A very productive spring

Coaching the offensive line is a broad task. Lexington KY... Three separate positions and no extra time allotted in the NCAA practice budget. Coach Morriss brought in Chris Lancaster last year and now he's in charge of the offensive line for UK. Let's get inside and hear what he had to say about this spring. (photo courtesy of UK Athletics)

What kind of changes did you see in the spring along the O-Line and who is really pushing the starters for time and making them get better?

"This spring was very productive. Miller is really pushing Rollins at LG. Daniel Burnett has really done well. This is his first time working with the O-line after having been a backup defensive lineman for us last year. He's adjusting extremely well." (Coach added a little more insight into the type of player/person and how he adjusts that we have in Burnett. Says he's the kind of guy that, if I was thrown into battle, he would go with me. He comes from good people, good family.") He continues, "It was a very productive spring for the walk-ons... Perdue, Stivers, McDonald, Lesniewski and Noble all progressed. They did everything I asked them to do. They worked hard. We really became more of a team and progressed more as a team this spring."

Though I may have left one of them out here, Coach Lancaster mentioned everyone. He also noted when asked about this team's strengths that we were strong in a lot of ways, but had a ways to go for one simple reason - experience. We have one senior in Keith that has been mostly a backup and some very young players among those that do have experience." Some of these kids gained experience out of necessity and not in the timeframe that the staff would have liked, but they did well, as we all know. But experience is a priceless commodity in the SEC and hopefully what we do have will suffice.

When asked what motivates these players, I received a very common and encouraging response. "A lot of these kids are self-motivated. I am fortunate that they were well-coached in high school." He seemed to think that would help make up for some of that inexperience. "I'm very excited about coaching these kids and the incoming kids. We signed a good group of kids and they all are great young men coming from great programs. They expect to win."

Coach Lancaster said the linemen are excited about the renewed emphasis on traditional run blocking. "Oh, Yeah! Nothing linemen like better than hitting people. They love to run block." He went on to explain why the guys were so excited about the changes. In the old scheme they were back-pedaling, retreating from their opponent, even on a running play. It was more complacent in the minds of the players. He said, "In this game, when you get complacent, things go south in a hurry."

That complacence was definitely not in step with a killer instinct and a strong running game. Attacking is what good linemen love to do and it appears we have the desire for it. We have the running backs for it too, and I bet they're as excited as the linemen if not more. This can only mean even better things for the passing game since it won't be the only horse in town.

It will be a good thing to see these "good kids" as Coach calls them; driving players into the ground this fall and gaining the experience they need for the games to follow. He also says "...good things happen to good people." I believe he's right, and because of that, the practice this past spring will prove to be more productive than anyone imagines.

AllWildcats Top Stories