Big-play WRs show up at Tuesday practice
Mark Stoops was recapping Kentucky’s Monday practice when he threw an invitation seemingly out of nowhere for assembled media to attend the next day’s practice.
He must have known his wide receivers were going to put on a show on Tuesday.
“There's just--we have a lot of competition out there,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said.
There was Alex Montgomery, making two different one-handed catches and generally showing the form that made him an exciting prospect before a knee injury cost him the end of his freshman season and all of 2014.
“He does it in spurts,” Dawson said. “He just needs to be consistent. The kid, he’s talented.”
Making some similarly acrobatic catches was Blake Bone, but that’s no surprise for the 6-foot-5 sophomore.
“He's been pretty consistent with it,” Dawson said. “The kid's had a good camp.”
The same is true for Dorian Baker, the receiver who seems to earn a colorful descriptor every time out this fall camp, ranging from “two-car garage” to American Pharoah.”
“He just needs to continue getting reps and to proceed along like everybody else, but he is a really talented kid,” Dawson said. “I think that if you look genetically, there's just not a lot of people walking around like him -- his athletic ability, as far as being that big and that fast and that strong, so we've just got to find ways to get him the ball.”
The biggest obstacle to Baker getting touches has been his fellow talented wide receivers. With Ryan Timmons (resting Tuesday with an ankle injury), T.V. Williams, Garrett Johnson, Jeff Badet, Thaddeus and a crop of talented true freshmen running around,
“If you look across the board, the Juice Boys, we run deep out there,” Bone said, using the group’s Johnson-inspired nickname. “We’re making plays all across the board from the slot position to outside.”
That play-making has created a cycle of sorts, with the quarterbacks growing more comfortable fitting the ball into tight windows and the wide receivers reeling in more and more of the throws.
“We’ve been waiting on that,” Bone said. “Just to see us coming down with the ball, it gives not only us confidence but the quarterbacks more confidence to have faith us to throw the balls that maybe we’re covered.”
Speaking of the quarterbacks, Dawson spoke about them for the first time since Stoops named Patrick Towles UK’s starter over Drew Barker. He had high praise for both signal callers.
“He’s playing at a really high level,” Dawson said. “You factor in everything as far as experience, how he’s matured since I got here – and both of them really have – but just the overall consistency of play: completion percentage, getting the ball to the right place and taking care of the ball.
“It’s not like Drew was playing bad. It was just Patrick was playing really, really well.”