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Kentucky Wildcats on the defensive

HOOVER, Ala. -- Kentucky coach Joker Phillips knows his team's defense is going to have to perform better if the Wildcats are going to survive in the SEC.

Phillips hired former Cincinnati coach Rick Minter as his team's co-defensive coordinator (he'll share the title with Steve Brown, but Minter will call plays). The Wildcats will be more aggressive, employing multiple 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, along with a 4-2-5 scheme that utilizes hybrid players.

"The thing that we wanted to achieve on defense was be more attacking, be more aggressive," Phillips said. "If you look across this league, what's winning is teams that are playing great defense. For us to take this thing to the next level -- that's being in the race as long as we possibly can -- we have to play great defense."

The Wildcats weren't very good on defense in Phillips' first season, finishing 72nd nationally in points allowed (28.4 per game).

Minter, who worked as a defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, South Carolina, Ball State and Marshall, joined the Wildcats before their bowl game last season.