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March 28th, 2015

Report: Rick Barnes Fired at Texas

Numerous people are saying Rick Barnes has been fired from the head coaching job at Texas. This isn’t necessarily surprising as Barnes has massively underachieved with a ton of talent. Maybe, this just goes to show that you also have to be a great coach when you are a good recruiter, cough cough USBWA voters.

CBS’ Sam Vecenie poses an interesting debate though. Is Texas a top five job from a coach standpoint? There’s not much pressure as it’s a football school first and has a ton of money to spend.

For what it’s worth, I agree with Vecenie as he’s not saying it’s a top five program, but rather if you’re a coach you want to go here.

The two names being thrown around are the obvious ones in Gregg Marshall and Shaka Smart. This absolutely makes the Alabama, St. John’s and Tennessee jobs less desirable and should lead to some mayhem in the coaching carousel.

Barnes was the head coach in Austin for 17 years, going 402-180 but made just one Final Four.

 


Catch the KSR Pre-game Show

Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

It’s officially go time, just look at Sam Malone. Tip is just under three hours away yet I know you’re ready to listen to the gang. Just tune in to the KSR Pre-game show to hear Matt and the crew talk about the Elite Eight game against Notre Dame. Will it be a repeat of the West Virginia game? How will Kentucky use it’s massive size advantage and depth to help secure a win? Will Willie Cauley-Stein have another monster dunk? How’s Aaron Harrison’s finger? The list goes on and on, but who am I to stop. Just listen to Matt and friends.

The show starts approximately at 6:15.Tune in to 630 WLAP in Lexington to hear the KSR pregame show or stream online

Share your voices and opinions by calling 1-800-444-8484 or 502-571-8484.

Discuss the show below.


Bud Dupree Rising Up the Charts

 

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

In a quick break from basketball talk, let’s take a look at Big Blue Nation’s favorite football player. SB Nation’s site Canal Street Chronicles discuss Bud Dupree going to the Saints with the No. 13 overall pick. The writer talks about Dupree’s hardworking nature as one of the main reasons he wants to see New Orleans take Bud. He uses this quote as a prime example:

“I wear uniform number 2 because I’m trying to be number 1 but I am working like I am number 2″. – Bud Dupree, via the UK Athletics website.

This is high praise for Dupree, who has been on a tear since the season ended. At the NFL Combine, Dupree measured in at 6’4″, 269 pounds before running a 4.56 40-yard dash and dominating the vertical and broad jumps at 42 and 138 inches respectively.

Take a quick break from all the basketball stuff and read the article, pretty impressive to hear someone beg for their team to draft a Kentucky player. Best of luck to Bud Dupree as the draft process continues.


Willie Cauley-Stein is thriving as a mentor for the Wildcats

© Dale Zanine

© Dale Zanine

The original title of this AP article is “Confident Cauley-Stein is thriving in mentor role with the Wildcats”, however I think it is more about how Willie has found his confidence on and off the court and less about the players around him.

A short month and a half ago, we all saw a side of Willie Cauley-Stein we had never seen before. WCS was always a strange, but yet still lovable player on our team. Still. We never understood the inner workings of his mind. His strangeness and the way he stands out has turned him into one of our favorite characters over the year.

In case you missed it, here is the ESPN College Gameday special I am talking about:

 

Just like we have fell in love with Willie, the players have too. Now in his junior year, he is a mentor and big brother to the underclassmen who have came after him.

Calipari has always sat his players down at the end of the season and talked about what is best for them – staying or the NBA. For Willie, he only had to say one thing to Cal to let him stay a part of the Wildcats for another year.

“I said that day after we lost that I have never won a championship before,” Cauley-Stein said. “I’ve never won anything or any crazy awards and I’m coming back to fulfill that spot in my heart. To fulfill that emptiness.”

Now Willie says he is on a mission. (a quote we had a post on yesterday).  That mission may have took longer than expected, but he has finally reached the potential Calipari saw in him .

One that has taken longer than expected in the NBA prep school that doubles as Kentucky basketball under Calipari. Unlike many of his teammates, Cauley-Stein arrived in Lexington less a sure thing than a curiosity. He had the raw materials. What he lacked was the confidence required to mold his game into something better than the sum of his considerable parts.

You may not know this (har har), but Willie played football in high school, so his love for basketball has had to develop over the years.

