After nearly giving up 500 yards of offense in the first outing of the season, Rick Minter and his…
Coach's Corner with Rick Minter
Rick Minter: I gotta be there, either way. (Smiles) I don't think it matters. We wear helmets. If it rains, it rains. Certainly, our thoughts are with those people experiencing bad weather right now for whatever reason. You hope that it works out for those people. But as long as it doesn't get any electricity involved, we've got to play the game rain or shine.
KentuckyScout: Where are you now with the scheme and your players' understanding of it now that you're in Year 2?
Rick Minter: Well, we'll find out pretty quick. We have a good idea of where we are mentally and physically and who we have. (We have a) generation game on defense. There are certain things we can do with our 1s that maybe we can't do with our 2s. As long as we stay healthy – knock on wood – we don't get handcuffed too much.
KentuckyScout: Can you be more creative with your 1s?
Rick Minter: We'd like to think so, but we'll have to see how it plays out… It's a challenge. This is a good football team we're playing. We looked at how we played them last year, looked at what they would do differently, looked at all their films from the end of the season and put together a plan we think could be successful.
KentuckyScout: Does having video on Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater this time around help in your preparation?
Rick Minter: It makes it more scary. Last year, I only thought he was pretty good. Now he is really good. He's a good player. He's been developed well. The coordinators have done a good job over there on offense. (Bridgewater) brings talent to the table. He has physically developed with Pat Moorer as the strength coach over there. He's the real deal. He can do the full complement of what they're trying to do on offense. I'm sure they'll be up-tempo, from all accounts and rumors, and I'm sure he'll execute it well as possible.
KentuckyScout: What's the biggest challenge Louisville presents to you?
Rick Minter: How much time you have? (Laughs) We've got running game with No. 10 (Dominique Brown) primarily, both from a quarterback position and running back position. We have 5 (Bridgewater) primarily as a thrower, more of an improviser on the running game – draws, scrambles, makes things happen. Keeps his eyes downfield. So the run and the pass concerns us. They've got skilled players. They're replacing a certain amount of kids, but I'm sure they're doing that quite well. It's a full-game complement of what we've got to stop – run, pass, screens, Wildcat… big personnel, light personnel with all the speed on the field – all that kind of stuff.
KentuckyScout: It sounds like Bridgewater's ability to extend plays with his feet, even the ones that don't go well initially, concerns you.
Rick Minter: It's not just feet, but more importantly with his eyes. He's a complete quarterback in the sense that, when he does elude the rush, whatever style of rush you're bringing, and he gets on the move, he keeps his eyes down the field. That's very dangerous. It would be easy to say ‘Let's flush him, and when he runs, you can rally (to the ball).' But when a guy is trained to keep his eyes downfield, you've got to keep your guys plastered to their man (in the secondary) and make him commit to running. Just because he's flushed out and running around doesn't mean his eyes aren't glued downfield looking for that last second opening to knife it in there on coverage that begins to abort a little too quick. He's a real dual-threat… Those are really the most dangerous guys."
KentuckyScout: You've talked about your defensive line coming into the season as possibly the strength of this team. Do you feel like you have an advantage there?
Rick Minter: We think we can hold our own up front, certainly. We stack up physically better than we did last year. Our D-Line's full-grown men, so we expect them to play extremely well on Sunday.
KentuckyScout: You had a few games before last year's matchup with Louisville. How does it change facing them in the first game?
Rick Minter: Openers scare you to death, I don't care who you're playing against. They should scare any coach. Maybe I shouldn't say ‘scare.' They should concern any coach because you have free-for-all opportunities from the summer, gadget plays, and the whole complement of your offense is in without anybody having laid witness to it. You never know who develops, how their depth turns out. (Louisville) had some losses at wideout. Who are those new guys at wideout? You don't know those things. You can only read about it, but you don't know until you play them. So you have personnel concerns, surprise elements, jersey numbers, etc. And then you've got schematic advantage/disadvantage and concerns based on the fact that it's the last time they played since late December or something like that.
Editor's Note: This feature has traditionally been done in a one-on-one setting with staff members, but due to time constraints and limited opportunities after practice, this piece also includes questions from various members of the UK media corps.
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