Hal Mumme's Thoughts on the 1999 Season

Aug. 12, 1999

On goals for the upcoming season
"We want to win the SEC. That's always our #1 goal around here."

On areas that might need improvement
"Obviously, the offensive line needs to gel. The last two years we've been able to come out of spring practice with all five starters intact, but this year we have young players and it might take a little longer. Coach (Guy) Morriss has a real challenge in choosing which five to start. He'll probably pick those five and a couple of more that are going to play a lot."

On the freshman class
"Every year we try to improve on the overall quality of our athletes. I think this is the best class we've had so far. We've put them through three workouts now, and they're good learners and are all very athletic."

On the young offensive linemen
"We've only had three workouts and they've all been in shorts, but we're very pleased with their athleticism. If they can maintain what they've done so far over the next 10 days, I expect several of them to play."

On any defensive changes
"There won't be any real changes, we just hope that they'll be better. We hope they can get us the ball more. Then we can score more."

On injuries to Jeremy Bowie and Willie Gary
"We'll have to find out during the two-a-days. Jeremy is probably a little ahead of Willie on a timeline. ACL injuries usually take a full year to heal, and Willie's won't be a full year until the Arkansas game. But every individual is different."

"The emergence of Anthony Wajda, Champ Kelly and Patrick Wiggins make us better in the secondary. We can afford to redshirt Willie. We're not going to waste a year of eligibility on Willie. If he can't perform at his usual level, we'll redshirt him. It might hurt us this year, but I think it's the right thing to do, and the same goes for Jeremy Bowie."

About Derek Homer and Anthony White "Those two have had more yards from scrimmage than any other tandem in the SEC over the last two years and we expect them to improve on that. We'd like to see Derek Homer emerge as a 1000-yard rusher, something we haven't had in my two seasons at UK. We expect Anthony to just keep playing like he has been, and even get better."

On Dusty Bonner
"Dusty is extremely bright. If you look back over the last 23 games, you'll see two or three plays each game that only Tim (Couch) could make. Dusty just can't do those things physically. But Dusty has a great grasp of the offense and we hope he'll make up for it with 10 or 12 great plays that are checks at the line or other cerebral ways. Dusty is a real leader on this team."

On special teams
"We're hoping that Marc Samuel can stay healthy this year. He's our best kickoff guy when he's healthy. Our deep snapper is back in Jimmy Haley, and there are some younger guys to back him up. That's a luxury. Last year we had nobody. If Jimmy had gotten hurt, we'd have gone for it on every fourth down. Andy Smith is a real steady punter, with a strong leg."

On Dennis Johnson
"We've been really pleased with Dennis' progress, especially in the weight room. He's become a real leader in there. In addition to him being a great player, he's a great team member. Physically, he's gained 10-12 pounds, and he's improved all his lifts significantly. Now, he's more in line with what an SEC lineman should be. Last year he played a whole year on courage and athletic ability. He'll be a lot more comfortable there this year."

On the tight ends
"There are a lot of neat things you can do with the tight ends. You can throw them the ball and they can help with pass protection. We've always liked using the tight ends."

On Derek Smith
"Derek's had a great three days of practice and looks like a guy who can get the job done. I think he'll compete with the four other guys for the starting spot."

On the stadium expansion
"I think it puts us in the upper echelon of college football. Anytime you have a bowled-in stadium, it sends a message that says you're serious about football. The fact that we've got this done is fabulous for our program."

On Dougie Allen
"He worked really hard in the off-season. He dropped his 40 time form the 4.6s to the high 4.4s. That's a big strength gain in a year. He had a great spring in the slot and at wide receiver, and we'll play him in both spots. Dougie's a real competitor."

On redshirting wide receivers
"We'll probably redshirt four of them. I want to redshirt Jermaine White. He can be such a threat physically, but we've had to play him every year since I've been here because of a lack of depth. This would be the year to do it, so he'll have two years left. We'll probably play some of the freshman and redshirt some of the guys we recruited last year, like Neal Brown and Mike Beirne. Mitt Crowe and Edgar Gantt are coming off redshirt years, so they'll be able to play. We have the luxury of making a few more moves at that position this year."

On Heisman candidates
"We would like to see a Kentucky player win the Heisman, either Chris Redman or Shaun Alexander. We're pulling for both those guys. We hope Chris has a Heisman-like season except for one game - and we're going to do our best to keep him from it on that day."

On Anwar Stewart
"Anwar got really serious about being a student and making it back. He made two A's in summer school, and I forgot to ask him if those were the first two he ever got. We're happy to have him back. He's a great complement to Dennis (Johnson) at the other end."

On Jared Lorenzen
"I'd like to redshirt him this year. He's really impressed us in workouts. But, physically, he needs to mature. People are worried about his weight, but I'm not. We'd love to have the biggest quarterback in America. We want the weight distributed in the right spots. He needs to look like (offensive tackle) Matt Brown and not Hal Mumme. But he can really throw the ball and see the field and there's not a guy with a better attitude."

On football players in Kentucky
"If you look at the SEC stats from last year, you'll see that a Kentucky kid led the league in the passing categories, another one led in the receiving categories and another, Shaun Alexander, was near the top in rushing. We have as good of players in this state as in any state. We have a respect for the players and coaches in this state."

On Chase Harp
"Chase is going to be an integral part of our offense this year. He'll be a guy who's going to play a big role."

On Jeff Snedegar's shoulder
"Well, I know he went fishing in Canada with my son Matt this summer, and Matt said Jeff picked out a tree there and cut it down with an axe over three or four days. Matt said it was a big tree. But I'll probably hold my breath every time he hits somebody."



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