Aug. 22, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Coach Rich Brooks was pleased with what he saw during the Kentucky football team's second major scrimmage held Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Stadium.
The Wildcats scrimmaged for one hour and 50 minutes, with the first-, second- and third-team offensive units going against their first-, second- and third-team defensive counterparts. The scrimmage featured all phases of the kicking game, plus a goal-line scrimmage and a two-minute drill.
“It was a much better scrimmage than last week,” Brooks said. “Lot more energy, lot more hitting. Really good plays on both sides of the ball. First-string offense, in the regular part of the scrimmage, only scored a field goal against the first-string defense. In two-minute (drill) they scored, and they also scored in the goal-line area.
“It was a pretty even scrimmage so I can't be real unhappy with one side or the other. They kind of have me in-between today,” Brooks laughed.
Here are more of Brooks' observations about the team's performance:
- On tailback Derrick Locke, who is returning from last season's knee injury: “Locke is out of shape. Locke made a really long run on a screen pass, made a couple other good runs. He ran out of gas. He actually got caught, if you believe that, by Trevard (cornerback Trevard Lindley), but Trevard's caught a lot of people. He needs some conditioning, but he came out of the scrimmage fine, except knowing he's not in good enough shape.”
- On the offense: “(Quarterback) Mike Hartline is just so much better and he's getting a lot more help. Balls are being caught. I think Matthews (wide receiver Chris Matthews) is doing some good things.”
- On defensive end DeQuin Evans: “DeQuin Evans showed up big today all over the field, got a sack. He's just making an impact as he gets healthier. He's just a relentless guy. He's got speed, he's got quickness and he has strength. And he's just now starting to get a little comfortable with the defense. He's missed some time but I think he has made up for it in film study, and he's getting to understand what the responsibilities are in the different defenses. He didn't have as many defenses in junior college nor as many stunts and different responsibilities. He's doing pretty well picking those up now.”
- In general: “I'm pleased overall where we are, now we just have to clean up some of the mistakes. We had one or two breakdowns assignment-wise that resulted in big plays on defense and same thing where we didn't look as good on some offensive plays because of assignment errors.”
- On the kicking game: “(Eric) Adeyemi returned a punt for a touchdown, about 70 yards. The kickoffs did not look good. Ryan (Tydlacka) did not punt the ball well even though he's punted extremely well all fall. He's been as consistent as anybody and today he wasn't consistent.”
- On the wide receivers: “(Gene) McCaskill has done some good things. Adeyemi has made some very good strides. (La'Rod) King did some very good things today. King has clearly put himself in the mix. He's a big guy that can go up and get the ball and break a few tackles. Matt Roark had a pretty good day today.”
- On the backup quarterback job: “The battle for number two is exactly that. Will Fidler looked good today. He made very nice throws and did some good things, ran the ball well. One of the freshmen (Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski) is going to be battling for number two and it's clear that they're still freshmen. They do some good things then revert to being freshmen. We will probably have to, after we make a decision sometime, probably at the end of next week, narrow a package for a freshman quarterback and see if they can execute that package with the precision it needs to be, because right now we have so much in it's a little overwhelming.”
- On the running backs: “Moncell (Allen) ran well. Coshik Williams ran well. Derrick Locke ran well until he ran out of gas.”
- On what he liked about the defense: “I liked the hitting. I liked the pursuit, the effort. I didn't like the few busted assignments. We need to clean those things up because we did give up some big plays.”
There were no apparent major injuries during the scrimmage. Brooks noted players who did not finish the workout because of injuries, including cornerback Cartier Rice
(groin), fullback John Conner
(ankle), safety Ashton Cobb
(neck stinger), E.J. Fields
(foot) and linebacker Ronnie Sneed
(groin), but none of those appear to be serious.
Two offensive starters did not play today as they recover from injuries, tight end T.C. Drake (groin strain) and wide receiver Randall Cobb (back spasms). Brooks hopes they will return to practice next week.
Kentucky is two weeks away from the season opener, set for Sept. 5 in Cincinnati against the Miami RedHawks.