Jake Lanefski admits he’s excited about having the chance to start in his first bowl game when Kentucky plays East Carolina Friday.
However, the redshirt freshman offensive guard does have one regret about the success he’s had.
“I was hoping my year wouldn’t turn out this way because that meant Jess (Beets) got hurt to give me a chance to start,” Lanefski said. ”I am glad I got a chance to get in there and play as much as I did. It was fun. I felt like I slacked off at the end of the season some. My first couple of games were better. I feel like I am getting better again now and will have a good bowl game, but I still feel bad that Jess got hurt and couldn’t play.”
But he is excited about Friday’s game.
“I am very excited. I know they have high expectations playing against a SEC team, so I am excited to see how they prepare and what they bring to us,” Lanefski said.
Once Lanefski moved into the regular playing rotation, he brought a toughness that offensive coordinator Joker Phillips and head coach Rich Brooks liked.
“Sometimes I can be nasty on the field. I used to throw shot put in high school, so I know how to control my anger. I get pumped up. Off the field, I am real calm, but I try to play mad as much as I can because that makes me better,” Lanefski said.
He’s seen enough of the “big and fast” East Carolina defensive front to know the Cats will need to dramatically improve their offensive play if they hope to win.
“I think we are clicking really good right now. I think if we carry this into the bowl game, then we will look really good in the game,” he said. “I guess the fact we know we are missing some key players has made us all want to step up and do more to fill in for them and win this last game. I think we are all doing better and we are going to win for sure.”
That confidence comes with playing and believing he belongs on the field.
“I was so nervous that first game I played, but I have calmed down and got more at ease. I am more comfortable and everything is more second nature now. I know what to do and can just go hard and do it,” he said. “I can’t wait for this game. It’s so exciting to play in your first bowl game. I think every player dreams of that and I don’t want to ruin those dreams by not winning.”