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Kentucky Football Season Tickets Will Be a Little More Expensive in 2017

Football season ticket holders will pay an extra $30 to see all seven games scheduled at Commonwealth Stadium for the 2017 season.

Today the university announced season tickets will be $310, just $10 less than what fans paid see eight home games in 2015, the first season in the renovated Commonwealth Stadium.  Premium season tickets in suite seats are $350, tickets in the upper deck 200-level will be $240, and the “Pocket Pass” electronic tickets are only $205.  There is no increase for K-Fund donations.

If you were planning on seeing Stoops’ Troops regardless of price, the sooner you renew, the better.  If you pull the trigger before February 28 you will receive two complimentary basketball tickets.  If you renew by March 31 you’ll receive an invitation for a complete tour of the new football facilities.

For more information, click here.


UK Football season ticket prices are going up next season

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Do you have UK Football season tickets? Well, brace yourself, because ticket prices are going up. This morning, UK announced that season tickets for the 2017 season are available for $310, a $30 increase from 2016 prices. When you break that up across the seven home games (including Florida, Tennessee, and Louisville), that’s a little more than $4 extra per game.

While price hikes are never fun to hear about, corresponding K Fund donations will remain unchanged and most seats in the 200-level will be available without a K Fund donation. Prices for parking passes and corresponding K Fund donations will also remain unchanged. Premium season tickets in the Suite Level, Loge Level, Woodford Reserve Mezzanine Club and Field Club are $350 apiece. Public season ticket packages in Sections 201-203 and 209-211 will be priced at $240. Fans can view a seating chart with the various pricing levels here.

Limited quantities of the Kentucky Football Pocket Pass will also return for the 2017 season, which includes a mobile ticket to all seven home games for a discounted price of $205 while supplies last. This unique option gives fans the opportunity to watch games from various viewpoints with a different seat each game. Seat locations will be delivered electronically to fans’ mobile devices through the Kentucky Wildcats Gameday app.

2016 season ticket holders will be able to renew their tickets online through their My UK Account beginning Wednesday. The 2017 football season ticket renewal deadline is April 19. New season tickets will also go on sale beginning Wednesday morning, Feb. 22 at UKFootballTix.com.

For more information on season tickets, click through the jump for UK’s full release.

(more…)


Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Jordan Jones listed as best returning SEC linebacker

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

The writers over at Saturday Down South have been running through all of the positions and listing the top SEC returners for next season. They’ve already listed the top returners at wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, and running back. The only Wildcat to make those lists is Benny Snell, who comes in at number 7 of all returning running backs in the SouthEastern Conference.

Tonight, Saturday Down South writer William McFadden listed the top returning linebackers in the SEC and Kentucky’s own Jordan Jones claimed the top spot on the list. On top of that, UK’s Josh Allen came in at number 5 on the list as well. Here’s what SDS had to say about the two returning linebackers for the Wildcats.

On Jordan Jones:

No. 1: Jordan Jones, Kentucky – 2016 stats (109 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 4 sacks)

Jones led all returning SEC defenders in tackles and tackles for loss in 2016 as a sophomore, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t continue to improve next season. With outside linebackers Allen and Ware providing the majority of Kentucky’s pass rush, Jones was asked to handle the interior of the defense. He accomplished that task by garnering over eight tackles per game and knifing into opposing backfields to stop players behind the line of scrimmage.

On Josh Allen:

No. 5: Josh Allen, Kentucky – 2016 stats (62 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 7 sacks)

Another skilled pass rusher, Allen led Kentucky in sacks and showed a lot of speed coming off the edge. Along with Denzil Ware and Jordan Jones, Allen makes up a very underrated linebacker corps that could be among the best in the conference. The rising junior, who was seventh on the team in total tackles, can improve his ability as a run defender, but he’s already a valuable pass rusher with a lot of remaining upside.

In a conference that is known for being able to keep the talent rolling in year after year, for Kentucky to have two guys in the top 5 returners in the most important position on the defensive side of the ball is a huge testament to what Mark Stoops and staff have been doing with this roster. Kentucky fans would’ve dreamed to have a player on any of these lists just a few seasons ago.

