Cats Hope to Channel Emotions on Saturday
When Kentucky and Louisville get together on the football field, emotions run high. The intrastate rivals will each lay it all on the line with the winner taking home the Governor’s Cup.
Being emotional can be good, if it’s done with composure, according to Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White.
“I don’t think you take the emotion out of it,” White said. “I think that’s something you have to keep them in check when you play but I think that’s something that helps fuel what makes a rivalry good. I hope our guys come fired up. The way the practices have started Monday and Tuesday, they’re excited. Within a rivalry game, it’s about keeping composure. You’ve got to play smart, you’ve got to execute but having a little fire in the belly is a good thing.”
UK offensive coordinator Liam Coen thinks that both teams have something to prove in the 2023 edition of the rivalry.
“You go into a game like this where Kentucky has been on the winning side of things but I guess you could say we’re not as good as them this year,” Coen said. “We have to prove it but they also have to beat us as well. They’re better than us statistically or in the rankings but we’ve had more wins in the cup. I think there’s probably a mutual respect between the teams.”
Kentucky has won the last four games in the series but this year, the Cards come into the game ranked in the nation’s top 10. Coen sees that as an opportunity for the Cats.
“I do think it’s a great opportunity for our guys to play in a rivalry game against an opponent that’s a top 10 team in the country as well as a top 20 defense overall in the country,” Coen said.
White has been impressed with what he has seen from Louisville’s offense this season.
“Really efficient. They understand who they are,” White said. “They run the ball really, really well. The quarterback is playing at a high level. As the season has gone on, you can see a development and an ease in his game.”
White and the UK defense are focused on finishing plays in the season finale.
“Every little bit of the play matters,” White said. “You could execute 80 percent of the play correct but if you don’t finish, the last 20 percent, the last five percent, it can get out on you and those are the plays this year that have gotten out on us. And those are the frustrating ones. But you’ve got to learn from it, grow from it and try to teach. And hopefully that shows on Saturday.”
Coen has also seen good things from the Cards’ defense.
“Very disciplined. Very disciplined defense. Well coached,” Coen said. “They do a very nice job disguising their coverages. They’re playing collectively, they run to the football. It’s a unit that you can really tell is playing together and as one.”
The Cats will do their best to counter what Louisville presents defensively.
“If we can get off press, making contested catches, protecting the quarterback, good things should happen,” Coen said.
The game between the rivals is sure to be emotional. The team that channels that emotion best could get a big boost on Saturday.