Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
August 23rd, 2014

Breaking News from Cal’s Fantasy Camp

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It isn’t uncommon for freshmen Calipari guards to be mistake-prone early in the season.  When the Harrisons started slow, something seemed different.  After much speculation and KSR investigation, we determined that the twins were squinting too much to be successful on the floor (see above) and needed to see an optometrist.

However, about halfway through the year the twins’ squinting problem was gone.  It translated to success on the court, but was it really the squinting or was it Cal’s tweak?  KSR’s Dean Bowling reported that one of John Robic’s many jobs during games is to make sure the Harrisons wear their contacts.

Turns out that we’re a lot smarter than we look.


Free Your Madness with Morning Links

Why am I waking you up in the morning with a head-bashing tune from Steve Aoki (from ‘Turn Down for What’ fame) and MKG MGK?  The music video is one of the crazier ones I’ve seen: it begins in “the distant future” before it turns into a Breaking Bad parody.  It’s pretty crazy, but it isn’t the only reason why you need to watch this NSFW video: Bardstown, KY native Eva Kate Howell steals the show as a girl scout destined to stop Aoki and MGK.  Who knew Kentucky girls were so good with nunchuks?

Way to kill it Ms. Howell.  You’re making Kentucky proud and proving that you’re cooler than your older brothers.  Now, onto the links…

-  We’re only a week from kickoff.  Make sure you know before you go by checking out all of new game day changes as Commonwealth Stadium undergoes renovation.

-  Mo’Ne Davis’ stellar LLWS performance has come to an end.  While most of the sports world is talking about her impact on women in sports, Deadspin examined how the Taney Little League team helped change the perception of a street named after an infamous character in US History.  Taney Street, the little league’s namesake for the adjacent street, was named after Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney.  Taney wrote the majority opinion in the infamous Dred Scott case that legalized slavery in 1857, essentially turning the wheels toward the Civil War.

-  In order to celebrate SNL’s 40th year of existence, Grantland’s Brian Phillips examined the fan-favorite Weekend Update and its impact on the news.  Most people would say Update started news satires like Colbert and Stewart, but Phillips believes it to be much deeper, transforming the way we ingest news daily.

-  In case you forgot, here’s a story about why we love sports.  Olympian swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was never the type of person to give up.  After an ATV accident left her paralyzed, yesterday she was able to walk with the assistance of a bionic device.

 

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Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins make the final roster for Team USA

Image via ESPN

Some great news to start your morning: both Anthony Davis AND DeMarcus Cousins have been named to Team USA’s final roster as the group heads to Spain for the FIBA World Cup. The announcement was made this morning, and despite some concern that Coach K was going to be a butthead and pick Mason Plumlee over Boogie, it looks like he wised up and put both big men on the roster. Who didn’t make the cut? Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, and Chandler Parsons.

Here’s the final roster:

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DeMarcus seems pretty pleased about the news:

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Randall Cobb’s Friday News and Views

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Tonight’s news are in honor of Randall Cobb’s 24th birthday.  The golden (and green) eyes are celebrating tonight at Lambeau Field in a preseason game with the Raiders.  The 2nd round draft pick became a fan favorite immediately, tying an NFL record with a 108-yard kick return touchdown in his NFL debut.  Long before Randall was in Sunday Night Football promos, he was helping the BBN believe in football.  No matter what the Kentucky team needed him for — quarterback, receiver, returner — he did it, and he did it well.

Even in the darkest of hours, you could always count on Cobb.  In the 7th row of the student section against South Carolina, I crossed my fingers and prayed for a 4th and 7 miracle.

Thanks for the memory and a Happy Birthday Randall.  On to the news…

Drew Barker will likely take a redshirt

Coach Stoops talked in detail today about the progression of the depth chart, giving the fans an idea of who to expect to see on the field next Saturday.  Many freshmen will play right away, but Stoops hopes to use this fall to redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Barker.  After giving the reigns to Pat Towles, Stoops believes it would be the most beneficial, “I think that would be in his best interest and our best interest.  We’ll see how that goes.  He will prepare to play in a backup role, and if we can save him through the season that’s what we’d like to do.”

