Blue/White Game Quotes

April 25, 2009

Recap | Box Score | Photo Gallery 

Coaches

Head Coach Rich Brooks

Opening statement...
"Injury wise-it doesn't appear that we had anything serious. E.J. Adams had a slight AC strain in his shoulder on a pass that he caught. Alfonso Smith sprained his arch in his foot. Danny Trevathan, on that last scramble by Mike Hartline, got a little bit of a hip pointer. Coshik Williams bruised the other shoulder, it wasn't the same one. That was the extent of the injuries. From that standpoint it has to be the best spring that I've ever had as far as no serious injuries. So, from that standpoint it was excellent.

"I thought the effort all spring was excellent. Today, it's never going to look as polished as you want when you mix and draft your team. Coach (Steve) Brown is 2-0 now in this game. So, he's feeling pretty good. I think that there were a lot of good things that happened out there. There are some things that we obviously need to get better at. I think our fans got a great opportunity to see some new faces who will be doing some big things for us this next year. I was very pleased with the energetic crowd, and a very big crowd. I think it was the biggest crowd I've seen for a spring game since I've been here. It was fun for them I think, and it was fun for the players."

(Editor's note: spring game records are incomplete, but today's attendance of 20,200 is the second-largest in UK history based on available information. The known record is 20,325 in 1987.)

On how the draft was constructed in allowing the Blue team to have Trevard Lindley, Micah Johnson, Jeremy Jarmon and Randall Cobb...
"You have an old draft guy on that side of the ball. Steve Ortmayer has run a lot of drafts in his day. It just works out how it works out. Joker (Phillips) had the first pick. Then each side got to take two at a time. So, hey, how it works is how it works. It ended up being competitive. It didn't look like it would be in that first quarter. But, (Mike) Hartline, after what I thought was a shaky start throwing the ball, came back and did some very good things. He showed the competitor that he is when he brought his team back there in the second half. It was, I think, an entertaining game. Spring games are not always a really good, polished game. There were some turnovers. Most of them (turnovers) were by back-up players. The two interceptions were off of tipped balls."

On the play of Will Fidler...
"I thought Fidler played the first quarter, and the first drive in particular, as well as I've ever seen him perform. Will's problem isn't arm strength. It's usually been making the right decision, making it on time and he showed definite improvement in that area today. He started off like gang-busters. He had a pretty good guy to throw to (Randall Cobb) who made a few good plays. The one play Randall made reminded me of the one Dicky Lyons made when it was thrown behind him and he reached up and tipped it to himself and then turned it up the field and got some extra yards. Those are the kinds of plays that we need our receivers to make from time to time. Randall is obviously going to be a big-time playmaker and can help any quarterback I think look better. But, Will did a really good job early. He got some balls batted down later, which is not all his fault. We've got to get our offensive line a little more aggressive in getting the defender's arms down. I thought he clearly closed the gap. And there was a gap. I feel much, much better about Will Fidler after this scrimmage. Obviously, he got the win."

On the development of the receivers this spring...
"They're not where I'd like them to be. We had a few guys make some plays. We had a young man not too many people knew about, but we knew about him in the last two or three weeks who has been impressive is Nick Melillo. He has put himself in a position where he is going to be looked at very hard in the fall. He doesn't drop anything. He is physical. He plays hard. He plays fast. I'm encouraged from what I've seen from him. We did have some of our signees here today. I'm anxious to get them in here, one of them in particular was out here today a 6'5 200-pounder who runs fast -- junior college player Chris Matthews. It is going to be a lot more competitive. Some people in the receiving position helped themselves today and some people were either stagnant or took a step back. That's what the competition will be all about. There are some plays, in particular early, that I wasn't happy about Hartline all spring were his deep throws. Today they were similar. They floated a little bit too much. I will say this, the wind was blowing very hard and made it extremely hard to throw deep. When you do throw deep it better be a tight spiral or the wind is really going to take it over. That's what happened on several of those deep throws. One of the balls that was intercepted down in the endzone our receivers have to come back and compete for that ball and not allow an interception. Although the defender made a good play, I thought the receiver did not compete for the ball as he should have."

