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By LARRY VAUGHT
Jason Hatcher and James Quick were teammates on powerful Louisville Trinity teams and two of Kentucky’s best players their junior and senior seasons.
Now they will be opponents Saturday when Kentucky hosts Louisville. Hatcher is a defensive end at UK and Quick, Kentucky’s 2012 Mr. Football, is a receiver at Louisville.
“I probably won’t talk to him this week,” said Hatcher, who was recruited by Louisville just like Quick was recruited by Kentucky. “I might give him a good luck text (message). We do talk when I get home. We might meet up or something. It’s going to be a good game, but I don’t think we will be talking until after the game.”
Hatcher shared these other thoughts going into Saturday’s rivalry game.
Question: How did it feel to get your first win at Kentucky against Miami (Ohio)?
Hatcher: “It was a great feeling. It was a lot of hard work to win it. We had a lot of corrections to make from last week and came out with a lot of energy and focus. Just a lot more wins to come.”
Question: How much does it help when the team plays with more energy like it did against Miami?
Hatcher: “People just did their job and played assignment football like we needed to do.”
Question: What will the game with Louisville be like for you?
Hatcher: “Obviously it is going to be a big deal with my connections to home rivalry and my relationship with some of the people on the team. But at the same time, it is just going to be another game. We have to go out there … we are going to prepare all week in practice and give it our all.”
Question: Is your family red, blue, split between red and blue?
Hatcher: “It depends on which part you ask. You know what I mean? But for the most part, my family is Kentucky.”
Question: Is that because you are at UK now or has it always been that way?
Hatcher: “Yes, because I am here.”
Question: How would you have answered before you signed with Kentucky?
Hatcher: “I would have been like we have a red and white basement.”
Question: Does that make this week fun or painful for your family?
Hatcher: “It is fun. It is all between the lines. Outside those lines, I still have good relationships with those guys. But inside those lines, we are going to get after it. But this is home. They are coming into our backyard, so we will have that on edge. It’s a tough week.”
Question: Do you know a lot of Louisville’s older players because of the way Louisville recruited you for so long?
Hatcher: “Yes, I do. They have some great guys and a lot of depth. It will be a great game. I know a lot of the younger guys and the staff, too. We just have to prepare for a great team over there.”
Question: Do you see with the younger players here a lot better times ahead for UK like what Louisville is enjoying now?
Hatcher: “Most definitely. We have a lot of good young guys on offense and defense. Our offensive guys are explosive and we have freshman playing on defense like Blake McClain. And myself.”
Question: Are you learning a lot backing up Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith?
Hatcher: “Oh yeah. I know a learn from Bud every day in practice, and Z as well because I played both sides. Bud is more of an athlete and Z is the technician of the defense. I get both sides of it.”