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By LARRY VAUGHT
Randall Cobb didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mince words.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This was a big loss for us and took a lot out of me,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Cobb. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I hope we can pull it back together. This was a big game for us, one we knew we had to win. It was big for the pecking order of the SEC East and the bowl games.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“To come out and play the way we did Ã¢â‚¬â€ to not even show up Ã¢â‚¬â€ is very discouraging and disappointing. We played with no emotion. I do not know what to say. We did not play well across the board. I wish I knew why.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So do Kentucky fans after the Cats lost 31-24 to Mississippi State in Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blame Cobb even if he did have a first-quarter fumble. He still accounted for 237 all-purpose yards (17 rushing, 32 receiving, 46 punt returns, 142 kickoff returns). He also scored his 10th touchdown this year and tallied a touchdown in a game for the 11th time in the 18 games he has played for Kentucky.
Forget the second-guessing about whether Kentucky should have gone to the wildcat package featuring Cobb at quarterback more in the fourth quarter Ã¢â‚¬â€ State had shut him down and twice the Cats did drive into scoring position with freshman Morgan Newton at quarterback. Instead, pay attention more to what Cobb thought about the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mental approach.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do much of anything right. They put a lot of stress on us with their defense. It was just a tough night all around for us in every phase of the game,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cobb said.
Cobb admitted the players had openly talked about what winning this game could have done for UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bowl chances and placement.
Did UK take Mississippi State lightly?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t speak for my teammates. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how others feel. I gave my all out there, and I hope others can say that, too,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cobb said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play well or with the emotion I expected. This was a big night. It was homecoming. It was Halloween. It was a big SEC game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I could tell early that things were not right emotionally. I could see people hanging their heads when something didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go right. I thought we had moved past that, but we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play together like we should have and we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play as hard as we should have.Ã¢â‚¬Â
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right. It was obvious to everyone in Commonwealth Stadium, including UK head coach Rich Brooks, that his team was whipped physically. UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defensive front was manhandled. UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offensive front was not as dominant as it had been. UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defensive backs were punished by StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s blockers and runners.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to move past this somehow. I figured we would have so much emotion tonight but it just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t there. All we can do now is let it go. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing else we can do now,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cobb said.
KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
Final Score: Mississippi State 31, Kentucky 24
October 31, 2009 * Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 4-4 overall, 1-4 in the Southeastern Conference.Ã‚Â Mississippi State is 4-5 overall, 2-3 in league play.
- Kentucky leads the series, 21-16.Ã‚Â MSU has won one in a row.
- Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats play host to Eastern Kentucky on Sat. Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.Ã‚Â The game will be a live telecast on WKYT (Lexington) and WYMT (Hazard) and also a delay telecast on the Big Blue Sports Network.
UK Team Notes
- Kentucky gained 189 yards on the ground to maintain their highest average rushing yards per game (186.7) since 1995.
- UK is 46-18 in Homecoming games since 1946.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense forced an interception for the fourth straight game and picked off multiple passes for the second consecutive contest.
- UK converted 2-of-3 fourth down attempts in the game; the Wildcats have 12-of 16 (75 percent) this season.
- Kentucky has converted 22 of 27 opportunities in the red zone (81.5 percent) for 142 points (19 touchdowns, three field goals, two loss on downs and one end of half).
- 1st Quarter Summary
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sean Brauchle kicked a 33-yard field goal (4:23); MSU 3, UK 0
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Derrick Locke rushed for a 10-yard touchdown (1:28); UK 7, MSU 3
- It was LockeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fourth rushing TD of the season and 10th of his career.
- 2nd Quarter Summary
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sam Maxwell intercepted MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tyson Lee in the end zone for a touchback.
- It was MaxwellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third interception of the season and fourth of his career.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Randall Burden intercepted MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tyson Lee and returned it to the MSU 41.
