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Transcript, video: Jeff Brohm previews Kentucky

Beat UK.

Duke v Louisville Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images



(Head Coach Jeff Brohm Opening Statement)

“Well, it’s time to get back to work. I was really proud of our football team. This past Saturday, I thought we came ready to play. We beat what, in my opinion, was a really talented football team and found a way to play to the very end and come out on top. So it was a huge win for our program. And yes, we did celebrate after with the opportunity to go play in the ACC Championship game, but as of now that’s over with. It’s a one game season and I think we all know what’s coming up. It’s a rivalry game against a really good, talented opponent that’s well coached and that’s won a lot of games against our program over the last four years. So we’ve got to get back to work and really understand what this game means. It means a lot to not only our team, but to our fan base and to our program, and we’ve got to find a way to have a great week of practice and work really hard to try to come out with a win. It’s an important game, and we’ve got to put the work in and understand how difficult it’s going to be because this team does have talent. They played a really good schedule. They’ve got good size and good length, and good athletes. We’ll have to play well to win.”

(On watching past games in the series and what determined Kentucky’s recent success)

“I haven’t studied all of the past four years of games so to speak, but I’ve watched it as a fan. I think Kentucky’s done a really good job of building the program. They’ve been able to recruit good talent. They’ve been able to coach well. They’ve always been really solid on defense. I have a great deal of respect for what they’ve been able to do on defense consistently. This past year, they went back to their old offensive coordinator, and he’s been able to provide a spark there as well. And I think they’re well coached. They came ready to play and they’ve won these past so many years. I think for our program, we got to understand that this is going to be very talented football team that knows how to win football games and has competed against really good opponents all year long. They’re not going to back down from us one bit. They’re going to come in here wanting to win and put it to us and we’re going to have to respond. So I just think that our team needs to understand it’s going to take our best performance and a really good week of practice, and we can’t think about anything else other than trying to prepare to win this game.”

(On his history with the Kentucky rivalry and what it means to him)

“I think rivalries are great to play in, even dating back to my high school days. I understand the Trinity vs. St. Xavier rivalry and what that’s all about. Not only does it mean a lot to your school, but to the fan base and to the city. And I think when it comes to in-state rivalries in college football and basketball, they’re a lot of fun. It’s fun for everybody to be a part of and everybody wants to come to the game to watch it and cheer on their team and try to have bragging rights. That’s really one of the reasons you play sports is to provide entertainment and excitement for the for the fans and to be able to, at least for a year, brag on your team. Being able to come through in a big rivalry game where fans know each other, players know each other and there’s just a whole lot of similarities within the whole mass of people. Both programs have had some ups and downs. I think for us, it’s about trying to continue to win football games and keep momentum and we’ve got a very good opponent that we’ve got to go against. But I know our fans are going to be ready to go and they are going to want to win this game. And I think our players need to understand how much our fans want to win this game and we cannot have any letdown whatsoever this week. It has to be full speed ahead and 100% concentration on Kentucky.”

(On his success as a head coach in rivalry games)

“I can’t speak for anyone else. But I know, I take it seriously. Rivalry games mean a whole lot to me. Like I said, I’ve been a part of it. Going back all the way to high school days and even in college. And I understand that it’s more about our team playing the other team. It’s about the entire city, community, state and the fan bases wanting to go out there and compete and hope that their team wins. So this can make a lot of people happy or can make a lot of people sad. As a player, you don’t want to make your fans sad and mad. So we’ve got to try to give them what they want. And in order to do that, we have to understand first the challenge that’s ahead, which is a really good talented football team. And we have not been able to beat him here in the recent past. In order to do that, we’re going to have to play better and play really good football. We found a way at Purdue to win the Indiana game, but it was always tight, and it was always going to go into the fourth quarter. You just have to hang in there and try to make less mistakes than the other team and find ways to create a few more big plays and hope that you come out on top. It definitely is a very, very important game that we’ve got to try to find a way to win.”

