Kentucky's confidence on the uptick

KSR's Lonny Demaree looks at the difference in confidence the current players have after getting huge road wins against Auburn and Georgia this season, and defeating eventual national champion LSU two-years ago.

One of the recruiting responsibilities that coaches try to focus on is a player that has won on the high school level. Whereby you can't pass on a player because he hasn't won on the high school level, it helps on the college level to know how to win.

It's been this writer's experience that outwardly players say they are going to win a particular game but in the deep recesses of their mind there is some self-doubt. That is a level of confidence but there is a level of confidence that say they are going to win and know in their minds they can win against anybody. There are keywords that accompany doubtful confidence – hopefully; we will give it our best shot; error free game (which is rarely done).

One of the great confidence builders is the strength and conditioning program. As players build up their bodies and know they are not fighting from a deficit, they feel like they can go out compete against anybody. That is one of the key reasons bowl games are so important – the slack time between the end of the season and starting the winter workouts. More strength gains were made between seasons this year than any other time I can remember.

Twelve fourth-quarter comebacks in recent times by the Wildcats is a huge contributor. We asked Rich Brooks about levels of confidence and he responded, "This has been a hard group to read because most of them are quiet but I think they understand that if we play like we are capable of playing we have a chance to play and win against anybody we line up against. That belief if it wasn't there we wouldn't see the comebacks that this team's been able to accomplish in the last four or five games."

Senior offensive lineman Christian Johnson was ask if a first win at Auburn since the fifties and the first at Georgia since 1977 does a lot for the teams confidence.

Johnson said – "Yeah, I feel like you have to have confidence coming into every game in college football." That false level of confidence previously alluded to Johnson talked about. "I going to tell what I think happens a lot of times, a lot of times in college football is players let their emotions and they get amped in what the coaches tell them they start to believe they can win. But their self confidence in the back of their heads tell them, man this may might be a little difficult. Until they go out there and the start doing it, that's when their confidence shoots through the roof. I can remember in the LSU game and going against Glenn Dorsey, who was the No. 1 defensive lineman taken in the draft that year. I believed we could win as a team but my self-confidence going against him, how in the world am I going to block this guy? But once I got out there and a few plays into it I said, okay I can do this and after that I said man I'm going to destroy you. That's what I was thinking – I didn't destroy him but that's how I felt like I'm going to beat this guy up. That's a different type of confidence. You have confidence in your team but your self confidence gets better as you start to play the game." That type of confidence is something we as seniors want to leave with this team because they will have a lot of talent coming back, Johnson said.

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