- It was BurdenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second interception of the season with picks in back-to-back games.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Morgan Newton rushed for an 11-yard touchdown (5:16); UK 14, MSU 3
- It was NewtonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second career rushing touchdown.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chris Relf rushed for 52 yards to the UK 3-yard line.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Anthony Dixon rushed for a 1-yard touchdown (3:43); UK 14, MSU 10
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Randall Cobb returned a punt 46 yards to the MSU 26.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Lones Seiber kicked at 38-yard field goal (0:00); UK 17, MSU 10
- 3rd Quarter Summary
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Alfonso Smith fumbles at the UK 47 forced by MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Charles Mitchell
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Christian DucreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ rushed for a 2-yard touchdown (11:48); UK 17, MSU 17
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Randall Cobb rushed for a 3-yard touchdown (7:49); UK 24, MSU 17
- It was CobbÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fifth rushing touchdown this season and the 12th of his career.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tyson Lee completed a 67-yard TD pass to OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neal Wilder (6:56); UK 24, MSU 24
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Anthony Dixon rushed for 47 yards to the UK 40.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Anthony Dixon rushed for a 3-yard touchdown (0:59); MSU 31, UK 24
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Randall Cobb returned the kickoff 47 yards to the MSU 42.
- 4th Quarter Summary
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Derrick Locke rushed for 21 yards to the MSU 14.
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Moncell Allen converted a 4th and 1 at the MSU 4.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jamar Chaney intercepted UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Morgan Newton at the MSU 9. (10:48)
- UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Morgan Newton throws 17-yard pass to Chris Matthews to the MSU 31 to keep final drive alive.
- MSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jamar Chaney and Devin Jones sack UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Newton for 2-yard loss on 4th-and-5 at Bulldog 18 with under two minutes remaining to stop the last Wildcat threat.
UK Individual Notes
- Derrick Locke notched his second career 100-yard rushing game with 103 markers on 17 carries.
- Locke now has 1,421 career yards to rank 18th on the UK all-time rushing list; he needs 28 yards to overtake Bobby Cravens (1956-58, 1,448) for 17th all-time.
- Randall CobbÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 3-yard touchdown run accounted for the 10th of UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 27 touchdowns this season; he has scored at least one touchdown in 11 of 18 career games.
- Cobb led the team in all-purpose with 237 yards including 17 rushing, 32 receiving, 142 on kick returns and 46 on punt returns.
- Morgan NewtonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 11-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the second of his career.
- Newton connected on11-of-18 pass attempts for a career-high 119 yards and threw one interception.
- NewtonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 11 completions and 18 attempts were also career highs.
- LaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Rod King caught made career highs with two receptions for 31 yards including a career-long 18-yard grab.
- Micah Johnson recorded his eighth career double-digit tackling effort, leading the team with 11 stops.
- Taylor Wyndham made a career-high six tackles including career-high 2.5 tackles-for-loss.
- DeQuin Evans forced his first career fumble in the game.
- Paul Warford made a season-high seven tackles against MSU.
- Randall Burden snared his second interception in two games with a return of eight yards, marking the second pick of his career.
- Sam Maxwell made his fourth career interception and third of the season in the game.
By LARRY VAUGHT
The coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife was downright giddy as she congratulated assistant coachesÃ‚Â as she left the Commonwealth Stadium pressbox because she knew what a key win this was for her husband.
However, it was Megan Mullen, the Mississippi State coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, and not Karen Brooks, the UK coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, doing the celebrating because the Bulldogs left with the Halloween treats thanks to a punishing 31-24 win.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The season is not lost but it is not going to be the type season we thought it would be if we won this game,Ã¢â‚¬Â said UK coach Rich Brooks. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The key thing is to bounce back and get a win before we go on the road and then try to steal one or two on the road and get bowl eligible. No question this is a very disappointing loss.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Disappointing? Try season-wrecking.
Not only did UK lose, but the defense was shredded for 493 yards, including 252 yards on 33 carries by Anthony Dixon. The Cats also gave up a 72-yard touchdown pass by Tyson Lee, who had thrown only three touchdown passes all season.
But what was more perplexing were the plays UK called Ã¢â‚¬â€ or didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t call Ã¢â‚¬â€ when it had a first down at the 4-yard line trailing 31-24. Rather than let Randall Cobb or Derrick Locke, the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s two best playmakers and two most experienced offensive players, touch the ball, freshman quarterback Morgan Newton ran twice for only one yard and then threw an interception as he was pressured rolling out.
Both Brooks and Joker Phillips, UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head coach of the offense, said they wanted to check out of the first run but Newton didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see the call.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is us and coaching and is our responsibility,Ã¢â‚¬Â Brooks said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The other one, they closed it up real good and made a good play (on the run).Ã¢â‚¬Â
The third play was a sprint-out pass option designed to get the ball to Cobb, but State never gave Newton a chance to make the play and he foolishly threw an interception trying to avoid a sack and make a big play.