And perhaps that’s the most important step in Cauley-Stein’s development. He admits he spent two years wondering if he belonged. It took being around “alpha males” like Julius Randle and twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison to play with swagger.

“He’s getting it,” Payne said. “It just happens in stages. It happens in flows. Hopefully somewhere down the road he gets it totally, he keeps it and he never loses it because that athlete is special.”

The story is a great one. Read the entire article here. 

 

@Sealey_KSR

 


Robic owns players with half-court shot

Shootarounds just ended for the Cats as they prep for tonight’s game. The Cats always end practice with a half-court shot and this time it was ended by Robic. Watch this hilarious video of Robic showing them how its done.

 

 

@Sealey_KSR


The Offense Dominates During Open Practice

IMG_20150328_124643

It was a cold, windy morning, but it didn’t keep a couple hundred fans from the Tim Couch Practice Fields to watch Shannon Dawson’s offense put on a show.  There wasn’t a better way to start an Elite 8 day.  Here’s a rundown of today’s offensive awesomeness.

1.  The running game works, with a little misdirection

Shannon Dawson’s running game looks completely different than Neal Brown’s, and it’s not because Jacob Hyde is lining up at fullback.  Today was filled with big plays from all three backs, getting into open space easier than ever before.  It wasn’t because the line was blocking better or the backs were running faster; they were successful because of the scheme.

Neal Brown believed too much in the old-fashioned lead play.  If the offensive line didn’t drive their man out of the hole, the play was dead in the water.  When Dawson ran the drive-block plays early in practice, they weren’t very successful either.  Today’s big plays came out of misdirection in the shotgun, using fake screen passes and pulling guards to bait the defense before the running back found a huge hole to bust through.

A little rundown of the best runs of the day…. Jojo’s cutback near the end of practice was good for 60+ yards or so, outdoing his big 30 yeard touchdown run from earlier.  Mikel Horton was the first to make an eye-opening play today, nearly running an 80-yard touchdown before getting caught inside the 10-yard line.  Boom brought as many Booms as usual, but his most surprising was a wheel route down the sideline for 60+ yards.

Simply put, they’re a lot more fun to watch make moves when in open space.

2.  Patrick Towles is confident

Towles’ role is a bit different this year, commanding total control of the offense when it comes to communicating the plays.  It’s helped them move much faster and I believe it’s made him more aware.  When the defense tried to throw him off guard with the blitz, he countered by getting it out of his hand quickly, or changing the snap count to draw the defense offsides.

The deep ball wasn’t executed too well today, but I can let it slide considering it was their first big scrimmage of the year (and the cold weather had guys a step slower).  What Pat had going for him was the 10-18 yard pass, hitting deep outs, comebacks, and squares routinely.  Just when the defense thought they had a stop, he’d hit Garrett Johnson or CJ Conrad in the middle of the field for an easy first down.

His confidence is probably what’s most important.  The defense was starting to get a little chummy, when Pat decided to tuck it and scramble.  Not allowed to take him down, they shoved him out of bounds.  He still won that round, “That was a first down,” Pat said.

3.  Even in a scrimmage, Stoops wasn’t letting the Refs off easy

Jeff Badet received some contact from Kendall Randolph on a fade route in the end zone.  Randolph didn’t get his head around quickly, making it an easy pass interference call for both referees.  Still, Stoops wasn’t satisfied, “That ball wasn’t catchable,” he pleaded.  “The ball was under thrown five yards.  Ain’t no way he’s making that catch.  It’s not a flag.”

The man has his DB’s backs.

The offensive lineman see how low they can go.  No position on the line is set, other than Jon Toth's spot at center.

The offensive lineman see how low they can go. No position on the line is set, other than Jon Toth’s spot at center.

4.  Red Zone Weapons

Let’s see if this scene sounds familiar.  The Cats have let an SEC opponent get into the Red Zone, but have stuffed the run two plays in a row.  Now third down, they can get out of there with a field goal if they can just get one more stop.  The next play a 6’6″ receiver makes an easy fade catch for a touchdown over Kentucky’s smaller cornerbacks.

This year WE GET TO TURN THE TABLES!  Blake Bone could have played better today, but still had two easy touchdowns from inside the red zone.  Another weapon we haven’t been used to in awhile is a great pass-catching tight end.  C.J. Conrad is only six practices into his college career, but Sweet Jesus he’s going to make an impact on the field.  He had two touchdown grabs off play-action rollouts that appeared effortless.  The only time I saw him drop a ball was after four people hit him in the middle of the field (it hurt me he got so many times).