If you want to read the entire list of top returners in the SEC, you can view it here.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Will 2017 be Year of the RB in the SEC?

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Before the 2016 football season began, many thought the SEC was going to be all about it’s star running backs. LSU’s Leonard Fournette was expected to be the Heisman front-runner. Georgia’s Nick Chubb had healed up and was prepared to carry the Bulldogs. Jalen Hurd had star potential written all over him in Tennessee. Fast forward to 2017, and none of those names really headlined, at least not in the way we expected.

Fournette didn’t really live up to expectations, Chubb struggled while sharing carries with Michel, and Hurd completely disappeared from college football. As one ESPN writer posted this week, “something else happened: A lot of names that weren’t nationally known turned in impressive seasons running the football, and many of them are back for 2017.”

According to ESPN’s Kahn Jr., 2017 will be the real year of the running back in the SEC.

This fall, the running backs with the top five rushing totals in the conference in 2016 all return and eight of the top 10 are back. And several of these young backs are just getting started.

The top 5 returning rushers, in order of rushing yards last season, are as follows:

Derrius Guice, LSU – 1,387 yards

Rawleigh Williams III, Arkansas – 1,360 yards

Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt – 1,283 yards

Kamryn Pettway, Auburn – 1,224 yards

Nick Chubb, Georgia – 1,130 yards

Can you guess who was 6th in rushing yards returning? That’s right, Benny Snell, Jr!  

Snell rushed for 1,091 yards and tied for 2nd in touchdowns among SEC running backs (13). With Boom and Jojo moving on from UK, it opens up a lot more carries for Benny to showcase his talents. Don’t be surprised if Snell passes the 1,300 yard mark next season. Based off of his freshman performance, of which he didn’t take a snap until week 3, it’s safe to assume he would’ve had almost 1,300 yards in 2016. That’s only with 186 carries last year, which you can expect to go up a lot in the Fall.

Had Boom decided to return to UK, Williams would’ve been 5th in yards returning, just ahead of Georgia’s Nick Chubb.

The stats don’t lie. On paper, 2017 looks like it could be a huge year for running backs in the SEC. Fortunately for Kentucky, we have one of the SEC’s best in the back field. It’ll be football time in the bluegrass before we know it.


Position Reviews and Previews: Special Teams

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

2016 Production and Accolades

Mark Stoops was blessed to have Austin MacGinnis placekick for Kentucky in 2016.  His foot is responsible for two wins, the difference between another five-win season and a bowl game in the state of Florida.

MacGinnis became the first UK kicker with two game-winners since Doug Pelfrey’s boot bailed out Freddie Maggard.  The 51-yard kick that capped off Kentucky’s win over Mississippi State was a turning point for the team, proving they could win, regardless of what adversity they faced.  It came in handy on the road against Louisville.  Leach’s calls still give me chills.

MacGinnis earned SEC Special Team Player of the Week Honors following each game-winner.  MacGinnis made 16-19 field goals (84.2%) and the junior didn’t miss an attempt in the last five games.  He put just under one-third of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

With Matt House at the helm, the coverage units excelled.  An opponent failed to score a return touchdown all season.  The difference in yardage is hidden, but the coverage units did reveal a few stars in the making, most notably Kash Daniel.

In the return game, Kentucky’s six-year special teams touchdown drought ended thanks to future Heisman Trophy Winner Charles Walker.  Drew Franklin’s analysis might be the best thing ever published on Kentucky Sports Radio dot com.

Grade: A, F

It’s hard to ask for more.  Every unit improved.  The only thing still missing is a kick return touchdown.  And then there’s the punting game.  Truly the outlier of the group, it deserves a separate grade.  You need at least 40 yards per punt to be successful and Grant McKinniss averaged just 39.2 per attempt.  Just a freshman, he has time to improve, but he must improve or Dean Hood will have to start looking for alternatives.

Departures/Newcomers

With 11 different players in six different packages, obviously it’s hard to track who is going where.  However, there are three new people that will make an impact on social teams: Dean Hood, Davonte Robinson and Lynn Bowden.

Hood’s experience as a head coach will be invaluable during the important portion of practice dedicated to specialists.  In the return game, the only thing missing is a kickoff return touchdown.  Robinson and Bowden are two guys with enough speed and athleticism to change the (return) game in 2017.

