By LARRY VAUGHT
Bradley Dale Peveto hopes he can help revive the UK football program. He’s the safeties coach and special teams coordinator and likes what he has seen at Kentucky.
“I really believe we can get this going,” said Peveto after one of UK’s spring practice sessions. “We have good kids, good facilities. We just have to get more recruits and teach the guys we have how to work and get better.”
Peveto was head coach at Northwestern State in Louisiana, where he guided the team to consecutive seasons with five or more wins for the first time since 2004-05, for four years before joining Stoops. He spent 22 years as an assistant coach, including 2005-08 at LSU where he spent three years as the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach before being promoted in 2008 to co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Peveto talked about UK’s secondary play as well as coaching chemistry during a recent interview.
Question: How are the safeties doing, especially since you have such a big group of players on the depth chart?
Peveto: “It is going well. The attitude and work ethic have been great. I like their attention to detail. We still have a lot of room for improvement. I think we have some competition going with guys working to get spots. I like our effort. They have done a great job of learning the system.”
Question: Can you tell twins Zack and Daron Blaylock apart?
Peveto: “Yes because Daron is bigger than Zack. It took me a while, though. They are doing good. They are working hard. I like their effort and I like what I am seeing out of the Blaylocks. They are both players.”
Question: What about Ashley Lowery?
Peveto: “Ashley has done a good job, too. He has adjusted. We have thrown a lot at him and all the guys. We have taught this defense and he has picked it up extremely well. I am very happy with him.”
Question: Is Glenn Faulkner healthy finally and how has he looked?
Peveto: “He does look fine. He moves around good and I like his twists and like his speed. He has to continue to learn the defense better, but I like what I have seen. He has the ability to play and Glenn has a good attitude and has had great effort. He just needs to stay healthy.”
Question: When do you really get a feel for who can play?
Peveto: “I don’t think you ever really know that until you scrimmage and then the bullets fly. That is when it becomes a contact sport. That will separate the men from the boys in a hurry. I don’t doubt at all that we will be a very physical defense, but until you scrimmage you don’t know who will hit you, who will tackle, who knows the right angles and who understands leverage. That all comes out when you scrimmage.”
Question: Do you value technique or hitting/tackling more?
Peveto: “The first thing you have to do is execute. That is the number one thing in defense. I don’t care how hard you hit, if you are not on the right man, in the right gap or your eyes are not right and you are not executing your technique, they are going to make yards. Then the next thing is you have to be able to tackle. Not everybody has to be a trained killer. Know what I am saying? But you have to be able to get them on the ground and know leverage, angles and when to tackle high or low. Those are things that are very important to tackling. Not everybody is going to be a fearless hitter, but the thing you have to do is understand leverage, understand where the sideline is, understand where your help is. Those are all the things that come in to be a good technician and good tackler.
“The key to a good defense is not to give up big plays. And if you don’t tackle, you are going to give up big plays. One big thing we look at is yardage after a missed tackle. It is amazing sometimes. The first guy there, they have to get him down. That is critical to playing good defense. You look at defenses across the country that are considered great defenses and they don’t miss tackles. That is what we will find out in scrimmage. At safety, there is nobody left to tackle usually if you miss.”
Question: So do you emphasize tackling daily?
Peveto: “Yes. We work it every day. We work a lot of different types of tackles during a circuit we do. But there are several different tackle techniques we have to do like angle tackling, head up tackle, cutback tackle, sideline tackle, flare tackle. There are a lot of different type tackles you have to do to make sure you put the defense in the best position possible.”
Question: But you are not opposed to a big hitter who can tackle, right?
Peveto: “Oh no. You want everybody to be that way. But I have had several good players who were not fearless hitters but they were good tacklers. You know what I am saying. They understood the game, they understood leverage, they knew when to tackle high or low and they were tough enough. Not everybody is going to be a fearless, take you head off type of guy. But if they understand how to tackle and angles and specifics of being a good tackler, then that works, too.”