Opening Day Q&A with Guy Morriss

Tuesday marked the first day of practice for UK's incoming freshmen...

LEXINGTON, Ky.  --- Some observations from UK coach Guy Morriss following the freshmen's first two practice sessions on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the Nutter Center.

What were your thoughts on the first day of practice?

"The kids were in a little bit of shock, a little bit nervous. You could tell they were trying to go all out to impress the coaches, wasting their energy at times. Some of them were in good condition, some of them were in OK condition and some of them were in not-so-good condition. You could see some guys struggling from a conditioning standpoint out in this heat."

"We were throwing a lot of things at them -- new offenses, new defenses. They're basically learning all the ropes, and not just out here, but on campus in general. They've had the compliance people talk to them, the academic people talk to them, us coaches.  They've been stuck and prodded and poked all over."

That sounds like it can be a bit overwhelming.

"It can be. They come from home where they're the big kid on the block, and now they're surrounded with a lot of other good athletes and they know the varsity will be coming in soon. I'm sure there's a lot of anxiety for them right now."

The pace of practice seemed to be very uptempo, especially over with coach Goodner and the defensive guys.

"We're trying to teach them how to practice and what kind of tempo and intensity level they're going to have to operate in order to survive around here."

Will it get even tougher for them as the next couple of days go by and they're more acclamated to the system?

"Yeah. We kind of cut them some slack at times today. You want to get across what's expected of them, but you don't want to break their spirit the first day. You expect them to be slow and sluggish and thinking instead of reacting at times.  It's good to be patient about things like that. You don't want to overcoach them on the first day of camp."

Have you decided which direction you'd like to go with walk-on linemen Kevin Perdue and Brian Morgan?

"I think so. I think Perdue probably belongs on the offensive side of the ball. Brian has played both, and we need some depth over there, so we gave him to the defense.  We're going to give him a few weeks over there and see how it works. If he can't fit in over there, we'll take him back on our side of the ball."

Who are some of the guys, just from looking at an initial physical standpoint, who could help you early on?

"Well, I think Warren Wilson has a shot. Keith Shelton also has a shot. Both of them are in tremendous physical shape. Mike Williams and Alexis (Bwenge) look good. Alexis could end up being a real good receiver. We're going to try him there first. The (walk-on) linebacker, Koch, looks really good. John Clay looked good until he hurt his hip. I think he's got a chance to help us at linebacker, too. Ellery Moore will definitely help us. He's up to about 280 now. He's put on some good weight (since coming in at 260). He's got to work on his conditioning a little bit more, but he's a kid that can definitely figure into the rotation."




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