Most Recent Posts
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- John Calipari says summer tour “will probably be something with World Games;” has not interviewed possible assistants yet
- Draft analyst Ed Isaacson sees Alex Poythress as early second round pick, not sure Dakari Johnson goes in 1st round
- Mark Stoops explains why providing unlimited meals, snacks for athletes is right thing to do
- NBAdraftblog.com’s Ed Isaacson sees Andrew, Aaron Harrison in lower part of NBA first round
- Quarterback Jalen Whitlow’s transfer best for him and Kentucky, too
- Neal Brown “disappointed” but understands why QB Jalen Whitlow will transfer rather than change positions
- Karl Towns expects to have a “blast” playing at UK with Willie Cauley-Stein
By: ASHLEY SCOBY
Some of football’s fiercest battles will probably always remain in the trenches, but for Kentucky, it’s been a “dog fight” slightly closer to the sidelines this spring.
Answering their coaches’ call to be more physical, Kentucky’s wide receiver corps has gotten bigger, stronger and maybe a little meaner during the offseason.
“It’s like a dog fight every time you go out there with the DBs,” said receiver Jeff Badet, who is coming off a 22-catch, 285-yard freshman campaign. “We do a lot of one-on-one drills and blocking drills. It’s a lot of physicality out here between us and the DBs.”
Cornerback Cody Quinn said the intensity has picked up tremendously in practice, and that Badet was one of three receivers that really stood out to him in terms of chippiness.
Demarco Robinson, who is fighting for his spot back on the team after being indefinitely suspended last season, and Rashad Cunningham, who was ineligible for all of the 2013 season, were the other two players Quinn mentioned.
“We go at it every day,” Cunningham said. “It’s an ongoing thing, kind of like a cornerback/wide receiver type of beef.”
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said that at this time last year, Kentucky’s receiving corps was as “behind” as any unit in the country. Although the team is still a year or so away from achieving the depth it wants, according to Brown, the guys this year are “more coachable” and more willing to study the game. Once players better understand where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to do, physicality can reign supreme.
This year’s wideouts are also more willing to step into the weight room. Of all the wide receivers, sophomore-to-be Ryan Timmons was the one with the biggest jump in weight, going from 185 last season to being listed at 193 for spring practice.
Erik Korem’s “High Performance” program prides itself on helping players lose the “bad” weight and gain the muscle necessary to play in the Southeastern Conference.
“His body looks a lot better,” Brown said of Timmons. “Where he played three sports in high school, which is a good thing, he just wasn’t in the weight room a ton, and he had that shoulder surgery about this time last year so he didn’t get to go through any of our offseason stuff.”
For Timmons, the increased intensity in practice is one thing that has motivated him to get in the weight room.
“I want to try and dominate whoever is in front of me so lifting is one of the main things that I’m trying to focus on,” he said.
The competition in practice is not limited to offense/defense, though. There has even been a little friendly rivalry among the receivers.
Freshman TV Williams came into Kentucky with the reputation of having lightning speed, at 5-10 and 160 pounds. At the same height, Timmons has always had that reputation, too, especially as a two-time Kentucky state champion in the 100-meter dash (and one-time champ in the 200). So obviously, there had to be a race between the two.
“I didn’t kill him,” Timmons said with a smile. “He’s fast, but I beat him. We settled that.”
That kind of competition is what Kentucky’s coaches like to see, especially when last year’s receiving corps was lacking in depth and production. The 2013 season saw Kentucky finish 10th in the SEC in passing offense, and 11th in yards-per-catch.
This time around, coaches are preaching physicality not just as receivers try to get open, but in their blocking schemes, too. From top to bottom, this year’s wideouts are bringing more muscle to their duties.
“We’ve incorporated some drills and half line, things like that where maybe the defense knows screens are coming and so we’re just flying to the ball, making them put their face on the defender and learn how to block and how to be tough,” said head coach Mark Stoops. “We’re getting better.”
By: ASHLEY SCOBY
Zero is an empty number, a symbol of nothing. According to Merriam-Webster, zero is “the absence of a measurable quantity.”
Zero is also the number of interceptions pulled down by Kentucky’s cornerbacks last season.
“It really hurt us to our heart,” said senior corner Nate Willis, who was a junior college transfer to Kentucky last year. “We practiced so hard but now it just puts a chip on our shoulders so every day we’re competing. We’re just looking to make some big plays and some big interceptions.”
