UK Media Day: Kentucky Football wants more than just a bowl berth

08/07/2015 06:12 PM

LEXINGTON — It’s been five years since the Kentucky football team last played in a bowl game, a 27-10 defeat to the Pittsburgh Panthers in the 2010 BBVA Compass bowl.

But after disappointing end to last season left the Wildcats one game short of snapping the streak, optimism returned in the abundance over the offseason with the players, coaches, and administration acknowledging that a postseason birth is the next step in the development of the program.

“Bowl games are important, but I think that’s a step,” UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart told the media members in attendance at Commonwealth Stadium. “Where we want to get to, we want to compete for championships, but [a bowl birth] is the first logical step to get there.”

The Wildcat players echoed the words of the coaching staff and administration, stating that a bowl isn’t the goal but rather the minimum expectation for the 2015 season.

“We wanna win every game that we play,” said junior and returning starter quarterback Patrick Towles. “We’re not shooting for six [wins]. Our expectation is to get to Atlanta [the SEC Championship Game], and we think we can do that.”

“We’re not just trying to get to a bowl game,” added junior running back Jojo Kemp. “I don’t look for just the six wins; I’m trying to win all 12. So, whatever it takes to win all 12, I’m all for it.

“Just shooting for a bowl game, I feel like is aiming too low. I want to aim high; I want to aim as high as possible so we can keep moving forward and be a better team.”

And the team is putting in the work to back up their words. The coaching staff raved about the team’s focus and execution at the end of spring camp, and that “do whatever it takes” attitude has carried over into the fall.

“All of us have high expectations right now to get to a bowl game,” said sophomore defensive tackle Matt Elam. “Everybody asks, ‘Would it be a bad if we don’t make it to a bowl?’ No, because we know how hard we’re working right now, every single day, to get better, so any season coming up will be a good season.”

Click below tow watch the team’s complete comments on the bowl game expectations as well as KSTV’s explanation of why the Wildcats’ lofty goals are very much within reach.


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