Many hoped to see the poster child of the Cats’ 2014 recruiting class on the field, but this news shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Before he wore a UK uniform, I argued for a Barker redshirt by comparing other freshmen QBs in the SEC.  After watching Barker, he’s proved that he has all of the tools in his workshop, but another year will sharpen them.

Jeff Badet’s eye injury is pretty serious

There’s something about Kentucky wide receivers that attract freak injuries.  Jeff Badet was overcoming a leg injury when a tennis ball hit him in the eye during a catching drill.  After further evaluation Stoops said today he’ll miss at least the first two games.  Alex Montgomery is the only other player who will have to miss significant game time; another wide receiver who’s unfortunate knee injury happened during a touchdown celebration.

Take a look inside the New Commonwealth Stadium

Commonwealth Stadium is currently surrounded by cranes construction material.  See through the construction mess by looking at the Commonwealth Stadium Virtual Venue.  The virtual venue allows you to see what the finished product will look like from all angles.  Now you don’t have to worry where you’ll be when you see Blake Bone catch the game-winner against Louisville in 2015.

The best picture from the Calipari Fantasy Camp

Brian Reynolds/ CoachCal.com

Brian Reynolds/ CoachCal.com

I bet Brian Long doesn’t appreciate being a waterboy as much as this Harrison does.  The real question: which Harrison is it? 

Doral Moore is in town

Normally a busy recruiting weekend, this year’s Calipari Camp features fewer prospects than year’s past after the alumni game was canceled.  The #10 center in the nation still thought it was a good time to take his official visit.  Moore has always had Kentucky near the top of his list, but there are a TON of big guys on the roster.  It will be interesting to see how this thing plays out.

Something is wrong with the freshmen’s jerseys, and it’s driving Tyler Thompson insane

TeamFantasyCamp

I think the weird part of this picture is the old man in the middle, Mrs. TT thinks it’s the numbers on the freshmen’s jerseys.  I bet she’d be REALLY tough to beat in a game of I, Spy. 

Trey Lyles’ Dad has a new song “BBN”

We post a lot of Kentucky basketball-related songs, but this one is different than the others.  Sung by Treys dad Tom (who goes by T.Lyles), “BBN” is the result of the Cats incredible 2013 NCAA Tournament.  You can still be a “Big Blue Fan in the Morning,” but at least give this one a shot.

The Brow and Boogie balled for Team USA

(@SacramentiKings)

(@SacramentiKings)

 

DeMarcus Cousins’ injured leg couldn’t keep him on the bench for long.  In the final tuneup before tomorrow morning’s cuts, Cousins recorded 8 points 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 15 minutes.  Anthony Davis had another casual 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks; it now seems impossible for him to have worse stats.

After tonight’s game, the “Boogie for America” campaign should be a success when rosters are announced tomorrow morning.

High School Football season started with a BANG

It was a very literal bang.  I was planning on checking out the double-header at Dunbar but Mother Nature had other plans, with thunderstorms intervening :10 into the game.  Most of the high school games in Louisville and Lexington were postponed by lightning and flooding.  In the one half Madison Southern managed to play, Damien Harris had 2 touchdowns and 123 yards on only 7 carries (lol).

