Jen Smith on UK Football

New Mexico State coach on Kentucky’s early issues: ‘They’re not far off’

New Mexico State coach Doug Martin watches the scoreboard in the closing minutes of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico last week.
New Mexico State coach Doug Martin watches the scoreboard in the closing minutes of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico last week. AP

Count Doug Martin among those who believe Kentucky is a much better team than what it showed in the last six quarters.

In his weekly news conference, the New Mexico State coach and former UK player on what he saw from UK’s improbable collapse against Southern Miss two weeks ago at Commonwealth Stadium: The Golden Eagles “hit some big plays, especially against the man coverage. They hit a couple of deep balls on them.

“The game just started to sway and it just started to get away from Kentucky late. But it was a great win for Southern Miss.”

And the 45-7 clubbing at the Swamp?

“Florida can make a lot of people struggle. Florida is an exceptional football team,” he said, noting the fast start killed the Cats. “Things just got out of hand. That’s what happened in that game.”

But Martin, who has gone over UK’s film with a fine-tooth comb in preparation for the Aggies’ trip to Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, sees a good football team hiding in the mess that is the start of the season.

“They’ve recruited really well at Kentucky,” he said. “I can tell you when you look at speed from the skill positions and their linebackers they look like an SEC football team.

“They may not be getting the quarterback play that they want. That’s one thing that’s slowing them down a little bit, but it’s a new offense they’re trying to learn, too. They’re not far off. They’re really a very talented football team and sometimes it’s just a matter of putting it together.”

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