Live chat with Head Coach Rich Brooks took place Tuesday, June 15 at noon.
Brandon : Coach, first of all, thanks for taking time out to spend with some of the UK Faithful. I don't know much about a 3-4 defense, but from what I've read, it allows for more blitzes and better disguising of blitzes. Having a full year in the system, should we expect to see more blitzes to put pressures on the opposing QB's?
Rich Brooks : You may not see more blitzes but hopefully you will see blitzes that are better executed. The players have a better understanding of the zone blitz concept than they did a year ago and the execution was better in the spring than it was last fall.
mike gibson : coach.....I was unable to get my question into Mike Archer last week so I will ask you. How difficult is it for a big O-lineman to move Lamar Mills out of the way not being able to get under his pads, what did he weigh coming out of spring and will Bennie be on the fall roster?
Rich Brooks : Lamar's height plays to an advantage at the nose position because it gives him excellent leverage on the offensive line. His biggest asset, however, is his quickness and explosion. He is in a position that receives quite a few double teams and when that happens it should free up one of our linebackers. He weighed about 275 at the completion of spring. Bennie is currently still ineligible.
Herman: Gravelswitch : Coach, You obviously arrived a bit too late to start a good off season workout program last year. It was frustrating to watch the offensive line get pushed around last season. They were supposed to be a strong point. Are the players buying into the off season workout. Did they buy into it as much last year??? What can we expect from the OL this year. It all starts up front.
Rich Brooks : We had major improvement in our offseason conditioning from the end of fall to the start of spring practice this last year. We need to see that same kind of improvement this summer as far as strength, speed and explosion is concerned. Our offensive line is one of our most improved units in spring practice but is still one of the biggest question marks going into fall. We only have seven returning scholarship players on the OL with the addition of four freshmen scholarship players that will compete this fall. It will add to the depth and competition. We have several walk-ons that are in the two-deep and are pushing for starting positions. I expect our line to play well as a unit this fall.
kyle travis : what do you think about your recruiting class coming in this year
Rich Brooks : I think we were able to add size and speed to our roster that will make us more competitive in the future against the SEC opponents that we play.
J.K. : Hey Coach, how much production do you expect out of our backfield on the offensive side of the ball? Thanks for answering my question. Go Cats
Rich Brooks : I expect all of our backs to be better than they were a year ago. Arliss Beach, Draak Davis, Alexis Bwenge and Rock Johnson all have experience and were improved in the spring. With the coordination with the OL, I expect our running game to be better than it was a year ago.
BigBlue#1 : What do you think is the biggest strength of this team this year?
Rich Brooks : The experience that we return on defense, plus the added depth of the defensive units, is probably our biggest strength.
Blake Hopkins : Besides Boyd who do you think the most vital offensive player will be?
Rich Brooks : Every player on offense is vital as we have to execute well as a unit for any individual to produce good numbers. Keenan Burton is a big play receiver and Glenn Holt had an outstanding spring as well but we must get protection and execution by the rest of the players before we can be productive.
Georgia Wildcat : What are some of the reasons you chose to run this type of offense instead of the offense that was very successful for you at Oregon in the 90's?
Rich Brooks : This offense is very similar to the offense that I ran at Oregon in the 90's. We use more shotgun here than we did at Oregon. We also ran some option at Oregon to keep the defense honest.
GregUKgrad : I was concerned when I read a comment from Coach Hudson saying that he would prefer a run to pass ratio of 40:25. Do you really feel that we can be successful with that ratio with the current player's on our roster?
Rich Brooks : The run to pass ratio is largely dependent on our ability to block our opponent. Sometimes we will run more than we will throw and other times we will throw more than we will run. I would like to be able to run the ball more than 50% of the time. That would mean that we are able to do what we want when we want it. If you can run the ball on someone, it's a lot easier to throw it.
GregUKgrad : I am concerned about possible injuries to the QB's running an offense that gives the defense so many opportunities to hit them.What our some of the reasons you chose to run this system instead of a West Coast or other type of system? Best Wishes...Go Cats....
Rich Brooks : An active athletic QB can give defenses more problems than a straight drop-back system can. Many quarterbacks get injured in the pocket as well. If you look at the successful quarterbacks currently in the NFL, many of them are mobile and can pull down the ball and run it to break down the defense. We just need to concentrate on conditioning and strength preparation for not only the quarterback, but everyone for injury prevention.
Jason Davis : Hello Coach Brooks. Just wanted to say you did a great job coming in to UK. My question is have the players adjusted well to the new offensive scheme now or are there still questions and concerns going into the Louisville game? Are there any key players that will make the offensive scheme run smoother this season than last in the hopes of improving from a 4-8 season with a near upset of Florida and a great epic battle against Arkansas?
Rich Brooks : I believe our players are more comfortable in what we are doing, not only offensively, but also defensively. After a year together as players and coaches, I would expect us to be a smoother operating offense than we were a year ago. There is a definite advantage to staff continuity without either assistant or head coaching changes. Unfortunately, a year ago, I was part of ongoing coaching changes that had happened here at UK in the past 5-6 years. It is my hope that staff continuity will also bring more upsets, not only this year but in years to come.
Jason Davis : How important is having the fans behind you in SEC play?
Rich Brooks : It's important to have the fans behind you in every game. Our home crowds have been large for SEC games and I would like Commonwealth Stadium to be a difficult for an opponent to be successful. A loud, boisterous group of fans will certainly help that.
roach : hows are offense going to be an is shane going to play or play baseball for the twins
Rich Brooks : Shane is going to concentrate strictly on football through the end of next season and then he will make a decision on where his future will lead him. I believe our offense will be more productive than it was a year ago.
Kyle Travis : I was just wondering how is juco wide reciever scott mitchell doing
Rich Brooks : Scott is recovering from shoulder surgery and will be healthy when we start fall camp. He has brought competition and some deep threat to the receiving position. His size will be an asset in playing in this league.
bigbluemist : Coach-I am gald your here and expect big things from the Cats going forward. Recruiting is the key to success, but after that what do you and your staff need to do to get UK winning on a consistent basis? Thanks and good luck on the up coming season.
Rich Brooks : We must teach our players that when games are on the line in the fourth quarter, that we WILL win them and not fall back to some of the disasters that have happened in recent years. The attitude is a critical change that needs to take place in our program. I want our players to expect to win in every game.
Blake Hopkins : Who do you think losing last year as a senior was the most devestating to the team motivation wise?
Rich Brooks : Obviously when you lose two players like Derek Abney and Jared Lorenzen, you have to replace a tremendous amount of production. These two players are some of the best that have ever played at Kentucky and the SEC statistically. So we have to make sure that we're able to replace the passing, scoring and returning ability that we are losing.
Ron"Mosey"Mohr : Coach has the team been working hard on conditioning this summer?
Rich Brooks : We started our summer conditioning a week ago and the players are indeed working really hard and I expect them to continue that until we report on August 9.
robert wolf : are you going to use shane boyd strictly as a qb this time? Also,is the situation you came into here different than the one you had at Oregon? Best wishes for a good season.
Rich Brooks : We definitely will only work Shane at quarterback this year. I feel our program is much further along than the program I took over at Oregon years ago.
ukathletics.com : Coach Brooks is sorry he can't get to all the questions submitted. We thank him for his time. And we thank all the coaches for spending time answering your questions of the past couple months. They enjoyed talking to the fans. We'll see you all in Commonwealth next fall.
Rich Brooks : I hope we have as many fans in Cardinal Stadium that we can get and that the fans will support these players that have been working so hard this fall on the field. Go Cats!