With many starters still out due to injury, the coaching staff for UK decided to take its first day of scrimmages light, to prevent further incidents from happening. To say it lightly, the depth is just not where it needs to be at this point, and to ensure that they have the players out there that need to be out there, the Coaches decided to keep the hitting to a minimum.
Despite that lack of contact, the coaches still saw what they needed to see. Coach Morriss said that the team looked "flat", but "the first team offense moved the ball, and the first team defense played good defense." But what the entire scrimmage session seemed to be about was to "give the other kids a chance to show what they could do."
For the guys who we expect to play well this season, players such as Jared Lorenzen, they did not dissapoint. With only one incompletion, Lorenzen was right on target. He was going against the second team defense, but his knowledge of the offense is obviously increasing dramatically.
Jared believes that the team is well ahead of where they were last year. "Last year it was just chaos....when we look back at film, you just grimmace anytime you see it, you can't believe we ran that."
Even Jared himself is much more acclimated to the system. "I am a thousand times more comfortable. I had a whole spring with my line, and I have a lot of returning recievers, and Tuse. Now I just have to go out and produce."
Speaking of the line, many have questioned whether or not this line will be able to keep Jared off the ground. Coach Pease is not quite as worried. "They are going to be really good because they all communcate well. They have got great consistency and are confident in what they are doing." And as for run blocking? "They are doing great, but we will see when we play Louisville."
With the increased knowledge, instead of worrying about learning the package, the coaches can concentrate on the little things. Coach Pease sees that most of the kids on offense just need to work on ball control, and making plays, which they are.
The cornerbacks are improving, but they have a lot of improvement to go, especially without Derrick Tatum and "Taco" Burress dressing today. But, as Coach Goodner says, "the defensive backs are getting better. We just have to develop some good young people, behind those older guys. Develop that mental toughness." If UK is without Tatum and Burress, those minds better be extremely tough if UK has any shot of stopping Dave Ragone from having his way with the defensive backfield.
Coach Morriss has seen a few freshman that can play right away. The leader of the pack seems to be Glenn Holt, who Coach Pease believes "looks pretty good to me," followed byfollowed closely by Arliss Beach and Bo Smith. Concerning the lineman, Michael Aitcheson has been out but will be back on Monday, and he has been the most impressive. Hayden Lane is also a candidate for playtime, and Guy went on to say that "we looked at (Jared) McGowan inside today, so we may do a bit of experimenting to see if one of those guys step forward."
Personally, I was a bit dissapointed that there was not more contact. Although there have been a string of injuries, there needs to be some live play to get the guys ready to beat a team like Louisville who has gone all out since Thursday, and will continue to do so until gameday. If UK cannot beat UL with talent, they must beat them with toughness.
As for all those injured players, Dewayne Robertson will be back Monday, Derrick Tatum is day to day with a bone bruise. Deion Holts went down yesterday but the x-ray of his foot came back negative, so he also will be back Monday. David Johnson will be back Monday, as well as Taco Burress who had an abdominal strain.