Kentucky defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin knows that tape of Florida freshman quarterback Trey Burton running for five touchdowns against the Wildcats will get plenty of notice in the offices of Southeastern Conference offensive coordinators on the UK schedule.
It's probably received quite a bit of play at Mississippi, which has perhaps an even more dangerous running threat than Burton in senior Oregon transfer Jeremiah Masoli.
"I'm sure they'll look at the film and say, 'Hmmm a freshman QB ran for five touchdowns on them out of the Wildcat (formation); we've got Jeremiah Masoli. That's what we're going to do,'" Lumpkin said. "If I was a coach, I'd do that. I'd line up in the Wildcat until we stopped it. We've got to be prepared for it. They've watched film. That's our résumé, and they've seen it."
Lumpkin said there was no reason for the UK defense to be befuddled by Masoli because the Cats get to practice against Randall Cobb in the Wildcat formation.
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"It's nothing new to us," Lumpkin said. "You just have to actually do the fundamentals to stop it, and we didn't do that against Florida."
Defensive coordinator Steve Brown said his unit has to be disciplined and stay in its gaps against Masoli.
"You can't be out there freelancing," he said. "We've got to stay true to the defense and stay in our gaps and trust one another. Masoli isn't the guy you want to be out there leaving your gaps, because he will make you pay."
The players say staying in your gap, or assigned area, isn't always as easy as it sounds.
"When you're out there on the field, and the crowd's going, sometimes you try to do more than your job," junior linebacker Ronnie Sneed said. "You'll get in your gap, but you think the ball's going somewhere else so you get out of your gap to try and go make the play. But then the quarterback or running back ends up going to that gap you just left, and you end up thinking you should have just stayed where you were supposed to be."
"You want to make tackles, you want to make plays," said junior tackle Luke McDermott. "But you have to be disciplined. So many times you give up a big play because you're trying to make a play that you're not supposed to make. Some of the times when you do that you'll make a play, but when you play teams like Florida and Ole Miss who run a lot of misdirection, you have to be disciplined. You just have to be disciplined and trust your teammates to make the play when it goes out there. They have to trust that you're going to be there and make the play when it comes to you."
Masoli got off to a rough start after arriving as a late transfer from Oregon, where he was dismissed for repeated rules violations. But things started to click in a 28-14 loss to Vandy when he passed for 190 yards and rushed for 104, becoming the first Rebels QB to pass and rush for at least 100 yards since Archie Manning did it in 1969.
Lumpkin said UK defenders could wind up on ESPN highlight reels if they don't contain Masoli.
"He has moves, he'll make you miss," Lumpkin said. "He's a running back who can throw the ball. He can throw it on the run, too, so you have to stay in your gap. He'll tuck it and run, and he's not afraid to take a hit. If we don't stay disciplined, he'll be embarrassing us, making us look dumb, and it will be a long plane ride home and a nice interview with you guys after the game."
Poor Thursday practice
UK Coach Joker Phillips was not pleased with the Wildcats' practice session Thursday.
He said the team has not been sharp when regulars face the scout team, which simulates the offensive and defensive packages of the opponent.
"If we play like we practiced today, it will be ugly," Phillips said. "Everything should be clean. All the assignments should be cleaned up. We can't practice against each other every day. Physically, you can't do it. And there are things we need to see that our opponents are doing. When we practice against the scouts, we can't bring our level of play down to the scouts. We didn't execute a lot of little things, and the little things are what get you beat on the road. We practiced to get our tails beat today."
Nevertheless, Phillips expects a good performance against Ole Miss. Phillips said he hoped the players would spend some time looking at film on their own Thursday, and the team will have a walk-through on Friday.
"The good thing is we've got time," he said.
Junior receiver Randall Cobb said that a poor practice doesn't necessarily mean that the team will perform poorly. The Wildcats had a good Thursday practice before a 48-14 blowout loss at Florida.
"It wasn't where it needs to be, but there's nothing we can do about it now but get in the film room, get some rest and get ready for the game Saturday," Cobb said.