DEMAREE: Heggins has his work cut out for him

A good offense starts with the offensive line. Quality football wins can come only if you have a good offensive line. UK's new offensive line coach, former Florida State offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins, has his work cut out for him as he tries to blend returning linemen and talented newcomers into a cohesive unit.

It's up front that counts. It's commonly held fact that in order to win you have to stop people on defense. But it all starts on the offensive line. Quality football wins come only if you have a good offensive line. Circumstances are presently as such that former Florida State offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins, now UK's O-line coach, has his work cut out for him.

Has the worm turned since Fall-camp has reached the halfway point?

After watching Saturday's scrimmage film, Heggins said that they were not communicating well. And he said a lot of that's got to do with working with new people working with each other.

"Now, in the spring, we had one group that worked together," Heggins said. "Now we're in and out – right now we've got Fatu (Turituri) hurt and we've got a young freshman in there. So I think the biggest thing is, it is going to just take time to jell and even with Fatu, you have to move a guard to a tackle. That's a whole different ball game! He is still learning there and you have to move another guy to guard – you have got to take time to communicate and work together. Trai (Williams) missed a couple days this week.

"The defense is showing a lot more. They are slanting and angling, and they are blitzing and they are a whole different ball game. This spring they were a little bit more base and trying to learn base defense. It was a little easier for you."

Coach Brooks has declared that two are three of the freshmen offensive linemen were going to play. At this point, who are the young o-linemen that are most ready to play? "James Alexander and Zack Hennis are the two most ready to play right now," coach Heggins said. Isn't it interesting how certain guys in the recruiting class get pinpointed as the most ready to play? Last year, it was Micah Jones and wind up being Aaron Miller, the least heralded. This year it is the aforementioned when it was thought to be Garry Davis. Or perhaps the need is greater at tackle. Surprise! Fortunately for the Cats, Alexander reported about 25-pounds heavier than listed. Can a freshman start here?

"Everyone that we brought in is a talented individual," Heggins explained. "They just don't know what to do? Is it easier to start at guard than tackle? "I think it is a little bit easier for a guard though Aaron Miller came in and did a phenomenal job at tackle. That's very unusual especially at left tackle. Where we were, we had some guys Like Fatu that were successful but Fatu is a pretty good athlete. But for the most part these guys look like what I've seen come into a program? Generally at this time of the year players start to get tired of practicing against each other. But truer words were never spoken when Andre Woodson was ask if he just wanted to get on with the game (U of L)? He quickly responded, "no, we are not ready yet – we still have some things we need to work on."

Could it just be that the offensive-line woes stem from a better defense? "They are very athletic," Heggins quickly retorted. "They've got linebackers that can run and sometimes we can't even get a hat on them. The defense is ahead of us right now. This time of the year, the defense better be ahead – if not we're in trouble?

So can Jimmy Heggins have a cohesive unit on the field by the U or L game? Stay tuned!


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