Kentucky didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put Cobb at quarterback in its wildcat formation for those plays because State had shown it could stop him. Or at least that is what Brooks and his staff decided.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We decided not to do it and when it does not work we open ourselves to be second guessed on a lot of things,Ã¢â‚¬Â Brooks said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We thought we had plays called that were working and they took them away.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They did a good job. Maybe we should have gone to the wildcat. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what you want, you got it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cobb wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t second guess the play calls even if many others were.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I trust this coaching staff.Ã‚Â They call the plays and we have to execute,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Would I have liked to have had the ball? Yes, I would. But that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean we still could not have score.Ã¢â‚¬Â
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blame Brooks for being test because this was a night of horrors for him. A win would have put UK a 5-3 going into next weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game with Eastern. Now the Cats are 4-4 and face road games at Vanderbilt and Georgia and then a home game with Tennessee Ã¢â‚¬â€ a team UK never beats Ã¢â‚¬â€ needing to win at least one to be bowl eligible.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if this was a step back, but this was a big game for us,Ã¢â‚¬Â Phillips admitted. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are down. This was a game we needed to take our program to the next level.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky had another chance to tie the game even after failing to score when it got inside the 5-yard line earlier in the fourth quarter. This time Newton, who was 11-for-18 passing for 119 yards and ran 13 times for 39 yards, had two key third-down completions to Chris Matthews and one to LaRod King.
The Cats moved 64 yards to the Mississippi State 16, but on third down NewtonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pass to T.C. Drake was incomplete when he had Locke wide open on the other side. On fourth down, Newton was sacked and Megan Mullen started her celebration.
While Brooks was quick to credit State, which had played well in recent losses to LSU and Florida, for its play, he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but be frustrated with his team much like he was two years ago when the Bulldogs came here and put another physical beating on his Cats.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They outcoached and outplayed us. We were in position at halftime to take care of business and immediately turned it over (on an Alfonso Smith fumble) and let them run right through us,Ã¢â‚¬Â Brooks said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They came in here and did what they had to do and we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do what we had to do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And now the Cats are going to have to do a lot more than they anticipated just to get to a fourth straight bowl game and can quit worrying about getting to a better bowl because after this overall performance, any bowl will be a good bowl for Kentucky.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky quarterback Dusty Bonner made several notable points during our pregame show on WLAP today.
Here are a few of the key things he said that caught my attention:
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Junior college receiver Chris Matthews is not likely to have a big game. He’s a California kid who is not used to the cold weather. “Believe me, a receiver that likes hot weather doesn’t just play well all of a sudden in the cold,” Bonner said.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Freshman quarterback Morgan Newton could benefit from the weather. “He’s from Indiana and is used to playing in weather a lot worse than this. It won’t bother him,” Bonner said.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Bonner, like me, thinks Kentucky will win because of Randall Cobb. The former UK quarterback says the weather won’t favor skilled players having big games, but he looks for Cobb to make some big plays. “He’s not a skilled player. He’s a football player period,” Bonner said.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Kentucky’s offensive line will dictate who wins. Bonner says if UK’s improved offensive line can make room for Derrick Locke to run and keep State’s offense off the field, UK will win.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Finally, expect a lot of punts. “I think both teams are going to be content to punt and play field position and not take chances on long third-down plays,” Bonner said.
In a few hours, we’ll see how accurate Bonner is but I like this thinking.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Patrick Patterson, UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team leader, says the way freshman sensation John Wall has approached the season could be vital for the WildcatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ success.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is real important because not everybody has that type of attitude. John has carried himself extremely well. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let the hype or all the fame and pressure get to his head. Everyone knows who he is around campus and the Big Blue Nation knows who John Wall is. He looks in the media and bam, there he is. He looks in the paper and bam, there he is. Online people are talking about him being national player of the year, but he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let that get to his head. He wants to strive for excellence and knows if he wants to get that he has to put the work in,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said.
