How has Matt Elam been playing?

Matt Elam (Vicky Graff Photo)

Matt Elam (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Going into the season, Matt Elam was supposed to be perhaps the biggest key to Kentucky’s defense.

He had lost weight and had experience from last year to build on. Coach Mark Stoops was counting on him to anchor the defense line.

He played almost 80 plays the first game, but his playing time has dropped significantly the last two games.

“His development, he can do some good things when we’re in the odd front and they’re in big sets. So when he’s a zero nose and they’re in big sets. You know, so when we’re playing people, and they do play some 12 this week. They’ll be in a lot of 12 personnel so they’ll be in some big sets. So when we move forward in this league, he’s good at that,” Stoops said.

“When you’re asking him to do some other things in spread games and all that, it’s harder for him. And he’s not rushing the passer very good, but again, that’s not his strength.”

Translation, I think: Elam is doing okay stopping the run in power sets but has been ineffective when teams spread the field to run or pass — and most teams do that.

Junior college transfer Naquez Pringle got significant playing time last week against New Mexico State.

“A little more active. A little more activity,” Stoops said when asked about Pringle Monday.

3 comments

  1. A good friend of mine is a high school coach and coached against Elam at the high school level. This guy said way back then, during the college recruiting of Elam, that he was way overrated. I hope Matt pans out, but what Stoops said about him in this article does not bode well for increased playing time for Matt IMO. IN some situations, you just can’t play him. With that said, I can’t understand why it has taken Stoops and Eliot so long to get others ready as his backup. Playing Elam 80 some odd snaps against USM, in a losing effort, was crazy. Look, I hope Matt can cut it, but it ain’t working out. That is just the way it is. He is a great young man and I wish him the best. My hope is that he proves many wrong.

  2. Elam can clog up the middle, but that’s about it. He can occupy a blocker or blockers and hold his ground, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him shed a blocker and get some penetration. To me, he still looks like he’s not in good enough shape. I was hoping he would lose some weight (to around 330) and gain enough of a burst to get some penetration. After three years, I’m starting to believe it’s just not going to happen. I hope he is making good grades.

    1. I’m with you kbrown. Some football players need to eat, some don’t. Elam does not. This kid isn’t going to live long at his weight. He needs to be below 315 if for no other reason than his health. I know he must be a strong kid but most of that strength is being used just to move him around. Just like my BSA motorcycle that I used to own – Big Slow and Awkward.

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