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New Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown said there is no set number of receivers he’ll play. At Troy, he played more because he had more players with similar skills.
“At Texas Tech, we played a few less,” Brown said. “But over the last five years we have been tops in the country with most guys with receptions. I like to have as many receivers involved as we can.”
Kentucky will go into spring practice with three quarterbacks — Smith, Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles — getting an equal opportunity to win the starting job. However, Brown said if a clear No. 1 quarterback does not emerge by the end of spring practice, it is “not that big a deal” to him.
“I think what you want to do in the spring is see if anybody separates himself,” Brown said. “But the summer is a huge deal. Coaches are not allowed to be there with players. That’s where a lot of the quarterback’s leadership is developed. It’s always important to see how the quarterback handles that and manages the summer throwing schedule before they get back for fall practice. We are not able to watch, or even really hear about, what goes on. But you can tell when you get back who has done the work. If the quarterback or quarterbacks have done a good job of leading in the summer, it is real clear when you get back to camp how much they have grown. But it doesn’t hurt you if you don’t have a starter coming out of the spring.”
Brown likes to have versatile running backs in his offense.
“We want all-purpose guys. We will never recruit a running back that we feel cannot pick up a blitz courage-wise. We want guys that are good at running the football, trusting their reads and can also be a factor in the passing game. We like to throw to our backs. If you get a running back involved in the pass game, it makes the defense have to cover all five eligible receivers. But our backs have to have the courage and size to pick up the blit,” Brown said.
The UK offensive coordinator also wants the tight end to be an active part of the passing game, something that has been missing at UK since the graduation of Jacob Tamme four years ago.
“You like a guy that can catch and block equally well, but those are hard to find. There are only three or four in the country every year,” Brown said. “We look for guys with size. You want a big guy first. You want a guy that can catch and run. We feel we can teach them to block if they have courage. We use our tight end quite a big. We stand ours up some and then also attach him (to the line). We’ll use the tight end in underneath routes on third down but will also use him vertically if we have a favorable matchup.”