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Freddie Maggard’s Take

Southern Miss RB T’Rod Daniels is Really, Really Fast

Southern Miss RB T’Rod Daniels is Really, Really Fast

Picture by Hattiesburg American

Southern Miss running back T’Rod Daniels supposedly sports a 4.27-40 time. In a recent interview with the Hattiesburg American’s Jason Munz, USM running back coach Lytrel Pollard said, He’s the fastest person I’ve ever coached. He can get the edge even when someone is sitting on the edge and end up going the distance. I’ve seen a lot of fast guys but they’re usually taller and a little longer. With his height and how fast he is, he’s special.”

Daniels is from Bassfield, Mississippi; population 228. He is argued to be the fastest football player in Mississippi. Daniels helped Bassfield High School win a 2A state championship as a junior but was injured prior to his senior campaign. He later signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast CC where he totaled 1215 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He also accumulated 212 kick return yards in his final season at the school. Daniels’ highlights can be seen in this video:

I recently wrote a KSR post that outlined the Southern Miss running back situation titled “Southern Miss is not Ito Smith and a Bunch of Dudes.”

This article did not include newcomer T’Rod Daniels. Smith’s primary backup George Payne rushed for over 100-yards against the Cats a year ago but has yet to participate in fall camp due to a hip injury. Tez Parks has moved to the number two position on the depth chart and is first to relieve the all-everything Smith. But, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson now has an element of elite speed in Daniels. 

KSR friend Jason Munz of the Hattiesburg American wrote an excellent piece on Daniels that you can read here:

[Blessed with uncommon speed, Southern Miss’ T’Rod Daniels driven by daughters]

What does all this mean?

4.27 is fast. Like really, really fast. I’ve personally witnessed just one legitimate sub-4.3 time in all my years around the game of football. T’Rod Daniels adds a dangerous component to the Southern Miss game plan. While Ito Smith will get the bulk of carries, Daniels will most likely factor in the return game and as a situational running back. Matt House and the Cats will have to prepare for a new edge threat.


The Depth Chart Podcast: Two Weeks till Southern Miss

depth-chart-jack-kain-ford

There are just two more Saturdays without Kentucky football.  Freddie Maggard and the Depth Chart crew are here to help you reach the finish line.  They discuss all of the training camp storylines, do a little Southern Miss preview and…

—  Back-to-school advice.

—  Freddie drops a KNOWLEDGE BOMB on Lynn Bowden.

—  The controversy that’s tearing the locker room apart.

—  Question marks at QB and running back for Shannon Dawson and Southern Miss.

—  The Depth Chart Podcast’s High School Games of the Week.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Behind the Facemask: Dorian Baker

Dorian Baker is my surprise pick to finish 2017 as an All-SEC performer. I can distinctly remember watching film of a young Baker shredding offenses while playing for Cleveland Heights High School four years ago. Much like now, he was a physical freak projected to re-write Kentucky receiving records. Both time and the gifted pass catcher’s career have flown by. I caught up with Dorian for our third installment of “Behind the Facemask.”

The Baker File

  • Has played in 32 games, starting 24.
  • Collected 88 receptions for 1,015-yards and 6 touchdowns.
  • Had a career high 8 catches including 2 touchdowns vs EKU in 2015.
  • 98 receiving yards from 3 catches vs. Louisville in 2015 are a career high. His 53-yard reception vs. the Cardinals is also a career high.
  • Baker is 41 receptions shy of Derek Homer’s 129 which is good enough for 10th best for career receptions.
  • Ranks 27th in UK history for most career yardage with 1,105.

By the Seasons

  • Freshman: 19 receptions, 199-yards, 1 TD.
  • Sophomore: 55 catches, 608-yards, 3 TD’s.
  • Junior: 14 receptions, 208-yards, 2 TD’s.

Dorian Baker the Senior

As I wrote earlier, I feel that Baker will have an All-SEC type season. Call it a hunch or gut feeling that he starts and plays 13 games in 2017 as he did during 2016’s season ending contests vs. Louisville and Georgia Tech.

Today’s Dorian Baker is mature, focused, and has welcomed a leader role by taking many freshmen under his wing. 2017 is a contract year; it’s now or never for the senior to impress NFL scouts. However, based off our conversations during fall camp; I can sense that TEAM is taking precedent over his future of Sunday football. In other words, it’s taken time but Baker has finally “figured it out.” I’m excited to watch his career finale play out.


