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By LARRY VAUGHT
Starting with Saturday’s game against No. 7 Louisville, Kentucky probably faces the most difficult upcoming four games — Florida, at South Carolina, Alabama follow Louisville after an open date — of any team in the country.
But senior running back Jonathan George says the Cats need to be “moving one week at a time” and not thinking ahead.
“This week it’s Louisville. Not saying I don’t realize that the schedule is not going to get any easier from here on out, but we are just moving week by week and going week by week,” said George. “Right now we’re just going to focus on Louisville and focus on preparing for those guys because they do have a good ball team.”
However, George did admit beating Miami (Ohio) 41-7 last week and rolling up 675 yards of total offense gave UK a needed “confidence boost” after an earlier loss to Western Kentucky.
“The defense, they played awesome and they pitched a shutout (Miami scored on a fumbled punt). The offense, we had the opportunity to move the ball down the field numerous times and put some points on the board,” George said. “I feel like it’s a big confidence boost for the freshmen as well as the rest of the team because those guys had the opportunity to make plays as well. I feel like it will be a big help coming into, not just this week, but the rest of the season as well.
“The first week of course it was very disappointing, but it’s behind us now. I feel like we just need to come out every week and try to build off of this last week, this last game and continue moving forward and trying to make those big plays.”
Here’s more of what George had to say about Louisville and more going into Saturday’s game.
Question: Does moving the ball against Louisville in last year’s loss give the team more confidence this week?
George: ““I feel like it does. I feel like we have a great offense and I feel like Saturday was just a preview of what we can be. We had a couple of mistakes here and there that prevented us from having, from making even more plays. So I feel like, you know, if we get everything polished up it can be an even better offense than we showed Saturday.”
Question: What makes Louisville good defensively?
George: “I’ve read up and started watching film on those guys. I realized that they did hold both of their opponents to one touchdown. Obviously, they’re doing something right on defense. You look around and see they do have guys flying around the ball and making plays. Of course they’re a highly ranked team and they play pretty positive, so we need to come out this week – like I said, our focus week of practice, put an extra emphasis on being disciplined and being ready to play Saturday cause I’m pretty sure those guys are going to come in ready to play as well.”
Question: What do you think of offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s play calling?
George: “The word I think of when I think of his play calling, I want to say kind of ruthless because you know I feel like we try not to hold anything back, like the sweep play and the plays he set up off of the sweep play. Like he has a great mindset and he’s a great offensive coordinator.”
Question: What was different about UK against Miami and Western Kentucky?
George: “This last week of practice was really – you could tell a big difference in practice. Everybody was more focused. The coaches came out more intense. They pushed us. Every little thing they pushed us about, and they warned us about. I feel like the players responded well to that toughness from the coaches. I feel like it was a major up because now we realized that our margin of error is not that big and we have to come out every week and be focused. We don’t want to experience one of those letdowns like we had the first week.”
Question: Could he tell Brown was more of a taskmaster and less of a cheerleader before the Miami game?
George: “There was most definitely a big difference in the demeanor of the coaches in the second week than in the first week. Like I said, they were a lot more intense and a lot more just kind of on us a whole lot harder than they were building up to that first game. Honestly, I like it. Obviously it showed great improvements from the first week, so hopefully they will continue to go even harder on us in practice. Because I feel like it will help the discipline and some of those mistakes that we had, such as the penalties before the snap and all that stuff.”