Live chat took place May 5, 2005
HeHateME : Coach, How has Dicky Lyons looked returning kicks this spring
Steve Ortmayer : Dicky got a lot of work this spring returning both kickoffs and punts, as a couple of our other returners missed some time. He continues to progress as a punt returner, but he considers his strength to be kickoff returns, and he looked very good doing that even though he had a nagging hamstring injury all spring. We expect him to be one of the top returners in the SEC in both punts and kickoffs this fall.
Ed : On a kickoff, if the receiver catches the ball and does not run, can they pass the ball forward? It seems they could at one time.
Steve Ortmayer : On any kick return, no ball can ever be passed or thrown forward. Whether or not the returner runs or does not run, the ball can always be thrown backwards to another player and, in fact, you saw us do this on a kick return at Georgia a year ago. Never has the ball been allowed to be thrown forward.
James : How big of an inpact will Abdullah have at SS this year
Steve Ortmayer : We expect Mo to be one of the impact players both in the secondary for us and in the SEC this upcoming season. He had an excellent junior year and has had a very impressive spring for us.
kieth : who were some of the players you coached while coaching in the nfl?
Steve Ortmayer : Some of the guys I coached in the NFL were some of the best to have ever played the game. As punters, I had Ray Guy for his career as well as Goose Gossett and Jarrell Wilson (who came from the same school as Ray Guy). And while at Green Bay, we drafted Josh Bidwell who is currently having a fine career with Tampa Bay. As kickers, I coached Jan Stenerud, Chris Bahr and Jeff Jaeger, as well as Ryan Longwell, who I believe is currently the best kicker in the league. We had some great returners. Probably the most notable of which was Greg Pruitt, who at that time set career records in most punt return categories.
Billy : What impact will John Logan have on special teams this year especially with him being one of the fastest guys in America?
Steve Ortmayer : John Logan can be a definite impact player for us. He does have world class speed and if he wants to turn that loose as a kickoff returner, he might be the very best. He progressed very well this spring in the kickoff return area and if he can pick that up in August, he could really light it up for us.
Bobby From Louisville : Will Demoreo Ford get a look at Punt Returns?
Steve Ortmayer : We will absolutely give Demoreo Ford an early look in August as a punt returner. That is pretty deep water for a freshman, because we consider Keenan Burton, Dicky Lyons and Rafael Little to be very good. But he will have the opportunity to show us what he has.
Billy : What do you think about the equipment managers at UK?
Steve Ortmayer : The equipment managers at UK are very well trained, very professional and very efficient in the exercise of their duties. They are very much a part of what will make our team succeed.
Besty A. : What do you think about the current long-snapping situation and who do you think will prevail as the starter in the fall?
Steve Ortmayer : Our long snapping situation in the spring was a real sore spot for us. We didn't pick up where we left off last season as we would have liked and we spent a spring working to redevelop our proficiency. I believe we do have a couple of guys who can get this job done for us. One of whom, Jason Dickerson, did a very good job last fall and if he returns to form, will give us a good job again this fall. I would expect Dickerson to do just that though he will be pushed by Jeff Archer.
Ryan Harrington : Do you think any of your special teams or TE recruits will have an immediate impact? Specifically Masthay and Duncan.
Steve Ortmayer : We signed Tim Masthay to be an immediate impact player for us. We as coaches do not get a chance to look at him until we come to camp in August but from what we have seen on tape, he has the tools to help us in the near future. At tight end, we expect both Ross Bogue and Zipp Duncan to contend for some playing time - possibly at tight end, but surely in the kicking game.
Jeremy : There's no better way to ignite an offense then to have a long kick-off return or punt return. Who will be handeling these duties this season and how are they progressing? Thanks and PLEASE.....BEAT UL!!!
Steve Ortmayer : We would agree with you on your premise and we feel that we have three outstanding punt return candidates in Keenan Burton, Dicky Lyons and Rafael Little. Quite frankly, I expect us to be as good as anybody in the kickoff return game and we believe that Draak Davis has a chance to be as good as there is in the SEC.
Mike : Coach- Will it be difficult for a freshman like Tim Masthay to start as a punter? What do you see his primary role being? What qualities did you see in Masthay that made him an attractive recruit? Do you see him being able to contribute as a wide receiver?
Steve Ortmayer : We are expecting Masthay to be able to come in and contribute in the kicking game, our hopes are as a punter. It is not a position that requires an experience level as much as it requires a technique refinement. We saw good things in Tim and believe that as an athlete, he has the ability to help at this time. He is an excellent athlete with size, speed and ability to help at several positions. But if he can be our punter, that is the most critical need at this point.
ftbll lova : What is your favorite coach/player moment?
Steve Ortmayer : When players play to their potential, it is always very gratifying for a coach to experience that with them. I have had players participate and win in Super Bowls as well as numerous Pro Bowl participants and collegiate players reaching lofty goals like Derek Abney and Cliff Branch. When someone reaches a very high performance level that distinguishes them from their peers, that is always gratifying for a coach.
Joe C. : How do you see our Field Goal unit doing? Thanks for all of your hard work to get KY football up to the level that it should be.
Steve Ortmayer : One of my private goals is that our field goal unit be what it can truly be this season. I believe that Taylor Begley is as fine a kicker as there is in the SEC and I know that with smooth sailing with the snapping and with Tommy Cook and Jacob Tamme developing as holders, we have the potential to be very strong in this area.
luis villagomez : what do you look for in a place kicker?
Steve Ortmayer : The thing that we look for first in a kicker is "can he kick off?" We have found that the thing that distinguishes kickers is kickoff ability. There are a number of very good soccer players who can kick the ball effectively through the uprights, but there are not so many who can kick a ball 65 yards to the endzone with better than a 4.0 second hangtime. So that is where we start and work back to the field goal ability which we believe is much more easily taught.
Gerald : Hi coach, how much improved do you expect special teams to be this year, especially the return game?
Steve Ortmayer : We look for marked improvement with our special teams this year because we have two seasons of teaching under our belt. It is much easier for players to perform the things you ask them to when they become ingrained. Our return game will definitely move forward this year and though we are thin with coverage players, we expect that to be at a very high level, barring attrition.
ukathletics.com : We thank Coach Ortmayer for his time. Next week's guest will be Rick Petri.
Steve Ortmayer : I want to thank you fans for your interest, your questions and the great support that you give Wildcat football. Not only do the players feel that in every aspect of our program, but it gives the coaches a genuine lift to know that there are many Wildcat fans so knowledgable about the things we are trying to accomplish. Thanks again.