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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky players certainly did nothing Monday to downplay anything about the rivalry for Saturday’s game with Louisville.
“I wont say (hate), but there is a dislike factor,” said Kentucky senior running back Jonathan George, who is from Alabama. “I am not a fan of the red team. This week there is a big emphasis on beating those guys this year.”
Defensive end Bud Dupree, a Georgia native, didn’t want to use the word “hate” in conjunction with Louisville, either.
“I am definitely not from Kentucky. It is just a big game for the whole program. I know all the fans hate Louisville. We just have to go after them,” Dupree said.
While coaches may say this is just another game on the schedule, Dupree knows better.
“I don’t think we will treat it that way (as just another game). I think everyone already knows what is at stake, including our family members who are not even from Kentucky. We have got to go play as hard as we can.”
George said not to worry about UK’s new players not understanding what the rivalry means, either.
“When those guys first got here, we kind of emphasized the kind of basics of Kentucky football. Beating Louisville is one of those goals. Those know about the rivalry. They hear social networks. If you are on Twitter, all you hear is Louisville hate week. I think the freshmen have a good gist of that Louisville week means,” George said.
So does coach Mark Stoops, who did say he would treat the game as any other game for practice and preparation.
“But I am never going to shy away from a big game and rivalry. Let’s put it that way,” Stoops said.
He also didn’t shy away from letting UK fans know his team could use their presence Saturday against No. 7 Louisville.
“I expect us to have a full house. I would anticipate there will be no tickets left by the end of the week,” Stoops said. “Our fans have not let us down yet. We need them there and then our job is to deliver. I think you will see a team excited about this opportunity.”