Taylor's Views: Plenty of competition in camp

Andre Woodson has his own battle to worry about, but throughout fall camp, Woodson has gotten a glimpse of others in action in Kentucky's offense.

Andre Woodson has his own battle to worry about, but throughout fall camp, Woodson has gotten a glimpse of others in action in Kentucky's offense.

Woodson, currently in a dead heat with backup Curtis Pulley for the starting job at quarterback, has also noticed some competition going on in the backfield. "We have some different athletes at running back," Woodson said. "We've got some tremendous players, four or five of them now."

Rafael Little and Tony Dixon are listed as Kentucky's top two players at the running back slot, but redshirt freshmen Alfonso Smith and Antoine Brown saw plenty of action during a scrimmage last weekend at Commonwealth Stadium.

Woodson said the competition will help make the backfield improve as fall workouts wind down leading up to the team's season opener at Louisville on Sept. 3. "It (the competition) is good," Woodson said. "It's going to push all of them to try (harder) and get some playing time. We can't just rely on one or two players to get the ball to."

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks acknowledged there was some competition at running back and added that it will only help improve the team's depth. "I think it (competition) is important for us, if we're going to be a stronger and better football team," he said. "To be able to win the games, (it is important) that we have competition at these spots."

Brooks said Raphael Little would likely be returning kicks this season in addition to his duties in the backfield. "How do you take a guy who led the SEC in punt returns and not have him do it?" he said. "He can help us win games and we need to win games."

While Keenan Burton stands heads above others at the receiver slot, Woodson has noticed some athletic ability below the surface. Woodson said junior college transfer Steve Johnson and freshman Michael Strickland have made strides in practice. "They (Johnson and Strickland) stand out," he said. "They both are capable of playing in the Southeastern Conference and they both have talent."

Woodson added that both players have the ability to make big plays down field. "They have good feet and excellent hands," he said. "That's something our receivers need. Those guys can get out there and make plays on the ball."

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