VAUGHT: Burton: Blame players, not coaches

Junior receiver Keenan Burton is one player who never minces words. He doesn't sing his own praises — or make excuses. That's why his perspective on Kentucky football is always so insightful.

That's why after the Cats lost 24-17 to South Carolina Saturday in a game that could have secured Rich Brooks' future and UK's bowl hopes, I went looking for Burton to see what impact this loss would have on Kentucky.

"A lot of us are disappointed, but you have to let it go. There is a little anger because we know we could have done better. Any situation when you lose, you know you didn't do what you were supposed to do every play. If you did, then you would not make mistakes like we did that helped get us beat.

"We put our coaches in bad positions where they had to make desperation calls. Offensively, we couldn't really get going and that's our fault, not the coaches' fault or the defense's fault. It was our fault."

Applaud him for his honesty, and courage. Many fans blame coaches when things go wrong. Burton chose to blame himself and his teammates for the mistakes and continue to believe that his coaches know what they are doing.

UK will be the underdog against LSU, Georgia and Tennessee. It likely will be favored against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Monroe. So what lies ahead for this 3-3 team? "Our dreams. Our goal. We just have to come out and play ball. Every team is beatable in every game. You just have to try and be the better team that day," Burton said.

And what did the Cats learn from the painful loss where they fell behind 17-0 before rallying to get back in position to challenge South Carolina? "To keep fighting and focus. Never give in. Focus when you come out the second half and when you come out at the beginning of the game. Coaches get us in the right position to make plays. We have to make those plays," Burton said. "Our coaches tell us to have a short-term memory. You look at this game and take it for what it is worth. You get down on yourself for what you did wrong, then you pick yourself up for the next few weeks and get ready to play. You can't keep a loss like this in your head. You have to build on the positive and forget the negative. We just have to do a lot better than we did this week, and I think we will."


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