It's just one win against a struggling team, Kentucky coaches cautioned after the Cats' 30-13 win over Mississippi on Saturday night.
UK still has a lot of work to do, especially on offense.
"It's far from being fixed," Coach Joker Phillips said after the win. "It's repaired. It's in repair mode."
Kentucky still has to win two of its next three games — including two on the road and one against a team it hasn't beaten in 26 straight tries — to get back to a sixth straight bowl game.
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But getting a win on Saturday makes it easier for Phillips to hold his team's attention and prepare for a trip to Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) this week.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan noted the difference in the locker room after UK's win Saturday compared to the hanging heads after the Cats' loss to Mississippi State the weekend before.
"It's a way different atmosphere," Trevathan said. "You see guys smiling, Coach's in a good mood, everyone's in a good mood. It's going to help us get better (this) week."
The senior said he's seeing lights come on for a young offense finding its playmakers.
"When you start winning, you start to get that feeling and I think the guys have that now," Trevathan said of the offense. "It's going to be a good finish to the season."
Phillips saw plenty of reasons to be optimistic on Saturday when UK put up 398 yards of total offense behind new starter Max Smith, whose 283 passing yards were the most ever for a true freshman quarterback in Kentucky history. The previous record was Larry McCrimmon's 208 yards against Florida in 1978.
"A couple of catches here and there really helped Max's confidence and he's now playing as good as anyone we've had around here in the two-game stretch he's been in there," Phillips said.
Phillips saw reasons to be optimistic that the repair work is happening when he watched the film and saw confidence-building catches for receivers like Matt Roark, Gene McCaskill and Bryan Adams.
He saw more reasons to be optimistic in the running of once third-stringer CoShik Williams, who ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
"We're making plays, plays we weren't making early," Phillips said. "We're getting behind some people and running the football and taking care of the football. That's really the things that give you a chance offensively."
And the coach hopes the patched up offense gives Kentucky (4-5, 1-4) a chance in its next three games first at Vanderbilt, then at Georgia and finally at home against Tennessee.
"There's still a lot of stuff out there to play for," Phillips said. "There's still some goals we've set as a football team left out there."
Senior linebacker Danny Trevathan received one of five ESPN SEC stickers for his performance in Saturday's game in which he had 17 tackles (for the second straight game), including one for a loss, and an interception. The pick was his fourth of the season.
Wilson has MRI
Hybrid linebacker Ridge Wilson had an MRI on his shoulder after injuring it against Ole Miss.
The extent of that injury will be assessed on Monday. If the junior from Louisville is unable to go, he likely will be replaced by true freshman Alvin Dupree and/or possibly a change in formation to four down linemen.
Wilson's success this season has meant less playing time on defense for Dupree, who is brought in mostly on special teams, but it doesn't mean Dupree isn't sound, the coach said.
"We're confident in him and his ability," Phillips said. "Dupree is a very, very talented player, big, strong."