By LARRY VAUGHT
After Kentucky coach Joker Phillips wisely said that UK needs to get the ball more to freshman receiver Demarcus Sweat, who has scoring catches in the last two games.
What does offensive coordinator Randy Sanders think about that mandate from the head coach?
“Well, older is nice but talented is better. We’re working hard with DeMarcus. We’re pushing him, trying to get him to learn what to do and how to do. DeMarcus has to do his part. Some days he’s much better at it than others. We need to see consistency out of him, because there’s no question he can make plays,” Sanders said. “We’ve talked a lot about erasers and guys that can make things happen; he has that ability.”
Now comes perhaps the best quote I’ve heard from Sanders in his time at Kentucky.
“Right now when he’s on the field, there’s a good chance somebody’s band is going to play. We’ve just got to make sure it’s ours and not the other team’s,” Sanders said.
Funny, but when Sweat has played, he’s not given the other team’s band reason to play. He’s a playmaker, a guy like a Craig Yeast, Derek Abney or Randall Cobb that can turn a short pass into a home run and is also not afraid to be the target for clutch plays.
“He’s good at catching and running after he catches it. He’s not real good at being where he’s supposed to be. So we’re working on getting him where he’s supposed to be,” Sanders said.
Not good at being where he’s supposed to be? The end zone at the end of regulation against Western Kentucky looked like a pretty good place for Sweat to be — and that’s where he was with the ball when Kentucky most needed it.
Besides, all freshmen struggle to some extent to learn the whole playbook, don’t they.
“They’re all different. Some guys come in and they learn pretty quick. It is normal for them to have to go through a progression of being where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be and things like that,” Sanders said. “They can learn the playbook, but just the volume of defenses they see and how they have to react to that is what increases so much in college. But it is normal. He obviously has ability. We need to get him involved as much as we can. We need him to do his part.”
That’s because so far the part he’s been given, he’s been very good at doing.