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By HAL MORRIS, Advocate-Messenger
Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown said the Wildcats may have their new offense in by the end of the week. But getting it down may take a while, and a lot of that will be on the players.
“We’ll have everything put in for the most part by Friday,” Brown said Wednesday after Kentucky’s second practice of the spring. “You’re not just going to go out here and be a winning team. You’ve got to prepare, and you’ve got to do a lot of it on your own time. Because the NCAA limits us and what we can do. So if you want to be a great player and create great teams, you’ve got to do a lot of it on your own. And we’re not there right now.”
“But Brown knows the Cats have the chance to be there, and he is trying to create an atmosphere at practice which makes the games seem much easier.
“What we’re trying to create in practice, we’re trying to create an atmosphere that’s way tougher than the game. So if I’m the quarterback, if they can execute with me one foot behind them, getting on them or being positive on every single rep, it’s the same thing as your on the first tee and you’re playing golf. You’ve got all these people (watching) and you’ve got to execute a good shot or you’re going to hurt somebody. So when they get in the stadium, it’s an easier atmosphere. And it’s the same with all the offensive guys.”
While the main focus of spring drills is trying to determine UK’s starting quarterback — Brown said he was not going to discuss that competition — who the quarterbacks will throw to is also key.
“We’re rusty. They haven’t put the ball in the air much as we do,” he said. “Demarco Robinson has had a great couple of days, you can tell he’s the most seasoned guy we have. The rest of those guys have to come on. They’re really young, they’re raw. We’re going to need those you guys we signed too. We’re going to need them from a depth standpoint. That’s one position group in the next 13 practices, they’ve got to get better.”
Brown pointed out that UK was 15 practices behind most SEC teams because the Cats did not make a bowl game lat season.
“So we’ve got to be doubly productive in our practices to catch up,” he said. “Our guys are trying hard, we’ve got the pieces I think. But the pieces we have have to get better. As long as they keep preparing and keep giving great effort, we’re going to have a chance.”
Brown said he would send out tweets (@UKCoachBrown) on who had good days in practice.
“While he would not speak specifically about the quarterback battle, he did say trying to get Maxwell Smith, Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow equal snaps was a challenge.
“It’s really harder on me because I’ve got to divide the reps. I’ve got to sit home and think about getting guys equal reps,” he said. “It’s harder on me than the skill guys, they have no idea who’s at quarterback.”
But, Brown said the battle between the three will make the quarterback position stronger.
“You get better by competition. We’ve got more competition at the quarterback position than any position on offense, maybe any position on defense,” he said. “So I think you’ll see the most improvement out of those three than the rest of the positions. I’d rather have a clear number one and we’re out getting 80 percent of the reps with the first guy, but that’s not the scenario. But we’ll figure out who it is, it probably won’t be until fall camp.”