Stay safe, but most of all, pray it doesn’t happen next Saturday afternoon. Seven days…


ESPN Grades The Quarterbacks of The SEC

Image Via SaturdayDownSouth

8 long days separate us all from the kickoff of the 2014 Kentucky football season and it’ll be nice to witness a team that Mark Stoops described as “improved”. This season marks a new dawn for quarterbacks around the conference as 6 teams will be debuting new men under center while several others will be replacing legends with their heirs and a few guys are holding tight to their starting role. One of those new guys debuting will be Patrick Towles who was announced as the new starter earlier this week. Today, ESPN handed out grades to all the expected starters and this is what they had to say about Towles:

Patrick Towles

2013 in review: Towles redshirted last season as a sophomore and used the time since then to smooth out the rough edges offensive coordinator Neal Brown and coach Mark Stoops identified in his game after he lost a preseason quarterback competition. He played in five games as a freshman in 2012 and completed 19 of 40 passes for 233 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
What to watch: Kentucky hasn’t had a quarterback go a full season as the starter since Andre Woodson in 2007. Not a great sign for Mr. Towles. So if the offensive line fails to keep the current starter upright, the ongoing competition for the backup job will be worth watching. Not that competition is particularly new for Kentucky’s quarterbacks. This was the third quarterback competition in which Towles had participated, and he was finally the victor.
Projected 2014 grade: C-

C-? This is a mark that Towles will have the chance to blow out of the water this upcoming year. To most of the people outside of the commonwealth Patrick is an unknown that can combine with UK’s young stable of athletes to really surprise some people. I think he can finish ahead of a lot of these returning back-ups like Hutson Mason and Jeff Driskell. Here’s how they graded the rest of the SEC’s Qbs:

Florida: C+

Vanderbilt: C

South Carolina: B

LSU: B-

Mississippi State: B+

Missouri: A-

Georgia: B+

Tennessee: C-

 

Auburn: A

Ole Miss: B+

Alabama: B

Texas A&M: B-

Arkansas: D

The west is currently loaded with a bunch of top-tier Qbs and luckily we don’t have to play very many of them. It’s just too bad we couldn’t be traveling to Arkansas instead of LSU.

[ESPN: Grading each SEC QB situation]

 


Photos from Day 1 at John Calipari’s Fantasy Camp

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Slice giving instruction at his first camp

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KSR’s own Duncan Cavanah in the back

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Tod pretending to do something against Karl

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No. 39 is INTENSE

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Players waiting to hear their names called at the draft

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Ed Kwak and JC Hensley, two Fantasy Camp legends

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Cal watching on as his draft picks are called

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Karl Towns, shortly before he dunked all over me

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Willie Cauley-Stein and Tyler Ulis


This team might combine the best of 2010 and 2012

Usually it’s hard to make grand proclamations (or any proclamation for that matter) about a college basketball team in August. It’s still probably dangerous to do such things. Yet after 10 days of watching this team play games, hearing stories about the team from those who were as close to them as anyone in the Bahamas, and noting comments by the coaching staff and players– we probably know more about this team in August than we’ve known about any other team at the same time of year since John Calipari has been at Kentucky.

This team has a long way to go before it can be compared to the likes of the 2010 or 2012 team– arguably Calipari’s two best teams (not from a results standpoint necessarily, but from an overall talent/chemistry standpoint). With that said, after watching 6 games and hearing a two platoons worth of stories (see what I did there?), this team might just combine some of the best aspects of the 2010 and 2012 teams. And if that holds true throughout the entire season, I really, really like this team’s chances.

 

What resembles the 2010 team?: An extremely tight knit group

I think it’s a bit of a myth that a team has to be extremely close in order to succeed. A few of Kentucky’s teams who have all performed well in the past haven’t necessarily been the tightest knit group of players. If a team can figure out how to put it together on the court though AND then you add on to that the fact that the team is extremely close– it’s an incredible combination. Teams that are close tend to have a more evident and easily achieved sense of success based upon the group. There’s a drive that teams like that bring out in each other that sometimes teams not as close have to find within themselves as individuals.

That 2010 team was as close as they come. Those guys were a unit on and off the court and the desire to be excellent and the competitive drive that team had as a group was sensational. Judging by the opinions of the coaching staff, the players, the fans who were around them all week, commentators, etc…. This year’s team is similar in that sense– spending every moment together and showing a great collective sense of closeness and pride.