Southern Miss’ Plan to Stop Benny Snell and UK’s Post Route

Southern Miss’ Plan to Stop Benny Snell and UK’s Post Route

Picture of Xavier Thigpen by the Hattiesburg American

Southern Miss will execute a version of the 4-2-5 defense in its attempt to slow Benny Snell and prevent Stephen Johnson from connecting on the Wildcats’ most threatening pass play which is the deep post route. Let’s review how defensive schemes are numerically labelled before we take a headfirst dive into X-and-O Land:

  • 4 is the number of down defensive linemen.
  • 2 is the number of linebackers.
  • 5 is the number of defensive backs. In this case; the 4-2-5 continually operates with a Nickel base set.

Southern Miss Defensive Season Review

It’s important to take a look back at USM’s defensive standings on a national scale before we can project its outlook for the September 2 opener. Last year was an abnormal statistical season for the Golden Eagles’ defense. It disproportionately failed to force turnovers but excelled against the pass and in explosive play categories (QB sacks and tackles for loss). The following are 2016 national rankings:

  • Pass Defense: Surrendered just 174.9 yards per game (10th nationally)
  • Rush: Allowed 149.92 ypg (46th)
  • QB Sacks: 34 (28th)
  • Tackles for Loss: 94 (21st)
  • Turnover Margin: 125th, forced just 5 fumbles and intercepted 10 passes

UK’s 2016 Offensive Production vs. Southern Miss

Below are Kentucky’s statistical numbers from last year’s season opener:

  • Scoring Offense: 35 points
  • Number of Plays: 50
  • First Downs: 14
  • Rush: 25 carries, 96 net yards, 3.8 yards per rush
  • Pass: 16/25, 303 yards
  • Total: 409 yards
  • Red-Zone: 2/3
  • 3rd Down: 3/9

Personnel

The Departed (Lost starters/key contributors from 2016) provides a look at Golden Eagle players that significantly impacted last year’s game.                              

– Nickel D’Nerius Antoine: 86 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 QB sack
– Nose tackle Dylan Bradley: 64 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 8.5 QB sacks
– Rover Devonta Foster: 44 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INTs
– Sam Linebacker Elijah Parker: 43 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2.5 QB sacks
– Mike Linebacker CJ Perry: 26 tackles, 2.5 TFL
– Wolf Defensive End Ja’Boree Poole: 25 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 7 QB sacks
– TOTAL: 288 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 19 QB sacks. Although the number of returning starters vary, it appears as if USM lost 5 from 2016 to go along with a ton of production.

Projected Starters Vs. Kentucky per the Hattiesburg American’s Jason Munz:

Bandit End: Xavier Thigpen, 6’5 240 Sr. Finished 2016 season with 12.5 TFL and 5 sacks.
Defensive Tackle: Draper Riley, 6’4 305 Sr. 3.5 TFL in five starts.
Nose Tackle: LaDarius Harris, 6’1 280 Jr. 6 starts, 30 tackles, 5 TFL.
Wolf: Paxton Schrimsher, 6’3 225 Soph. Played in 10 games made 7 tackles.

Linebacker: Sherrod Ruff, 5’10 215 Sr. 11 TFLs in 2 starts. Played in 12 games.
Linebacker: Jeremy Sangster, 6’0 233 Jr. Played in 13 games, made 7 tackles.

Cornerback: Cornell Armstrong, 5’11 180. 2nd leading returning tackler (47).
Cornerback: Curtis Mikell, 5’8 170 Sr. Started 4 games, produced 2 INTs.
Safety: Tarvarius Moore, 6’2 190 Sr. Picked off 2 passes in 2016.
Safety: Demetrius Market, 5’8 168 Soph. Played in 12 games as true freshman.
Nickel: Picasso Nelson, 5’10 195. Leading returning tackler (48)

Pic by Blitzology

Slowing Kentucky’s Run Game

USM’s 4-2-5 defense has the capability to stack the box and run blitz its linebackers while relying upon immediate edge support from both the Nickel and or safety. Adjoined by four defensive linemen shooting predetermined line-of-scrimmage gaps with intent for disruption and clogging running lanes; this concept can present a serious challenge for opponents that are not fond of the physical run-game. Kentucky does not fit that description. The term “8 in the box” is also applicable above. Expect a version of this defensive philosophy to be frequently applied which will aim to force momentum stopping drives and prevent Benny Snell from establishing run game rhythm. Also expect to see a form of this scheme when Eddie Gran goes to the Wildcat formation.

UK can counter this front/coverage with an effective play action passing plan and by quick-hitting screens. A simpler mode of attack would consist of a direct run game. Stay with me here; running straight at crashing, incoming defenders may sound crazy. But, with little time for run support from the second level, a missed tackle could lead to an explosive play. Much like other attacking defensive styles, the run-blitz from the 4-2-5 can cause a high number of tackles for loss. It’s a high risk/high reward system. Long wording to say that the Cats merely can remain “status quo” and eventually a long run will pop.

