DEMAREE: 2009 Nuts and Bolts

Rich Brooks has put together a football machine at Kentucky that continues to gain momentum. In observance of the overall attitude of the juniors that had their names in the NFL draft evaluation hat, it's admirable that the players enjoy playing for Rich Brooks' machine and endeavor to speed up that momentum.

Rich Brooks has put together a football machine at Kentucky that continues to gain momentum. In observance of the overall attitude of the juniors that had their names in the NFL draft evaluation hat, it's admirable that the players enjoy playing for Rich Brooks' machine and endeavor to speed up that momentum.

As the machine rolls along, first echelon maintenance is in need from time to time. The every day football pundit-talk encountered by the highly interested and vested fan is sometimes on target as to what they would like to see as improvements in the program.

Sage writers such as yours truly have some input, also. The question as to how much is acquiesced to by the coaching staff is truly an unknown. But it is very clear Rich Brooks reads and hears it.

Head coach of the offense (a new title) Joker Phillips said he receives tons of e-mail suggestions on plays for his offense. His response is "meet me at the office at 5:00 AM and perhaps we will take some of them under consideration." So lets editorialize some of the likes and concerns we hear from those aficionados and take our chances.

Steadfastly: Offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins does a fine job with the players he has. Change needed: Continue to get and grow more SEC size offensive linemen. Every great team starts with the offensive line.

Steadfastly: Phillips' receivers made marked improvement from the beginning of the season to the bowl game. They learned what's expected of them in terms of toughness and intensity – biggest beneficiary, Kyrus Lanxster.

Change needed: Phillips stresses the tight ends blocking because he's a run first coach. He knows that to win you have to run the ball and stop the run on defense. Perhaps he could use the tight ends more in the passing game.

Steadfastly: The best-case scenario for the quarterback position at the start of next season is the continued improvement of Michael Hartline. Though there are high caliber quarterbacks coming into the program next season, it's always best to have experience at that position, at least early. Change needed: None if the aforementioned comes to fruition. It allows the fulfillment of the plans for a playmaker like Randall Cobb – receiver, use in the Wildcat formation, and some under center at the quarterback position.

Steadfastly: The continued improvement in Alfonso Smith, Moncell Allen, and a healthy Derrick Locke. Change needed: Recruit bigger and more physical backs to compete in the toughest division college football – the SEC East.

DEFENSE Steadfastly: Continue to mint nickels and dimes but keep a few less in your change purse. Change needed: A vice grip in the coordinator's tool bag. Translation – more pressure on the quarterback via assorted blitz's on second and long and third and long.

In expressing his happiness of the returning of Trevard Lindley and Paul Warford among others, Rich Brooks said – "The competition will be better, with what I think will improve our nickel and dime package." Brooks and defensive coordinator Steve Brown have perhaps forgotten more football than we know. Brooks was the defensive coordinator when the Atlanta Falcons last went to the Super Bowl.

They are obviously strong proponents of the nickel and dime defenses when they feel called for. NFL analyst and potential Hall of Famer Troy Kenneth Aikman said you must come after the quarterback and his receivers to prevent them from operating in comfort. This seems to apply on all levels.

With the incoming class of new recruits, it appears the machine will continue to gain momentum. Little tweaks and first echelon maintenance only serve to make the machine operate at peak proficiency.


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