Sports - Kentucky

Nov 5, 2009 6:09 PM by Alan Cutler

Cal Gets Tough With Team

One of the things Cal is really good about is deflecting pressure. He has no problem putting on himself instead of beating up his players.

He doesn't like how the team has responded. So Wednesday night he told the team two a days are here. First practice is 6:15 am.

It's hard," says Cal.

"They are going to class and tutoring and study session and morning practice and they are up at five. I'm up at five now. I'm in bed by nine. I don't know if they are."

Nothing to overreact. It's not even turkey time.

UK isn't in shape.

UK isn't tough enough.

"Last year we played St. Louis in a scrimmage. I saw right there that our team wasn't tough enough. The attention to detail was not there."

Here is the part you have to like.

This has a lot to do with why players like to play for Cal.

"That's on me as a head coach. It's not on them. So, when I saw that same thing in the Campbellsville, I went to sleep with what I call the Blood Sweats."

There are times Cal wants to find out who can handle the pressure. Who won't fold when the game is on. But, unlike some coaches, you can't beat your players up all the time and expect them to respond.

"It's about me, it's not about them. These kids will do whatever I ask them to do. I told them we have to get better conditioned and we have to get tougher."

"If you accept that you will do whatever I say, and they are."

Pre-season practice for many teams isn't fun. It's part of the process.

"You know what, this weekend is going to be a rough weekend. So it's what they need right now to set the tone."

To the man. Cal wants more. Knowing Patrick Patterson, he will respond the right way.

"I got on Patrick. Come on man, you took seven shots. Go get the ball. Go demand. Go get 20 rebounds."

Tubby used to talk about needing time to figure his team out.

"So what I may do is call a little more for him because now I know he will just get into the flow."

It's whole new world for Cal with this team.

"I'm trying to get to know these guys too. He is one of the best players in the country. He needs to play that way. We need to play him that way. Not just him, it's us to and see what happens."

Eric Bledsoe hurt his ankle against Campbellsville. He won't play Friday Night against Clarion.

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