VAUGHT: Jarmon evaluates the defense

If freshman defensive end Jeremy Jarmon is right, Kentucky's defensive play at Tennessee is only the start of much better things to come for the beleaguered UK defense. Here's an exclusive interview with the talented freshman who has the same knack for giving honest answers as he does making big plays:

Question: Why did the defense play so much better at Tennessee than it did a week earlier against an inferior Louisiana-Monroe?

Jarmon: "We went out there extremely focused going into this game. We eliminated a lot of the mistakes we had been making. We knew we had to grow up and stop making the mistakes. We knew we had to fix our mistakes. I think we went out there and fixed a lot of them. There are still more to fix, but we went out there and played our butts off and that's all that matters."

Question: It this the start of what this young defense can eventually be?

Jarmon: "It is definitely a start. Hopefully in four weeks in our bowl game we will show more progress. We were physical. We did pretty much everything the coaches asked for a change. We showed up. Now it put us in a situation where the coaches are not going to do anything but expect more out of us and we should be able to do what we did today and just make more plays every game."

Question: Why was the defense suddenly so physical at Tennessee after not playing that way much of the year?

Jarmon: "We were hitting them in the mouth. It really caught them off guard. Then they started to brace and then they started to try and hit us back and we hit them harder. At no point out there did we lay down and take anything from them. We heard how good their offensive line was and how good their backs were. They made their plays. They made their blocks from time to time. But I think we got the best of them."

Question: But why such a huge turnaround in just one week?

Jarmon: " Better focus among the players. There was nothing else our coaches could do or tell us. We knew the mistakes we were making. There was some selfishness among our part for not getting them fixed. Not watching enough film. Not concentrating when we are in practice. We put that aside. Some of the young guys, including me, were having problems getting things done the coaches wanted done. When we go out there as a whole and correct the mistakes we were all making, then that is what we are all capable of doing."

Question: Was this the first game where the defense really played with the confidence that it could stop a quality opponent?

Jarmon: "No, we never played without confidence, but sometimes we played out of control. We play out of position. We always have confidence. We had confidence today and we were focused. That was the difference maker with our defensive performance. When we play with focus and do the things the coaches tell us, then this is how we can play. When we don't focus and do the things we are told to do, then it is our fault and we get the results we've had in some past games. But hopefully those games are over now."

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