UK Football Notebook: Saturday

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said the Wildcats bounced back from what he labeled a disappointing workout on Friday night with a good practice Saturday afternoon at the Nutter Training Center.

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said the Wildcats bounced back from what he labeled a disappointing workout on Friday night with a good practice Saturday afternoon at the Nutter Training Center.

"A good practice. I really felt good," Stoops said. "We got a lot of work in today. We had really good meetings, a good walk-through this morning, good physical, long practice today."

The Wildcats' offense was deemed "sloppy" during Friday's open practice at Commonwealth Stadium. Stoops lamented the number of dropped passes and overall lack of execution. He liked how that unit responded less than 24 hours later.

"Offense was much sharper today," Stoops said, "and much more physical. They did a nice job all the way around. On defense, some good plays, but overall a good offensive day."

By contrast, Friday's best plays, according to Stoops, often came as a result of the other side simply not doing its job. "It wasn't great football," he said. "Today, I saw some good football."

The highlights were not confined to the offense, although that unit reportedly had the better day. Stoops cited sophomore safety Glenn Faulkner for a nice interception. "He's made progress. He's better this summer than he was all of spring. He's done a good job and is putting himself in a position to make plays."

Stoops also said that freshman defensive end Jason Hatcher and freshman wide receiver Alex Montgomery continue to impress the staff.

The UK boss liked his team's ability to bounce back from its first bad practice since fall camp began. "I've said it before, but I really like this group's attitude, the mentality. I feel like they care and are doing the things necessary to be the best they can."

Film review of Friday's 11-on-11 periods did not give many clues on UK's ongoing quarterback battle… at least none that Stoops wished to reveal on this day. Three sophomores – Maxwell Smith, Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles – are battling alongside freshman Reese Phillips for the starting job.

"I don't want to point out anyone specifically," Stoops said. "We were inconsistent, and, again, a lot of that has to do with the people around them… You need good players around them making plays."

New Position for McWilson?

One of UK's top-rated signees in the Class of 2013, Marcus McWilson, is getting a look at a new spot in the Wildcats' defense. He was recruited as a safety, but is now playing closer to the action.

"We played him today at the nickel position," Stoops said. "Whatever you want to call it, depending on the personnel, it's closer to the line of scrimmage. It could be viewed as a linebacker in some regards, in certain sets. At nickel, he's a good, versatile guy who's got some thickness, some good weight to him. Just trying to find a good position for him to be successful and help us."

Willis Update:

Stoops was asked if he was getting nervous about the pending eligibility status of junior college signee Nate Willis, who is needed to help UK's thin cornerback depth chart after the departure of J.D. Harmon.

"No, we're working through it," he said. "Everything should be good. I'll know more, hopefully, next week."

The only other corners with experience on the roster are slated starters Cody Quinn and Fred Tiller, both sophomores. The staff has indicated that freshman Jaleel Hytchye is running as the third corner at this time.


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