Trevathan, Guy assume leadership roles on defense as camp continues


Sophomore free safety Winston Guy Jr. runs the ball for Kentucky during their game against EKU on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009 at Commonwealth Stadium. The football team was leading EKU 17-6 at the half. Photo by Allie Garza

Last April, when linebacker Danny Trevathan and safety Winston Guy turned down the opportunity to declare their names for the NFL draft and chose to return to school, new co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter was eager to welcome back the two centerpieces of his new defense.

As the poster children for the Cats’ defense in 2010, a defense that returns its top 11 tacklers in 2011, Trevathan and Guy finished first and second, respectively, in tackles, with 144 and 106. Now, Guy is back for his senior season, with Trevathan returning as a fourth-year junior. Both will likely be playing their final seasons at UK this year.

At camp, both have turned their attention to a skill that is much more difficult to pick up than catching a ball or making a tackle. Together, they have worked on their leadership qualities in hopes of becoming more vocal leaders for UK’s defense on and off the field.

“I feel like I’m more vocal than what I used to be,” Guy said. “I just make sure that I do my job as well as I want my teammates to do their job as well. Everybody has a job on defense that they have to do and everybody needs to be dependent on each other. But when things are down, I make sure everybody’s picking it up.”

Guy centers his leadership around energy and motivation. He uses his hype and emotions on the field to get the rest of the defense involved and prepared for the play ahead.

“I try to come out here and just bust my butt in practice,” Guy said. “I go so hard I make my own self tired. I just try to bring my team along and get everybody riled up because sometimes we get in a slump at the beginning of practice and we let the whole mental aspect get a hold of us.

“But we can’t have any mental collapses so we try to just learn as much as we can and just pick up and come out here and practice and practice hard and get ourselves ready for the season.”

Trevathan, on the other hand, struggled early on with the vocal aspects of leadership. Trevathan said he is more of a “do it” type, who makes his plays and does his job, but never really barks at the rest of the team in crucial situations or if he senses someone’s play has gotten slow or sloppy. He said he learned to be more vocal from watching great defensive leaders in the NFL, and following their example.

“I look at Ray Lewis, Brian Dawkins, guys like that that’s been in the league and are a professional and know how to work themselves and know how to work the team,” Trevathan said. “And I see that no matter how good they play, they’re still vocal. And they play well by doing that, too. They’re playing a different type of game, I think, and they are playing on a different level and for me to get to that level I need that leadership.”

Trevathan said that the coaching staff has also taken an interest in helping him become more of a leader. He mentioned that he has really had to rely on his support system this offseason, including Minter, to help him not only become a better football player, but a better leader as well.

“(Minter) told me, ‘Being a leader is like being like an eagle. Eagles fly alone and don’t ever worry about what other people think about them. They’re just out there flying around, soaring the earth,’” Trevathan said. “You have to be able to stand alone, leaders stand alone. No matter what people think about you, or no matter how people take you, you’ve got to be able to handle it.”

Right before Trevathan departed from Monday’s practice for a well-deserved dinner, he added one last thing.

“I’m just going to try to build myself like an eagle.”