Coach Adams is ready to see what this group can do

BBN's Kevin Sandford ran into University of Kentucky defensive tackle coach Tommy Adams, this is what he had to say...

Coach Adams stood there, arms folded across his chest, smiling like a Cheshire cat. You could see how content he was. You could see it in his actions, you could also hear it in his voice. He has his best group of tackles since he arrived at UK in 1997.  After a season full of injuries, limiting the play and effectiveness of the top two tackles, 2002 is shaping up just fine.

Last year started without Jeremy Caudill. Some lingering back pain had Gotten progressively worse. JC didn't slow down on the weights and it came back to Haunt the team. He didn't play in the first couple of games. With his back not cooperating, he had a let down after a promising Freshmen year. This year JC has gone lighter on his squats, instead doing more reps. He also has concentrated on making his back stronger. Caudill says he is in great health, and feels like he is at 100%.

Last year also started poorly for Dewayne Robertson. He chased Dave Ragone All over the field, had a career high 10 tackles, but late in the second quarter He landed awkwardly on his shoulder and suffered a stinger. The next week vs.  Ball State he sprained his ankle in the first series. He never was the same afterwards.  As if that wasn't enough, he hurt a knee in midseason and had to sit out two games.  In the UT game he was helped off the field twice. Slowed as he was, a hurt Dewayne Robertson is still a darn good football player. He was double and triple teamed by UT and still caused havoc in their backfield. Dewayne also says he is at 100% after having surgery on the hurt knee.

He is sporting a noticeable growth in his abdomen. He has concentrated on developing his hips and stomach, in turn he looks like a power lifter.  Nothing jiggles on him, he is King Kong strong. According to Coach Morriss," Dewayne doesn't know how good he is, he can be one of the, if not the, best defensive tackles in the country".  I can't say I disagree. Dewayne doesn't seem angry about not getting any pre-season recognition. See him in the post season, he is going to have a big one.


Backing up Dewayne is Ellory Moore. Not the Ellory Moore we saw last year.  He has been replaced by a much larger player. According to Ellory he has put on 25 pounds, Coach Adams says it is more like 15. Either way he has gotten noticeably bigger.  Ellory also suffered a knee injury, this one ended his season with 3 games left.  Ellory says he is almost 100% , says he will be 100% come September. He feels more confident, he mentioned he  has learned a lot from his coaches and fellow players.  He also feels the added strength and confidence will make a big difference this season.  He wants to start, but understands he will see plenty of action. It is easy to see Moore's enthusiasm, he can't wait to get back out there. He said there aren't any plans to give him some reps at defensive end. Coach Adams seemed confident in the ends Coach Nelson already has, he doesn't want to share.

The man forgotten is John Robinson. As a 5th year Senior, he is the old man of the group.  John  doesn't look any bigger, he has been huge for a couple of years. He adds experience, he has played in 33 games thus far.  He could be what Derrick Johnson was to the team last year.  John knows he won't start, he said he just wants to contribute.  He went on to say that he wants the best 2 players out there, if that is not him, so be it. He will be ready when called on. He says he will do the best he can when given the shot.

The 5th DT is Nate VanSickel. I was surprised to find out that Nate has the highest bench press of the bunch. Coach Adams says Nate is a good athlete who had a great summer. Nate won't see the field as much as the others, but will be able to spell the others some.

Coach Adams said the plan is to red-shirt Lamar Mills, he is very confident in the 5 he now has.  Unless there are lots of injuries, the rotation will stay as is.  The heart of this defense is in the middle, it won't be easy to run on the Cats.  The combination of a 4-2-5 defense, and good personnel makes running a bigger chore for the opposing offense.  If the D-line can get a consistent pass rush, our d-backs \will come together much quicker. It all starts on the line.

Moore will challenge Caudill to play better. Even though they are slated on opposite sides, Moore is making a push. This is a wonderful problem for a DT coach to have. If playing time is the only problem Coach Adam's has this year, my guess is he will keep on smiling.


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