Spring practice began in earnest for Kentucky football on Wednesday, as the Wildcats wore pads for the first time.
Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot called it a day of good work, specifically praising the way his defense played in the run game.
"Emphasis was on being physical and for the most part we were able to do that," Eliot said. "Played the run well today."
Wednesday was the first step in a spring-long effort to take UK's physicality to the next level in Mark Stoops' third season as head coach. To continue the growth that carried that Cats from two wins in 2013 to five in 2014, there's no choice in the matter.
"I expect us to be more physical every year," Eliot said. "That's the emphasis. We have to--in this league, that's the key and we're harping on it. Today is first day of pads and we're going to continue to harp on it through the spring."
With the likes of Bud Dupree, Za'Darius Smith and Ashely Lowery having graduated, UK is having to adjust in terms of personnel. That's resulting in some fits and starts, but Eliot isn't concerned.
"You got some new guys in some new spots so still making some assignment mistakes, but nothing that we can't get cleaned up by the end of the spring," Eliot said.
The important thing at this point, says Eliot, is effort. That part the Cats have covered.
"Emphasis on playing with intensity and playing with enthusiasm and running to the football and for the most part we've been able to get that done the first three practices," Eliot said. "Very excited about this group and excited about finishing the work with these guys the rest of the spring."