2017 Outlook

Kentucky will be in good hands in 2017.  With Dean Hood at the helm and a senior Austin McGinnis placekicking, special teams will be a strength.  The only question mark is at punter, but it doesn’t have to be that way if Eddie Gran’s offense never gets stopped.

2016 Reviews and Previews: Offensive LineRunning BackSecondaryLinebackersQuarterback, Wide Receivers, Defensive line


Thursday Night Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

Thursday Night Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

FullSizeRender-118

All-Star Weekend Begins Tomorrow

Nine former Wildcats will be in New Orleans to participate in a variety of events designed to showcase the best the NBA has to offer.  Here’s where you’ll find them:

  • Rising Stars Challenge (Friday, 9 p.m.): Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles
  • D-League All-Star Game (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.): Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress
  • Skills Challenge (Saturday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Devin Booker
  • All-Star Game (Sunday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis (starter), DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall

All of the events will air on TNT except the D-League All-Star game, which can be seen on NBA TV.

@KentucyMBB created a ton of photoshopped billboards that I wish were real.

@KentucyMBB created a ton of photoshopped billboards that I wish were real.

The Cubes is Cal’s Newest Podcast Guest

Most know him as the Dallas Mavericks’ owner; others as the guy who invests in small businesses on ABC’s Shark Tank.  Now see Mark Cuban in a different light as John Calipari’s podcast guest.  The Cal Cast is available on iTunes and anywhere you can get podcasts.

Watch Lynn Bowden Dunk

It’s almost too much fun to see the crazy things the future football star can do.  Here’s what happens when he messes around with a basketball in an empty gym.

That boy’s good.

Shots Fired at Courtney Love

Blake Bone is quite the comedian.  The wide receiver did some deep diving to clown on Kentucky’s middle linebacker, Courtney Love.

Love’s response was simple: “2011 State Champs 🏆.”  Still, Bone wins this round.  I just wish players would bring back the shoulder pads that are three times too large.  Love looks more like a Ninja Turtle than a linebacker with those nine-inch pads.

P.J. Washington is Excited to be in the Bluegrass

The future Wildcat will play at Marshall County High School Friday night at 7:30 and Saturday evening at 6:30.

As a KSR blogger, it’s my job to encourage you to watch Washington play.  As a fan of good basketball, I implore you to see Washington play in person before he comes to UK.  He is without a doubt my favorite player in this class and will leave Kentucky as one of my favorite players in the Calipari era.

To make this simple: he’s a younger version of Draymond Green.  A 6’8″ smack-talking power forward that rebounds like a traditional post on the defensive end, Washington is much more dynamic on the offensive end.  Playing for the sixth-ranked team in the nation, he leads Findlay Prep in assists and three-pointers made, shooting at a 35 percent clip from behind the arc.  According to Ben Roberts, in one game this season both Findlay Prep point guards had to sit out of the first half for disciplinary reasons, so Washington ran the point.

Please, jump on the P.J. Washington bandwagon before it gets too crowded.

I Want to Hate Oregon’s Jerseys, but I Can’t

@ESPNCBB

@ESPNCBB

The concept of glow-in-the-dark jerseys is the most idiotic thing in human history.  They have no utility.  The only time the players might notice them is during pregame introductions, that’s it.  Still, as a child of the 90’s I’m obligated to appreciate the tackiness.  Not only was any and everything glow-in-the-dark cool, cartoon college sweatshirts were a fad I was sad to see disappear.  Donald Duck on the chest is the best thing Oregon uniforms feature.  See what you think by turning the channel to ESPN.

A Walk-Off in Westwood

The UK softball team suffered a loss to the No. 5 UCLA Bruins in the first leg of last night’s doubleheader, but they returned with a vengeance for the second game.  In the top of the 11th inning, Jenny Schaper took one into deep left centerfield.

The 2-1 win was sealed with a 6-5-3 double play in the bottom of the 11th.  The 22nd-ranked Wildcats have three more games before they return to Lexington: UC-Davis and Oregon tomorrow night, and Saturday against Cal State Northridge.

