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By Keith Taylor, The Winchester Sun
LEXINGTON — Bud Dupree isn’t sure what his future plans will be following Kentucky’s 27-14 loss to Tennessee Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
Dupree, a junior defensive end, will discuss whether he will return for his senior campaign or decide to enter the National Football League Draft next summer with Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and the rest of the defensive coaching staff in the coming weeks.
“Me and coach (Mark Stoops) are going to talk about that over the next couple of weeks as well as other players just to see where we stand,” he said. “I’ve just got to talk to my coaches and see.”
Whether he returns or opts to enter the NFL Draft, Dupree played his last game with teammate Avery Williamson, an outgoing senior who helped steer Dupree in the right direction and mentored Dupree’s steps. Dupree called Williamson a “great linebacker” and “one of the best in the country.”
“Avery is a great player and a great leader,” Dupree said. “Avery just helped me to go hard every day and he just leads by example and always tried to do things right all of the time.”
In Kentucky’s first season under Stoops, the Wildcats went 2-10 and failed to win a game in the Southeastern Conference. Despite the lack of victories on the field, he said the team made strides behind the scenes and set the tone for the future.
“I think we improved a lot in some games that we did play,” Durpree said. “There were a lot of (games) where we could have won and didn’t execute on both sides of the ball. We could have done better.”
Dupree said the biggest adjustment defensively was adjusting to a new scheme, which switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3 under Stoops. He didn’t have any problems with the change in alignment.
“We just had to adjust to the things they wanted us to do,” he said.
Dupree said the change was good and said Stoops’ approach was simpler.
“I’ve very comfortable with the defensive schemes,” he said. “I learned a lot from the coaches. It’s less complicated and things of that nature. I like (the defense) a lot.”
Dupree also enjoyed playing for Stoops, who was defensive coordinator at Florida State before taking over at Kentucky. Stoops was often vocal on the sidelines and received an unsportsmanlike penalty late in the game of the loss to the Volunteers. Dupree was glad to see Stoops display his emotional side in front of the officiating crew.
“It means the coach really cares about the team and he wants what’s best for the team,” Dupree said. “If he has to do that just to get a point across to the referee and on the right track, obviously there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Dupree said the key to success in the future relies on getting playmakers on both sides of the ball and likes Kentucky’s changes at succeeding in the future with Stoops at the helm.”
“I think we’re on the right track effort-wise, we’ve just got to make plays,” Dupree said. “We’ve got to get more players to make more plays. I know in this game we could have did a lot more defensive-wise and offense-wise,” he said. “What it all boils down to is making more plays and people stepping up and making plays to help the team win.”