On the play of the linebackers...
"How long has it been since Kentucky had a linebacker fast enough to return kickoffs? (referring to Danny Trevathan) That's the encouraging thing about the speed of our team. We graduated a couple of really good linebackers in Braxton Kelley and Johnny Williams and now you put Sam Maxwell and Danny Trevathan on the field. I promise you, as good as those two guys were who graduated, these two guys filled it up this spring. They had great springs. Trevathan can run now. He got a little worn down and he still has some things to learn but, he is a playmaker. He not only has speed, he not only is tough he is instinctive. That's a great combination of things to have."

Joker Phillips, Head Coach of the Offense, White Team Head Coach

On Alfonso Smith...
"A difference in the game was Alfonso Smith, because he got hurt and couldn'tgo back in. He was having a great game and when he is out of the game, we didn'thave another tailback."

On Mike Hartline...
"I'm not discouraged by his play, I'm just discouraged by his body language.He has to make some changes. We went through it with Andre' Woodson and his bodylanguage as well. I'm fine with Mike. When I talk to him, he is seeing all ofthe right things and saying all of the right things. It won't be hard to getrid of it and it wasn't hard to get rid of it with Woodson."

On the running game...
"We have a chance to run the ball. Moncell Allen is hard to tackle, Alfonso (Smith)has a chance to hit homeruns, and Coshik (Williams) gets better every week."

UK Players - Blue Team

#18, QB/WR, So., Randall Cobb

On Mike Hartline as quarterback ...
"He had a great game today. He made some nice throws. If you're not putting himin the race then there's something wrong with you. He's a great quarterback anda great leader. He's the best person for the job."

On how the spring season has helped him improve ...
"I think I move a lot better. I've improved a lot mentally as far as whom toblock on certain running plays. This spring, I've been able to get better andbetter and I'm happy to help the team wherever I can."

On how he feels about being a wide receiver ...
"I'm happy with it. I'm going to keep doing that until they tell me differently.If they want me to go back as quarterback or go to running back, I'll do whateverit takes to help this team."

# 72, OT, Sr., Zipp Duncan

On if he needed to improve his foot work making the move from offensive guard to tackle ...
"It is really just different movements. I mean, it is not necessarily gettingquicker but reacting to the snap of the ball and making sure that your foot speedis efficient. You have to match those guys step for step and be efficient onyour technique."

On how the decision was made for him to switch to tackle from guard ...
"They basically came to me about mid-way through winter workouts and said thatafter we lost Gary Williams, they felt that I could slide out to tackle and takeover for him. Ever since then I have just been working on being a tackle."

On if he is excited to face SEC caliber defensive ends ...
"Yes, I mean it is fun to go out there and compete against the best every week.The SEC is a premier speed conference and we are going to be seeing guys thatcan really run out there. It is basically just a one-on-one battle and I justneed to keep my technique and rules and I will be okay."

#70, OG, So., Stuart Hines

On how much he has improved this spring ...
"I feel like I have had a pretty good spring overall. I have had a lot of stuffto improve on, just a lot of little things. I think that the biggest part ofgetting better was getting some experience from last year and understanding whatto do better. I needed to improve on technique and getting stronger, things likethat. I have tried to not make rookie mistakes. You have to grow up and afterone year it is time to grow up and improve."

On how he's improved and if it comes by studying film or practice ...
"I think that it is a combination of both of those. Playing experience is a bigpart of it and then when you work it all out it all comes together as one."

On if he is stronger than last season ...
"I do feel like I have got stronger and not just weight-room strength, but onthe field I feel like I have gotten stronger as well. Sometimes you can't convertweight-room strength to the field and vice versa. Sometimes people play likethey can bench 1,000 pounds but they really just bench 300 pounds. I have gottenstronger as a player."

