Sophomore tight end Jacob Tamme was the star of today's scrimmage as he caught six passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He caught a pass across the middle. He caught a pass where he had to leap in the air and take a big hit. He caught a pass down the sideline that the turned into a 50-yard score by getting by safety Marcus McClinton. He caught another scoring pass with a crisp route inside the red zone.
"Jacob Tamme is going to make a major impact on this team," Brooks said. "He's going to be a real force. He needs to improve some fundamentals, but he's doing a lot of good things."
Tamme spent most of last season as an idle wide receiver. Even when he played, the ball seldom came his way. However, he was moved to tight end for the Tennessee game and responded with two touchdown catches.
He added weight and strength during the offseason and has shown this spring that he can be a reliable target at tight end, something the Cats did not have last year.
"Tamme just has a real good feel for the passing game," Brooks said. "He's never played tight end, even in high school, but he knows how to get open. He's a competitive blocker, an outstanding route runner and he has great hands."
Tamme knows he's not a great blocker. But with the way he can run routes and catch the football, defenses have to respect him and that makes it easier for him to make blocks.
"I'm still learning how to play at the line. But I think I am getting better," Tamme said.
Former UK tight end Chase Harp, now a graduate assistant coach, agrees. "He's working hard and you can see him getting better every day. There's no doubt he can catch the ball, but he's willing to work to be a good blocker, too," Harp said.
"Playing tight end has given me a lot of opportunities to make plays. This was really a fun day," Tamme said. "Actually, a lot of guys got open because of some good routes and Andre (Woodson) does a great job getting you the ball. We called some good plays at the right time.
"I'm learning a lot every practice. I'm actually probably doing a little better than I expected right now. Playing hard isn't the problem. It's just learning all the fundamentals that I need."
The first team offense, which did not score in last week's scrimmage, had three touchdowns — Tamme's two catches and a 43-yard run by Rafael Little — and two field goals in seven possessions.
Woodson was 15-for-24 for 247 yards. He took a hit to his knee late in the scrimmage, but said later he was fine.
"Andre threw the ball well," Brooks said. "I like what he's doing."
The second-team defense stopped the offense on seven of nine tries. Linebacker Ben McGrath had two interceptions and Shomari Moore one. Nii Adjei also recovered a fumble.
Alexis Bwenge did score on a 13-yard run for the second unit. He gained 118 yards on 14 carries while playing for both the first and second teams. Little had 60 yards for the first unit, but also made several mental errors on plays that irked Brooks.
"We can count on Alexis to do a lot of different things for us (at fullback and tailback). Rafael Little ran well, but he has to eliminate some of his mistakes," Brooks said.
STATISTICS Rushing: Bwenge 14-118, 1 TD; Little 11-60, 1 TD; Bankhead 13-54, Brown 3-12, Lyons 1-0, Logan 1-(-7), Hamilton 2-(-8), Woodson 4-(-9).
Passing: Woodson 15-24-0, 247 yards, 2 TD; Brown 2-6-3, 19 yards; Hamilton 2-9-0, 15 yards. Receiving: Tamme 6-146, 2 TD; Little 3-11, Lyons 2-63, Cook 2-18, Logan 2-15, Mitchell 2-13, McGraw 1-9, Murphy 1-6.