Coach's Corner is a weekly KentuckyScout feature with one of the Wildcat assistant coaches. In this edition, UK offensive coordinator Randy Sanders talks about his unit's play against WKU and preparation for Saturday's game at Florida.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: What do you tell your guys after a nice comeback that falls short?
RANDY SANDERS: On a night like that, you don't say a whole lot. You tell them you're proud of the effort and the way they competed and battled. Obviously, we made too many mistakes and put ourselves in a hole, but I was proud of the way they competed. They obviously never gave up. They kept fighting, kept competing.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: What were you able to see on Maxwell Smith's four interceptions? They were really uncharacteristic for him.
RANDY SANDERS: One, he kind of had to move in the pocket a little bit, and he threw a little late. The guy was able to make a good break on it. One, I thought the ball kind of got away from him a little bit. One of them the guy made a great play. (The safety) came out of nowhere and made a great play across the middle. We've never had a safety do that before on a play. And one of them was a miscommunication with the receiver, so you had a little bit of everything in those four plays. But the guy kept competing, stood in there and kept making plays late in the game.
The thing about quarterback, you can play 78 plays really good, and four bad ones and you get beat. Probably quarterback and defensive back -- corner -- are the two positions that can happen to you faster than anywhere else... You try to teach them and preach to them that the most important play is the next one.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: Have you been able to put your finger on the slow starts?
RANDY SANDERS: Some of that is the defense. They don't give you many layups. They make you earn what you get, make you execute. The first couple of weeks, we got some layups that helped get us going. We didn't get those (against WKU). I thought we'd be able to run the ball more effectively than we did.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: Jonathan George was a bright spot despite the loss…
RANDY SANDERS: Fortunately. We kind of got down to where he was the only one we had. I thought he ‘cowboy'd up' and played pretty well.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: How do you keep the guys' heads up after a disappointing start to the season?
RANDY SANDERS: You always try to teach them when things are going good, you better listen to your coaches and listen to your teammates, and when things are going bad, you better listen to your coaches and to your teammates. We've still got nine games to play. I've been here for five bowl games, and I want to be here for six. That's still our goal, to get ourselves in a position to go to a bowl game, and we've still got nine games left to get that done.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: You've talked about trying to find ways to get the ball into DeMarcus Sweat's hands more often. How do you manage that when there's a lot of veteran receivers on the depth chart?
RANDY SANDERS: Older is nice, but talented is better. We're working hard with DeMarcus and pushing him hard on what to do and how to do. DeMarcus has to do his part. Somedays he's much better than it than others, so he needs to get more consistent, but there's no question he can make plays. We talked a lot about erasers and guys who can make things happen, and he has that ability. Right now, when he's on the field, there's a good chance somebody's band is gonna play. We just gotta make sure it's ours and not the other team's.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: What has he done well, and what does he need to do better?
RANDY SANDERS: He's good at catching and running after he catches it. He's not real good at being where he's supposed to be, so that's what we're working on with him… They can learn the playbook, but it's the volume of defenses they see and how they react to it that increases in college.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: Joker has talked about the need to run the ball more. Do you hope to do that at Florida?
RANDY SANDERS: We need to run the ball better than what we have. I thought we ran the ball pretty well against Louisville, (but) the game just got out of hand and we couldn't run it. Last week, I would have liked to have run the ball better than we did against the looks we were getting. I tried to stay with it for a pretty good while trying to make it happen, but finally gave up and figured it wasn't going to happen. We need to be able to run it more consistently than we are now.
KENTUCKY SCOUT: What kind of looks will you get from the Florida defense?
RANDY SANDERS: We're going to get a bunch of big angry guys on the other side. Defensively, scheme-wise, they're probably very similar to what we saw last week. Not just like it, but very similar, and obviously the speed and size increases, so it's going to be more of a challenge in that way.
Coach's Corner with Randy Sanders
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