The season begins for the Kentucky baseball team this weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The BatCats will take on the Tar Heels Friday at 3:00, Saturday at 2:00 and Sunday at 1:00.  Follow @TreyHuntsmanKSR for updates throughout Nick Mingione’s first weekend as UK’s head coach.

Did Mitch Make It?

Mitch Barnhart hit the road to Fayetteville with UK Hoops.  He isn’t going just to be a cheerleader.  During today’s pregame shoot-around, he got in on the action.  Unfortunately, this photograph doesn’t show his form, nor if the bucket fell through the net.

@KentuckyWBB

@KentuckyWBB

Based on the trajectory and Barnhart’s eagerness, I’m going to say yes, yes it went in.


@SEC

Greg Hart named Chair of the SEC Football Leadership Council

@SEC

@SEC

Congratulations to junior tight end Greg Hart, who has just been elected Chair of the SEC Football Leadership Council. Hart and vice chair Danny Etling (LSU) were selected by a vote of their peers at a meeting of the Council at SEC headquarters in Birmingham. They will attend a portion of the meeting of the SEC’s Athletics Directors in March and the Conference’s Spring Meetings in May and June.

“These talented young men are proven leaders on the field and among their teammates,” said Misty Brown, SEC Director of Student-Athlete Engagement. “They took special interest to engage in conversation about topics that were important to them. They came prepared and ready to provide feedback on issues related to recruiting, practice and career preparation. We were extremely impressed with our football leadership council and look forward to continuing to work with all of our councils to identify ways that we can remain innovative in enhancing the student-athlete experience.”

The councils, which consist of one representative from each institution, serve as a conduit of communication to the conference office on issues related to student-athlete experience and student-athlete wellness.

“It’s an honor to represent Kentucky football on the SEC Football Leadership Council and it’s very humbling to be chosen by my peers to be the chair,” Hart said. I’m excited about this opportunity that we have to come to together and discuss concerns and topics with the people who make the decisions in the SEC. I want to thank Commissioner Sankey and everyone else involved for creating this group. The SEC’s motto of ‘It Just Means More’ is really true. They really do care how we feel and it’s cool to be a part of this.”

Congrats, Greg. Keep making us proud.


@UKFootball

UK’s new football coaches are already at work

@UKFootball

Stoops and Dean Hood (@UKFootball)

Their hires only became official yesterday, but Kentucky’s new assistant football coaches are already at work this morning. Special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Dean Hood and defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc are at the Nutter Field House this morning for the team’s offseason workouts, and by the looks of it, jumped right in:

Derrick LeBlanc (@UKFootball)

Derrick LeBlanc (@UKFootball)

Dean Hood (@UKFootball)

Dean Hood (@UKFootball)

Some more pictures from the workout via @UKFootball:

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

Of course Kash Daniel has a giant American flag tattoo.


Thursday’s Top 10: Woo and Calipari for America

Thursday’s Top 10: Woo and Calipari for America

woo

Today’s a very exciting day for us here at KSR. This morning, Lukasz Obrzut will become an American citizen. The native of Jędrzejów, Poland played at Kentucky from 2003-2007 and since, has become a member of the KSR family, helping out on the radio show and now, “Hey, Kentucky!”. Matt and Ryan will be live from his naturalization ceremony in Louisville for today’s show, so tune in to hear about this monumental moment in Woo’s life. Someone bring the gummy bears or other fruity snacks.

Here’s what else is going on today…

1. Calipari will coach the USA Basketball U19 Team

If you missed in in the post directly below this one, Jeff Goodman broke some big news this morning when he reported that John Calipari will coach the USA Basketball U19 Team this summer in the FIBA U19 World Championships in Cairo, Egypt. Calipari has been interested in getting back in to USA Basketball for a while, and this is the perfect fit. He’ll have access to the top players in the country, many of whom will have yet to choose a college. As if the guy needed any more help with recruiting, right?

2. Arkansas knocked off South Carolina

Who said SEC Basketball is predictable? Arkansas upset South Carolina last night, essentially narrowing the race for the #1-seed in the SEC Tournament from three to two. Kentucky’s chances of getting the 1-seed and playing Friday afternoon instead of Friday night became even greater when the unfortunate news broke that Florida center John Egbunu is out for the season with an ACL injury. Scroll down to my post from last night for a detailed breakdown of the race for the 1-seed.

