Sanders discusses Offense

Maybe it was the abundant sunshine and clear skies. Or maybe the Kentucky offense really did have a better day.

Maybe it was the abundant sunshine and clear skies. Or maybe the Kentucky offense really did have a better day.

For perhaps the first time since he's been at Kentucky, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders was the last player or coach to finish interviews after UK's scrimmage at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday. Sanders often avoids interviews and when he does them, they usually are not so long that he's the last to finish.

He even joked that this would be the "first and last" time he would be the last to leave.

When he was talking, he made it clear just as head coach Joker Phillips has that senior Mike Hartline is the clear leader in the quarterback race.

"Mike makes fewer mental mistakes than the other two do at the line of scrimmage. In some cases in the huddle, sometimes after the ball is snapped. Moss (Ryan Mossakowsi) also reacts quick and Morgan (Newton) has a big arm and some legs that erase mistakes. The challenge is to get those young guys to quit making mistakes and see how good they can be," said Sanders.

He says Newton's accuracy, which has been a problem this spring, is improving.

"It is getting better. As his fundamentals get better, his accuracy gets better," Sanders said. "Earlier in spring practice, he was stepping everywhere and his fundamentals were bad. He was locking his knee out, getting on the heel of his foot, getting on his toe, not getting his shoulders lined up. Whenever you are doing all those things, it is hard to be accurate. When your fundamentals are good and you get things lined up, there is not much excuse to throw a bad ball when you have the ability these three guys have."

He also doesn't want the three quarterbacks worrying about what the other two are doing.

"I want them to focus on themselves. As a football team, you go out and play every game to be the best team you can be no matter whether you are playing Florida, Akron or whoever you are playing. If your challenge is to be the best team you can be on that day, then you have a chance to be a pretty good football team," Sanders said. "I only want the quarterbacks to approach each day that way and be the best quarterback that they can be. You can't worry about what the other guy is doing or what he did on his last drive. You have to try and be the best quarterback that you can be on that day."

He says it would help if UK's receivers became better, or more consistent, playmakers.

"We need those guys to be productive players. When you have played as much football as Gene McCaskill has played and started games like Chris (Matthews) has and Randall (Cobb) and played like LaRod (King) did last year, you need them to step up and make plays for us. A couple of receivers outside that the defense is scared to step up and go one-on-one opens the whole game for everybody else," Sanders said.

He says E.J. Fields and Aaron Boyd "are coming" at receiver.

"Sometimes I wish they would come a little faster and would jump up and make a play. Today it would have been nice to see E.J. make a catch in the corner of the end zone when he had a chance. A good SEC receiver would make that one and should make it. That is one of his challenges. They are not where you want them to be, but you have to remind yourself they have not played very much, either," Sanders said.

"I hope we have a few guys who can stretch the field this year. E.J. is definitely one that can do that."

He says his young tight ends are "doing some good things" in practice.

"They are good kids and are working, but we have to get better," Sanders said.

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