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By LARRY VAUGHT

Sophomore linebacker Bud Dupree knew he would get a lot of unpleasant questions when he was one of three players who came to the press conference following Kentucky’s practice Monday.

Kentucky is 1-8, has lost seven straight games and was mistaken-prone in last week’s loss at Missouri, one of the worst teams in the Southeastern Conference.

“I am pretty straight with it (the press conference). I don’t care too much about it. It is our fault we are losing. If talking to you all (the media) would help us win, I would do it,” Dupree said. “I understand why all the fans are frustrated. We are their team. They don’t have any  NFL team. They all want to win. I know why they are mad over the way we are playing. If I was a fan, I would be mad, too.

“The coaches have been pretty much doing the same since beginning of the season. They have been hyped with lot of intensity and trying to make us feel like we can win. We are pushing, but it is hard. I don’t feel like I am going to give up. Sometimes it takes a toll on you when you lose so many games. It gets in the back of your mind. Sometimes you worry players may quit mentally, but we have a strong group of guys so far. We just have to stay together and make sure we get each other advice. I am not used to this, but sometimes things come in life for a reason.”

Dupree was one of the most optimistic Wildcats coming into the season. He envisioned a winning record, a bowl bid and SEC wins. Instead, Kentucky has been hit with injuries and has likely become the worst team in the SEC going into Saturday’s home game with Vanderbilt.

So what went wrong?

“To be honest, I have no idea. Coming into the season, I thought we had a pretty good team and pretty good scheme coming into the Louisville game (to open the season). I had a good vibe for the team, a good feel. It seemed like everything just started going downhill,” Dupree said. “Maybe the seniors see something that I don’t see, but I don’t even know what happened. The effort is still the same in practice. It ain’t like we don’t want to win. Everyone wants to win. We just can’t pull one out.

“Nobody wants to lose this amount of games. I hate losing two games, three games. I hate losing one game. I hate losing. Everyone wants to win. We just have to keep grinding and not give up.”

So why didn’t the Wildcats keep grinding at Missouri when they were within 17-10 at halftime?

“Really, I just think like we probably underestimated them when we were in a game so close. Coming from the half, we probably thought we were just going out here and blow (them) away. But you can’t do that in football, especially in the SEC. We just have to find ways to eliminate things that we don’t do to win and do things to win,” Dupree said.

Give him credit for being brutally honest. But how could a 1-6 team “underestimate” any team at halftime, especially when the other team already had the lead?

Dupree said holding Missouri to under 300 yards, UK’s best mark of the season, meant nothing — and he’s right.

“If we ain’t winning, it don’t matter. Winning is the big key. If we give up 500 yards and still win, it’s different than giving up smaller amount of yards and still losing,” he said. “Winning is all that counts, and we ain’t winning. I don’t care about my stats. As long as we win, I will be happy with that instead of the individual effort.”

Maybe the Wildcats should have learned a lesson at Vanderbilt last year, when the Commodores dominated them. But pay attention to what Dupree said the attitude was like going into the game, even though UK had just four wins at the time

“Going into the game we thought we were going to beat Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is supposed to be like the bottom of the SEC. But we turned out to be the bottom,” Dupree said.

Bingo. Kentucky has turned out to be the league’s worst team the last two years.

We thought we were going to win and had high expectations and everything. We practiced good. But this year we can’t go in and take them lightly. We just have to go play hard,” Dupree said. “I remember a lot of bad plays down there last year. We have to have a chip on our shoulder coming out against them this year. They wound up beating Missouri and Missouri beat us, so we have to work extra hard.”

Dupree did back off any significant statements about whether he worried about coach Joker Phillips’ job status because of the team’s play. “Me? No, I don’t think about it. He is a cool guy though. I don’t think about. We really don’t focus on that. We just focus on ourselves and trying to win,” he said.

Dupree says he talks often to friends and family, especially his mother, back in Georgia for inspiration.

