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Wildcats head indoors as Vandy prep continues

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Head coach Mark Stoops



Defensive Coordinator D.J. Eliot



Winter came a bit early to Lexington as the UK campus woke up to a layer of snow for the first time this fall semester on Tuesday. The Wildcats elected to hold the day's football practice inside Nutter Field House.

Some of the newest Wildcats, who hail from warmer parts of the country, were seeing snow for the first time.  Mark Stoops, himself a product of Northern Ohio, was happy to give his Florida-native freshmen some tips when it comes to adjusting to cold weather.

"They have been fine so far," Stoops said. "It hasn't been too cold yet. I heard (freshman running back) Jojo (Kemp) say that (he saw snow for the first time). We have to go out and help them get some sweatshirts and coats I guess, but they are getting acclimated.

"I have been out of (cold climates) for a while. Blood thins out pretty quick, but I get used to it in a hurry. That's no problem."

Regarding the actual content of Tuesday's practice, Stoops was pleased with the team's performance as the staff continues to implement the game plan for Saturday's Vanderbilt matchup.

"We wrapped up a pretty good practice, got some work done on a Tuesday," Stoops said. "Spirits were good. We got the game plan going. Overall it was a pretty good practice, so (I'm) pleased."

The praise for junior linebacker TraVaughn Paschal continued to roll in after he made a career-best three tackles for loss against Missouri. The coaching staff shed light on the circumstances which may have allowed the veteran to excel last Saturday.

"He played one of his better games," Stoops said of Paschal. "He definitely played his best game, since we (the coaching staff) have been here, last Saturday and it was good to see. Again it was a little bit different package in how we used him. I think that suits his ability. We are getting used to him now."

Paschal, who started the season as a defensive end before moving to inside linebacker, spent much of the game vs. Missouri as an outside linebacker and the results indicated he was more comfortable on the edge.

Paschal's versatility can only help in the UK coaches' future game planning.

"We wanted to use him there (at outside linebacker) for that opponent, but we may use him in the future there," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said. "He is very versatile."

Stoops also shed light on the team's defensive play-calling process. UK deploys multiple signal callers on the sideline, each with a different purpose, to send in the defensive call to the players on the field.

"There is a decoy, but we usually try to wait a while after the offense has (its) signal in and then we signal ours defensively," Stoops said. "We don't have to huddle up or anything. Everybody should look to the sideline and get the signal."

Looking back toward the Vanderbilt match up, the Wildcats will kick off at what Stoops considers the ideal time to start a Saturday road game.

"On the road I prefer to go early than to go in the middle of the night when you get home," Stoops said. "That just puts you behind for the next week when you wait around all day for the game to start. On the road I do prefer to go in the (early kickoff)."

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