5.  Jeff Badet is faster than you

I never realized how fast Jeff Badet was until watching a practice a few weeks.  Today, he surprised me yet again.  Someone around the team was telling me, “I didn’t think he could get faster, but after injury he somehow got faster.”

His route-running is exceptional as well and will help him make a push to start at outside receiver.  I also appreciated his improvisation, diving for a nice catch after the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

6.  A little something, something on the defense

I decided not to say much about the defense because their butts were thoroughly handed to them after a solid start.  But it’s still worth mentioning Ryan Flannigan’s improvement.  He’s thinking less, helping him react quicker.  I was unsure if he’d be a suitable Will linebacker, but his play today proved me wrong.

Here’s how the starting front seven looked, from left to right: C.J. Johnson, Melvin Lewis and Farrington Huguenin.  At linebacker: Denzil Ware, Josh Forrest, Ryan Flannigan and Jason Hatcher.  The secondary is pretty fluid, but A.J. Stamps, Blake McClain and Kendall Randolph will all play big roles.


Big night for former Cats in the NBA last night

The NBA Cats must have felt inspired from the performance of their young brothers against West Virginia Thursday, because they went off in each of their games last night. Look at this break down of the NBA Cats last night:

 

Go Cats!

@Sealey_KSR


Harrison and Ulis were rivals before they were Cats

 (AP Photo/James Crisp)

(AP Photo/James Crisp)

This picture was seen today on SportsCenter. No idea when it was taken, (and I haven’t found it on KSR from the past) but  I am assuming it was middle school. It’s hard to tell since Andrew Harrison looks like a full grown man and Ulis, well, he looks like a smaller version of himself now. 

(@Bigrich98)

 

 

Ulis kind of makes Harrison look like Mamadou Mdiaye a bit.

(h/t Orange County Register)

 

@Sealey_KSR


Kentucky Upsets #1 LSU in 12 Innings

Thomas Bernal collected three hits in a 5-4 win in Baton Rouge. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

Thomas Bernal collected three hits in a 5-4 win in Baton Rouge. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

For the seventh time in the Gary Henderson era, Kentucky has knocked off the #1 team in the country. A 5-4 upset over LSU on Friday night improved Kentucky’s record against #1 teams to 7-7 under Coach Henderson. The win did not come easy as the game rolled into extra innings.

LSU got the ball rolling with two runs in the second inning to take the first lead of the game. RBIs by Jake Fraley and Chris Sciambra put Kentucky starting pitcher Zack Brown in an early hole. Brown managed to work out of that inning and keep the score at 2-0 into the seventh where Kentucky’s offense woke up. LSU starter Jared Poche’ didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, but Kentucky found five hits off Poche’ in the seventh. Dorian Hairston started the inning with a double. Thomas Bernal collected one of his three hits on the game with an RBI single to score Hairston. Later in the inning, Connor Heady singled to bring home Bernal and tie the game. Kentucky had an opportunity with two outs to take their first lead of the game. Kyle Barrett came through in the clutch with an RBI single to score Greg Fettes and give UK a 3-2 lead. 

LSU quickly responded in the bottom half of the seventh. After a throwing error by Bernal, LSU scored to tie the game at three. The unearned run would lead to Brown not picking up a decision on the mound as he exited after 6.2 innings. Dylan Dwyer came on to finish the seventh and pitch into the eighth for Kentucky. Both team’s bullpens were able to shut down the other’s offense leading into extra innings. A duel began between Kentucky’s Zach Strecker and LSU’s Jesse Stallings in the extra frames. Strecker went three innings out of the bullpen, allowing four hits and an unearned run. Stallings was fantastic as well before he reached the 12th inning. 

Ka'ai Tom played hero once again. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

Ka’ai Tom played hero once again. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

Kentucky’s offense had been relatively quiet in the final two innings and in extras. Stallings had been cruising through the lineup before Barrett singled with two outs in the 12th. Following Evan White being hit by a pitch, Ka’ai Tom came to the plate with runners on first and second with two outs. Tom drove a 1-2 pitch down the right field line to score both Barrett and White. Tom’s RBI double gave Kentucky a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 12th. 