(On recent struggles at the kicking position)

Well, Brock (Travelstead) has done some really good things this year. Unfortunately, he has struggled a bit in the last couple of weeks. I do think that he just has to build his confidence back up, but he’s done some good things in practice. Sometimes, you just overthink things and when it comes down to it– just like with a quarterback or any place kicker or specialist – you’ve got to prepare and practice and work on the mechanical things that you need to. But when it comes to game time, you have to block things out and just cut it loose. And I think right now, he’s thinking too much. And I think he can get out of it. It’s good to have Nick (Lopez) come in and do a good job. He’s been kicking really good in practice. That’s why it’s important to have depth at each position and have good competition, which they’ve had. Just like at the punting position, there was good competition that we’ve adjusted slightly. I think all of those three guys will be available and up for this game. Depending on the situation that we have and how they practice, we will determine that at the end of the week.

(On the relationship with Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops)

“I like Coach Stoops. I think he’s a really good football coach. He’s a good person. He’s been able to build up the Kentucky brand and program. He’s a football guy who comes from a football family, so I have a lot of respect for that. And I think he wants to win. He surrounded himself with some good coaches on his staff. He’s been able to recruit good talent and he’s done a good job. So I have a great deal of respect for him and it’s going to take our best effort to win. I understand that. I hope our team understands that. I’m sure they’re going to come ready to play. They have a lot to play for in this game as well. They’re going to want to come in and knock us off in our home stadium and if we’re not able to prepare the right way and respond, it will not be a good day for us. We have great respect for their program, their coaches, and their players. Just like when you face another really good opponent, you’ve got to play well to win. And I think we’ve shown that we have the ability to do that when we can, and we’ve had the ability to not do good things if we don’t play well against whoever we play. That’s why it’s important that the preparation is good, but also the focus and execution on game day is even better.”

(On the tight end position and how each player has developed)

“That position is important in our offense. We’re continuing to work through that and get guys experience. We just happen to have a lot of guys this year that haven’t played that position a whole lot. When you come in play a position, quarterback, offensive center, tight end, those are the hardest to learn right away. I mean, it’s just a lot on your plate. There’s a lot of things you have to know and understand. Tight end is a tough position. You have to be able to block, you got to be able to know line calls, line movements, and who you’re going to, and the technique to get open on routes. You got to understand route adjustments. You got to be physical but be able to run up the field as well and catch the ball. So I think we’ve continued to work that position. They’ve done a really good job working in practice, it’s going to be important that we continue to utilize that. When you face Miami, they had good corners, they had good size. They wanted to guard us tight. You have to be able to work the middle of the field, and the more we can work the middle the field, the more things will open up on the outside. Josh Lifson has done some good things. He understands what we’re doing. Nate Kurisky has some potential, he’s just young so he continued to develop and had a really good day. Joey Gatewood is athletic. He just hadn’t played tight end ever until he got here. We need to figure out ways to make sure he gets in there and gets the ball and utilize him. Completing balls inside of the hashes to big, physical guys is important to us and we got to make sure that we continue to mold that and use that because it will help us when we’re playing really good football teams.”

(On where Ray Davis stacks up against other running backs Louisville has played)

“Well, I thought we faced a good running back this past week, and I know he’s a true freshman, but man, (Mark Fletcher Jr.) was really good at Miami. He was talented, and we had a hard time tackling him. We’re going to have our hands full. This running game is good. They’ve gone against great defensive fronts already this year in Georgia and Alabama and even other teams, and they’re going to try to run the ball right at us. They ran for, I don’t know, 300, 400 yards against Florida. I mean, these guys know how to run the ball, utilize their tight ends, utilize their offensive line and play action off of it, so we have to have a good plan. We’ve had some good games to this point against some of that, but this will be a talented team at that position. I did not think it was our best game defensively last week by any means. They were able to get some big plays and were able to run the ball at us, so we’re going to have to improve and tweak some things and make some adjustments, because we have to be able to contain this running back because he’s very talented and very strong.”

(On unhappy fans if Louisville can’t beat Kentucky)

“Well, I understand that and that’s why after we let the last win sink in, we had to explain to our team yesterday in a lot of different ways that that needs to be erased for a full week and the full focus needs to be on this game, because in my opinion, this is the most important game of the rest of the season. So we can talk about it all we want, this is the most important game, and our guys need to understand that preparing and trying to win this game needs to be the complete focus. If we want to make our fans happy, and give them a good Thanksgiving, we’ve got to go win the game. We’ve got to really crank this thing up this week and understand what we’re going against and make sure that come Saturday, we’re able to execute at a high level because you know, this is an important game for everybody who’s involved. Our fans will be out here wanting to see us win a football game against a good SEC opponent and we’re going to have to play well to do it.”