Just like with the rest of the team, Kentucky’s secondary not only wants to make a drastic change, but is already seeing that change manifest itself in spring practice.
A unit that saw several compete as true freshmen (Cody Quinn, J.D. Harmon, Fred Tiller) suddenly has the experience it’s been needing for years. Those guys (juniors now, except for Harmon) have now taken on leadership roles in the secondary.
“The experience helps out a lot,” said junior college transfer A.J. Stamps, who came in as a corner but has been moved to safety. “I’m new to the safety position so when I’m at practice and Coach calls a play and I’m like, ‘All right, what do I got?’ and instead of asking the coach I can ask one of those guys and they can just spit it out to me. The experience they have from playing last year helps me out a lot.”
Stamps represents the flexibility of this year’s secondary. Although Stamps played some safety in high school, he entered junior college as a cornerback and has played there almost exclusively the last couple of years.
But in the Southeastern Conference, players have to be more all-purpose type players, even on the defensive side.
“He (Stamps) brings us that athletic safety that we need to cover guys,” said head coach Mark Stoops. “There’s no way around it. The old days of just a big, physical safety are gone. You’ve got to be able to do a lot of things, and he’s very versatile that way.”
Blake McClain, who was second on the team in tackles last year as a true freshman, knows a little about switching positions in the secondary. He’s played at cornerback, safety and linebacker before settling in as the team’s go-to nickelback last season.
This year, he will still be in a “dual role” at safety and nickelback, but there will be less confusion over where he will be on a week-to-week basis.
“For the most part we moved him out of the corner business so he’s mostly settled in on three positions,” Stoops joked. “So that’s good.”
The constant shuffling last season of players from position to position could have helped lead to the secondary’s struggles. Not only did the corners have zero interceptions on the year, but the entire secondary only had one, after safety Ashely Lowery picked one off in the last game of the season against Tennessee.
Now, everybody is settled into their roles and is ready to bump up their productivity.
“We were really kind of slow getting the plays, getting the defense,” Willis said about last season. “We didn’t know who was going to be where. We were just feeling it out and playing. This year … we know where everybody’s going to be at so we can make more plays as a group.”
Once the mental hurdle of understanding your own position is out of the way, physicality can take over.
“It’s all about playing fast and physical now,” Quinn said.
That speed and physicality have shown themselves during spring practice. Several scuffles have broken out during drills, something that has not happened in the last few years.
Stoops stresses winning “your one-on-one,” which leads to some fireworks between the secondary and the receivers.
“You want to take care of your teammates but sometimes it gets intense out there,” Quinn said.
Specifically, wideouts Demarco Robinson, Jeff Badet and Rashad Cunningham bring the most intensity against the secondary, according to Quinn. Winning one-on-ones against those guys has become key for Kentucky’s corners as they fight their way out of the SEC cellar.
Last year, Kentucky was 10th in the SEC in pass defense, last in pass defensive efficiency and last in interceptions made.
This time around, the corners hope to have more than a goose egg in that statistical column. And the secondary as a whole is willing to put up a fight after such a disheartening 2013 season.
“Everyone said the team (last year) had no fight and there were no leaders on the team,” Stamps said. “I see a little bit of change this year. Everybody’s getting that dog in them and wanting to be the best of the best.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore cornerback Cody Quinn had an ankle injury limit his play early and now has seen UK lose five straight games. Still, he insists he won’t let down the remaining five games.
“Stuff doesn’t always go as planned. Just a little bit of adversity. You just have to keep working hard. Try to get better every day. I don’t dwell on that stuff. There is always going to be light (at the end of the tunnel). It’s not dark. We will come out,” Quinn said.
“I am just that type person. I just never believe something is going to go bad all the time and go downhill. There are positives and negatives to everything. Our positives are going to come soon enough.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Playing in the Southeastern Conference for 3 1/2 years has taught Kentucky senior linebacker Avery Williamson never to underestimate SEC opponents.
“Everybody is saying the rest of the schedule is going to be a let-up (compared to first six games), but it is not going to get any easier. There are a lot of good teams we still have to play, so it is going to be tough competition. We have to fight to get some good wins and finish off the season,” said Williamson as UK prepares to play at Mississippi State Thursday night.
Williamson has played in all 43 games he’s been at UK. He has 258 career tackles, including 135 in 2012 when he was second in the SEC and seventh nationally in total tackles. This year he has 26 solo stops, 38 assists and 1.5 tackles for loss. He’s also recovered two fumbles.