3. Meanwhile, all eyes turn to Georgia

It’s easy to look ahead to the SEC Tournament, but first, the Cats must travel to Georgia to face the Bulldogs, who took the Cats to overtime in Rupp a few weeks back. Georgia’s had some bad luck this season, but they’re entirely capable of knocking off the Cats, especially in what will surely be a sold out Stegeman Coliseum. White out, red out, t-shirt night, cup night, ball night, you name it, Georgia will pull out all the stops. Dickie V will be there:

4. Trae Young announces his decision

At one time, Trae Young seemed poised to be the next great John Calipari point guard, but Cal could only wait so long to build his recruiting class and accepted a commitment from Quade Green instead. Today, Young is finally ready to announce his college decision, and it’ll be either Kansas or Oklahoma. The hometown Sooners seem to have the momentum heading into this afternoon’s announcement. Best of luck to him wherever he goes. I hope he likes the dorms.

5. UK Hoops takes on Arkansas

It’s been a week since Matthew Mitchell’s squad has been in action, but tonight, they’ll take on Jimmy Dykes’ Arkansas Razorbacks in Bud Walton Arena at 8 p.m. The ladies have won seven of their last nine league games after starting the season 1-2.  The game’s not on TV, but you can watch on SECNetwork+ on WatchESPN or listen online at 630 WLAP or UKAthletics.com.

6. ICYMI, both football hires were confirmed yesterday

We’ve known about them for a week, but yesterday, Mark Stoops made the two additions to his staff complete. Dean Hood is Kentucky’s new special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach, while Derrick LeBlanc is the new defensive line coach. Here’s what Stoops had to say about each:

“I could not be more excited to have Coach Hood join our staff,” Stoops said. “He brings extensive experience and knowledge as a head coach, defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. Having watched him at Eastern Kentucky, I developed great respect for him and I know he is held in high regard by the high school coaches in the state.  He is a welcome addition to our program.”

“I’ve known Derrick and watched his progress as a coach,” Stoops said. “I was super-impressed with his interview, with the organization of his teaching and how good he is as an instructor. Fundamentals are important at every position but especially in the defensive line and I believe Derrick will be a great teacher of proper technique and fundamentals.”

He’s also intimidating as hell:

Image via UKAthletics.com

Image via UKAthletics.com

7. PJ Washington plays in the Kentucky Lake Showcase this weekend

Got plans this weekend? Drive on down to Marshall County High School to see future Cat PJ Washington play in the Kentucky Lake Showcase. Washington’s Findlay Prep plays Hopkinsville Friday night at 7:30 PM and Saturday at 6:30 PM (all times central). I’ll be there Saturday to interview PJ for the website, so if you’re also there, be sure to say hello.

8. Anthony Davis’ unibrow is bigger than ever

@PelicansNBA

@PelicansNBA

In anticipation of this weekend’s All-Star festivities, the Pelicans put Anthony Davis’ face on the side of the Benson Tower overlooking the Smoothie King Center and the Superdome. Bow to the brow.

9. Speaking of All-Star Weekend, here’s the schedule

Nine Cats will take part in the festivities:

  • Rising Stars Challenge (Friday, 9 p.m.): Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles
  • D-League All-Star Game (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.): Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress
  • Skills Challenge (Saturday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Devin Booker
  • All-Star Game (Sunday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis (starter), DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall

10. College Basketball on TV tonight:

  • 7:00 PM: Texas A&M at Vanderbilt, ESPN2
  • 7:00 PM: #11 Wisconsin at Michigan, ESPN
  • 9:00 PM: #5 Arizona at Washington State, FS1
  • 9:00 PM: Utah at #7 Oregon, ESPN
  • 9:00 PM: San Francisco at #1 Gonzaga
  • 11:00 PM: Loyola Marymount at #22 Saint Mary’s

Woo becomes an American citizen in an hour…


Dean Hood is “Juiced” to be back in Kentucky

Kentucky’s new leader of the outside linebackers and special teams is excited to be back in the Bluegrass.

