Format Announced for Blue-White Spring Game
Mark Stoops had some earth-shattering news when he was asked about the format of Blue-White Spring Game.
“I’m going to have a blue team and a white team,” Stoops said, drawing laughs from reporters. “That’s it.”
While that may be strictly true, there will be a little more to Saturday’s annual spring game, which will kick off on Saturday at noon in Commonwealth Stadium.
“We’re going to go with the one offense and one defense in blue, then it’ll be everybody else (on white),” Stopos said. “There will be a few guys sprinkled into blue just to give us a few substitutions.”
With only a light Friday practice and the spring game left of 15 practices this spring, UK has been fortunate to make it through with no major injuries. However, with a couple players recovering from winter surgeries added to regular bumps and bruises of the spring – the most notable of which was one that sent Mike Edwards to the hospital on Tuesday for precautionary reasons, though he is OK – the Wildcats won’t be deep come Saturday.
“So we’ll be down, we’ll be a little thin, but hopefully we’ll have enough guys to put a good product out there and have a nice scrimmage and have some fun,” Stoops said. “You know, spring games, that’s the bad thing about spring games in general: Everybody’s all excited about them, but when you split up two teams, you get thin real quick. So I think we’ll have enough to have a good scrimmage and show everybody the improvement we’ve made.”
Improvement has been a constant refrain over the last six weeks. All that’s added up to what Stoops calls the best spring of his UK tenure.
“I feel like we’ve been much more consistent,” Stoops said. “We have grinded these guys pretty good since they’ve been back. We needed that. We had to do that. Going back to last season, as they went home for their break and they came back, they came right in and they hit the ground running in the weight room. As I’ve said many times, we needed to get stronger, and we’ve done that.
“We had a good winter, we’ve worked longer and harder in the winter, and our spring practices have been longer. And the guys focused. They’ve been able to handle it more, and that’s what I appreciate about them.”
The Cats will now look to close out the spring strong with a competitive scrimmage.
“Come out and have fun, play with energy, come off the ball, be physical,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said. “When we throw, catch. Do all the little things right. It’s going to be a very, very condensed game plan. There’s not going to be a lot -- there might be some disappointed people -- but it’s a spring game. You want to get out of there with everybody healthy. You want to score some points and you want to be successful. You want to come out of there feeling good about yourself.”
“I want to see effort and enthusiasm, and I want to see good, fundamental, clean football,” defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said. “Good football is when both sides execute and somebody makes a play.”
No one on the UK coaching staff expects to see a finished product. What they do expect is execution.
“I want the routine plays to be routine,” Stoops said. “When they’re open and we’re throwing and catching the ball, I want good, crisp throws, good catches, get up field and get some yards. Same thing with the defense: good tackles, position on the football. I don’t want us out-leveraged. I want us looking like a good football team.”