The UK junior said he was not worried about Wall being big-headed or not a team player when he got to Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I talked to him during the recruiting process. I met him and I had no negative thoughts about him. I knew he was a great man. I never thought he was cocky or full of himself when he came and when I met him in person you could tell he was not like that,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When he finally decided to come here, you could tell right off the bat he was a great guy. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let anything get to his head or take anything for granted. He works for everything he has and what people talk about is true. He is just a great man and I am so happy to have him for my teammate.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
The best preseason analysis you can read about the Kentucky basketball team is again found in the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. Publisher Chris Dortch did his usual superb job and wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t kidding when he said his interview with coach John Calipari was Ã¢â‚¬Å“pure gold.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It includes a neat story Calipari shared about NBA star LeBron JamesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ visit to Kentucky when he watched a pickup game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“LeBron told me, Ã¢â‚¬ËœHey, I went up to your big man. And I told him, Ã¢â‚¬ËœYouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to go inside kid.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Why are you trying to be a point guard?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said.
No, he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talking to Patrick Patterson. He was talking to freshman DeMarcus Cousins.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has unbelievable skills,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari told Dortch. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He can pass. He can shoot. He can dribble. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got nimble feet, great hands. And heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 260 pounds with a wingspan of 7-6.Ã¢â‚¬Â
However, Calipari also told Dortch that Cousins has never been in condition, but that he will be after two months of practice.
Dortch grades a teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s backcourt, depth, frontcourt and intangibles. He gave Kentucky an A in all four areas andranked the Cats No. 7 in his preseason poll.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Love him or hate him, Calipari has become one of the the most successful coaches in the college game. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s won everywhere heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been. Why wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t he be successful at Kentucky?Ã¢â‚¬Â Dortch wrote.
* * *
To order a copy of Blue Ribbon Yearbook, go to www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com. If you are a true basketball junkie/fan, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll not find a better book to provide analysis on every major college team Ã¢â‚¬â€ and UK opponent.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky probably has done the right thing by calling off it’s so-called non-public practice at Louisville Sunday.
Since I am actually at halftime of the high school football game I am covering tonight, I have not had a lot of time to probe into what went into this decision. However, here is what coach John Calipari had to say in a release that came out tonight:
“We originally planned a practice at Freedom Hall on Sunday afternoon to give our guys a chance to practice in an arena that we will compete in later this season,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “The passion of our Kentucky fans in Louisville made it impossible for the word not to get out about the practice at Freedom Hall. Due to the publicity created by several media outlets, we will no longer be able to conduct a preseason practice off campus this weekend. We will schedule an open practice at Freedom Hall and make sure all our fans in Louisville know about it.”
Personally, I think an open practice before the game in Louisville is a much better way to go. Let fans have time to make plans and I suspect there will be more fans at the practice than some recent UK neutral site games at Freedom Hall attracted.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Finally the John Wall eligibility saga is over and has some University of Kentucky officials had indicated, there was no obvious violation of any rule based on the NCAA investigation.
Here is what the release from UK said:
LEXINGTON, Ky. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ University of Kentucky menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball student-athlete John Wall has been certified with conditions by the NCAA.Ã‚Â The conditions are repayment of expenses and a two-game withholding, including the first exhibition game versus Campbellsville (Nov. 2) and the first regular-season game against Morehead State (Nov. 13).
Wall, a 6-4 freshman point guard from Raleigh, N.C., was one of five freshmen on the Naismith Preseason watch list. A pre-season All-American according to several national publications, Wall was the top recruit in the country last season according to Rivals.com.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m grateful to have this decision behind me.Ã‚Â All I ever wanted was to go to school and play ball with my team,Ã¢â‚¬Â said UK freshman John Wall. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This has been really hard for my mom and I want to thank her for her support during this process.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The repayment of expenses includes a total of $787.58, consisting predominantly of travel expenses incurred during WallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unofficial visits to various institutions during his junior year at Word of God Christian Academy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re appreciative of the process and the NCAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s willingness to listen,Ã¢â‚¬Â said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The NCAA staff worked to keep the welfare of the student-athlete in mind throughout this process.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m happy for Coach Calipari and John Wall that he will get a chance to represent the Wildcats this season.Ã‚Â HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great young man and deserves to be able to concentrate fully on his academics and basketball.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“John Wall is a great kid who always tries to do the right thing and his mother is a great lady,Ã¢â‚¬Â said UK head coach John Calipari. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just happy this is behind us.Ã¢â‚¬Â
My guess is that every UK fan feels the same way and you know coach John Calipari and athletics director Mitch Barnhart feel that way.
