Strong: "I Don't know if we can beat Kentucky right now"

Get ready to read that line more times than you'd care to over the next four or five days.

Here's a full rundown of what transpired at this afternoon's Kentucky-week press conference.

Charlie Strong

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--Very frustrated by the loss to Florida International. "We're just not a very good football team." The coaches didn't coach very well and the players didn't play very well.

--It's only the second year of a rebuilding project, but that's not an excuse.

--Kentucky's a very good football team. They've got ten starters back on defense and they're playing with confidence.

--"I don't know if we can beat Kentucky right now." We still have to catch up to their program.

--"They've been to five bowl games in five years, we've been to one bowl game in four years, and they've been out-recruiting us." It's a rivalry, but they own the all-time series and they've beaten us four years in a row now.

--"Playing hard isn't good enough. Go win the football game. We need to go win games."

--The thing Morgan Newton can do that scares me is throw the deep ball.

--The more the offensive line plays, the more they're going to gel. "The offensive line isn't our problem. Our problem is the whole team. The whole team needs to play better."

--Will Stein is playing well, but he needs to be protected better.

--(On how he wants his players to react to his statements about Kentucky being better) "I want them to believe it. It's the truth. Kentucky is better. They've beaten us four straight years."

--Will be playing against both Kentucky and the crowd on Saturday. Defense has to play well to keep the crowd out of it.

--If you can't run the ball, then you're showing that you're not a tough football team. We have to run the ball. Our offensive line knows that. We've got to get tougher.

--Guys have to trust each other in order for the team to start playing with confidence. Can't be worried about your teammates doing their jobs, have to be solely focused on doing your own job and trust your teammates to do theirs.

--DeVante Parker is an excellent receiver. The thing he can do is put his body in a position to make jump ball catches. He's going to have an outstanding career.

--Michaelee Harris is a guy who just loves football. He made some big catches and some key blocks on Friday.

--Kentucky's defense is totally different than the first two the team has faced. They're going to be bringing a lot of pressure from a lot of different places.

--Eli Rogers got a lot of playing time on Friday because Josh Bellamy has been nursing a sore hamstring. Those young receivers have been doing a great job so far.

--Not sure if B.J. Butler will play against Kentucky because he's probably not going to be 100% and we're very deep on the D-Line.

--Thinks Mario Benavides is getting close to returning, but he will not play this weekend.

--If you're going to blitz, you have to be able to beat one-on-one blocks, and we didn't do that on Friday. That's what led to one of Hilton's big plays.

--Does plan on playing Teddy Bridgewater in the second half in the future, just hasn't had the chance to yet.

--Has no doubt that if something happened to Will Stein, Teddy would be able to step right in and lead the team down the field.

 

Greg Scruggs

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--(On Strong's statements about Kentucky being the better team) "The proof is in the pudding. We haven't beaten them in four years. Coach is calling it how he sees it. He's been honest since he got here."

--(Is he wrong?) "I will never say my coach is wrong."

--(On comments that the defensive line needs to step up) "I take it personally. And if I take it personally, it becomes a challenge to my guys as well."

--The game obviously means a lot, but you don't want to give too much emotion to it. If you get caught up in the emotion too much, you lose focus of the task at hand.

--Thinks the team is actually in a good position after Friday's loss. "With the leadership we have, we won't allow this team to go under."

--The best thing us seniors could do after the loss last week was to gather the team together and tell them we're not going to have any more bad practices, we're not going to make these some mistakes, and we're going to start becoming as good as we know we can be.

--Last week was definitely a wake-up call. A lot of people don't realize what you have until you're slapped in the face. We're a very talented team, but this let us all know that talent alone isn't going to win games. We have to work harder and now everyone knows that.

--You can't get caught up in the fans and the hype around everything like a game at Kentucky. If you do you aren't going to be focused and you won't play to the best of your ability. This whole week will be about focus.

--Honestly doesn't think about the Kentucky game more than any other. "It's my senior year and I think about every game the same, honestly. I'm only guaranteed 12 games and every one is important."

--Will continue to wear the Vance Bedford-inspired "Get on the Train" shirt, win, lose or draw because it instills confidence and he believes in it.

--Morgan Newton is a playmaker. A very athletic guy. The team rides on his back and his ability. If we don't contain him, it could get pretty ugly.

--Trinity doesn't stand a chance against Cincinnati St. X on Friday.

--Preston Brown has been preparing a lot better for the games this year and he's playing with a lot more confidence and toughness. He's really helped the defense.

--Closing word: "Boom."

 

Will Stein

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--We're excited about the Kentucky game. Still trying to put FIU behind us. It was a tough loss, but I told the guys that it can't define us.

--Offense played well against FIU. It was a tough loss, but there was definitely a lot to build off of.

--Right now, coach Strong is right, Kentucky is the better team. They're 2-0, and they brought ten guys back on defense.

--Knows coach is a motivator and is using his statements about Kentucky as motivation. You can't always take what he says literally.

--We've got guys who are out there making plays, but we've got to finish. We can't have 450 yards of offense and only 17 points. As the leader on offense, that's on me. We've got to put the ball in the endzone when the opportunity presents itself.

--Was trying to motivate the offensive line in the huddle during the game on Friday. Just told them to keep working and that "we've got this." They're still young, they're still learning, but there were a lot of positives from Friday. When I was out of the pocket, that's on me, that wasn't a bad pocket by them.

--His dad played at UK and he grew up a huge UK fan. Spent a lot of times at UK games as a kid. Still remembers his seat number at Commonwealth. "Now...I'm not for them...at all. Don't be confused. I bleed red, through and through."

--If we can win this game it will be a huge momentum boost for this season.

--Dad played linebacker at UK and "fun fact," he was on the last team to beat Tennessee. He kind of cheers against them when they play Tennessee now, because he wants that fact to remain.

--Mom still kind of cheers for UK basketball, "not sure why." Dad is now a total U of L fan though.

--Kentucky has a lot of experience, and experience breeds confidence. UK has a lot of confidence, especially on the defensive side.

--We have a lot of confidence in the passing game right now. If teams want to play press coverage, we have a lot of guys who can make plays, and they've shown that.

--Went to "every one" of the Louisville/Kentucky games as a kid. Could have never imagined he'd one day be playing quarterback for Louisville, but he's "so happy he is." Coming to Louisville is "the best thing that's happened to me."

--Greg Scruggs is "full of it." Trinity just beat Elder 56-7, so I'll take my chances with the Rocks.

--Watching UK host the Governor's Cup trophy the last four years has been rough, but we need this win for the team as a whole, not just the seniors. Could be a win that could catapult the squad towards a successful season.

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