Just like the 7th inning, LSU managed to begin another rally in the 12th. Two errors by Kentucky allowed LSU to cut the score to 5-4. Kentucky closer Spencer Jack was brought on to end the threat. Jack got a groundout to end the game and solidify a 5-4 win for Kentucky.

-Starting pitcher Zack Brown was phenomenal in his third consecutive Friday start. In his 11th career start, Brown went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs while striking out three.

-Evan White extended his hit streak to nine games while Kyle Barrett extended his to eight games.

-Zach Strecker picked up the third win of his career after pitching three innings and not allowing an earned run.

-Ka’ai Tom did not have a hit in his previous four at-bats in the game before his RBI double in the 12th inning. Tom now has 26 RBIs in 2015.

-LSU’s Alex Bregman and Connor Hale combined for one hit in ten at-bats against Kentucky pitching on Friday. Neither of LSU’s big run producers drove in a run against UK.

-Over 11,000 people were at Alex Box Stadium to see Kentucky knock off LSU in Baton Rouge.

 

@TreyHuntsmanKSR

 


Jim Rome perfectly describes our love for Sam Malone in 60 seconds

sam-malone

Who would have thought it would be a Sam Malone heavy day?

Yesterday, Jim Rome did a radio CBS Sports Minute dedicated to Sam Malone where he confessed his love for Malone in 60 seconds. All of BBN, especially the ladies, love Sam Malone but I don’t think we have ever been able to describe in in the perfect way Jim Rome did. Click the link below to hear it.

3-27 Jim Rome CBS Sports Minute

 

@Sealey_KSR


The Cats beat #1 LSU last night, twice

14lsu.600.1

I imagine this is how the #1 ranked LSU baseball and softball teams felt last night after they fell to the Cats in both match ups. The baseball team strung it out to 12 innings and the softball team tossed seven to both pull out the wins. Here is a break down of the matchups:

 

Baseball  (5-4)

The Cats (17-9,3-4) fell behind early after LSU brought home two runs in the second inning with RBIs from Jake Fraley and Chris Sciambra. LSU Jared Poche’ was working on a no hitter, before the Cats broke that up in the fifth inning. The Cats then collected a total of five hits in the top of the seventh, givinig them at 3-2 lead. The Tigers tied it after a throwing error.

The game stayed at a standstill until the bottom of the 11th, when the Tigers rallied on a leadoff single from Jake Fraley.

Jared Foster then rolled a ball into the hole on the left side, with shortstop Connor Heady ranging to his right and his off-balance throw sailing wide of the bag. Greg Deichmann then grounded into a double play that pushed Fraley to third base with Mark Laird at the plate. After UK intentionally walked the bases loaded with two outs, Conner Hale ripped a line drive in the gap on the right side, plunking Alex Bregman with the hit, ending the 11th inning.

At the top of the order, Kyle Barett smacked a single throughout the right side of the field and Evan White forced him to second after a hit on a 3-1 pitch. Ka’ai Tom hit a 1-2 offering, skipping the ball over the  head of first baseman and bringing in two runs for the 5-3 lead. LSU scored one in the bottom of the inning, but it was not enough to overcome the Cats’ late rally.

 

 

Softball   (3-1)

Junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley did work for the Cats, tossing seven innnings with three strikeouts and only one run, with catcher Griffin Joiner leading the offense with a 3-for-3 night with two runs batted in and a HR. This victory over LSU is the first-ever for the No. 15 Cats over a No.. 1 ranked  team in program his tory.

Kentucky (22-8) handed LSU (32-2) its second loss of the season, marking the Wildcats fourth win over a ranked foe. Here is a neat little breakdown UKathletics did.

 

Maise Steed went 2-for-3 in the game, extending a hitting streak to five games. Christian Stoke went 1-for 3, while Breanne Ray scored the game winning run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly.

Both teams will continue the battle against the Tigers today. Baseball is this evening at 7:30, while the girls have a noon start time in Lexington. Get out and enjoy the game if you can.

Go Cats! 

@Sealey_KSR


Saturday Morning links

links

 

Hi. It’s me again this morning. I figured since the Cats won last Saturday, I should do the shift again to keep the mojo going. Cats face the Fighting Irish at 8:49 tonight on TBS and the pregame show will start around 6:15.. Until then come back to KSR for updates throughout the day. Let’s start off with some links: 

–          Guess what day it is? That’s right. Open football practice day. The practice starts in 30 minutes, so If you’re in Lexington make your way to the practice fields and go and support the team. Here are some details about the practice.

