|Sign up for KyForward news updates|
The week-one pummeling from Louisville had the UK football defense looking for answers before its week-two matchup with Kent State.
The loss to Louisville highlighted at least one personnel deficiency: weakside linebacker. Against Kent State the UK coaches tried to address that issue by moving sophomore rush linebacker Alvin “Bud” Dupree to the weak side and playing senior Taylor Wyndham at the rush linebacker position.
“(We wanted) to get out best 11 on the field,” said UK head coach Joker Phillips at his Monday news conference. “It’s a shame that a guy who has been around for five years and played a lot of football, because we moved from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense doesn’t get to play as much.
“It was just an opportunity to get Taylor Wyndham on the field along with (Dupree).”
Dupree, who still saw some time at the rush linebacker position, totaled six tackles, including two for a loss. Wyndham totaled three tackles, including one for a loss.
“It helps make the defense bigger,” Wyndham said of the decision. “That’s kind of a big thing in the SEC: to get big guys out there.”
After the game, Dupree said he had two days to learn the new position and the move might only be temporary until a young weakside linebacker stepped up at the position.
On Monday, Phillips said it was not out of the question that a young player like freshman Khalid Henderson or sophomore Malcolm McDuffen might take over the position, but the move was not just a stopgap option.
“It was not a temporary thing,” he said. “It was a thing that we thought we needed to do to get better on defense. If those guys come along and we feel those guys are playing better than Taylor or Bud, it could be temporary, but I kind of doubt that.”
Big brother proud of Aaron Boyd’s breakout performance
Former UK quarterback Shane Boyd is no stranger to struggles at Commonwealth Stadium.
As a senior, he was the starting quarterback on the 2004 team that won just two of 11 games. He spent the three years prior to that season battling for playing time with Jared Lorenzen.
That experience made him even happier for younger brother Aaron Boyd, during his 11-catch, 100-yard performance Saturday.
“I had to deal with a whole lot of mess when I was here as well,” Shane said Monday after watching Aaron complete interviews. “I continued to push on. I pushed through it and ultimately achieved my dream: I made it to the NFL.
“Everybody has their storm in life. Everybody goes through what they go through. You’ve just got to push on, especially if it’s something you believe in.”
After Aaron was named a starter last week, Shane booked a last-minute flight to Lexington to watch the Kent State game.
What did he say to little brother after the breakout performance?
“I told him to enjoy it,” Shane said. “I told him to bask in it for a little bit, but we’ve got get back to work.”
Shane and Aaron grew up in a military family with a single mother and moved a lot.
“I moved so much that I never really had a best friend around me at all times,” Shane said. “My brother was my best friend coming up. He’s still my best friend now.”
Shane has had to watch with every one else while Aaron received his share of criticism in the last four years.
The big brother in him made those moments difficult, but he had one piece of advice for Aaron before his senior season.
“I went through some adversity here, but I loved every second I was a University of Kentucky Wildcat. That’s what I told him even before the season started,” Shane said. “I said, ‘Whatever happens, enjoy every day being a Kentucky Wildcat because it is an honor to put on this jersey whether you’re playing or not.’”
Senior guard Larry Warford was named Co-SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after grading out at 91.7 percent against Kent State…Dupree was listed as the new starter at weakside linebacker on the week-three depth chart…Senior Gene McCaskill reclaimed a starting spot over redshirt freshman Daryl Collins at one wide receiver position on the depth chart…Freshmen linebackers Pancho Thomas and Khalid Henderson were listed as backups at middle and weakside linebacker respectively for the first time…Tailback CoShik Williams (back) and linebacker Josh Forrest (hip flexor) are listed as probably for Saturday’s game against Western Kentucky…Offensive lineman Trevino Woods (ankle) and tight end Gabe Correll are listed as doubtful…Tailback Josh Clemons (knee) and safety Glenn Faulkner (ankle) will not play again…UK’s game at Florida on Sept. 22 will kickoff at 12:21 p.m. and be televised by the SEC Network.