Even thought UK went 2-10 last year in his first season as a full-time starter and is 1-6 this year, Williamson never seems to let up on the field or lose his smile off the field.
“You have to make it an every day thing. You have to come out here and show the guys that you care. I feel like if you come out here like that, that positivity feeds off to everybody else. You have to stay positive. That’s the only way you can make it through a season and get more wins,” he said.
Teammates notice what he does, too.
“He is a great leader. Just knowing he is at the linebacker position and seeing everything and he can tell us what we didn’t do right and did wrong by filling our gaps is a huge help. He will let you know when you are not right. You have to respect him for what he does on the field,” junior defensive end Za’Darius Smith said.
“He is a good role model. He tries to lead by example as well as by verbal communication and does a great job with that. A lot of guys have got to look up to him and follow the same footsteps so we get on a winning track,” junior defensive end Bud Dupree said.
“He is one of the few people I know that genuinely tries to do everything right,” sophomore cornerback Cody Quinn said. “He is a great guy and great leader and I look forward to seeing him play on Sundays (in the NFL). He definitely will be playing. He does a lot of preparation, and not just stuff on the field. He does a lot of stuff off the field as well. That kind of character goes a long way.
“That’s what I really need to try to do now. Come along and do more preparation stuff instead of just coming out here and playing plays. That’s what my coach tells me all the time that you can’t just come out here and play plays because in the SEC it is not going to work like that. You have to have great preparation on and off the field, and Avery does that.”
Williamson admits that at times he feels like he is trying to set a tone for younger teammates to grasp for future success.
“I am trying to get these guys prepared to be leaders in the future as well and one day when I come back I can see they are making progress. I am trying to be a leader for myself and my younger teammates,” he said.
Williamson draws inspiration from former UK teammate Danny Trevathan, who now plays for the Denver Broncos. Williamson watched how Trevathan worked and did not let on-field setbacks impact his preparation.
“To see that I will have the opportunity next year to go pro like he did does motivate me. It is a dream come true for me to see a guy that played next to me has been successful in the NFL right now. It is something to look up to. I am proud of him and I am ready hopefully next year to get in there and start making some plays myself,” Williamson said. “He worked hard. He never did give up. He’s not that type to give up and I am not either.”
He still believes UK can win games this year.
“I don’t feel like we’ve laid down all year. I feel like we’ve just given up certain plays and didn’t play good at times, but I definitely feel like we’ve been continuing to fight. If we keep that mentality, we can still get some games in the second half of the season,” he said. “The bye week h helped. I feel like my wrist got a lot better and I had some good time to recuperate my body. Definitely my legs feel a lot better from the opportunity to get some rest. It’s tough coming out week to week and never having a time to recuperate at all.”
He hopes to be playing without a cast, maybe even Thursday. He has a “little plate under” a bandage on his wrist.
“Hopefully it will all work out and I won’t have to get back into it (a cast),” he said.
Williamson said the “crazy week” in the SEC last week convinces him UK can pull upsets like other SEC teams did.
“I was really worried about how the schemes would fit and things like that when we changed coaching staffs. Overall, I am impressed with these coaches. They always seem to put us in good positions to make plays and they really know what they are talking about. They are smart coaches and we can win games,” he said.
However, he knows his collegiate career could be over in six games, something he never thought about when he came from Milan, Tenn., to UK.
“It is tough. I can’t believe next month that I have to start making decisions (about my future). It definitely is crazy to think it is almost over with. Hopefully we can make a bowl game to continue the season on a bit longer, but it definitely is crazy knowing the end is near,” he said.
He was an all-state high school linebacker, but he was shunned by many Division I programs and knows even now some still doubt his ability.
“I feel like I proved a lot, but I still have a lot to prove. A lot of people still don’t think I am that type of guy to play in the next level and be drafted. I am going to keep making plays and prove people wrong. That’s the only way I know how to play,” Williamson said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
For the first time since early in preseason practice, sophomore cornerback Cody Quinn says his ankle is not hurting — and that could be really good news for Kentucky as the Cats get ready to face No. 7 Louisville and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a Heisman Trophy candidate.
“I feel good. My ankle’s not hurting anymore. I can move. At first I didn’t have, I wasn’t conditioning, but now like I’ve been staying after practice and getting my leg back right and just like doing a lot more conditioning to get back in shape,” said Quinn.