Wall’s teammates had offered solid support for him after Wednesday’s Blue-White Game and obviously they were right in their belief that nothing serious was coming. It’s still hard to see how Wall knowingly did anything wrong, but it’s best for him and UK to put this behind them and get ready to play. He gets to play one exhibition game and then sit out the regular-season opener before resuming his UK career.
What do you think? Fair or unfair?
By LARRY VAUGHT
Randall Cobb didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get to play in last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Liberty Bowl win because of an injury he suffered against Tennessee.
The talented, and versatile, University of Kentucky sophomore knows a win Saturday over Mississippi State could go a long way toward assuring him and UK of getting to play in a bowl this year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are playing well together as a team. One of the things we need to keep focusing on is finishing games,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cobb said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This game is going to be big for us. We want to get to where we know we are going to a bowl, and then push forward to get to a better bowl. But the big thing is we have to make sure we are prepared for MIssissippi State because they are a tough team. We have to be more focused than ever and see if we can get an early jump. As an offense, we need a big jump because we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want them to hang around and build confidence.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cobb knew UK didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play its best against Louisiana-Monroe last week even though it did win. And no one can dispute that.
Saturday heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be at his best Ã¢â‚¬â€ isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t he always Ã¢â‚¬â€ whether it is returning punts, catching passes or running UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own wildcat.
Cobb ranks in the Southeastern ConferenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top 10 in receptions per game (6th-4.0), scoring (5th-7.7 points per game), punt return average (2nd-13.6 yards per return) and all-purpose yards (5th-132.7 yards per game).Ã‚Â He had a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown in last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win.
But numbers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean much with Cobb. What counts is the way he delivers under pressure like he did last year against Arkansas and has this year at South Carolina and Auburn.
SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game will be close, but the Cats will win because of the Cobb factor. A healthier Derrick Locke will help, but when UK needs a play to win the game, the ball will be in CobbÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hands Ã¢â‚¬â€ and should be.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky sophomore Darius Miller offered a variety of insights into the Kentucky team with these recent comments.
Question: How good is Darnell Dodson?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“He can really score the ball. He can shoot lights out. He shoots very well from any area in the court.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Is he the best shooter on the team?
Question: Is his game similar to yours?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. He is more of a shooter. He can get to the rim, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get me wrong. But his strongest asset is the way he shoots the ball.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: What kind of guy is he?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is a lot of fun to be around. He has a great personality. He plays really well with the team. I think all of us mesh together really well. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of fun to be around all these players, including Darnell.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Did it surprise you that the newcomers were so much fun to be around immediately?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“At times people try to make it out like the superstars have bad attitudes or donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work hard. But it is totally the opposite. They are all great guys and we have fun together and spend a lot of time together, too. I think we are going to play really well together as a team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: How nice would it be to just have fun all year?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“That would be real nice. I think everybody would like that. Winning does play a role in it, but there is more to it. However, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think anybody is happy with losing like we did last year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Is it easier to win if you are having fun?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Definitely. Last year I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what happened. I think losing contributed to last year. Nobody is happy when you lose. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think anybody should be happy, so that might have been part of it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Will the new guys be as much fun when the games start and the pressure builds?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“From what I know, these players have been in that type atmosphere before. Maybe not quite as big, but they have been in atmospheres like that. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think it will have a big effect. It might take some getting used to, but it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be a big deal.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Is DeMarcus Cousins the biggest cut-up and flirt on the team as some players say?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. We have a few of them. Daniel Orton is. Josh Harrellson really isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a flirt because he has a girlfriend, but he cuts up a lot. Everybody really cuts up and cracks jokes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: But Orton says he is not like that. Is that not true?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is lying. No doubt about that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Seriously, are you guys really as close as it sounds so early in the season?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“That goals along with everybody having great personalities. Everybody likes to have a good time.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Is this still Patrick PattersonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team no matter how good the freshman are?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Definitely. He is the leader on the team. In my opinion, he is the best player on the team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: But what about John Wall being named preseason player of the year by some?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“John is outstanding player. He had a lot of hype and deserves every bit of it. He works extremely hard. I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take anything away from him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: But would you trade Patterson for anybody?
Miller: Ã¢â‚¬Å“No, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the leader on the team. Without Pat, it would be a lot harder. He demands a lot from us. He gets us ready and makes us focus, but at the same time he has a lot of fun. But when he needs to turn it on, he will.Ã¢â‚¬Â