Has Steve Brown's defense turned the corner?

Steve Brown

For Steve Brown's beleaguered defense the first half of the South Carolina game was nothing to write home about. The Wildcats gave up 28 points in the half, despite South Carolina turning the ball over on three occasions. In the second half the Wildcats emerged from the tunnel in the same uniforms, but these Cats did not play like the inept Steve Brown defense which has perplexed UK fans.

The Kentucky defense came out of the lockerroom lethargic for the first half of play. When the half came to an end the Kentucky defense had given up 28 points to the South Carolina Gamecocks. It could have been worse for the Wildcats were it not for the USC offense coughing the ball up three times in the half.

In the first half of play the Kentucky defense was unable to get pressure on South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia, nor wrap up freshman RB Marcus Lattimore as he ran by would be tacklers as if he was running by traffic cones. When Lattimore wasn't running the ball out of the backfield he was catching passes from Garcia for big gains.

In the second half everything changed for the Kentucky defense. Sure Lattimore was out with a sprained ankle, but not having first string backs available hasn't stopped second and third string guys from running wild through the Kentucky defense in the recent past.

In the second half the Kentucky defense seemed to play with more purpose, and a greater urgency. The defense was able to put pressure on Garcia. Many of Garcia's throws were rushed, and the Gamecocks seemed to be looking at third and long often in the second half of play.

In a manner very much unlike a Spurrier coached team the Gamecock offense seemed disorganized at times in the second half; including picking up a delay of game penalty when faced with a third and long situation.

Defensive Coordinator Steve Brown said, "We made some changes at half and we felt like we were doing a good job of stopping the run. Our offense did a great job of scoring us some points and we made the plays when we had to."

Brown spoke of what this win means for the players.

"This is a phenomenal win for the Kentucky Wildcats. It's a heck of a boost for our guys and I'm excited for them and proud of them. You saw some guys with tears in their eyes because they are happy, and that's what it is all about and that's what you play the game for."

Just how good was the Kentucky defense in the second half? They tossed a shutout at one of the SEC's top offensive squads. The Cats had not previously shut out a team for a half this season.

Kentucky safety Winston Guy credited Brown for the way the Kentucky defense played in the second half.

Guy said, "South Carolina was just making plays on us in the first half, but Coach Brown came in and told us what we needed to do. He did an awesome job of putting the defense in position to make plays and what he did is the reason that we won today."

Guy said of the way his teammates seem to be maturing on defense, "I think it's our team just coming together. We don't point fingers we just communicate and make sure that everyone knows their assignments."

Kentucky's leader on defense, linebacker Danny Trevathan, was asked about why the team displayed improved play on defense in the second half.

"Just the attitude. I think we wait for them to strike first, but we need to strike first and deliver that first blow. We need to show them what we are bringing to the table and just pick it up from the beginning," said Trevathan.

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