Football Cats to work on Starting Gate

Like a young thoroughbred colt or filly the Wildcats have to learn how to get out of the starting gate. Cats have been outscored in the first half of games in the past--can the future remedy this malady?

We were listening to an old tape recently of an interview of former offensive coordinator Ron Hudson. Former radio personality Tim Woodburn my cohort was conducting the interview at the end of year one on why the slow starts at the beginning of games. Hudson had no answers. Ironically Rich Brooks had no answers for the 2008 season, which was virtually the same. There have been years in the middle of Brooks' tenure that UK has had slow starts. The following scores by the quarter in 2008 are as follows.

Kentucky 34 71 78 111
opp 101 71 78 66

Brooks said that lack of experience especially on the offensive side played a role in the slow starts. So the young Cats will have more experience this season, and the starting gate training should start to pay dividends. "We obviously need to play at a higher level coming out of the gate and last year was probably the worst example in my six years," Brooks explained. "And that can be laid to experience. "We certainly are going to have more experience now and we expect to play better earlier in games and not dig ourselves into holes that we have to try to dig ourselves out of.

"The main thing I'm concerned about is at the end of games." What does the coach point to in buttressing his experience claim? "We will be more experience on the offensive side. Defensively we are above the curve even though we lost some key defensive players but I think we have some people that are capable of stepping in and replacing them."

Seniors Alfonso Smith and Corey Peters have lived through the first quarter droughts and the great finishes. They have seen the back go to the front and the front go to the back and trying to figure out how to get out of the starting gate better. "I think it is a overall problem," said Alfonso Smith, who is probably tired of hearing the question. "Coach Larry Brinson said it's like an ant-colony. When one doesn't do his job the whole system breaks down. We found last season if it wasn't the quarterback, it was the running back, if it wasn't running back, it was the offensive lineman or the receivers. Our goal this season is to have everybody working together, jelling together and that will eliminate those slow starts. We've always been a team that can come back This year we want to get ahead not have to come back from behind.

"We have got to come out of the locker room more fired up and be more aggressive at the start of the game," said a miffed Corey Peters. "Sometimes I think we sit back and wait to get punch I the mouth before we actually react. Beside that, I don't know what we can do different except be more aggressive as a defense and make sure we get off the field the first series."

As Brooks alluded to, they will win more of those game when the front matches the back.

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