Cats hold scrimmage

The UK offense outplayed the defense in an abbreviated scrimmage Saturday at the Nutter Center...

LEXINGTON, Ky.  --- The Kentucky offense held the upper hand Saturday as the Wildcats conducted a 40-play controlled scrimmage at the Nutter Center.

Jared Lorenzen opened the scrimmage with a 70-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Champ Kelly, the first of many impressive plays for the offense, which had struggled against the defense during the first 14 sessions of two-a-day practices. Lorenzen and the first-team offense played against a mixture of second- and third-team defenders while Shane Boyd and the second-team offense worked against the No. 1 defensive unit.

Lorenzen, a sophomore who led the Southeastern Conference with 3,687 yards passing last season, completed four of eight passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Junior tight end Derek Smith hauled in the second TD pass from the lefty, an 8-yard score on a bootleg play.

Antonio Hall (73) blocks against Mike Robinson

Boyd, a redshirt freshman challenging Lorenzen for the starting job this summer, completed seven of 11 passes for 65 yards and three touchdowns. All three Boyd TD strikes came in the red zone drills, a pair of 8-yard passes to redshirt freshman wide receiver Tommy Cook and another 8-yard pass to true freshman tight end Jeremiah Drobney.

 “I thought they both performed pretty well," UK coach Guy Morriss said of his quarterbacks. "I think Shane got himself in a couple of pinches there, but his athleticism helped him make some plays. I think we have to talk to Shane, though, down the road, that he can get himself in trouble sometimes trying to ad lib a little bit.

"But I thought they both had good days and moved the club. We're pretty happy with them. But I want to see the tapes before I pass judgment."

Lorenzen worked behind the offensive line of Jason Rollins, Keith Chatelain, Nolan DeVaughn, Josh Parrish and Antonio Hall, while Boyd was protected by Jeremy Darveau, Sylvester Miller, Nick Seitze, Josh Jaggers and Matt Huff. Senior Matt Brown, who is expected to start at left tackle for the Cats in their season opener Sept. 1 against Louisvillle, sat out as a precautionary measure with a sore shoulder he had operated on in the offseason.

"We're polishing some things. We've got some guys we're holding (out) every other practice, so the continuity has not been there, but I think they'll be fine," Morriss said of the offensive line. "I liked what I saw there. We've probably got seven or eight who can play. I'd like to get nine."

Much of the scrimmage was dedicated to UK's rediscoverred running game, particularly in the red zone drills.

"I was real pleased with that," Morriss said. "We punched it in there several times from around eight yards in."

Junior running back Artose Pinner responded with three short touchdown runs. Sophomore running back Chad Scott also looked sharp, ripping off a 29-yard run on his first carry of the scrimmage and finishing with four carries for 48 yards.

 “Artose is a good inside runner,” Morriss said.  “He can be a guy who can grind it out in short-yardage and goal-line situations, but he’s also faster than most folks realize.  Not many people can catch him from behind.”

Morriss said the main goal of Saturday's scrimmage was to get a game "feel" while avoiding injuries.

"I don't think we got anybody seriously hurt," he said. "I saw Jed Bassett with his shoulder wrapped, but I'll have to check Jim (Madaleno, head trainer) on that. That was our No. 1 objective. I was holding my breath the whole time.

"I think we got accomplished what we wanted to do, which was to put them in some situations where they could kind of turn it loose a little bit. The idea was to help our defense learn how to tackle a little bit and to expose them some more to those things in order to prepare them to play Louisivlle."

Lobbied by the defense for a second chance, Morriss said the team would likely have another scrimmage next week.

"I think we need to do that," he said. "I really felt like coming off the field the defense was not happy with what they did. They were a little bit unhappy, and I think we probably need to put them back in that situation again. Maybe early next week, another 30- or 40-play scrimmage."


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