Dean Hood almost made the move a year sooner.  After he was dismissed as EKU’s head coach following the 2015 season, he was quickly hired by a former colleague at Charlotte.  Mark Stoops tried to convince Hood to join him at UK, but their timing was off .

“The first time (in 2016) was really difficult.  I wanted to come obviously,” Hood told Dick Gabriel tonight on the Big Blue Insider.  After spending spring practice in Charlotte, Hood couldn’t leave his players after just a few months.  “I think the Lord had a plan for us to get out of Kentucky for a while.  It was good for my wife and I to get out a little bit.”

This time around, “The timing was great.”

Hood was humbled to receive the call from Stoops after he turned him away just a year ago.  It didn’t take long for Stoops to close the deal.  “It’s obvious to see why the recruiting is getting better and better and better.  He’s very convincing,” he said with a chuckle.

Hood, a native of Northeast Ohio, knew Stoops from afar, but the two did not form a personal relationship until they were forced to deal with a difficult situation.  After a bar and dorm fight between their players, Stoops immediately addressed the situation with Hood.  Hood respected Stoops for the way he handled the altercation.  That respect grew after one of Hood’s players, Joey Kraemer, tragically passed away just before the game against UK.

“It just touched my heart,” Hood said.

Moving forward, Hood believes Kentucky is in the perfect position to reach unfamiliar territory in the SEC. Amazed by the new facilities and the exceptional recruiting in his home state, Hood believes they have the pieces to shock SEC football fans.  Hood has experienced it before.  The season before he became Wake Forest’s defensive coordinator, the Demon Deacons were 2-9.  Five years later they won the ACC to earn a trip to the Orange Bowl.

“If you do things strategically, if you do things right, if you can be blessed in a few certain areas and get a few great players, it can happen.  And it can happen here at Kentucky.”


Benny Snell Enters the Rap Game with Like I Do

Via @CameronRadio

Via @CameronRadio

Benny Snell’s first season at Kentucky was an unprecedented success.  He set the standard for Kentucky freshman running breaks, breaking every school record with 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Things are looking up for Snell, but, “If football don’t work, you know I’ve got to take the lyric route.”

Those are lines from Snell’s Soundcloud debut.  Under the alias “Benny the Bandit,”  his first track is Like I Do.  Even if you don’t enjoy the 1:47 track, you’ll enjoy hearing Benny throw his L’s Down.

My favorite line:

“Now these girls, they all going for the fame…

…that’s a shame. I got my heart broken in the sixth grade.”

 


Football Glossary: The Left Tackle

football-glossary

Left tackle is a franchise position on the football field. Tasked with protecting the blind side of most team’s prized possession, its quarterback, the the left tackle is the offensive line’s most scrutinized player. In addition to being a designated pass protector, the left tackle must also be proficient in all other offensive line tasks such as run and zone blocking, scraping, and occasionally pulling.

We discussed responsibility differences of the left and right tackle in a prior Glossary post. In this piece we’ll take a look at a prototypical NFL left tackle, overview preferred and coveted traits on the recruiting trail, and overview Kentucky’s trio of blind side protectors.

 

Preferred and Coveted LT Traits on the Recruiting Trail

-Quick feet with mental capability to understand leverage and physical competence to enforce positioning.

-High Football IQ. That term is loosely used, but in this case it pertains to basic understanding of pass routes and comprehending the quarterback and offensive coordinator’s intent.

-Long arms to counter outside or edge speed rush.

-Height, 6’5 or taller is the norm. Weight varies, 290 seems to be the low-end bench mark.

-Upper and lower body strength to sustain the bull rush.

-Confidence. Left tackles are frequently left on an island to combat the opponent’s top pass rusher who is in many cases the best athlete on the field.

-Competitive natured. The good ones compete out of necessity. The great ones love to compete regardless of activity. Most effective left tackles were multiple sport and position athletes in high school. Basketball is the optimal additional activity along with wrestling and track & field.

Prototypical NFL Left Tackle: 

Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns

6’6, 312-pounds

NFL Combine results: 4.92-40 yard dash, 28 repetitions of 225 on the bench press.

High School: Offensive tackle, defensive end, tight end, fullback, punter, and kicker at Brookfield Central HS where he was named as a Prep All American. Thomas also set school records for the shotput and discuss and earned four letters in track and field.

 

Now let’s take a look at Kentucky’s left tackles:

Senior Cole Mosier: 6’6, 335-pounds

High School: Multi-year starter on Walton Verona’s offensive and defensive line. He twice lettered on the basketball team as well as track & field plus tennis. 

As a Wildcat: Reliable, Mosier has played in 33 career games with 12 starts at both left and right tackle and guard.

Picture of a US Air Force A-10 Warthog

Cole Mosier is the A-10 Warthog of the Kentucky offensive line. The A-10 is a versatile, long-serving combat aircraft that was due to be replaced by sleeker flying machines on several occasions. It’s loud, packs a serious punch, doesn’t fly supersonic, and still relies on maps for navigation. In other words, it’s not flashy but remains reliable, powerful, durable and has proven its worth for many decades. When called upon, the Warthog always responds accordingly. 

Mosier is a utility player turned left tackle. He’s been asked to play every position along the line-of-scrimmage except for center and has performed those duties at a high level. His strengths are, well his strength, powerful punch, and a nasty demeanor that perfectly mesh with Eddie Gran’s in-your-face offensive philosophy. With physical traits are perfectly fitted for a right tackle; Mosier productively transitioned to the left side.

An incredible story of perseverance and player development, this former walk-on has the opportunity to find his way into an NFL training camp next spring.

offensive-line-2

Sophomore Landon Young: 6’7, 310-pounds

High school: Young, a Lexington Lafayette grad, was a six-year letter winner in wrestling and four-year letter winner in track and field in the shot and discus. Won the 2016 KHSAA state wrestling title, finished his senior year with a 19-0 record on the mat.  Ranked as the state’s top wrestler at 285 after finishing fourth in the state as a junior. Three-time Class 3-A track and field champion in the discus. Won the 2015 state shot up title and finished second in 2016. A 5-star prospect on the football field, he was named to various All American teams and played in the US Army All American Bowl.

As a Wildcat: Played in 13 games; started 3 as a true freshman. Named to Athlon’s All SEC Freshman Team.   

With an unlimited ceiling and team-first attitude, Landon Young will occupy the LT position for the Wildcats for the next 2-3 years. Having Cole Mosier as a mentor and rotational partner at the same position has only boosted the rising sophomore’s development.

True Freshman Naasir Watkins: 6’6, 305-pounds

High school: A former tight end, Watkins checks all the blocks that John Schlarman pursued while identifying his future left tackle. Long arms, 6’6 and growing, and was a pass catcher prior to a permanent move to tackle suitably fits the bill. The Kentucky coaching staff is extremely excited about Watkins’ prospective. He will be a noteworthy case study of prospect identification and player development.

 

What does all this mean?

College football teams are constructed with all types of players with various backgrounds, physical traits, and stories. Mosier, Young, and Watkins are a perfect example of positional diversity. Mosier was a 0-star walk-on turned starter from northern Kentucky. Young was a 5-star All American that stayed home and has lived up to that billing by earning Freshman All SEC honors in his rookie season. Watkins is a 3-star former TE from the Washington DC area that is still growing into his body. Three personalities, one position, same goal. Kentucky is in good shape at left tackle for quite some time to come. 


Image via UKAthletics.com

The Derrick LeBlanc hire is officially official

Image via UKAthletics.com

Image via UKAthletics.com

Shortly after introducing Dean Hood as its special teams and outside linebackers coach, the University of Kentucky football program announced the hire of Derrick LeBlanc as the team’s new defensive line coach.

“I’ve known Derrick and watched his progress as a coach,” Mark Stoops said in release announcing the news. “I was super-impressed with his interview, with the organization of his teaching and how good he is as an instructor. Fundamentals are important at every position but especially in the defensive line and I believe Derrick will be a great teacher of proper technique and fundamentals.”

LeBlanc said of his new gig, “It’s a great pleasure to be here at Kentucky with Coach Stoops and his staff. I’m excited about the opportunity to teach the young guys at UK and coach in the Southeastern Conference. Coach Stoops is a great defensive mind and he’s a great teacher of the game. On the outside looking in, there’s always been the potential to win at Kentucky and Coach Stoops has found a way to get it going in that direction and I’m looking forward to working with him and these players.”