He also downplayed speculation that there had been any other reason for him missing the first two games.
“They just wanted to take their time with me and work me back into it,” Quinn, a starter last year, said. “This past game I was ready to go but like once we got up it was like really no point of me going in and something bad happening. So they just decided to hold me back and just wait for this week. But this week I’ll be ready to go.”
He said he got hurt when receiver Alex Montgomery was running a route and he rolled his ankle going up to deflect a pass.
“I didn’t think it was nothing major, but like I said, once I got the x-ray I guess it was a high ankle sprain,” he said.
The Middletown, Ohio, native played in 11 games last year and made six starts. He had 25 tackles, including seven in the disaster at Arkansas, and led the team in pass breakups with five. He has incredible speed — 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash — and helped his high school team win 10 or more games three straight years before suffering through a 2-10 campaign at UK last year.
But not playing in a loss to Western Kentucky or romp over Miami (Ohio) might have been even more frustrating to Quinn, a confident player, than last year’s fiasco.
“It was real frustrating because like right before then I was just like getting in a groove and I was just like starting to be in a rhythm and just like really feeling it. Then all of the sudden, ‘Dang, that happened.’ At first I didn’t think it was bad as it was then it turned out it that I had a high ankle sprain,” he said. “But now I’m good to go and ready to get back to it. I’m not going to say that I’m all the way back to where I was before I left, but I’m getting there day by day, just doing extra stuff after practice.”
He’s like what he has seen from junior college transfer Nate Willis, who started the first two games at the spot where Quinn expected to be playing.
“Nate is a great player,” Quinn said. “He a real smooth guy and good cover guy. Now that he has picked up the plays and stuff you can see like improvements in him.”
He knows how good Bridgewater is, but he’s not overwhelmed about the challenge.
“I mean, I’m in the SEC so, like I’m going to see this stuff night in and night out. I’m ready for it. We’ve got a great game plan,” he said.
What about Devonte Parker, a physical receiver who is one of Bridgewater’s top targets?
“Technique, like I’ve been preaching to probably all of you guys the whole camp and during the spring. Just like technique and executing what like coach (Derrick) Ansley has taught us and just using that the game plan we’ve got and just using that to my advantage,” Quinn said.
He said “flying to the ball” for four quarters is the best way — and probably the only way — to disrupt Louisville’s offensive flow
One plus for Quinn, and with UK being a decided underdog it’s hard to find any real pluses for the Cats, is that he is at least well rested after not playing last week.
“I kind of wanted that, to like wait out and come back. I was still ready to go for Miami, like regardless if they put me in or not. But I kind of wanted to wait to Louisville,” Quinn said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Monday that UK was in “decent shape” injury-wise going into Saturday’s game.
“I think everybody is a little bit banged up,” he said.
Receiver/returner Demarco Robinson hurt his ankle on the opening kickoff return against Miami (Ohio) last week and did not return. He’s averaging 28.2 yards per kickoff return and 27 yards per punt return. He also had five catches for 69 yards and one score in UK’s opening game. Stoops said he was “not sure yet” about his status for this week.
He did indicate that sophomore cornerback Cody Quinn, out most of the preseason with a sprained ankle, “will be back full speed this week.” He played only briefly against Miami.
“He was ready to go last week in an emergency situation. He was ready to go if we needed him,” Stoops said. “I think he should be healthy and ready to go. That will help give us a little bit of depth. I think Nate (Willis) is getting his legs underneath him, starting to get in shape and playing better.”
Stoops offered no update on linebacker Kory Brown, who did not play last week after being injured against Western Kentucky.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops offered a variety of roster updates after Friday’s practice from the return of Za’Darius Smith to practice to the transfer of Patrick Graffree to Max Godby earning a scholarship and more.
— Smith, a defensive end, had been out with an ankle injury. “He looked good. Really good. He won’t be far behind. No, he won’t. We’ll get him caught up. He’ll be fine,” said Stoops. “He looked good. He’s been close. He did have a high-ankle sprain, and those are very touchy. Even when you’re feeling good, you get in there and start pushing on people and it’s a little bit hairy. So we feel like he’s made good progress and feels pretty good right now.”
— Graffree announced on Twitter he was transferring to Eastern Kentucky. The defensive tackle redshirted last year and Stoops said there could “possibly” be other transfers. He also acknowledged Graffree “would’ve had a hard time getting some playing time” with UK’s depth at tackle.
