Kentucky Defense Battling Literal, Figurative Noise

Kentucky Defense Battling Literal, Figurative Noise

by Tim Letcher

On Saturday night, Kroger Field was as loud as it’s been in recent memory as Kentucky topped Florida in Lexington for the first time since 1986. And there’s no question that the noise played a part in the UK victory.

Florida was whistled for 15 penalties in the game, including eight false starts. Nearly every one of those particular penalties can be attributed to the noise produced by the Big Blue Nation when the Gators had the ball.

While having the crowd noise is a definite benefit for the Cats, it does not come without its challenges, especially for the Kentucky defense. Defensive coordinator Brad White has been working with his team the last two weeks on how they handle the noise while they are on the field.

“We’ve tried to (practice with the simulated crowd noise) the last couple of weeks,” White said. “During a key period or two for a home game, just to make the defense communicate with hand signals. With all of the home crowds that we’ve had, we’ve needed that. We have tried to do it a couple of periods a week.”

The noise did not seem to affect the Cats last week as they held Florida to a season low in total yards, including allowing just about half of the number of rushing yards that the Gators have been posting in each game.

Now, the Cats face another challenge as LSU comes to Lexington. While it may look like a team that does not have a great offense, White knows better.

“That’s a very prideful program rooted in running the football,” White said. “Maybe their stats haven’t shown it up to this far but I have an inkling that they’re going to run the football.

“Coach (Ed) Oregeron has come out and said that they are going to be committed to running the football,” White said. “They’ve got offensive line, several of which were on that national title team, they’ve got really good running backs, they’ve got a really good scheme, they’ve got good balance.”

As for how his team is handling prosperity without looking forward, White knows that his unit can be quickly brought back down to Earth.

“The SEC does that. Every week, you look at that next opponent that you’re playing and you know you can be humbled pretty quick,” White said. “If you’re doing anything other than looking at the opponent you’re about to face, then you’ve got other issues. I think this group is mature and I think the senior leadership understands how this works.”

There was also a game earlier this season that White can point to as an example of what might happen if the Cats let down.

“I think the game against Chattanooga helps,” White said. “You can’t just roll the ball out and play. At any moment, if you’re not focused, it can all go away.”

The Cats will continue to try to block out the noise, both the literal and the figurative, this week against LSU


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