VAUGHT: Football Cats have high expectations

As national signing day arrives and coach Rich Brooks and his assistant coaches have the luxury of operating with new contracts, it's easy to start wondering about what the 2007 will be like. Kentucky will return most of its starters off a team that went 8-5, won the Music City Bowl and beat Georgia.

How high should expectations be?

"We can't let anything slip now. We have kind of built this thing the right way and it has been put in place the right way so it doesn't slip," junior tight end Jacob Tamme said. "We are going to have a big senior class. It will be on our shoulders to make sure we take it forward. That is going to be the goal to make sure we move forward. Last season was great. Now we can't accept the same stuff any more."

Junior safety Marcus McClinton won't try to discourage fans from expecting another successful season.

"We are going to pick up where we left off at. Expectations should be higher," McClinton said. "We have to work hard in the spring. The bowl game was really the first game of next year. We can't take anything for granted. We have to take this thing seriously. If we can hit on all cylinders, we can beat some good teams next year and earn even more respect for Kentucky football."

So Kentucky should win seven or eight games again in 2007?

"I will be very disappointed if we don't do that. We have to take this and run with it. We have not had success like this before in a long time here. We have to keep going with this, and there's no reason we shouldn't," McClinton said. Don't worry about prosperity ruining the Wildcats, either. Given the adversity this team has faced in recent years, dealing with prosperity is a nice problem to have.

"It will be a fun talk about handling prosperity," Tamme said. "We have handled a lot of losing, so right now it is pretty sweet. During the offseason we have to go about things the right way to improve the program. For the first time, there is going to be a lot of positive talk about an 8-5 season. Eventually we have to put it behind us and get ready for next year.

"The fans deserve a product on the field that they can be proud of. I think we did that a lot last year and we can go into next season feeling good."

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