“That’s what I heard today when I was in practice. We wish Patrick the best. You can’t ask for a better person. I’ve really learned to appreciate Patrick and all the work he’s done for us, and I wish him nothing but the best,” Stoops said. “We had a talk with a lot of guys when we got through camp (about) where we were at. So he may not have been happy with that. I understand that. I don’t want to get into detail on that, but I do wish him the best.”
— Godby came into camp in a battle for the starting center spot with Zach Myers, who has been injured, and Zach West, who has now moved back to guard where he started last year. He not only went on scholarship, but Stoops says he is the “leader” at center now. Stoops noted that Godby was “excited” about the scholarship news. “He looked emotional and you feel good about that. He’s worked awfully hard, and he deserves it. We’re excited to give him one,” Stoops said. “I think the kids really respect him. He’s done a nice job.”
— Receiver Rashad Cunningham is academically ineligible this season. He was one of only four returning receivers. He will continue to practice with the team.
— Junior Demarco Robinson will be the team’s No. 1 punt returner. “He’s just been steady back there. Ryan (Timmons)’s done a nice job. When we were in the stadium, he muffed a few. So we feel good with Demarco,” Stoops said. “Coach (Bradley Dale) Peveto has done a great job (with special teams). We’ve put an awful lot of time into it, so hopefully we’ll see some results.”
— Joe Mansour seems to have won the kicking job. “Joe has made two — when we’ve done two-minute drill in the stadium in scrimmage-like situations — he’s hit two 50-(yard) plus to win the game, to win the scrimmage, to win that situation. So with the pressure on, everybody watching him, he’s hit two over 50. I like that. I thought that was good.”
— Stoops would not offer any update on the status of cornerback Cody Quinn’s ankle injury.
— The coach said he feels good about six players in the offensive line. “We’ve got a six, seven-guy rotation. We’ll have to move some guys around. If we get an injury, it’s not just necessarily that the two deep across the board. We’ll go with the next best player,” Stoops said.
— He said the secondary is getting better and more consistent. “We’ve had some situations where I’ve been disappointed. A few scrimmages, a few practices where I felt like we regressed, but overall they’re improving.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky’s lack of depth and experience in the secondary made getting junior college signee Nate Willis on campus a priority for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops. The Florida native finally got to UK Wednesday and began practice Thursday. However, Willis warned Friday not to expect miracles from him.
“It’s not really a savior deal. I’m just here to do my part. It’s really a team matter. It’s 10 other guys, so everyone has to do their part and the defense come together,” said Willis. “It’s really not a savior deal because I really can’t do it by myself. As long as 11 play together, everything should be good.”
Willis had been waiting for word he passed two online courses this summer to finish his degree at Arizona Western College. Once he did, he headed to UK immediately.
“I really haven’t unpacked,” Willis said. “I was fired up. I was just ready to get here and go to work.”
Stoops liked what he saw from Willis immediately.
“I did see some good things from Nate,” Stoops said. “I do. I think he’s got some good ability. It’s good to see.”
Kentucky is low on depth at cornerback after J.D. Harmon was dismissed from the team for academic reasons and expected starter Cody Quinn went down with what has been described as a minor ankle injury. That has left sophomore Fred Tiller and true freshmen Blake McClain and Jaleel Hytchye getting first-team work.
Stoops, the former Florida State defensive coordinator, says Willis can catch up despite not being on campus all summer.
“That’s the good thing about corner,” Stoops said. “It’s very hard in application, but really pretty easy in theory really. You’re not reinventing the wheel as far as assignments with cornerbacks. But if they can cover somebody, they can help us.”
Willis thinks he can do that. He worked out on his own and his junior college coaches kept in contact with him during the summer. He said Friday he was in “fair shape” when he got to UK.
“You can never (duplicate) what’s going to go on out here in practice,” Willis said. “That’s my job: come here and cover, play my part in the defense and just try to help the defense get better at what we do. And that’s stopping people.”
The 6-0, 180-pound Willis had six interceptions the last two seasons. He was rated the No. 3 junior college cornerback nationally by 247Sports.com and the No. 54 overall junior college prospect by Rivals.com.
“He’s got good length. He’s got good ball skills. Very quick in and out of his breaks,” cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley said. “He’s very instinctive, meaning that he can anticipate routes, he understands leverages and he’s got ball skills once the ball’s in the air.”
Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot was also impressed.
“He’s very quick and very athletic. He’s long, he’s tall. Not all our corners have those assets.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was elated to have Florida freshman defensive lineman Reggie Meant back at practice today.
“He missed about the first seven days. He’s been impressive. He’s a big – a grown man. He’s going to be a good player, very physical, good player,” said Stoops.
He says Meant’s “pit bull mentality” is something he noticed immediately.
“The other day before he was cleared, we were doing board drills and getting after it and everyone’s getting hyped up and he was standing behind me, looked like he was going to hurt me if I didn’t let him go. So I think he’s got that mentality, which is good. But we’re getting more and more of it (on the team),” Stoops said.
He says Meant is the kind of pleasant surprise a team needs.
“There’s a perfect example of it. Again, we want to recruit at a high level. We want – shoot, for what it’s worth for you all – we want five-star guys, four-(star). We want to recruit the best players there are. But there’s a perfect example. Great. Going to be a very, very, very good football player. I don’t care. I don’t know what he was rated. I know he was rated low, but we love him,” Stoops said.
“I loved him all along, wanted him, and we were in a fight for him. He was a low-rated guy or whatever, but we were in fights for him, to get him, to sign him out of high school. We knew all along how important he was. I didn’t care how many stars he had by him, we wanted him and sure enough he’s going to be a good player.”
Stoops offered some other tidbits after practice:
— Junior college cornerback Nate Willis is in Lexington after getting cleared academically earlier this week. “Nate Willis is here, by the way. I forgot to mention that when I started. Nate’s here. I said that yesterday, that I hoped to get in there and have that information that he was cleared. And he’s here. He’s on campus, flew in this morning. He’s doing his physical and compliance and he’ll be out here this afternoon,” Stoops said.
— Zach Myers, who is competing with Zach West at center, left practice with a foot injury. “He twisted his foot. It was a foot injury. The initial diagnosis we got after he went in – I already got it back from our people – it looks like it’s nothing major, which is good news,” Stoops said. “There’s a real fine line that we’re always trying to toe. I said it from the very first day I was here: It’s a very physical league. You have to be tough and you have to be physical, but yet we’re not very deep. So we’re still going about our business, trying to find that balance. But we’ve been very physical. (Myers) got hurt on a physical drill at the beginning of practice, but we need that. We can’t slow down.”
— Cornerback Cody Quinn, a sophomore and expected starter, has been out with an ankle injury allowing true freshman Jalell Hytchye to take reps at the No. 1 spot. “Cody got the ankle. I don’t know if I’ve addressed that with you yet, Cody twisted an ankle as well and that doesn’t help matters at that position,” Stoops said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Could Kentucky really beat Tennessee twice in a row in football? Could it really happen in years when Kentucky football has not been that god?
Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter says for that to happen, UK will have to slow down what he thinks might be the best offensive team that Kentucky has played this season. The Volunteers rank 13th nationally in passing offense,averaging 317.6 yards a game and are 23rd in total offense nationally with 477.6 yards per contest.
However, he says Kentucky’s players continue to prepare well and not be distracted by the firing of coach Joker Phillips two weeks ago.
“Kids are always bounce back, no matter what happens in life,” Minter said. “They are much more resilient than adults because they don’t think about it too much, they just do it. We will wish them well and pull for them always. Kentucky will always have a special place in your heart because whenever you work somewhere for a while you give it everything you have. Therefore when you leave, you leave some of yourself behind.”
Whoever the next Kentucky coach is, Minter said the future is bright with talented underclassmen on defense.
“All the kids on the back end that have played and contributed this year, some in a mighty role, others in a minor role, are all going to be good players,” Minter said. “You just mark it down — the Blaylocks (Daron and Zack) are going to be good players, the young corners all three of them (Cody Quinn, Fred Tiller, J.D. Harmon) are going to be good players, (Khalid) Henderson is going to be a good player, (Pancho) Thomas is going to be a good player. There are three defensive linemen that you have never seen because they are being redshirted but they are going to be good solid guys, whether it be (Patrick) Graffree, (Thomas) Chapman, (Langston) Newton.
“There are others, I don’t want to be remiss (in not mentioning them), but it is a bright future. How bright, who knows? But it is a much brighter future than it was a few years ago looking down the road of guys finally getting into this program.”