By LARRY VAUGHT
If you want proof of how coach Mark Stoops is changing the mentality for Kentucky football players, check the difference in freshman receiver Ryan Timmons.
He was one of Stoop’s marquee recruits in his first signing class. Kentucky was not really in the race for the versatile Franklin County speedster until Stoops took over and then he jumped at a chance to play in Neal Brown’s offene
Now Timmons is trying to become a much more physical player.
“We are just being physical and trying to be better on the perimeter and be tougher,” Timmons said recently. “I think guys are being more physical that weren’t last year. We have to help out more.
“I have got stronger. Blocking was one of the biggest things that I focused on this year. I think me learning to block better will open the offense more and make it better for me. I think I have gotten way better at that.”
He said “blocking was not the first thing” he did at Franklin County.
“That was not the first thing I was thinking about when I was not getting the ball, but I am here now and in the biggest and best league in the country, so I have to do that. I have got to be able to block and be tougher,” Timmons said.
He needed offseason shoulder surgery — “my surgery went well, the shoulder is doing fine” but then “tweaked” his other shoulder during spring practice. But it was not a typical tweak. Instead, it came in a practice skirmish.
“I think it was me trying to be more physical out on the perimeter with our defensive backs, but it wasn’t nothing personal. It was just football. Two guys going hard and frustration set it. But we are fine now. It was just practice,” Timmons said. “Last year we didn’t see a lot of the scuffles. Not just fights, but guys being physical after the whistle.
“That is something coach Stoops was emphasizing about being more physical on the perimeter with the wide receivers, so that is one thing we are trying to focus on more.”