Despite it being a bit cold, the Wildcats took the field with an edge today, out to prove something. Today was a closed practice only allowing media, a great opportunity to give the fans something to read and hope for. Some blemishes the team showed in the last couple practices and scrimmages seemed to be a thing of the past this morning. Overall, here are my notes from today’s practice.
Kentucky has been struggling with some injuries here and there, and some new ones have sprung up. Jordan Jones, who will be out for the rest of the spring with a shoulder injury that will require surgery. Head Coach Mark Stoops is hopeful Jones will be fully recovered by August. Along with him, Alex King got his ankle banged up, but will be back tomorrow, and Jordan Wright suffered a high ankle sprain.
One major problem and criticism Kentucky was faced with was the play of the quarterbacks. With what we’ve seen so far from the quarterbacks, it has been unsure as to who would win the job, and this morning reassured that statement due to how evenly matched the competition is. Each quarterback was making good reads and solid passes. Maybe one reason to do for this was the playmaking of the wideouts this morning. Coach Stoops harped on the wideouts making plays after their performance in Saturday’s scrimmage, he said they made some real competitive catches today, but still missed some as well.
Another thing I noticed throughout the practice was the thin ice Kentucky is getting on at the inside linebackers position right now. With Jones and Jamin Davis out, true freshmen Deandre Square has had to step into 1st string reps. Along with Square, the staff got Jamar ‘Boogie’ Watson some time there today, as well as free safety Darius West, who Coach Stoops said was playing very good football at free safety at the moment. Stoops mentioned the reason he moved West down for the day just to get some reps was because of the depth at free safety, he feels comfortable with Davonte Robinson or Jordan Griffin back there.
Along with that, Kentucky looks to be much more disruptive up front. Josh Paschal seems very natural on the line, and he coincides well with Quinton Bohanna and Phil Hoskins. I believe that group of three is playing the best football on the defensive line for the Cats right now. If the season started today, that might be your starters. Stoops was asked if this is the best overall defensive line he has had so far, and he responded “I think that’s fair to say” He did recognize having great individual defensive line players in the past, but as far as depth, he agrees this is his best defensive line by far.The depth Kentucky has across the board right now is something that Stoops hasn’t been used to thus far in his time at Kentucky.
Benny Snell still lives up to the hype and had a couple of long runs, as well as one that looked more than likely a touchdown. It also caught my attention when Courtney Love was out on the field following defensive coordinator Matt House around.
Also, the scrimmage that was scheduled for Saturday has been moved to tomorrow, 04/06/2018.
Watch Braxton Howard’s videos of select coaches and players after today’s practice below: