Cats conclude two-a-day practices

The Cats wrapped up two-a-day practice sessions on Tuesday, an intense stretch of activity at the Nutter Center...

LEXINGTON, Ky.  --- Kentucky wrapped up two-a-day practice sessions on Tuesday at the Nutter Center with an impromptu special teams workout.

The Wildcats had planned to conduct a controlled scrimmage, but Guy Morriss determined his team needed a laid-back practice session to recover from the rigors of 20 intense workouts during the last 12 days.

"We had kinda hit rock bottom and were dragging through things a little bit this morning," Morriss said. "We thought it would be more productive to move (the scrimmage) to tomorrow, lighten it up today, and let them get their legs back. That was basically what we were looking to do, to get a little more zip in it (Wednesday)."

Training camp has left several players aching, bruised and nursing a variety of what the team describes as minor injuries. Four of the expected starters on the offensive line --- tackles Antonio Hall and Matt Brown, center Nolan DeVaughn and guard Josh Parrish --- have been held out of at least one session per day for most of two-a-days. Other key players working through injuries are: wide receiver Dougie Allen (hamstring), cornerback Derrick Tatum (groin), outside safety David Johnson (hamstring) and defensive tackle Jeremy Caudill (back).

The nature of all the players sitting out is considered "precautionary" by the UK training staff. Morriss has noted this week that he'd expect most, if not all, of them to play if they had a game this week.

Fortunately, they have nine days to prepare for the season opener with Louisville, and the door has been closed on the rugged two-a-days.

"A lot of our kids have hit the wall," Morriss said. "But their spirit was still good this morning and their want-to was there. You could tell with Dewayne (Robertson) during one drill he said, 'Coach, I wanted to get there, but my legs won't let me.' That's good that the spirit to want to is still there. We've just got to freshen them up and get their legs back under them."

Morriss said the team will begin game preparation for Louisville on Wednesday. The Cats will have a 40-play scrimmage at 2 p.m. He also added that a decision on the starting quarterback should be announced by next Monday. The nod is expected to go to returning starter Jared Lorenzen, a sophomore who has held the advantage over redshirt freshman Shane Boyd through most of two-a-days.

NOTES:

n UK conducted its first kickoff drills of fall. Senior kickoff specialist Stephen Scaldaferri, who just joined the team today, impressed Morriss with him long and high kicks. "I tell you what, I saw a couple of them hit in the back of the end zone," he said. "I liked that. Those were some tremendously deep kicks. I hope he can be consistent with that."

n Asked who had emerged as the team's most likely receiving threats, Morriss pointed to Derek Abney, Aaron Boone, Brad Pyatt and (tight end) Derek Smith. He said he also expects Dougie Allen to be in the mix, but the Cats' senior wideout has missed several practices due to a sore hamstring. In addition to those players, Morriss said Tommy Cook and Ernest Simms will seek to crack the main rotation.

n Sophomore outside safety Octavius Bond and junior wide receiver Ernest Simms worked as the deep men on the kickoff return team.

n True freshman Taylor Begley attempted a 57-yard field goal during the placekicking drills. The former Boyle County all-stater just missed the kick by a few feet.

 


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