Wednesday, July 13, 2016

UK Players Jojo Kemp, Courtney Love, Jon Toth 2016 SEC Media Days Quotes

Senior Running Back Jojo Kemp

On the combination of himself and Boom (Stanley) Williams being a little overlooked…
“Just a little bit, but Boom and myself and the other guys have been critiquing each other. Going out there and working hard and basically taking any opportunity that the coaches are giving us. We are supporting each other and trying to put our team in a position to win and put our team in a position to get over the hump.”

On this upcoming season getting over the hump…
“Yes, of course. That is the difference between this year and last year. All of our guys have really matured, taking it upon themselves to do the little things that coaches normally have to ask us to do. Doing the extra work, getting in the weight room, watching the extra film, deleting those mistakes you have seen from us before, winning those close games. Guys don’t want that same feeling guys have had before, going 5-7, going 5-7, being so close and not being able to finish. Guys have taken it upon themselves, when coaches have given us breaks, to go home and come back early. Just come and be at the facilities, doing things that coaches didn’t ask them to do. Guys really don’t want that same feeling. Going 5-7 and being so close and getting over that hump.”

On the culture change since he has been there…
“I want to start with myself for instance, before I was a leader, I was always a leader but before I would try to lead by example every time my number was being called I wanted to go out there. Make plays for my team, but now the difference between this year and last year, I am a more vocal leader. Taking it upon myself to take the younger guys to the other side, telling them the expectations we have here at Kentucky and just doing the little things the coaches ask me to do for the younger guys. Being both a leader by example and a vocal leader. Guys are a lot more mature now. We had a lot of young guys on our team but like I said before having that same feeling, being so close. The main focus this year is finish, just finish, finish, finish.”

On Coach Gran and Coach Hinshaw being added to the offensive staff…
“Great coaches. They came from really successful programs. Coach is an older coach, he has spent 30-something years coaching college football and spent 15 years in the SEC so he knows what it is like in this league. If we’re not doing something his way, he’s not having it. Not just him but like I said before, guys are just more mature, guys don’t want that same feeling. We are just doing whatever it takes to get this program where it needs to be. You have guys going to programs to compete for championships not trying to compete for a bowl game. Coming in it was the main goal to change the culture. Nobody said it was going to be easy. It takes a lot for a high school student to come here and take on a job this big. We know what we need to do. We know what the feeling is like, being so close, not getting the job done. It’s not so much coach Gran, it is everybody, everybody has bought in and Coach Gran was definitely a plus to add on to it. It’s going to be great year.”

Junior Courtney Love Middle Linebacker

On the difference between playing at Nebraska and Kentucky…
“Kentucky to me is… In Kentucky, you have guys coming from all over and in Nebraska they came from all over but you get a lot of in-house guys, a lot of Nebraska guys. In Kentucky you get a lot and obviously it’s in the SEC so you get a lot of bigger guys, stronger guys. I love this league. It has been great; you get the best of the best. It is going to be awesome to be able to play this year and in this league.”

On his role…
“I am the middle linebacker. I lead the defense, I have to make the calls and make the necessary adjustments that the coaches don’t really see when we are out there on the field. I have to put people in the right position and get guys lined up. I also have to show these guys they are safe all the time and they have someone they can lean on. I really just have to be a leader overall for this team.”

On does he feel like his playing career has lasted too long…
“It does a little bit, but I played on a scout team in Nebraska and I really enjoyed it there and I played for a scout team here. So last season it was tough, but I knew what my role was on the team and I knew what I had to do during that time. I could not waste any time. I had to show guys what I took from Nebraska. I want us to be an accountable team. We have been working really hard and we are trying to create a brotherhood and we want to get to know one another because the only way we will play well on the field is if we have great chemistry within our team and I feel like we have been doing that.”

Senior Center Jon Toth

On turning the page this season…
“I think that there has been a big leap forward in the leadership from the players and that has come from the coaches holding us more accountable. Players are holding each other more accountable on and off the field and I think that that will help us make the leap forward this year.”

On the change in culture of Kentucky football…
“It started from the day that Coach Mark Stoops got there, he’s trying to change a culture. That is not an easy thing you, you don’t wake up and overnight it’s been changed. As you can see it’s been a multi-year process and we have been working day to day to achieve that. I think that we have really taken that kind of approach to our training on and off the field. We set goals and go at it day by day to achieve those goals. We have taken a blue collar mentality.”

On the impact of Courtney Love this season…
“Obviously he’s been talked about a lot and he leads by example off the field. He puts in an enormous amount of time on the field so we are expecting big things out of him and for him to be a staple on the defense.”

On opening up the SEC schedule with Florida…
“Florida is a great opponent to go against and the stadium is a great place to play in, especially at night. But every game we play is a tough game. We approach it with a game by game mentality.”

On Coach Gran and Hinshaw…
“They have been wonderful since they’ve been there. They are great human beings and even greater coaches. You can tell by the way they go about themselves in the football building that they love the game of football. Really there hasn’t been too big of changes, a few terminology and some scheme changes. All in all, it’s been a pretty easy transition.”

On whom you have to beat to win the SEC East to get to Atlanta…
“All of them. The SEC schedule is tough every year, no matter if it’s in-conference or nonconference. You have to approach every week like you’re playing the top team in the country. Southern Miss is our first game and they won nine games last season. We’re not worried about Alabama in Week Six right now, we’re worried about Southern Miss and working on things that will help prepare us for the long road ahead.”

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