Kentucky Football Midweek Report: Young Wildcats Prepare to Enter the Swamp
At his midweek press conference (video available at UKAthletics.com), University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips discussed the need to prepare the younger players for the intimidating road environment they will face at Florida this Saturday.
One of his main concerns was tackling; Phillips even flat-out stated: "We are not a good tackling team."
Phillips went on to say that part of it was mental and the other part was getting back to basics like body/foot placement and balance. Considering the Florida Gators' heavy reliance on the run, it's probably a bit of a bad (i.e. absolutely horrifying) omen that this is what's being worked on and talked about in the third week of the season.
A few other notes from this week's game preparations (my analysis, as always, will be italics):
- Defensive line coach David Turner stated (per Rashawn Franklin at KentuckySportsRadio.com) that part of his unit's struggles with stopping the run this season stem from poor technique and fundamentals. Once again, why are we discussing these types of issues during the THIRD WEEK of the season?
- Defensive coordinator Rick Minter (video at Lexington-Herald Leader) stated that the defense needed to "keep practicing" and get better at filling the gaps to help improve their ability to stop the run. (Oh great...)
- Minter went on to say that he felt Taylor Wyndham was doing a good enough job to continue playing the hybrid safety/linebacker position. If the WKU game was any indication, than the Florida running backs and slot receivers will be very pleased with this decision. That's not a knock on Wyndham, either; he's a defensive end being played completely out of position.
- Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders (video at Lexington-Herald Leader) said he would like to get DeMarcus Sweat on the field more, but he needs to improve his route running before he can be utilized more.
- On the injury front, senior running back CoShik Williams is listed as doubtful to play this Saturday. Cornerback Cartier Rice is day-to-day, while linebacker Josh Forrest and tight end Gabe Correll will definitely be held out. Offensive linemen Matt Smith and Darrian Miller are expected to play.
- Max Smith said that while his shoulder is not 100%, he will be fine to play on Saturday (video per Lexington Herald-Leader).
- One of the more bizarre stories floating around Lexington and Gainesville is the feud between former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen and Florida Gators offensive coordinator (and former UK offensive coordinator) Brent Pease. According to Lex18 news, Pease said he wants to "hang 50" the Wildcats this Saturday in response to a series of negative tweets Lorenzen sent out when it was announced that Pease had been hired by Florida. Early entry for best comment of the year goes to Keith House of Georgetown, Kentucky: "50? What about the second half?"
- When informed of Lorenzen's comments, Phillips jokingly stated that Lorenzen needed to "shut the hell up."
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