LeBlanc, formerly of Southern Miss and North Texas, replaces Jimmy Brumbaugh.


Hood to lead UK Special Teams and Outside Linebackers

The University of Kentucky made it official on Wednesday by announcing Dean Hood as the its new outside linebacker coach and special teams coordinator. Mark Stoops had previously sought after Hood for a different position to no avail, this time Stoops got his man.

Dean Hood is an old school football coach with stops at various levels of college football throughout his 31 career. From coordinating the defense alongside Rich Rodriquez at Glenville State in the early 90’s to leading the Wake Forest defense during its successful ACC run; Hood is highly respected in coaching circles. As a head coach, his EKU teams piled up a 55-38 record as the Ohio native was named the OVC Coach of the Year in 2008. He was also a two-time finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.

What does this mean for Kentucky?

OLB Coach

Mark Stoops adds yet another defensive coach with coordinator experience. Hood directed defenses at Glenville State, EKU, and Wake Forest. Matter of fact, all UK defensive coaches have DC time listed on their resumes (DL hire pending). Understanding the demands placed on position coaches, having prior phase leaders can only be considered as a plus.

With a resume that leans heavily on coaching defensive backs, I wouldn’t be concerned with an inexperience at outside linebackers. Again, reference prior coordinator and head coach duties. He’s inheriting two good ones in Denzel Ware and Josh Allen as well as a cupboard full of talented youngsters that includes prized recruits Josh Paschal, Jordan Wright, and Alex King. Technical and tactical proficiency should actually increase as Hood is universally known as a demanding, on-field coach.

Special Teams Coordinator

Hood coordinated special teams at EKU from 1994 through 1998. Hate to be repetitive here, but his time as a head coach will provide the insight on the importance of the 3rd phase.

Big Picture

Hood brought his outmanned EKU team to Commonwealth Stadium and should have travelled south to Richmond with a win. During that contest, Hood’s players showed high-level effort and toughness as his game plan was spot on to pull the near upset.

Mark Stoops now has a long-tenured head coach to lean on for big picture situations. In addition, this new assistant coach hire will not have to prove credibility as many Kentucky players are still on the team that nearly lost to his Colonels.

Stoops also adds yet another northeast Ohio native to his staff which will boost an already powerful recruiting pipeline.

Instant credibility, regional recruiting familiarity, X and O proficiency, proven player development, and experience. Quite a bit to like about the addition of Dean Hood.


UKAthletics.com

The Dean Hood hire is now officially official

UKAthletics.com

Image via UKAthletics.com

The University of Kentucky football program officially has its man for the special teams and outside linebackers coaching gig.

Dean Hood, reported to have accepted the job last week, was formally introduced in a press release from UK Athletics this afternoon.

A former head coach of eight years at Eastern Kentucky, Hood is very familiar to the Bluegrass and he will fit right in with the staff as a native of Ohio.

“I am from northeast Ohio and I take a lot of pride from being from there,” Hood said in the release. “Being from Ohio I have followed the Stoops family for a long time and they are known for being tough, hard-working and family oriented. All of those things are important to me as well. When I was coaching at Wake Forest and we had to play against Florida State, I noticed how well the defense played once Coach Stoops got there. They were very tough to play against. Also, being 17 miles away at EKU, I was always impressed with him and the discipline of his program. I was impressed with how he presented himself in the media and public with an honest and let’s-go-to-work attitude and how they have put together a really good strategic recruiting plan. I’m excited and honored to be a part of his staff.”

Mark Stoops said, “I could not be more excited to have Coach Hood join our staff. He brings extensive experience and knowledge as a head coach, defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. Having watched him at Eastern Kentucky, I developed great respect for him and I know he is held in high regard by the high school coaches in the state. He is a welcome addition to our program.”

Hood spent the 2016 season as the assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Charlotte. Prior to that, he led EKU to two Ohio Valley Conference Championships, three FCS Playoff appearances and an overall record of 55-38 (59.1), while being named the 2008 OVC Coach of the Year and the 2011 American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year. He also was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which goes to the best coach in FCS football, in both the 2008 and 2014 seasons.

Welcome aboard.