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Kentucky running back Ray Davis approaching Saturday’s return to Vanderbilt ‘like a normal game’

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Ray Davis isn’t taking his return to Nashville on Saturday personally.

The current Kentucky running back will face his former team when the Wildcats take on Vanderbilt Saturday in Nashville. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CST (noon eastern) at Vanderbilt Stadium.

“The biggest thing I’ve told a lot of people is — it’s not Ray Davis versus Vanderbilt, it’s Kentucky football versus Vanderbilt,” Davis said. “That’s the kind of mindset I’ve been able to have. I’m just attacking it like a normal game. Not trying to get too high, not trying to get too low.”

Kentucky’s Ray Davis makes a move in open field for a long gain against EKU on Saturday. (Photo by Les Nicholson, Kentucky Today)

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said he will have a “three-minute” conversation with Davis this week regarding his return to Vandy.

“He’s a very mature young man, but he has to continue – he’s coachable,” Stoops said. “You looked at, maybe, a missed run, getting a little too greedy a week before … we talked about it. In this past week, last week in practice and the game, you could see the discipline come back to him very quickly. He’s very mature and takes coaching.”

In last year’s game, a 24-21 win by the Commodores at Kroger Field, Davis rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also hauled in a 1-yard touchdown catch in the narrow victory by Vandy.

“It’s definitely exciting to get on the field and see those guys and warm up and (talk) pregame,” Davis said. “Once the game starts, that friendship is gone.

“They’re competitors and we’re trying to win a game and they’re trying to win a game. I don’t think there will be much love during the game but after the game I think we’ll be able to express some love after that.”

He also added the contest will be an emotional one for him.

“Being on that field again and knowing I’m forever cemented there,” Davis said. “Just knowing that, it will be emotional but I’m trying to go out there and get a win. I’m not on Vanderbilt any more, I play for Kentucky and that’s all that matters.”

In the first three games of the season, Davis leads the Wildcats in rushing with 236 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns. He also has caught nine passes for 143 yards and two scores this season. The Kentucky running back has developed a bond with Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary.

“We had some good chemistry during fall camp. We’ve got to be on the same wave length, and we’ve been getting better at that.”

Stoops added Davis takes care of business and pays attention to the small details.

“He’s an easy fix,” he said. “He’s one of those guys and kind of fixes himself. He takes great pride in doing things and the details right.

“He generally has great vision anyway. I watched our defensive side enough already this week, too, from last year’s game and he had some great patience and some really good runs.”

Gametracker: Kentucky at Vandy, noon, Saturday. TV/Radio: SEC Network, UK Radio Network.

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