–          Only  two games to talk about today, Arizona vs. Wisconsin and Notre Dame vs. Kentucky. Still. Since I always put a schedule in my morning post, here it is.

 

–          Kentucky canceled practice for an NBA Draft suit fitting, but I think it was worth it. According to this source, Cal insisted the boys see a tailor so they would all get an early start to the suit game. Also, that source is the Onion and its totally fake, but still funny.

 

–          An SB Nation affiliate posted a story on how Kentucky would be an underdog compared to the greatest college teams of all time. They said they would even be underdogs to the 2012 Kentucky ream. They used quotes from former Vegas oddsmakers and other gambling experts to come to this conclusion.  I personally hate comparing teams from different years since they cannot play each other, but I’m sure the comment section will probably see a debate.

 

–          The funny thing bout Kentucky coverage is that within hours of each other one media will say one thing and another the exact opposite. So here is an AP writer who thinks the Cats are the greatest team ever.

@Sealey_KSR

 

 


March 27th, 2015

Friday’s News and Views

Aaron Harrison game-winner vs. Michigan

Crazy to think that shot was a year ago in the Elite Eight, but here we are today. Let’s hope for the same result, but hopefully a little less drama.

Big Blue Nation vs the Nation

That’s how it’s going to be tomorrow according to Notre Dame’s head coach Mike Brey. During today’s press conference Brey said that the Irish will be America’s team when they take on Kentucky. It shouldn’t be that shocking of a comment as there’s a clear line of people who want to see Kentucky go 40-0 and those hoping for a loss.

Karl-Anthony Towns Gets It

The kid might just be a freshman, but you could argue no one has embraced the culture at Kentucky more than Karl-Anthony Towns. He was quoted today at the press conference saying “I think that’s the biggest joy I have is the fact that I still get to play with my brothers. Like I said, we love each other tremendously and it’s one of those things, it’s not even the fact about playing another game, it’s an opportunity to play another game with my brothers.” He’s a special player and person.

10687120

Little Guy with a Ton of Swag

Leave it to the one many people would least expect to be the ‘swaggy’ talker of the group, but it was Tyler Ulis who still had some harsh words for our friends from West Virginia. Ulis told Tyler Thompson today that Kentucky wanted to beat West Virginia by 50 because they felt disrespected. If this keeps making Ulis dish out assists and not turn the ball over, go for it young fella.

Diamond Stone Wants to be a Turtle

Five-star center Diamond Stone committed to Maryland tonight via Twitter.

 

He was once a Kentucky recruit, but chose Maryland over Wisconsin, UCONN and Oklahoma State. I guess Kentucky can’t have ALL the five-star recruits.

The Coaching Carousel is Going Round and Round

Big news today in the SEC as Tennessee fired Donnie Tyndall this morning. Tyndall, who just completed his first year in Knoxville was let go presumably for an investigation when he was the head coach at Southern Miss. Steve Lavin was also fired today from St. John’s. There are plenty of big name programs out there that should have some interesting hires this offseason.

Mark Cornelison/ AP

Mark Cornelison/ AP

Louisville Joins Kentucky in the Elite Eight

I think we all can admit it’s pretty impressive that Rick Pitino has Louisville in the Elite Eight again, with a 10-point win over North Carolina State tonight. This team has struggled all season scoring and obviously lost starting point guard Chris Jones. Might just have to start penciling in Kentucky teams in the Elite Eight all the time now.

Kentucky Opens as an 11-point Favorite

It shouldn’t shock anyone, but Kentucky will be favored by double digits tomorrow. If you’re in a certain city in the desert, the Wildcats opened giving 11 points to the Irish. Cats by more than 11.

Kentucky Fans at Notre Dame

We’ll be back at it tomorrow at 10 a.m. Until then here’s a picture of three goggles in front of Touchdown Jesus.

@uklefty22


Three Keys To Reaching the Final Four

For the fifth time in six years under John Calipari the Cats are back in the elite eight with a trip to the Final Four on the line. This time the Cats face Notre Dame, a team that upset Nerlens and Willie back in the 2012 when the two teams met last. What will the Cats need to do in order to avoid that same fate? Here are my three keys to beating the Irish and reaching the final four:

1. Wear Them Out.

Jerian Grant Is Averaging 39 minutes per game in March (VIA Fansided)

So far in the NCAA Tournament the Fighting Irish are playing basically their starting lineup for the entire game. Reserves Bonzie Colson and VJ Beachem have averaged 10 and 5 minutes respectively during these three games which equates to a whole bunch of minutes logged for the starting five over three games. Notre Dame star Jerian Grant has yet to go to the bench.

