Most Recent Posts
- Young Kentucky fan (@nosidam__) shares her passion for Kentucky sports
- Stoops: UK-Louisville future games “up to our administration” but “not interested” in 9 SEC games
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands obstacles, challenges at UK but “we’re going to play to win”
- Former UK great Jeff Sheppard excited about recruiting class, but says fans should remember players are young
- Kentucky fans even took time to throw up the “3 goggles” in the Alps
- Signee Marcus Lee says Kentucky “will refuse to lose next year”
- Even UK football coach Mark Stoops did not expect this much fan support at Kentucky
- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
By LARRY VAUGHT
At this time last year, sophomore linebacker Ridge Wilson thought at worst he would be a special teams starter at Kentucky and also likely see significant playing time as a backup linebacker.
Instead, an off-field incident led to his suspension and he lost his special teams spots before he was re-instated. He also had few chances to play at linebacker the rest of the year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am feeling better than ever and trying to continue to do the right things and make the best out of it,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Wilson, who had just one tackle in 11 games in 2009. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I took a few things from last year and left a few things behind. One would be to just play with confidence. Never get too high or low and when things are not going well, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get too down on myself.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Remember to have that confidence. When you have that confidence in yourself, you are not afraid or scared to make mistakes. You are out there playing to the best of your ability.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wilson admits he was thinking too much at times even in practice last year and that kept him from using his athletic ability to make plays the way he did in high school.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have a few things still not quite there yet because I did miss a few weeks (last year) and that hurt me. I really am trying to get caught up to the scheme of defense. Everything is coming together finally,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am up to 240 pounds. I put on a few pounds over the summer and now I am trying to tone up. I am getting a lot of reps in practice, but all those reps can also expose what you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do right.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wilson hopes Kentucky fans donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see him on special teams this year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My goal is to start on defense, not play special teams,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t and I am second team, then most likely I will be on special teams. If I have to do it for the team, I will. But my main focus is to be a starter, so hopefully I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be playing special teams.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He knows, or thinks he does, what the key will be for him to win a starting job.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just being confident with the material that (linebackers) coach (Chuck) Smith gives us. Knowing the plays. There are a few things that Coach (Smith) does not like about the way I play. How I twist my body, bouncing up and down and not staying in a football position. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t argue with that. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all true,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wilson said.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just have to try to remember to stay low and not touch body when I get in coverage.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But when you are playing with confidence, you are not afraid to make mistakes. A great example of that is (linebacker) Danny Trevathan. He has a lot of confidence, so therefore he listens to the coaches and what they are saying is not going in one ear and out the other because he knows he has the ability to go for it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wilson could at Louisville Central High School, too, where he was not only a football standout but also a basketball star who made the all-state tourney team as well as the Kentucky all-star team.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I could do that in high school. I knew I had ability to make up for it,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wilson, who played on two state championship football teams, said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not just athletic ability, but I knew what my responsibilities were. I have to get to that point here. Eventually I will get there. Trust me. When it does, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to get hectic for some guys out there.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He tried to insist he was not looking forward to the season-opening game Sept. 4 at Louisville. Instead, he said he was concentrating on Ã¢â‚¬Å“technique and small intangiblesÃ¢â‚¬Â it took to get better no matter who UK was playing.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Actually, I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait for the game,Ã¢â‚¬Â he finally admitted. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am trying not to be anxious, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a rivalry game. I am ready to play. My family is saying they need tickets and want to see me out there playing. That motivates me even more.Ã¢â‚¬Â
However, some other things he hears motivates him even more.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I hear all the time about how Louisville will get us this year now that they have a new coach (Charlie Strong). I even hear about Louisville from family members. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s crazy, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the way it is,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just laugh. People say what they are going to say, but it can motivate you and it has motivated me.Ã¢â‚¬Â