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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Catching Up With... Dicky Lyons Jr.

I'll admit, I was hoping for some crazy stories from Dicky Lyons when I spoke with him a few days ago, but sadly, the conversation was pretty tame. He did, however, talk about his crazy Matthew Stafford dreams, Kentucky's season this year, his thoughts on Georgia and what the Wildcats win over the Dawgs two years ago meant to the program.

David Hale: Alright, well first thing I've got to ask you about is the story from SEC Media Days. You've sort of become a cult hero around here after your Matthew Stafford story. What kind of reaction did you get from that story at home?

Dicky Lyons: It was kind of funny, and everybody up here loved it, too. Stafford, I called him and texted him and said, "I'm hyping you up in the papers." He's like, "Oh really? Show me where," thinking I was talking good about him, so I had to tell him I was just talking about him in a dream.

DH: Did any of your teammates give you a hard time about that story or make fun of you for dreaming about the opposition?

DL: Sometimes when I'll be watching Georgia or something like that, I'll be like "Nice throw, Stafford" and I'll be cheering for Georgia just because I know Matt. They give me a hard time sometimes, but we've all got friends on other teams.

DH: You injured your knee a few weeks ago, which ended your season. As a senior, I'm sure that's been tough. How have the past few weeks been for you?

DL: The hardest part isn't recouping from the injury and getting my knee back in shape and trying to make my goals that I had after the season, which is playing in the NFL, it's just forgetting everything that you planned on. I don't get to play Georgia, I thought I was going to get to play Georgia one more time, thought I was going to play Tennessee again, have a chance at beating these schools we haven't beaten in a long time and making a statement.

DH: Obviously Kentucky is a young team, particularly on offense. You were one of the few seniors playing a key role. How has that role changed since the injury?

DL: I go in there every day for rehab, talk to all the guys, and I usually text them a lot throughout the day. I don't get to travel but I have one of the managers keep his cell phone on him during the game, so I can talk to some of the young guys.

DH: So what are you doing during games now?

DL: I'm watching it at the house. If it's on pay-per-view, I'm ordering pay-per-view. I'm ready. I've got my Kentucky shirt on, watching the game like a true fan.

DH: Like Georgia, you guys just lost a pretty bad game to Florida, too. How much did that bad loss affect the team?

DL: It was a big deal. I knew the guys, they were all kind of down, especially the offense. There were some freak things that happened in the beginning of the game, those two punts that were blocked, and it's hard to come back in a game like that, especially when you're playing Florida. But I let them know, I went in there the next day and just told them that two years ago we got beat 49-0 by LSU, and that was when we had me, Keenan Burton, Steve Johnson, Andre Woodson, Rafael Little, all these guys that are now playing in the NFL. And we got beat 49-0. Nothing freak like that happened, we just got beat. They just outplayed us that day. So I just let them know that, you guys hung in there, and it can help you out as long as you don't get down and you see it as something that makes you want to get better. You've got to get upset about it and go out there and prove that you just had a bad game.

DH: Looking back a couple years to the last time Georgia came to Lexington, you guys were certainly not expected to win. How much did that game mean to the program and to you?

DL: I think that game solidified that Kentucky was a team that was on the rise. When I went down there to the Manning Passing Camp and I was talking to Matthew Stafford, he was talking about how hard his schedule was because of the teams they played, saying "We got y'all at home" and other stuff. He knew this was going to be a tough game, especially when you've got to come into Commonwealth where we do so well, particularly with our fan base. So it was a big game two years ago, and the people who made a big difference in that game, Trevard Lindley, he's still here, Tony Dixon, who had a great second half against Georgia at running back, he's still here. So the guys who contributed a lot in that game are still here, and I think that means we have a really good chance of winning this game.

DH: Does having those guys still with the team act as good motivation this time around?

DL: It really is. It's not only that they're still here, but they've gotten better because they're more experienced. The defense is going up against Stafford, who is a great quarterback, but they've seen him before. It's a big challenge to them, but it's going to be exciting.

DH: You mentioned having to re-adjust your personal goals after the knee injury. How has that process gone for you?

DL: The knee, as soon as I got out of surgery, I started bending it so I wouldn't lose any range of motion. I've got to stay off it for five weeks, but I've talked to a lot of guys out here -- you know, Tim Couch lives out here now, and he's called me a couple times making sure that, just saying, "Don't worry, you've got a lot of good film, and you're going to get your shot." And that's everywhere I look, people are saying you're going to get your shot. It's a little bit of disappointment because I really wanted to get drafted and I thought I had a really good chance of doing that, but I'll put my fate in God's hands. He only asks that I try, not that I succeed, so I'm going to try my hardest to reach my goal.

DH: You have a bunch of former teammates in the NFL now. Have they talked to you about what you need to do to get to that level?

DL: That's always talked about. Rafael Little, he got injured like me, but he got injured later on in the year at the Senior Bowl. He was injured throughout the year. He's a great player, but those injuries have a way of hurting you in the draft, but if they know you can play -- I was watching a thing on HBO's "Real Sports" on James Andrews, and you look at any of the great players who have played this game, a lot of them have had major injuries, and what makes them great players is that they come back from those injuries. I just want to show everybody that I'm going to come back from this, and there's no doubt in my mind that I'm going to be a stronger player for it.

DH: Since you said you've watched a good bit of Georgia football this year, what have been your impressions of Georgia?

DL: Matthew is really just making great decisions. Stafford does a great job of spreading the ball around. I know Massaquoi, I've always watched Massaquoi because we came in at the same time, and I've enjoyed watching him over the years. They have the new freshman coming in who has made some tough catches for them. Then there's Knowshon Moreno, and you can't say anything bad about that guy. He can just take over a game. So Georgia's looking good on offense, but I think that's what our defense thrives on is shutting other offenses down. They were excited before the Florida game, and now they're a little upset, so I think they want to show they can play with a good offense, and they'll have their chance against Georgia.

DH: You mentioned in your Stafford story that you were engaged. Despite your dreams, is the wedding still on?

DL: We're getting married March 14th over our Spring Break. I'll be rehabbing, but I think we're going down to Pensacola to do that. I just can't wait. She's been half the reason my knee is doing so well. I rehab over at football, and then I come home, and she's making sure I'm elevated, getting me ice when I need it, just being the best fiance you can ask for.

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