuit angles and getting downhill like they should. It is the secondary, too. We have had plays where the ball bounced outside and we got beat by losing leverage by our safety or cornerback. It is everybody. It's not one particular group not doing their job. When we all do jobs, you see we can do it. When we have a breakdown by one or two guys, then we get hurt pretty good," Archer said.
But in fairness to the defense, the Cats are making more good plays and forcing more turnovers than they did last year.
"We are making more plays because we have more playmakers this year. We have guys that can run better. We have created more turnovers, which has helped us in our field position. But the run game has to be better. We can't keep allowing teams to get out of trouble or just run through us. Until we stop the run, we just are not going to be a very good defense," Archer said.
Archer says Cats must stop the run
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