Matt : Do you expect the D-Line to be the focal point of the defense and what are you expecting out of D.J. Stafford this fall?
Rick Petri : I always think that defense starts with the defensive line and I hope our players feel the same way. You can't predict what you will get out of any freshman until he arrives on campus and you get to work with him first hand.
David : With Abren dismissed and Jenkins injured, only Pryor, Peters and Lumpkin appear to be main DTs. Will you try to move in someone from DE or the OL?
Rick Petri : We practiced Travis Day at both defensive end and defensive tackle during this spring. He will contribute at both positions in the fall. Austin Moss also had a good spring.
eddie : can we stop the run?
Rick Petri : I certainly hope so. I think we're further along at this time than we were last year. I believe if you were at the bowl game, you saw that we did a respectable job stopping Clemson's running game, which was their strength. Stopping the run will always be one of my main focuses.
Steve R : Our great UK teams of the 70s seemed to have great strength in their hands. Once touched, the ball carriers seldom got loose. Do we concentrate on hand-strength?
Rick Petri : Hand strength is a very important asset for a defensive lineman. It's a physical attribute that can be developed in the weight room. Any pulling exercise we do in the weight room will help with our grip strength. The game has changed from being a shoulder game to a hand game - you play a lot more with hands now rather than using shoulders and forearms.
Steve R : Coach, I really enjoy these opportunities to ask questions. Thanks. How much difference does technique make in a defensive line and what are you teaching recently?
Rick Petri : Technique is critical. It's an equalizer. The better technician a player is, the better player he will become. There are some basic fundamentals we work on daily such as pad level and hand placement. That was a major emphasis this spring.
Jacob Brock : Hi Coach Petri my name is Jacob Brock and im a big fan of THE BIG BLUE was wondering is our d-line will be a little bit better than last year i know we started arm tackling a little bit last year and i was wondering me and my dad have been talking about the arm tackling early in season have you talked to those guys about not to arm tackle and i hope you got our boys ready for the season thanks coach
Rick Petri : As a total defense later in the season in bowl preparation, we spent more time on just tackling. Defensive line tackling is usually playing off blocks and then making tackles. So when I practice tackling, I try to practice those game-type situations in addition to form tackles.
johnny keith : do u think this defensive line can stop high powered ofenses like florida and lsu
Rick Petri : We're bigger than we've been in the past on the inside with Corey Peters and Myron Pryor. The defensive tackle position is a good place to start when you're trying to stop the run. They must force combination/scheme blocks to be successful against a run. That allows your linebackers to run free and be the heroes! Defensive ends usually get single blocked more and their contribution in stopping the run is often times scheme oriented as opposed to just a physical matchup.
jason : With the loss of Jenkiins for next season, do you expect an incoming Freshman such as McCord to compete for imeediate playing time or will you fill the position with someone from another position?
Rick Petri : Every year I've been here we've played freshmen. I feel that there very well could be an incoming freshman that could contribute this year as they have in the past. The defensive tackle position is probably a tougher position to contribute to early but we've had success with Corey Peters and Ventrell Jenkins and Shane McCord could fall in that category also.
Tim : how much improvement have you seen this compared to last years line.
Rick Petri : This is our third spring with some of our players so we're able to get much more done in a shorter period of time. They understand what I want and I have a better feel for what is needed improvement wise for each player.
Blueghost 25 : How big is the drop of when you go from DT's Prior and Peters to back ups Lumpkin and Day?
Rick Petri : I think Ricky and Travis had an excellent spring and provide some quality help at that position. Travis will continue to work at both defensive end and tackle which will provide us with quality at both spots. At the end of spring we feel better about our depth at defensive end and defensive tackle.
ukathletics.com : Thanks to Coach Petri for his time today. Next week's guest will be Coach Ortmayer.
Rick Petri : I thought it was the best spring for me personally since I've been here mainly because some of us have been together for the third spring and we're on the same page as far as goals, expectations and techniques. I appreciate the UK fans. The true spirit of the Kentucky fans was evident at the Music City Bowl. The players talk about it often and are most appreciative. We'll see you this fall in Commonwealth Stadium. Go Cats!