Nov. 13, 2001
Questions & Answers with Kentucky head coach Guy Morriss
1. Talk about the
play of your offense the last four games.
"We think it is coming together. Our point production has been up and we are getting some yardage. It has been a matter of learning a new system and getting everybody on the same page, as well as getting players and coaches to know each other a little better as well as the coaches learning the strength and weaknesses of each player. That takes time, but offensively we are starting to come together."
2. Derek Abney
has had an outstanding year both as a receiver and as a kick returner.
"He has done a fine job for us. He is a guy that gives great effort on the practice field and in the games. He has kind of been our go-to guy, and lately he has been the most productive we've got. He has become the leader of that group now, and he is stepping up his play. He is a vocal guy, and I think pound-for-pound probably one of the toughest if not the toughest on our football team. I wish more of them had his heart and his motor. He is a good little player."
3. How has your effort changed defensively?
"Those kids are playing hard and they are learning a new system also with coach Goodner and his staff. That was one of the points of emphasis when I took this job, was that we have to play better defense in order to have a chance to win. To this point the numbers would say that we are not any better, but I think our kids are playing harder and we have just been devastated over there with injuries, along with some academic problems and things like that. I think now it is just a matter of going out and doing a great job of recruiting and getting some great players in here and put them in the mix with the players that are already here. I think the production will pick up from there."
4- What are your
thoughts about the young quarterbacks in our league like the ones at Georgia,
Auburn and Florida as well as your QBs. How they have performed this season?
"I think it is just a case in some of the schools where an older guy leaves and a young guy takes over. The fact is that young kids are getting better and better every year. High school football is getting better and better every year and the coaches are doing a much better job of preparing the quarterbacks to go onto college. And I think that is starting to pay off for these younger kids. They are more mature and they are ready to play sooner. In the case of our young quarterbacks they kind of fall into the same mold. They are good athletes and are coached well and they came out of good programs. That has helped prepare them to get on the field at a younger age."
5. What are your
thoughts on Tennessee and what you expect out of them this weekend?
"Actually, looking at them on film, it looks like the same old Tennessee of the past to me. It seems like they just reload or plug another great athlete in when somebody graduates or goes on.
"I think defensively they are probably the best defensive line we have faced all year. It is a super talented group. The linebackers look like typical Tennessee linebackers. They are flying around and making plays. They have a strong secondary.
"Offensively, from my point of view, they look like one of the best offensive lines that Tennessee has put together in years. Travis Stephens is having a great year and is leading the conference in rushing. He is a heck of a running back. They have the good young quarterback and a stable full of receivers. It is just the typical Tennessee team. I expect coach Fulmer to have them ready to play when they come up here. We have got our work cut out for us. I think our approach to the game is we are going to prepare our kids the best we can and get them ready to play, and go out and have a good ball game and see the chips fall where they may and see what happens."
6. Talk about your
season class and what they have meant to the program.
"It is a good group. We have 23 seniors. Going into the season we talked to our seniors and how they would be the first class to go and participate in three bowl games in their career, and that has not happened for those guys. They have hung in there with us and they believe in the coaching staff and they believe in the new philosophy and ideas that we are trying to implement here at Kentucky. It has been a tough year on all of us. But they have provided the leadership they you would expect from a senior class. Like they always say, 'Tough times build character in people,' and these kids have fought through a lot of adversity this year. Hopefully some of that will help them out as they go out into the real world, go to work and get on with their lives. They have been a good bunch to be around."