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  • Coach Brad White's defense still focused on Kentucky, not yet looking toward Auburn

    Brad White spent a few minutes talking about Kentucky's defense with the media after Thursday afternoon's practice. He is exuding a quiet confidence in the defense this year, while still maintaining they have work to do. Here are some of the comments from today's media session.

    *Brad is confident in all of the inside linebackers and believes that all of them have made progress. He said that they still need to work and will need all of the next two weeks to get to a winning SEC football on a consistent basis status.

    *He saw a lot of progression in Jordan Wright from last year from the previous year. He called it a "big jump." He is expecting the same big jump this year. He said that Jordan has a lot more mass this year and he has enhanced his toolbox, particularly in edge settings. His pass rush game has really taken a strong leap.

    *At Kentucky, they are taking a lot of pride in the development of their players. Jordan Wright is a good example in how they develop players, and it is not an overnight thing. In Jordan's case, he is still learning football from being a primarily basketball guy in high school.

    *They have not yet really begun focusing on Auburn, but will begin next week. They may have peeked just a little bit, but so far they are focused on Kentucky being Kentucky. They were fortunate in that they were able to instill their entire playbook early.

    *Speaking of Jordan again, as well as Boogie Watson, it is huge for them to be able to go against really confident, physical tackles. This allows the coaching staff to have more teaching moments since they are not able to just dominate those players. He hoped that it gave Jordan confidence, knowing he's going against some of the best in the country. (It does, more on that later from Jordan Wright).

    *Although you could tell that Coach White was confident, he shut down the notion that the defense has been stingy. He said that they have had a really good give-and-take with the offense, and that it was an overstatement to suggest the defense has been stingy in that relationship. He believed that that was actually good for both the offense and defense.

    *Yusuf Corker had a really good year last year. But consistent with how they like to see development employers, they are expecting great things from him this year, really exceptional elite level play as a step up from last year to this year. They need him to be a consistent difference maker.

    *He talked about Vito Tisdale and how the dynamic player is developing. He is not ready to place the leadership burden on him yet, but has that potential down the road. He has that type of personality and character trait where people like him. He said his play has been dynamic at times, but still a lot of things to clean up. He does a lot of natural things that you just can't teach. Has a knack for being around the football. Right now, he is focused on finding his place on the defense this year, which is exactly where they want him to be. They need to harness that ability. He said that when they were recruiting him and seeing his junior and senior high school film, they could see subtle things in the film that showed he was at an elite level. He mentioned one scoop and score after a blocked punt that he said most players would struggle some with but he smoothly picked it up and ran in for a touchdown. He said it was a rarity and they knew what they had when they saw those things in the film.