Most Recent Posts
- Nunley, Cumbess Propel No. 12 UK Softball to Super Regionals
- DeCourcy says Julius Randle is “so freaking quick” and powerful he will be special
- UK football coach Mark Stoops on wife: “She gets involved as much as she can in a supportive role”
- Swiss Cat – Vacation notes and photos from Larry from his trip to Switzerland.
- Kentucky softball team earns 40th win to tie school record for most wins in a season
- Calipari says Cats will press more, foul more, bump and grind, hip-check next season
- Caldwell County sophomore Elijah Sindelar special QB but also has big-time baseball options
- Stoops believes he has special understanding of high school coaches
By LARRY VAUGHT
Having a 98-yard scoring drive in Kentucky’s final major preseason scrimmage presented a bit of a dilemma for coach Joker Phillips.
Offensively, he was pleased with the 14-play drive, which included mainly runs, that sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith led.
“That is hard to do. We did not have any huge plays. Just consistency. No penalties. No negative yardage plays,” said Phillips after Saturday’s practice. “Max didn’t have to do much but hand the ball off. The guys up front did a good job.”
However, that also meant UK’s defense, and the interior line that has been touted as the team’s strength, struggled — one reason defensive coordinator Rick Minter and line coach David Turner had the defensive player running well after the practice ended.
“We just can’t allow that,” Minter said.
“This will help us. Defensively, nobody drives 98 yards on us. There comes a time you have to make a stop. We can’t have that,” Phillips said.
Of course, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders was pleased with the long drive considering the struggles UK had last year making first downs and scoring.
“It was very satisfying to see. Just to be able to go 98 yards without having a 30- or 40-yard play mixed in there means you had a lot of guys doing the right things in a number of plays in a row,” Sanders said. “You have got to have ability to be able to win, but you also to have ability doing the right things and not mess up.”
Phillips would reveal little about UK’s quarterback battle other than to say the four quarterbacks — senior Morgan Newton, Smith and freshmen Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow — did not turn the ball over.
“I thought they are progressing as they should progress. I am not watching on how they drop or things like that,” Sanders said. “I am trying to watch downfield and see what they are seeing. For the most part the ball was coming out to who it should have been coming out to and when it should have been coming out of their hand.
“So that tells me their drops are pretty good and their eyes are in the right place. The one thing we are doing as a group is throwing the ball accurately most of the time. They are throwing the ball where they want to, which usually always correlates back to your fundamentals.”
Phillips said a decision on a starting quarterback could come soon, perhaps as early as Sunday after the coaching staff watches the scrimmage video.
“We have got a decision to make,” Phillips said. “To be fair to the team and the guys involved, we have got to watch the film. Here you see it with the naked eye and might not see everything.”
Phillips said running back CoShik Williams scored during the scrimmage and that receivers LaRod King and Demarco Robinson both had scoring catches.
“No. 9 (Robinson), he is making plays every time he comes on the field,” Phillips said.
He also said there were a couple of freshmen running backs doing well and that one freshman receiver could be “special” based on what he has shown. Phillips would not identify the freshman receiver, but Demarcus Sweat returned back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns according to several people who saw the scrimmage.
“We have got guys begging to be on special teams,” Phillips said. “We have not had that here. We have some special returners and guys want to block for them.”
That would include Robinson who seems to have won the job as punt returner.
“We had a good, competitive scrimmage. Guys were competing for jobs today,” Phillips said.
Kentucky will have one special teams scrimmage and one mock scrimmage to serve as a walk through for the Louisville game. The Cats will have two more days of preseason camp-type practices before classes begin Wednesday and the team settles into a normal practice routine Thursday to prepare for the season opener at Louisville Sept. 2.