In a dark half-season, Danny Trevathan remains Kentucky's shining light.
For the second straight season, UK's senior linebacker leads the Southeastern Conference in tackles per game, his average up from last year's 11.1 to an even 12.0 — which ranks sixth in the nation.
While the Cats have struggled as a team, Trevathan has continued at the level of play that caused him to be a first-team All-SEC pick by both the media and coaches.
"Unbelievable," head coach Joker Phillips said on Tuesday when asked about Trevathan's season to this point. "He's still making 10-15 tackles a game."
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Indeed, the 6-foot-1 232-pounder from Leesburg, Fla., remains a tackling machine.
Trevathan has produced double-digit tackles in five of UK's six games, including four games of 13 tackles each. He has recorded 51/2 tackles for loss and has a pair of sacks. He's also forced two fumbles and recovered one.
"He's had a great year," first year co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter said. "He's kind of the heart and soul right now. He's living up to the reputation that preceded him that I found out about when I got here."
"He's a pro," Phillips said. "When you talk about being a pro, it's how you handle your business. Danny is one of those guys."
But how difficult is that to do when you're playing on a team that has lost four straight, that has allowed 137 points in its last three games, that was gashed for 639 yards last time out, at South Carolina?
"It's not hard for me to keep my level of play," Trevathan said on Tuesday. "It just makes me want to push myself more."
And push others. If there is a difference in Trevathan this year, it is that. He's not the Danny Trevathan who had to sit out the first quarter of last year's Florida game for being late to a meeting. He's the Danny Trevathan who is trying to help his teammates, and not just by example.
"I used to let my play do it," he said. "But I try to talk to them and get inside their heads and see where they're coming from."
Phillips said "he's starting to rub off on a lot of the other guys. Winston Guy, he's rubbed off on Winston on how he handles his business. Ridge Wilson. You're starting to see Ridge play at a bit of a higher level. Even Ronnie Sneed. All those linebackers."
As Kentucky starts the second half of its season Saturday against Jacksonville State, the question is whether the Cats' struggles might limit Trevathan's individual recognition.
After all, post-season All-Conference and All-America teams often are filled with the best players from the best teams.
Yet Phil Steele's College Football named Trevathan and guard Larry Warford to its third-team mid-season All-America team.
"The season is going good as far as me," Trevathan said, "but there's a lot of other guys who have stepped up and really made my job easy and made themselves more accountable."
Now it's time to turn that into a team thing.
"A six-win streak, hopefully," Trevathan said.
Kentucky a nine-point underdog? Not so fast
USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan said Tuesday that the college football odds on the newspaper's Web site that showed Jacksonville State as a nine-point favorite over Kentucky for Saturday's game was in error.
The nine-point line appeared on USA Today's Web site Monday and part of the day Tuesday before it was removed.
Normally, Sheridan does not make a betting line when a Football Bowl Subdivision school (in this case, Kentucky) plays a Championship Subdivision school (Jacksonville State).
"Definitely a mistake," Sheridan replied via Twitter to an inquiry about the line. "It should have been corrected."
Williams ahead of Gainer
Phillips said Tuesday that CoShik Williams is holding off redshirt freshman Brandon Gainer for one of the backup spots behind starting running back Raymond Sanders.
Gainer was complimented for his play in last Thursday's scrimmage, but Phillips said the Miami native has not been able to pass Williams on the depth chart.
Phillips also said that Gainer "put the ball on the ground" in practice on Tuesday.
'Raring to go'
Phillips was asked whether he was concerned about a flat start from his team Saturday, considering the Cats are coming off an open date.
"You're always concerned about that," he said. "(But) I expect us to come out raring to go. We haven't been home in a while. We haven't won in a while."