That gives the 8-deep Cats a chance to bring relentless defense and take the deep shooting Irish legs out from under them. Plus with Karl-Anthony Towns only playing 13 minutes against WVU  the big man should have fresh legs to dominate ND down low.

2. Crush Them On the Glass.

The big men should have a field day against the Leprechauns  (Credit: Getty Images / Gregory Shamus)

Notre Dame does a lot of things well. They score in bunches. They move the ball exceptionally. They shoot over 51% from the floor. But the one thing they don’t do well is rebound. The Irish rank 250th in the nation with 32.8 rebounds per contest and rely on 6’5 combo forward Pat Connaughton to shoulder much of that load. What is he going to do against 7 foot Willie Cauley-Stein?  Or even 6’9 Marcus Lee?

Notre Dame’s starting five goes 6’1, 6’5, 6’5, 6’5, and 6’10 and as I’ve mentioned they basically play the entire game. The Cats go 6’6, 6’6, 6’10, 7’0, and 6’11 with solid rebounders in Lee, Johnson, Booker, and Ulis coming off the bench. The Cats should dominate the glass and get plenty of opportunities for second chance points.

3. Stem the Tide

As I mentioned, the fighting Irish like to score in bunches. In the ACC Championship game the Tarheels had taken a 64-56 lead with 9:21 to go when ND decided to turn it on. A three here, a steal there, and a 15-0 run buried the Tarheels in just over three minutes making it 64-71. The Irish never trailed again.

Last night they used two surges, including one 38-18 run, to keep Wichita State at bay. Kentucky will need to avoid the floodgates collapsing and match ND blow for blow as they attempt to make in runs in the game. Basketball is often an game of momentum. The Cats will need to control the tides to cruise to another easy win.

 

What do you think the Cats will need to focus on in order to reach a second straight final four?

 

 


Friday Spring Football Notes

happystoops

–  After a sloppy start to the week, the team got it together today.  He was not happy at all Wednesday, but today’s practice was much more productive, especially the offensive efficiency.  Stoops admits at times it’s tough to take off his defensive coordinator hat, but today he had to just sit back and applaud the offense, “If we don’t make plays down the field we ain’t going to win football games.”

–  Part of the reason the offense looked better was the return of Blake Bone.  After a minor injury sidelined him Wednesday, today he was back, and his presence was much needed, “he makes a difference.”  His P.I.C. is on the rise too.  Dorian Baker had offseason knee surgery, but told us on Twitter earlier this week that he’s back to running, and should begin routes in two weeks.

–  Mike Edwards has great instincts.  After redshirting last season and arriving to campus late, Edwards finally has five practices under his belt, giving Stoops a chance to see his intangibles in action.  “We put guys in position but ultimately sometimes you gotta to have instincts, you gotta to make plays and I see a nice comfort zone with him,” Stoops said.

–  Replacing Bud and Za’Darius won’t be easy.  But neither was replacing Avery Williamson, but as D.J. Eliot reminded us today, Josh Forrest did a pretty damn good job of rising to the occasion.  Forrest led the team in tackles with 110.  Eliot also said that it’s going to take a group effort in order to continually make big plays (like Bud’s Pick 6, For the Win).

“We’re working with Jason Hatcher and Denzil Ware.  We’ve got some guys coming in the Fall that will be playing those positions so we’ll just have to have somebody step up and fill those roles. On top of that, you’re going to have to make up for the plays those guys made, not necessarily with their position but as a defense. So we may have to make more plays at inside linebacker, may have to make more plays in the secondary, might have to make more plays at defensive tackle but somebody has to step up.”

–  Blake McClain is working the nickel and strong safety.  They’re trying to get the two-year nickelback (not the terrible band) starter on the field as much as possible.  By moving him around some, it gives Kendall Randolph extra opportunities to make big plays.

–  Matt Elam is down to 360, but still wants to lose more.  He came to campus near 400 pounds.  He’s lost plenty, down into the 365-360 range but wants that to be closer to 345-350 by the end of Spring practice.  With the release of the media guide, I’ll have complete updates of all the weight gained/lost over the offseason later.