#99, DE, Sr., Jeremy Jarmon

On the spring game ...
"We saw guys make good plays on the Blue team and the White team. Matt Lentzhad a big interception. There were just a lot of positives, which is what I thinkthe coaches wanted. They wanted to see if we could step up and make plays. Ithought overall it was a good day."

On next season's defense ...
"We have guys coming in that are going to help out our defense. Last year, wehad a lot of good guys that made plays and we're trying to be a force on thefield again this year. We have some guys coming in that are pretty good and Iexpect them to really help us out in the fall."

# 4, LB, Sr., Micah Johnson

On how the Blue team played and how he played defensively ...
"I think the scrimmage went well. As far as the Blue team goes, I think thatwe gave up a few big plays but other than that we played good. I thought thatthe young guys did a really good job and it was big for them to step up. Thecoaches did a good job of dividing the teams so that everyone could get somegood repetitions."

On the dividing of the teams ...
"It was a good thing. Coach smartly divided the teams to where we had starterson different teams in different positions. So we had to start some defensiveends that should have been tackles. We had Trevard Lindley but Randall Burdenwas on the other side. The teams were mixed up very well and I think that wheneveryone gets together then everything will come together well. I think thatthe Blue defense did a really good job early and got us in the game."

# 36, K, Sr., Lones Seiber

On what is expectations are for this season ...
"Every year my expectation is to know by the last game of the year that the coachescan say that I was consistent. That is all I worry about. I don't worry aboutrecords or football afterwards, but just that my teammates and coaches say thatI was consistent."

On what his struggle has been with consistency ...
"One thing is that when I go out there I tend to rush up to the ball and thatcauses it to miss. I think that my mind is right and physically I am right, butI just need to put everything together."

On if he approaches a longer field goal differently than he approaches a shorter field goal ...
"You are not supposed to, but sometimes I do. An extra point is supposed to bethe same thing as a 50-yard field goal but it is hard to go out there and visualize.If it is an extra point you just need to go out there and close your eyes andsay that it is an extra point and if it is a 50-yard field goal you need to tellyourself it is just an extra point. I think that my visualization of it all needsto come together."

UK Players - White Team

#75, OT, Jr., Brad Durham

On spring practice...
"I've only been here for two springs, but I think this spring was definitelybetter than last spring. We had a lot more players and depth, so that gave usa lot more energy on the field. We practiced hard and it was a very productivespring."

On making personal improvements during spring practice...
"I think I did alright. I worked on a lot of fundamentals, but that is what thespring is all about. You have to work on your fundamentals, footwork, and handplacement. I did better, but there is always room for improvement."

On earning a starting position...
"Really, it's up to the coaches. I think I have done my part by showing whatI've got. It's up to them and we'll see where I am in the fall."

#19, WR, Fr., E.J. Fields

On making improvements...
"I've worked on getting to know the speed of the game. Now when the quarterbackcalls the plays, I have so many things going through my head and it's like clockwork.Last year I red shirted and that really helped build my experience."

On differences in this year's team...
"We definitely have more strength at wide receiver. We also have more leadershipoffensively. Randall Cobb is leading us at receiver and Mike Hartline is steppingup more, so that helps out a lot."

#29, TB, Sr., Alfonso Smith

On the Blue/White game...
"I felt like everyone got better and learned. We were very competitive out there,but it was unfortunate that the Blue team jumped out ahead. The White team startedto crawl back, but it wasn't there at the end."

On the White team's slow start...
"I guess starting off slow gets into your head and it did get into my head. Idropped a pass and it seemed like the holes weren't there at first. The Whiteteam got into the groove after a while and things started to work out for us.Unfortunately, I couldn't go out there in the second half and help (Mike) Hartline."

On Micah Johnson...
"I don't know what got into Micah today. Everywhere I went I saw him. He madesome good plays. I tried to cut back on him a few times, but it seemed like hewas always there. I got frustrated, but that is why he is All-SEC."