UK FOOTBALL | Towles, Forrest call players-only meeting to unite team
11/04/2015 08:17 PM
LEXINGTON — After suffering three straight losses, including back-to-back blowouts against Mississippi State and Tennessee, Kentucky Football was running off track and threatening to derail what once was a promising 2015 season.
But two team captains, Patrick Towles and Josh Forrest, decided enough was enough and took matters into their own hands this week by calling a players-only meeting to ensure every Wildcat remains “all in” for the final four games of the season.
- “We just wanted to kind of reinforce it — just kind of make sure everybody was on the same page and just let everyone know what kind of opportunity we have,” Towles said. “We’re 4-4 and have got four very winnable games left. If we’re sitting here at 8-4 at the end of the season, I’m going to be pretty excited about it, and I think a lot of people in Kentucky will be too.”
After starting the season 4-1, Kentucky lost its next three games by a combined score of 124-64 and faces another tough matchup this weekend on the road at Georgia.
A defeat on Saturday would drop the Wildcats below .500 for the first time this year and stir up memories of 2014 when UK started 5-1 before losing its final six games to miss out on bowl eligibility for the fourth consecutive season.
But the players-only meeting appears to have rejuvenated the team’s confidence, uniting the Wildcats in their understanding of what needs to change to get the season back on track.
- “Half of us were on the same page, and half of us wasn’t on the same page,” sophomore running back Mikel Horton, who will make the first start of his career at Georgia in relief of an injured Boom Williams, said after practice on Tuesday night. “We sat down and talked with each other about what we need to fix, what was working, and what we think we need to do to make stuff work. We broke it down to specific things and now I felt like we had a really great practice today. A great practice.”
The UK coaching staff had no issues with the players-only meeting and instead praised the captains’ leadership while admitting they too must make improvements.
- “Our kids care,” UK offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “I don’t think it’s bad or good. I think at times everybody, including myself, needs to be set straight. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having meetings and having leaders stand up and voice their opinion, not just on a team but in every sector of society. That probably works to the benefit of the group.”
KSTV discussed the players-only meeting on Wednesday’s show and what it could do help revitalize Kentucky’s season: