Football Notebook

Although UK racked up 568 yards of total offense in Saturday’s season-opening 50-10 win against Eastern Kentucky, wide receiver Dicky Lyons Jr. thinks the offense has more to prove.

“We felt good about putting points on the board and mixing it up with the run and pass game,” Lyons said, “but a lot of us were still upset at the way we played with our missed assignments and some plays we usually make and need to make.”

The junior wide out, who caught six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s season opener, was instrumental in the Cats’ victory against EKU. On the Cats’ first offensive possession of the season, quarterback Andre Woodson hit a streaking Lyons down the left sideline on a 51-yard pump-and-go touchdown pass to put the Cats up 7-0.

Despite the early aerial display and a steady ground attack from tailbacks Rafael Little, Tony Dixon and Alfonso Smith, the Cats had several missed opportunities on Saturday.

In the first quarter, Dixon dropped a screen pass out of the backfield from Woodson at the EKU 23-yard line and appeared to have plenty of room to run for a touchdown. Later in the game, Woodson underthrew a wide open Steve Johnson Jr., who would have had an easy touchdown if the ball would have been on target.

The Cats can’t afford those missed opportunities this weekend against Kent State, which upset Iowa State last week 23-14, head coach Rich Brooks said.

“We have a lot of things to work on,” Brooks said. “I hope (the players) realize it, and I think they do. We can be happy that we got a good win, but we need to understand that the competition gets tougher each week as we go through the season. We have to continue to get better on the things we’re not doing well.”

Brooks was particularly unhappy with the Cats’ special teams play, typically a UK strength.

“It’s one of those things that we have done so well for a while that at some point maybe our guys started taking it for granted, that we can just show up there on the punt returns and the kickoff returns and make some good plays,” Brooks said. “Well it doesn’t work that way. You have to work your fanny off to get it done.”

Kicker Lones Seiber struggled on Saturday as well, missing two extra points and a 40-yard field goal attempt.

“His stroke is a little different on almost every kick, and he needs to get to the point where it’s always the same,” Brooks said. “It doesn’t make any difference if it’s an extra point, a 30-yard field goal or a 48-yard field goal, the swing needs to be the same.”

Michigan loss affected Cats

After watching Division I-AA Appalachian State upset No. 5 Michigan in one of the biggest upsets in college football history, the Cats made sure they avoided the same result against EKU.

“A couple of guys brought (the upset) to our attention and so did coach Brooks,” senior linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. “Any time that happens before a game it gives the other teams in their division, like EKU, more power to come in and get an upset.”

Brooks, who said the Mountaineers should get top-25 consideration after their historic upset, acknowledged that it’s always hard to tell how a team is going to play no matter who the opponent is.

“The thing that I was nervous about last week is you never know where your team’s head is,” Brooks said. “Was Michigan ready to play that game mentally? I doubt it.”

Injury update

Although the Cats won their first season opener since beating Louisville in 2002, they didn’t come out of the game unscathed.

Cornerback E.J. Adams is out indefinitely after suffering a wrist injury that will likely require surgery. Starting free safety Marcus McClinton and backup center Jorge Gonzalez are questionable this week with sprained ankles. Lyons (patellar tendinitis) and offensive lineman Justin Jeffries (concussion) will be limited in practice this week, but both are probable for Saturday’s game.