Defense Shines in First Major Scrimmage
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky defense came out strong and played well most of the time during a one and one-half hour scrimmage Saturday morning at Commonwealth Stadium.
"I thought defensively we played really, really, really fast," Coach Joker Phillips said. "At times we played dominant defense but a couple of times we gave up big plays, which we can't do.
"Defensively, I thought we played with enthusiasm, flew around. I really like the guys we moved different positions, new positions, I like the way they are responding. Winston Guy -- different guy. I like the way he's playing. Ridge Wilson has an opportunity to move closer to the ball. Anytime you move a guy closer to the ball you get faster, so I think that's helped us."
Co-defensive coordinators Rick Minter and Steve Brown have been adding more formations and movement to the defense during the spring, with the goals of creating more turnovers and negative-yardage plays. The defense notched several quarterback sacks and tackles for loss Saturday, although the offense units did a good job keeping the ball with only one turnover on the day.
Winston Guy, who is playing a hybrid safety/linebacker position, was all over the field with two sacks, a tackle for loss and stuffing a running back for no gain on a fourth-and-one play. Defensive lineman Taylor Wyndham, linebacker Ronnie Sneed, end Collins Ukwu and linebacker Danny Trevathan also played prominent roles with sacks and tackles for loss. Safety Martavius Neloms caused the lone turnover when he knocked loose a fumble that was recovered by the defense.
The first-team offense put together one touchdown against the very active first-team defense. Quarterback Morgan Newton led the drive with a third-down completion to wide receiver La'Rod King, a fourth-down pass to tight end Nick Melillo, followed by a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Adams.
"He (Newton) didn't get much help from the wide receivers," Phillips said. "Way too many drops, at least six drops in the first 15 plays, from the ones and the twos. For the most part he's playing well. He needs to get more help."
The second-team offense posted three touchdowns vs. the second-team defense. Quarterback Maxwell Smith threw touchdown passes to Aaron Boyd and La'Rod King. Smith also scored on a one-yard run.
The third-team offense tallied one touchdown against the third-team defense. Quarterback Ryan Philippi got the score with a 38-yard pass to tight end Gabe Correll.
The Wildcats return to the practice field Wednesday. There are four practices remaining, followed by the Blue/White Game on April 23.