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Receivers contribute to running game with blocking

Garrett Johnson likes to catch passes, but he's also been blocking well. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Garrett Johnson likes to catch passes, but he’s also been blocking well. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

With Kentucky’s revamped running game, receivers have had to turn to blocking a lot more than catching passes — and none of them seem to mind.

I asked Mark Stoops Wednesday on the SEC Coaches Teleconference how he felt the receivers had been blocking. Obviously, it was a question he liked.

”I think something we talk about all the time is being selfless, and that’s not always the easiest trait to get accomplished within a football team because you have some very competitive guys and guys that want to make plays for their team,” Stoops said.

“And we have some very talented wide receivers and they’ve been called upon to do quite a bit of blocking. We’ve made our fair share of big catches and big plays in the past games, but it takes that selfless attitude and that team first mentality to go downfield and be aggressive in our blocking and finishing off blocks.

“We’ve been very good and very selfless with that and with our approach to blocking and springing big plays, and you wouldn’t get as many big runs if those guys weren’t down there doing that. There’s also room for improvement there. We show guys on film all the time that there’s never an opportunity to take one play off and there’s certainly a few things we’ll get corrected.

“But I’ve been very pleased and proud of the way those guys have been aggressive downhill blocking and springing some big runs.”

I wondered if credit for that selfless attitude toward blocking was a tribute to assistant coach Lamar Thomas or a specific receiver’s leadership.

“I think it’s always a group effort, it’s a team effort in the approach and the attitude of our teaching,” Stoops told me. “I think Lamar has done a good job of getting a lot of guys, and I think coach (Eddie) Gran has and coach (Darrin) Hinshaw and just the whole team trying to be very selfless and play for each other.”

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