“Me and (junior linebacker) Avery Williamson talk about some things to make sure I am working hard. If we give up, basically everybody else will give up. We just don’t want to put the team in that situation,” he said. “But it is tough. After a loss you find out everything wrong with your body. Fingers hurt, toes hurt, calves hurt. After a win, you do not know you are hurt until two days later. But this year we have had that pain way too many times after games.”

26 Responses to LB Bud Dupree admits UK might have underestimated Missouri at halftime and likely did same thing at Vanderbilt last year

  • grant says:

    How in the hell can UK underestimate anyone? Mind boggling , and blowing!

  • RJ says:

    Agree with Grant. At 1 – 8 underestimating any opponent is beyond comprehension. Secondly, there is one statement that gives me a big concern. “Maybe the seniors see something that I do not”. This is a “tell”. There’s something going on in the locker room. Maybe the upperclassmen have given up on the team, the coaches or both. Maybe it’s just old vs new recruiting class decensions, but something is going on and it’s not good.

  • Juan4UK says:

    I know that quote is easy to jump on, but I believe this is a case of a kid grabbing for straws. (However I agree with the criticism of the quote). Just a kid trying to explain something he doesn’t know the answer to. Take it easy, the kid certainly faced the music, and it seems to me that he still really cares and is taking responsibility. Good for him. I don’t think this is these kids fault.

    • RJ says:

      I have interviewed literally hundreds of people over the span of my career and I have learned one very important thing – people love to talk about themselves and what is on their mind. Ask a question and they will talk until there is nothing left to say. As an interviewer you look for “tells”. A “tell” is a word or phrase that the interviewee lets out that tells the interviewer there is something that the person knows or believes which indicates that there is more to be learned. The interviewee may just be using it as a support for another statement but the information is in the back of his mind and there is more there; otherwise he wouldn’t have said it. It’s not grasping for straws. He may have used the information incorrectly but it is still a “tell”. It may not even be important, but it is still a “tell”. There is something there and it is incumbent upon the interviewer to find out what it is.

      • larryvaught says:

        He is taking responsibility and always has. But stunned me he said it about missouri and then basically same thing about last year’s vandy game

  • grant says:

    I think “grabbing for straws ” would be a good way to describe UK football right now.

  • grant says:

    Hey , 5 of us 40 year olds from the ymca got to play the Miami Heat in a practice game, they were really good , i think we underestimated them! Schucks! Dangit! Gobblygoo! poop!

  • grant says:

    Of course i was kidding, but how can a coaching staff allow those thoughts to exist? By the time the mens basketball team plays there 1st game here shortly in a fews days, Cal will have his team convinced that they could lose by 30.

    • larryvaught says:

      Grant, he already has them going 0-2

    • Charlie Darrington says:

      Cal have 12 to15 kids to woke with Joker have 120. Do that that awnser your qustion?

      • UKFAN197TONE says:

        Actually he doesn’t. There may be 120 NAMES he has, but to “work” with is no where NEAR 120. He just said a few weeks ago, “I haven’t been in close contact with Patrick (Towles)…”

        So, while you were trying to be facetious (IMO), your attempt failed. IF he can’t stay in close contact with ONE of his highest rated players (MR. KY Football by the way), what makes you think he works with 120?

        C’mon mannnnnn!!!!

  • Georgia Blue says:

    It’s sad to hear 1-7 team at the time underestimating a team with a better record than them. Then you say you did it going into the Vandy game. I think our coach underestimate them too, because the play calling after both interception by JD and the punt return by DeMarco. No pass downfield, the same thing against SC, no pass downfield. After big turn over especially in your opponent territory you go for kill shot. Your first play should be apass downfield and it should be your TE whom you haven’t thrown too all year or your slot man.

    • larryvaught says:

      Georgia Blue, amen. Coaches need to be aggressive. Don’t believe players underestimate anyone unless they sense that from coaches. Just nothing to inspire these players when talent is not being used to best of their ability

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    Reckon we will underestimate Samford & Vandy (again) ??????

  • Eric says:

    This is the problem with UK football, always has been and always will be no latter who is coaching. We had the same problem when Vince Lombardi I Mean Rich Brooks was coach.

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