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By LARRY VAUGHT
Trevard Lindley is different from many star cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference in that he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spend hours pouring over film of opposing receivers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I watch a little film, but I usually rely on my instincts and try to read them and see what they are doing. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the main thing. I just try to play them tough,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Lindley. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You play a good player every week. I have played some good ones, but almost every team has good receivers. YouÃ‚Â just play good guys every week and that makes you get better.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He admits it helped to practice against receivers like Keenan Burton, Dicky Lyons and Steve Johnson.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Keenan helped me out. He tried to teach me what receivers do and tried to help me on my press. He did a lot for me. Steve came in with a different style and I had to get used to playing him. Then Dicky was Dicky. You never knew what he might do,Ã¢â‚¬Â Lindley said.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a feeling opposing defenses probably have about Lindley, who has developed not only into one of the premier defensive players in the SEC but also in the country. In fact, UK coach Rich Brooks thinks heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s as good as any cornerback in the country.
He returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown against Miami in UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season-opening win. That was his 10th career interception Ã¢â‚¬â€ and second return for a score. He already has a school-record 37 pass breakups, the eighth best all-time mark in the SEC.
He was UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most valuable player last season when he was a consensus first-team all-SEC pick and second-team all-American choice. Lindley, who has started 40 straight games, has led Kentucky in pass breakups three straight years and has led the Cats in interceptions the last two years. Six of his interceptions have been key plays in UK wins. He also has 161 career tackles.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some kids just have that knack for being able to make a big play at the right time. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing you can coach. Some kids just have it, and Trevard is one of those kids,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kentucky defensive coordinator Steve Brown said.
Lindley admits that his most memorable play so far at Kentucky was his fumble return for a touchdown at Arkansas in 2007 since it was his first collegiate score. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really liked that one. Then I had the one-handed interception against Clemson in the (Music City) bowl game. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been lucky enough to have a bunch of big ones in my career.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He still laughs when he thinks about starting as a freshman even though he came out of spring practice No. 1 on the depth chart. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was kind of shocked by that. I was nervous that spring, but got comfortable and just got lucky to be in the right spot at the right time,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Lindley never envisioned himself as a star collegiate player during his high school days in Hiram, Ga. He says he was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“decent running backÃ¢â‚¬Â and only played cornerback at first because most players on his team went both ways.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We probably all dreamed of playing college football at Georgia. We had a lot of people wanting to play because we were all friends and about the same kind of players,Ã¢â‚¬Â Lindley said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We actually had a bunch of stars on our team. I was really nothing special. My brother is a year older than me and he was good. We had three running backs and we took turns running the ball so that nobody ran that much. We were good my junior year when we were 8-3, but my senior year we were only 3-7.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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See more with Lindley later this week.