SEC Football Notes For Kentucky
Alabama will play at Kentucky on October 3.
Kentucky wrapped up spring practice on April 25 with the Blue/White Game, which featured teams split evenly by a draft. The Blue team jumped out to a 21-0 lead, then had to hold on for a 28-23 victory. Junior quarterback Will Fidler led the Blue by throwing for 110 yards and two touchdowns, including four catches for 70 yards and a TD by wide receiver Randall Cobb. All-SEC linebacker Micah Johnson and linebacker Danny Trevathan led the Blue defense with 11 tackles each.
Prior to the spring game, the two major spring scrimmages showed an interesting mix of results. The defense dominated the first scrimmage, then the offense was more effective in the second scrimmage.
UK continues to improve overall team athleticism, which was the team's biggest shortcoming when Coach Rich Brooks arrived in 2003. The Wildcats did a good job in the offseason workouts, as the team improved its strength and speed numbers as compared to the overall team conditioning results posted in 2008.
Two position changes on defense went very well. Senior Sam Maxwell, who moved from strongside to weakside linebacker, was a disruptive force during the spring. Sophomore Winston Guy was effective at free safety after switching from cornerback.
Perhaps the most intense competition in the spring was at right defensive end between sophomore Chandler Burden and redshirt freshmen Collins Ukwu and Taylor Wyndham. Burden had a pair of quarterback sacks and a QB hurry during the spring game. Junior-college transfer DeQuin Evans will add to the competition when he arrives in August.
UK is looking for additional contributors at tailback to provide depth alongside Alfonso Smith, Derrick Locke and Moncell Allen. One of the most pleasant developments of the spring was the play of redshirt freshman Coshik Williams. The walk-on tailback has shown the ability to get to the point of attack quickly and has notable speed downfield. He rushed for 196 yards on 36 carries in the two scrimmages and the spring game.
Returning starter Mike Hartline took most of the snaps as the first-team quarterback. He was bothered early in the spring with tendinitis in his throwing elbow but has recovered.
Randall Cobb is expected to see most of his action at wide receiver this season, but also will get playing time at quarterback in the "Wildcat" formation. In addition, the versatile sophomore could be used as a punt returner.
Senior Zipp Duncan moved from left guard to left tackle during the spring. The offensive line also has featured some interesting competition at the left- and right-guard slots with senior Christian Johnson and sophomores Stuart Hines and Jake Lanefski.
Junior-college transfer Mark Crawford, who enrolled at UK in January, is contending for a spot in the playing rotation at defensive tackle. Crawford, who has three seasons of eligibility remaining, impressed the coaches with his playing intensity and showed an ability to get to the quarterback during the scrimmages.
Two key offensive performers sat out the spring while recovering from injuries, senior offensive tackle Justin Jeffries and junior tailback Derrick Locke. Both players are expected to be ready to go when practice resumes in August.
Sophomore Ryan Tydlacka appears ready to take over full-time punting duties. He averaged 42.8 yards per punt in the Blue/White Game.
Kentucky will have a unique season opener in 2009. The Wildcats kick off the season Sept. 5 vs. Miami University at Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.
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