DEMAREE: Bye week a mixed bag

The old ball coach has previously alluded to his UK teams not playing well coming out of an open date. It's going to be extremely important that he doesn't let that happen coming out of this open date because most fans, the players and coaches have viewed Mississippi State as a winnable game. This game could define the rest of the season for what may be a mentally down team.

"I don't blame them for being disgruntled," said coach Brooks referring to the mood of the fans after Saturday's thumping. "So am I about our performance.

How does coach Brooks feel about this open date? "Part of you wants to get it out of your system and go get it right but from the health standpoint of our team, I think it is a well placed bye, if you will. We still have five games left and we still intend to get it right."

Brooks elaborated on the health of two of his wounded d-linemen, Corey Peters and Jamil Paris. "We worked them out pretty hard today in the swimmex and the stairmaster. Now we will just have to see if there's any swelling or any setbacks. You have to go through a few days of that."

About the defense, Brooks said he's had a hand in the defense and will continue to have in the future. He coyly alluded to leaving it to the media to figure out how much of a hand he has in the defense.

To avoid the open date letdown, Brooks said they would be working hard on getting better fundamentals and physicality. He said they have to be a more physical than the other night.

Joker Phillips was asked about the open date and the benefits of it? He seemed to be oblivious of the team's record coming out of open dates, which is poor. "At this point, it's right where you need it to be," replied Phillips talking about the open date. "We are a little banged up right now. We've gotten away from fundamentals and this gives us a chance to get back to them. "This JV game will allow us to find some guys that can help us, too. We had some guys emerge last year in the Hargrave game and maybe we will this year."

One might wonder if the poor record relates to a loss of focus, but Keenan Burton rejected that idea. "It's not always about losing focus, just relaxing, but we have got to come out everyday and practicing like the game next week. We need to turn it on. As a leader, it's my job to make sure nobody loses focus. It's my job to make sure nobody let's down. It's my job to make sure nobody let's the coaches get in their head's because what they are trying to do now is mentally break us down because that's what they need to do right now. We know our coaches have a great attitude in wanting us to win, so it boils down to what we want."

"My role is to stay positive and make sure the guys on my team continue to work hard.

For Kentucky to be successful two Saturdays for now, that will have to be the case.


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