 

What resembles the 2012 team? An extremely unselfish group… “Anthony Davis takes the 5th most shots”

Anthony Davis was undoubtedly the star and best player on that 2012 team. So to say that this team lacks a true star or all-american, and then to say that the 2012 team was equally balanced would be a bit of a mistake. Anthony Davis was an all-american and the best player on that team. There’s no denying that. But even though Davis was that caliber of player, as Calipari likes to remind us all the time– he took the 5th most shots of any player on the team. What exactly does that mean? Even though that team had a star, and this year’s team might not have the same level of star in one particular player, the balance of contributions (especially offensively) on that 2012 was very spread out. On any given night, 4-5 players could easily lead the team in scoring. That seems to be the case with this year’s team as well.

In the Bahamas this year’s team traded off duties as the leading scorer, with all different combinations of 2-3 players hitting double digits depending on the game. One of the most entertaining questions to ponder with a friend in the off-season remains: Who will be the leading scorer on this team? An argument could be made for 5-6 different players. The truth of the matter is, much like the 2012 team… instead of one standout leading scorer, the team will probably have a handful of guys who average anywhere from 10-15 points per game.

 

 

 


Explore Commonwealth Stadium’s new Virtual Venue

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As renovations continue on Commonwealth Stadium, it’s time to start thinking about the reseating process for the 2015 season. All of the seating in the stadium is being redone, and season ticket holders will have to participate in the reseating process, which the school has simplified with their fancy new Virtual Venue. The University released a link today that will allow fans to explore the Virtual Venue, in which you can click on any seat in the stadium and get a 360-degree view. You can compare sight lines from two different seats at once and see the benefits and amenities associated with each seat (i.e. bleacher seating with backs, cup holders, arm rests, etc.), along with the season ticket price and annual K-Fund donation amount.

Beginning in October, football season ticket holders will utilize the Virtual Venue™ tool to select their own seats for the 2015 season. As the seat selection process continues throughout October and November, seats will change colors so fans know which seats are still available to be selected, and which seats have already been reserved. Season ticket holders can find the latest information about the selection process online at Seat Selection Central.

Go play around with it. It’s fun times.

Commonwealth Stadium Virtual Venue


Team USA is playing Puerto Rico on ESPN2 right now

© Stephen R. Sylvanie | Getty Images

© Stephen R. Sylvanie | Getty Images

Looking for something to do tonight? Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Team USA are currently playing the Puerto Rican National Team over on ESPN2.

Team USA routed the Dominicans on Wednesday 105-62, and tonight’s game is hugely important for DeMarcus Cousins, who is still trying to secure a spot on the final roster. Jerry Colangelo says the staff will make the final roster cuts after the game tonight, and will inform the team on Saturday morning before they head to Spain. At this point, Anthony Davis is considered a lock, and Boogie’s chances look okay, but a big game would really help.


Know Your Wildcat: Ryan Flannigan

#2 Ryan Flannigan

Vitals

– Height: 6’2”

– Weight: 225 lbs.

– Class: Junior

– Experience: 2 years played at Blinn Junior College (Texas)

– Position: Linebacker

– Hometown: Missouri City, TX.

– High School: Marshall

Class of 2014 High School/JUCO Ranking

– Rivals.com: #18 ILB (JuCo), starstarstar

– Scout.com: Unranked, starstar

– 247Sports.com: #23 ILB (HS), starstarstar

– ESPN Recruiting: #40 ILB (HS), starstarstar

How He Got Here

Flannigan originally committed to play for Texas Tech in 2012. That situation didn’t work out for the big fella and he decided to enroll at Blinn College, a junior college in Texas, for two seasons before looking to play for a division one program. During his sophomore season he began talking to a host of schools who were interested in his services for 2014. Flannigan began talking to UK and found himself primarily centered on the Wildcats after Neal Brown and Chad Scott (previously at Tech) made the move to Kentucky. He stayed in communication with those two coaches primarily, and committed to play for the Cats last June.

