Bobby Petrino doesn’t have to look far for leadership on defense.
Although Lorenzo Mauldin claims he’s not a verbal leader, he’s obviously the one that gets his teammates fired up — whether it be in the pre-game huddles where he’s yelling and dancing around or during games when he’s aggressively attacking opposing quarterbacks.
Mauldin said he put the Virginia loss behind him immediately after the game. “You can’t think about your losses,” he said during Monday’s press conference. “You have to keep moving forward.”
He seemed to suggest that the first road game may have been an eye-opener for some of his teammates. “Some guys are going to be under little bit more pressure than others,” he said. “You have to keep telling those guys you have to overcome the losses and step up next time.”
Mauldin was pleased with the way the defense played, allowing Virginia a total of only 280 yards offensively. “Our defense is always going to fly around to the ball. We’re a fast, aggressive defense and I’m very pleased with the way we played.”
Leadership seems to come naturally to him. “I like to lead by example. Just keep a smile on your face. Don’t worry about the down points.”
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Petrino wasn’t pleased with the offensive preparation for the game, sensing a lack of intensity last week, his comments suggesting there may have been a lack of respect for Virginia.
He said the quarterback usually gets more than his share of the blame but he felt there was a letdown at all 11 positions during the actual game. “We had a good opening drive but then we basically had two-and-a-half quarters where we weren’t operating and executing and doing the things that we need to do. When you watch the video, it’s all 11 guys … Part of it is our protections and our breakdowns. Part of it is our routes not being where they’re supposed to be or our not getting ball there. When you’re not executing the way you should, certain things show up play after play.
“Defensively, I thought we played well. We shut down a lot of things but we did give a couple of big plays that wind up haunting you at the end of the game. We put our defense in a lot of bad situations but the defense did a good job of keeping them out of the end zone, getting turnovers and making a lot of really good plays.”
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The UofL coach said he has not heard anything from the conference about the pushing and shoving that occurred at the end of the half, resulting in off-setting penalties. Doubtful any further action will be forthcoming.
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Contrary to what most of us thought we saw on that fumbled punt return, Petrino said James Quick actually ran into Michaelee Harris — not the other way around — knocking the ball loose on a play that could have locked up the win. “Quick did a nice job overall. He made a couple of nice returns. He continues to get better.”
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Before the press conference, Petrino announced that Reggie Bonnafon’s father, Wallace, had passed away early Monday, the coach requesting prayers for the family.