Part 1 of a 3 part interview with Kentucky receiver's coach Tee Martin.
Question: Have you seen teams double covering LaRod King more and does the emergence of E.J. Fields help that?
Martin: "I?have not really seen that. We have a read offense and Morgan (Newton) goes through his progressions. But it is good that he has another receiver he knows can make a play for him."
Question: How important will the pass be against Florida, a team that is hard to run against?
Martin: "Florida is back like when I?played. You turn on the film and it is like, ‘Wow. The front seven guys will play in the NFL.' That's what you see again now. We are going to be challenged up front to block them and be challenged at receiver and running back to make plays in the passing game. That is something we have to do to win this game. It will be a tremendous challenge for us. We are putting together a really good game plan that the kids feel good about. They know how we will attack this defense and hopefully it will work out Saturday."
Question: Will you maybe go to the pass more earlier in the game?
Martin: "I?think we go based on how we are having success. If we are having success in the running game, then you stick to it. We didn't go into the last game thinking we would throw the ball as much (41 times) as we did. We played it by how the game went and situations. When you get down and have to score points fast, we speeded up the offense and moved down the field pretty good. If it turns out to be that type game,?I feel we can do that. Morgan is feeling better and more confident."
Question: What have you seen out of Florida's pass defense?
Martin: "They are good. They have good pass rushers up front and play a lot of guys. Very athletic. They get after the quarterback. You expect that. They have athletes who are strong and can run and want to get to the quarterback. Schematically, you know where they are going to line up. They don't do a whole lot, but they are good. You don't have to do a whole lot when you have good players."
Question: Is their speed on defense as good as it is on offense?
Martin: "They don't lack speed. It is going to look like a track meet on special teams, offense and defense. They have a lot of speed."
Question: What had been holding E.J. Fields back before his seven-catch, one touchdown game against Louisville last week?
Martin: "Just the opportunity. Go back to last year when you had Randall Cobb, Chris Matthews and LaRod King all ahead of him coming off an injury year. The opportunity didn't come, but he played a lot of special teams and made his mark on special teams. Then those guys left and it is time for him to step up. The first game he was suspended, so I limited his reps near the end of training camp because I knew he would not be with us. Then the following week he got in a little bit but the ball was not thrown to him.?Last week he got in, the ball was thrown to him and he caught it.
"He had been doing it in practice. He had been consistent. What is tough as a coach sometimes is when a guy has not done it in a game but he is doing it in practice is to say whether he is ready for the game. The only way you find out is by throwing him out there and that's what we are doing. We are giving guys opportunities and the guys that perform keep playing.
"I was really happy for E.J. There is really no other way to show a guy how hard work pays off than to show an example like E.J. Fields when it paid off in a game. I am really happy for him. I?had told him the week before to get ready and it never happened with what we were doing. Against Louisville, we needed him. E.J. goes in and the rest is history. Got his first catch, his first touchdown. The rest is history. He had been practicing like that, but now he has done it in a game."
Question: Considering your receivers caught a combined 50,000 balls over the summer, what do you tell them when you continue to have drops during games?
Martin: "That is what is crazy they have put in the work. I?know they can catch. It now points to focus. A lot of the drops are technique drops. You have to catch the ball first before you decide to run. A couple are trying to run before they catch the ball and others are just not catching them. For whatever reason it is, they have to correct it. They are putting in the work. Sometimes you can catch a lot of balls the wrong way and develop a bad habit, so you have got to have to be able to do it the right way. It could be a little bit of that as well.
"Are we going to catch every ball? I don't know. Probably not. I don't think Randall (Cobb) did. He led us in drops last year. They are going to drop some but hopefully they will make more big plays than the ones they put on the ground."
Vaught: Q&A with Tee Martin, Part 1
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