Previous Accolades, 2012-2014

Flannigan was a 2 year starter at Blinn College before he came to UK. His freshman season he had 45 tackles, 3 of which were for loss, and one sack. He was only able to play in 3 games his sophomore year because of injury, but in those 3 games he put up 22 tackles and 2 INT’s, one of which he returned for a pick-six. Flannigan had many offers, but he chose to come to play for the Cats over Arizona State, Cincinnati, Houston and Texas Tech.

Something You Didn’t Know About Him

He was ranked in the ESPN Top 200 coming out of high school in Texas.

Something We Made Up About Him

Flannigan was kicked off his high school team because he was literally sending kids to the hospital every practice. He couldn’t stop hurting the other kids with hits.

Unfair NFL Comparison

Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans

Outlook for 2014

He showed up late to campus to campus this year after having to stay back at his junior college to finish up some academic coursework. Since his late arrival on campus I haven’t heard a bad thing said about this kid. He works hard and fortunately he came to fall camp somewhat of familiar with what D.J. Eliot expects him to do this season. Eliot sent him defensive playbooks to study while he was still back at his other school, and he has been impressive so far in fall camp. Stoops hasn’t stopped raving:

“Ryan Flannigan just got here, really impressed with him. We needed him. We talked about the depth at linebacker, and he’s a guy that will definitely help us. We love the way he’s playing.”

I’d say he will probably fall behind other linebackers and won’t start at season’s beginning, but he should still see good minutes throughout the season as a back-up or possible starter.

@kaansoloKSR


Some pictures from Day 1 of Calipari Fantasy Camp

TeamFantasyCamp

Matt and Drew are hanging out at the Calipari Fantasy Camp this afternoon, and passed along these pictures to share. Check out the team above, including Brian Long and Sam Malone, who must have finally finished those very important internships.

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Tod Lanter, Trey Lyles (finally in a UK uniform!), Derek Willis, and EJ Floreal:

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Seth Greenberg shared this picture of himself, the awesome Marie Dzuris, Sam Malone, and Alex Poythress:

@SethOnHoops

@SethOnHoops

Kudos to Pierce, who pointed out that the two on Karl’s jersey is totally different than the twos on the other players’ jerseys:

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I can already tell this is going to drive me crazy, like the loose string on Julius Randle’s jersey last season.


Watch one of UK’s top targets play on ESPNU

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Three-star wide receiver Tavin Richardson is one of the Cats’ top targets in 2015, and in about thirty minutes, he and his high school team (Byrnes High School) will be playing on ESPNU.

Tavin’s top five includes Kentucky, Louisville, Central Florida, Nebraska, and Virginia Tech, and he recently told the Herald-Leader that Kentucky is his number one school. The South Carolina native is considered the 107th best wide receiver in the 2015 class by 247 Sports Composite, and at 6’3″, 200 lbs., he has the size the Cats need to compete in the SEC. He’s scheduled to take his official visit to Kentucky on December 13, which is also the day UK’s top overall target in the class, Damien Harris, will announce his college decision.

The staff is really high on Richardson, so flip on over to ESPNU at 6 p.m. to see what he’s all about.


Towles to Blue in a sneak peek of KyWildcatsTV’s latest video shoot

Last night, we told you about some top secret late night filming going on at Commonwealth Stadium. The awesome folks at KyWildcatsTV are hard at work on a project for football season, and Javess Blue posted this clip on his Instagram page showing him catching a pass from Patrick Towles at one of the practice fields.

I have a feeling we’ll be hearing “Towles to Blue” pretty often this fall.


Tyus Battle will also visit for Big Blue Madness

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Add another name to the growing list of visitors for Big Blue Madness: 2016 shooting guard Tyus Battle. Battle told Adam Zagoria that he’ll take an unofficial visit to UK for Big Blue Madness on October 17 and Duke the week after for their Countdown to Craziness.

