LOUISVILLE — Danny Trevathan spent last fall serving as a sidekick to Sam Maxwell and Micah Johnson at linebacker.
Now that Maxwell and Johnson are gone, Trevathan inherits the lead role for the UK linebacking corps, and if Saturday's season opener against Louisville is any indication, he's up to the task.
Trevathan had a game-high 10 tackles, including 3.5 behind the line of scrimmage, as the Cats held on for a 23-16 win. But Trevathan wasn't exactly tooting his own horn after the game.
"I made a couple of tackles," Trevathan said. "And I made a couple of mistakes. But who doesn't? I just tried to go out there and make plays."
"He's one of our leaders by example," UK defensive coordinator Steve Brown said. "I'm happy for him. He's a great player, and he's still got some room to improve. But he's got the potential to be special."
Evans, Guy don't start
Senior defensive end DeQuin Evans and junior safety Winston Guy didn't start the game for disciplinary reasons. Evans was late to a team meeting on Thursday night and sat out the first series; Guy missed the meeting altogether and sat the entire first quarter.
"Those guys have to understand there are consequences for not being on time," UK Coach Joker Phillips said.
Evans, a permanent team captain, was not allowed to join the rest of the captains for the opening coin toss. Evans wasn't credited with a tackle, but he did get in the backfield on several occasions.
"I got the message," Evans said. "I was sitting on the sidelines mad. I didn't have anybody to take it out on except the Louisville players."
Phillips didn't sound like the issue would linger on.
"(Evans) is a leader; he's our leader," Phillips said.
Guy finished with 5.5 tackles in three quarters.
"I just forgot about it," Guy said of the meeting. "I have nobody to blame but myself, and I paid the consequences. I'll never be late again ... I'll never put the defense in that situation again."
Mixed homecoming for Wilson
Sophomore linebacker Ridge Wilson, a Louisville Central product, had his first career fumble recovery at the Louisville 28 early in the fourth quarter.
"It felt good to be aware of the game, aware of the situation and create a turnover to give our offense the ball back," Wilson said.
But Wilson also had a costly gaffe in the fourth quarter when he was called for roughing the passer on a fourth-and-17 from the UK 37 after Adam Froman's pass was incomplete. U of L would go on to connect on a short field goal to close to within six, 23-16, at 3:17.
"After I hit him, I had the feeling that it was a little bit too late," Wilson said. "Coach Phillips, he didn't say too much to me, but I'm going to hear it on the bus."
Luckily for Wilson, the play didn't cost the Cats the game.
"If it had turned the other way, things would have gotten quite ugly," Wilson said.
Special teams struggle
Other than Ryan Tydlacka's 49.8 average on four punts, the Wildcats special teams struggled. Tydlacka missed an extra point and a short field goal, and the Cats gave up a 67-yard kickoff return to Victor Anderson.