By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown was at the Kentucky Football Coaches Association Clinic in Danville Saturday and shared a variety of thoughts.
Question: How many scholarship quarterbacks do you like to have on the roster?
Brown: “I think everybody would like to have five. The perfect world is five. You have four classes with a redshirt in there, so you would like to have five. But I think you need four. Quarterback is so much different than any other position because only one plays, but you have to make sure you have depth. A prime example of that is last year at Kentucky (when they played four quarterbacks). They were one (more) injury away from really having a catastrophe there. So I think you want to have five, but I think four is what you can get away with.”
Question: Since your offense is based so much on timing, how do you get enough practice work for quarterbacks who are not No. 1 on the depth chart during the season?
Brown: “You have to be creative. You have to get those guys reps. If you look at the track record in this league, your second and sometimes your third quarterback are going to get quality playing time. You have to keep those guys sharp but at the same time you have to make sure your starter is ready to go. You have to be creative in how you practice. Sometimes you can go two groups so your backup quarterback is getting reps. I think you get your second team quarterback more reps than you normally would in some other leagues. I think it is all about creativity. They have to understand — and it is in their face from last year — that recent past shows stars can get hurt and they have to be ready to roll.”
Question: Even Reese Phillips came to UK in January expecting to be redshirted in 2014, but did his spring practice performance change that thinking?
Brown: “He played really well in the spring game. The thing I like about Reese is how he handles himself. He is a calm guy. The situation is never too big for him. He played in front of 55,000 (at the spring game), which is by far the most he has ever played in front of, and handled himself extremely well. I think a lot of it will be how he matures over the summer and how much more of the offense he can pick up and the first two weeks of the fall camp. If he can continue to make strides, maybe he could be a factor.”
Question: Since he was already committed to UK when you were hired and you had little time to evaluate him, did he surprise you in spring practice with his play and is he maybe better than you thought?
Brown: “I think that is fair. I didn’t really know a whole lot about him. The first time I saw him throw was at our spring practice. I liked his film. I liked his body makeup as far as his size. He is a big, strong kid. He had good grades, good family. All those things were positives, but as far as him as a football player, I didn’t know a ton about him. There were a lot of unknowns. It definitely was positive impression in the spring.”