UK Football

Notes: Protecting the punter a key for Cats

Urban Meyer-coached teams have blocked 47 kicks since 2001, including some against Kentucky the past two years. "It's happened to everybody," UK special teams coach Greg Nord said.
Urban Meyer-coached teams have blocked 47 kicks since 2001, including some against Kentucky the past two years. "It's happened to everybody," UK special teams coach Greg Nord said. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Since 2001, only two schools have blocked more kicks than Urban Meyer teams: Texas and Fresno State.

Meyer's teams have blocked 47 during that span, and it seems half of them have come courtesy of the Kentucky Wildcats.

UK's problems getting off punts against Florida has been well-documented and played a large part in the Gators' blowout wins the past two years.

First-year special teams coach Greg Nord said he's not worried about doubt getting into his player's heads.

"I think the history isn't as critical as the scouting report," Nord said. "It's happened to everybody. When you see that they've done it to everybody, you realize it's all about execution."

Kentucky's punt protection has been solid this season, and punter Ryan Tydlacka said there were no breakdowns in practice this week.

"I know my guys are there for me to protect me; I just have to stay at the same smooth pace I have," Tydlacka said. "If I do everything correctly and get it off fast enough it shouldn't be blocked."

"I think all of us are going down confident," Nord said. "We just have to believe in our assignments, techniques and execute the game plan. If we do, we'll be fine. If we don't we'll be in trouble."

Phillips hopes to redshirt Porter

Seven true freshmen have seen action for the Wildcats: linebacker Avery Williamson, cornerback Jerrell Priester, linebacker Jewell Ratliff, running back Raymond Sanders, defensive end Nermin Delic, defensive tackle Donte Rumph and kicker Joe Mansour.

UK Coach Joker Phillips said the only other freshman who could have his redshirt pulled is defensive tackle Elliott Porter, who arrived late after originally signing with LSU.

Phillips said he'd prefer to redshirt Porter unless the tackle rotation gets thinner because of injury. Porter dressed for the two home games but won't make the trip to Florida.

"He's on the bubble," Phillips said. "He's the one guy where if we have an injury we'd move up."

UK has six tackles ahead of Porter on the depth chart: Starters Luke McDermott and Ricky Lumpkin and reserves Mark Crawford, Shane McCord, Donte Rumph and Antwane Glenn.

"We would like to redshirt him," Phillips said. "Could he help us win this year? Yes, but it's hard to justify when we've got six tackles trying to get reps."

Trevathan back in familiar territory

Junior linebacker Danny Trevathan will be forced to wear a cast for a second straight season after breaking his left hand in the first half against Akron last week. Phillips said he isn't worried about the cast affecting Trevathan's performance. He had 82 tackles last year.

"If you're an arm tackler, yes it would (affect performance), but Danny's not an arm tackler," Phillips said. "Danny puts his face on people, he runs through tacklers. He tackles you with his face and his feet, and your arms are the last thing you need to tackle."

Phillips said there's no way Trevathan would let a hand injury force him to miss a game.

"He'd be like Ronnie Lott and say 'Cut it off,' " Phillips said. "He's a warrior, and he's been like that since he's been here. He's a tough guy, he's physical and he loves to play the game."

'Battle of the Backs'

UK senior tailback Derrick Locke said he'll definitely be focusing on his individual matchup with Florida's Jeff Demps. Locke leads the SEC in rushing at 124 yards per game. Demps is fourth at 103.3.

The No. 2 rusher in the league, South Carolina freshman Marcus Lattimore, comes to Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 16.

"It's an SEC showdown so that's like 'Battle of the Backs' to me," Locke said. "If I let them go out there and outperform me, what does that make me look like? Week in and week out, it's me against your back. I need to make sure I hold my standards high."