billy : who are the leaders coming into fall practice at fullback?
Ron Caragher : Terrell Bankhead had a very good spring practice and emerged as the starting fullback. John Conner, who played in three games last season before being injured, returns as the backup fullback. He had a good spring as well. Both fullbacks have some athleticism in that they can carry the ball and receive the ball well out of the backfield. They understand their roles in creating a path in the defense for the tailbacks to run.
Mike : How do this year's running backs compare with some of the best you have worked with?
Ron Caragher : This is a pretty good group of running backs. As a coach, probably the most talented running back that had the whole package was DeShaun Foster who is with the Carolina Panthers now. Rafael Little brings the same big play capability to the table as DeShaun did. Tony Dixon will find and hit the hole as well as DeShaun did. Alfonso has a similar physical size and speed that DeShaun had.
Brian form Owensboro : Good morning coach. It looks we will have several talented running backs this year. What do you think the depth chart is looking like at that position? Is it posible one of the RBs could move over to wide rec. because of the depth issue at that position? Go Cats!!!
Ron Caragher : Shhh. Don't tell Coach Brooks that. Why would I want to give up one of those good young running backs? Seriously, if it would help the team, we would do that. However, we do feel that with Keenan Burton returning from injury, the improvement of our other returning players, and our incoming group of receivers, that we will be in good shape at the wide receiver position.
Brooke : Once practice resumes in the fall, what will be the focus for the offense?
Ron Caragher : The first priority will be to identify who our starting quarterback will be. Next priority will be to work in the players who missed spring practice because of injury. Third, we would like to find out and identify which freshmen we think can help us.
Jane : Ideally, what % of snaps would you like your starting running back to take vs. the backup?
Ron Caragher : That really depends on how you feel about your backup. Going into this season, I feel good about our first three tailbacks - Rafael Little, Tony Dixon and Alfonso Smith. Last year when Arliss Beach was hurt, we were limited and Rafael probably played more than we would have liked. Running backs can wear down and lose a step or two when overused. I feel good about our depth going into the season.
Jon : What is the difference between being on the sideline as a coach and sitting in the coaches booth upstairs?
Ron Caragher : I personally like being on the sideline because you get a real feel for the game and the players. Additionally, when talking and coaching the players, I can do so face to face and not through a phone line. The advantage of being in the press box is you get a bird's eye view of the game, which means you can see the formations, alignments, etc., better.
Jay H. : Coach, please talk about your responsibilities as recruiting coordinator and how the recruiting process happens.
Ron Caragher : Every coach is assigned a recruiting area and looks for prospects at all positions in that area. Once we find a prospect who we think would be a good addition to the UK football program, we then review video tape, transcripts, combine results, and comments from the high school coach and other administrators at his school. From there we decide if we're going to offer a scholarship to the young man or if we need to wait and watch senior film of the prospect. If it's a match, we will set up an official visit. The coaches here have done a good job of being consistent and persistent on recruiting these young men we think will help our program.
Matt S. : Good morning! Which characteristics do you look for in recruiting running backs and also for deciding playing time? Speed, power, agility?
Ron Caragher : The ideal running back has a combination of size, speed, quickness, strength and power. We would like RBs who have big play capability, yet at the same time have the power and endurance to gain necessary yardage in short yardage and goal line situations. Additionally, a running back who can catch the ball well poses as an additional threat for the offense. Pass protection is a must as well.
Mike Taylor : Coach, Could you shine some light on the numbers with the 2007 class? How many greyshirts do you expect to come out of our current class, and how many open slots does that leave for the 2007 class (considering the low number of sch. seniors we have this year). In addition, what do you think the key positions are to fill in this class? Thanks and GO BIG BLUE!
Ron Caragher : We do know that we are starting out with a small senior class, which typically means a small recruiting class. However, due to injuries, signees who may not qualify, etc., that number of signees for next year's class will grow. As far as key positions, we're looking at all positions at this time. As the season goes on, some positions will stand out as priorities.
aaron : alfonso smith was incredible in the blue/white game, how talented is he really?
Ron Caragher : Alfonso is a good-sized, athletic, and fast back. He certainly brings big play capability to the offense. I'm looking forward to seeing him contribute not just on offense, but on special teams, particularly in the return game as well.
Go BIG BLUE : Coach i got a question about the incoming recruits like moncell adams micha j ricky l josh m and cory peters what are you expecting from these big time recruits
Ron Caragher : Certainly this is a talented incoming class. The key to how much they will contribute will be how much of the offensive, defensive and special teams playbooks that they can understand. Certainly we want them to be playing this year, yet at the same time we don't want to throw them in the game until they have shown a good understanding in practice.
aaron : i think you have the most talented group of guys on the team.will little,dixon,and smith see alot of action
Ron Caragher : I certainly hope so. Because with them being on the field means our offense is on the field and moving the football. We're looking for different ways to utilize each running back's strengths. I'm excited about the depth at that position going into the '06 season.
ukathletics.com : Thanks to Coach Caragher for his time in answering questions today. Next week's live chat will be with offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins.
Ron Caragher : I am as excited as I've been about this year's group of running backs. Rafael is returning off a great season, Tony is returning after an injury season, and Alfonso is emerging after a redshirt season. Additionally, the two fullbacks showed us during spring practice that they will be dependable and reliable. Thanks for your great questions and great fan support. Go Cats!