Battle visited UK earlier this summer and picked up an offer. He and 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton have discussed playing together at the next level, and UK, UConn, and Michigan are recruiting them both. Otherwise, Duke is considered the favorite for Battle, who also has offers from Louisville, Syracuse, Indiana, Arizona, and others.

Here’s the Big Blue Madness guest list as of now:

2015: Charles Matthews (committed), Carlton Bragg, Brandon Ingram, Stephen Zimmerman
2016: Tyus Battle, Derryck Thornton

The staff hopes to add Antonio Blakeney and Jaylen Brown to the guest list as well.

[ZagsBlog]


Stoops gives insight on the depth chart in today’s practice notes

The Cats treated today like a Tuesday game-week practice, running against a UT-Martin scout team for the first time.  It was a Tuesday-type practice, but Stoops dropped roster news like it was a Monday press conference.

-  Stoops said during his Media Day press conference the he expects 12-13 freshmen to play right away.  After a month of practice, Stoops knows which freshman are ready to go.  On offense all five wide receivers will play (Snodgrass, Baker and Bone outside; TV and Johnson inside) and both running backs (powerful Horton and speedy Boom) will see the field.  On the other side of the ball, Matt Elam and nickelback Kendall Randolph (a favorite of Stoops) are the only freshman locked in for playing time.  It isn’t quite 12-13, but Stoops is anxious to use his new weapons.

-  What might be more newsworthy is who isn’t on Stoops’ list.  Lloyd Tubman could have cracked onto the list, but an injury caused him to miss about a week during a critical segment of camp.  Tubman and many of the other big guys (like Josh Krok) will wear a redshirt with their quarterback Drew Barker.

Stoops is ready to let his young quarterback learn, “I think we would like to (redshirt) if we could.  I think that would be in his best interest and our best interest.  We’ll see how that goes.  He will prepare to play in a backup role, and if we can save him through the season that’s what we’d like to do.”

-  Boom Williams walked off the practice field earlier this week hold his left hand in pain.  Stoops laughed off the “injury”,  “He’s fine, he got a boo-boo on his wrist.”

-  Demarco Robinson’s status for next week is uncertain.  Robinson has spent the offseason and fall camp making amends with the coaches after several off the field incidents.  He’s been doing all of the right things, but Stoops will not make a decision on Demarco until next week.

-  Jason Hatcher will start at defensive end in the 3-4.  Hatcher hasn’t been mentioned too much this preseason, despite an exceptional freshman year.  It’s easy to forget about the guy behind Bud and Za’Darius on the depth chart, but Stoops’ defense needs his energy and attitude on the field, “Very proud of the way he’s playing,” Stoops said.  “I really like Jason’s attitude.  He’s really matured – he’ll be the first one to tell you - and just really playing well.”

-  Neal Brown’s offensive line is set.  Darrian Miller and Jordan Swindle had secured their spots at tackle going into camp, but Kyle Meadows will see a lot of snaps as their backup.  Jon Toth put on an extra 20 pounds to pass the 300-mark and solidify his spot at center.  After struggling to keep his spot at left guard last season, Zach West showed maturity this offseason to ensure that no one is stealing his spot.  Ramsey Meyers has secured a spot at the opposite guard, where Teven Eatmon-Nared and Cole Mosier will also see some reps.

-  The running back position doesn’t need a “starter.”  The coaches are going to do their best to spread the ball around, but Neal Brown said today that Chad Scott will ultimately have the decision as to who’s getting the first reps, “We’re going to play the hot hand.”

-  Neal Brown has found Steven Borden’s niche.  Brown admitted that he didn’t know how to utilize Borden’s versatile skill set that well in his first year.  He expects Borden to take a HUGE jump forward after learning more about the game and improving as a wide receiver, “He’s a lot more comfortable in the backfield than he is probably spread out.  He can do both, but he’s probably more comfortable in that fullback, h-back type role.  He understands in the run game that people are going to move.  The movement kind of got him last year when he was playing tight end.”