The most advantageous factor that Eddie Gran will have on September 2 will be a deep and versatile offensive line. Run/pass blitz heavy defenses consume a considerable amount of energy especially during a 4:00 p.m. kickoff. It’s going to be hot. Is USM deep enough along its front seven to go toe-to-toe with the Cats in a battle of line-of-scrimmage attrition? The answer to this question will have serious W/L implications.

Stopping UK’s Post Route

Pic by Football Toolbox

Stephen Johnson completes a high percentage of attempted post routes. The post is a difficult pass to throw and even more challenging to complete. Johnson has shown the propensity for consistently converting in these explosive play connections. In the above graphic you can see that a FS (Free Safety) is solely dedicated to not allow an offensive player to beat him over the deep middle of the football field. This would be a smart move by USM to ensure that at least one safety is assigned to that sector of the field at all times. UK’s threat for the home-run throw could prevent USM from playing a number of snaps in man-to-man coverage. But, the Cats will have to prove that it can hit the long-ball.

The above example also highlights specific pass coverage responsibilities of its five defensive backs and linebackers. Cover 3 is the most simplistic look that college quarterbacks will see in a game. The “Courage Throw” against this coverage is in front of the safety and behind the linebackers. When you hear Eddie Gran describe Johnson’s needs for completing short-to-intermediate passes, this is the area of the field in which he is describing and wants to attack.

In our last graphic example below, you can see a receiver route tree. Numerical route identifications may vary but names are fundamental. A post route is as simple as it sounds. The receiver runs vertical for a specific number of yards and then angles towards the goal post in the end zone.

Picture of Receiver Route Tree. Picture by National Football Post

What in the Heck does all this mean?

Southern Miss effectively slowed the Kentucky offense in the second half of last year’s matchup after the Cats roared out of the gates on its way to a 35-10 lead. Untimely turnovers, sloppy execution, and a low number of plays as well as time of possession lamented the Cats as it limped through the third and fourth quarters before eventually falling 44-35. It’s also important to remember that RB Benny Snell and QB Stephen Johnson did not factor in last year’s contest.

Kentucky’s offensive personnel is built to handle the 4-2-5. UK has shown historical success against this scheme and saw it often against multiple opponents across 2016. USM lost impactful starters and key defensive contributors. It will be banking on energy, momentum, and tempo to counter the Wildcat’s size and power advantage. Road-game composure will be paramount. All the fall camp talk about Kentucky’s offensive experience and veteran presence will be invaluable assets. It’s close.


Southern Miss is NOT Ito Smith and a Bunch of Dudes

Southern Miss is NOT Ito Smith and a Bunch of Dudes

If you are a regular Kentucky Sports Radio reader or Depth Chart Podcast listener, then the odds are pretty high that you’ve heard me continually babble on about Southern Miss star running back Ito Smith. But, did you know or do you care to remember that the Golden Eagles had two, 100-yard rushers during its (upset?) win in Lexington a year ago?

Yes indeedy. RB George Payne ran for 100-yards off just 16 carries to go along with Smith’s 36 rushes for 173-yards. That’s 273 rushing yards from two running backs if you’re keeping score at home. Both now seniors; the one-two RB punch returns for a second go-around with the Cats come September 2nd; kinda.

Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson has intelligently limited Ito Smith’s fall camp carries in order to avoid injury. However, the major news coming out of Hattiesburg is that RB George Payne has yet to participate in preseason workouts due to an aggravated hip injury that caused him to miss the greater portion of spring practice.

The Hattiesburg American’s Jason Munz reported on August 1st that Payne may not be physically ready for the Golden Eagle’s season opener against Kentucky. However, with or without Payne, USM is still expected to have the best collection of running backs in Conference USA.

A Quick Look at the Southern Miss Running Backs

#25 Ito Smith, 5’9 195-pound senior is the starter and one of college football’s most unheralded superstars. He averaged 5.5 yards per rush off 265 carries while gaining 1459-yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016. Smith is also considered to be one of the nation’s better pass catching running backs (especially in the screen game) as he collected 43 catches for 459-yards and 2 scores. You’ve probably read or heard this before, but here it is again; Ito Smith is the only active FBS player with over 3000 career rush and 1000 receiving yards. 

#24 George Payne, 6’0 207-pounds is the team’s power back and a perfect change-of-pace weapon. He rushed 103 times for 496-yards and 2 touchdowns a year ago to go along with 10 catches for 67-yards.

#8 Tez Parks, 6’1 210-pound junior is a former high school quarterback. He had limited carries in 2016 but was productive when opportunities surfaced: 34 rushes, 155-yards, 4.6 yards per carry.

What does all this mean?

A Payne-less offense will lack a power back to counter the shifty Smith. Tez Parks is an elusive and highly capable third option. Southern Miss is slugging through fall camp with an ongoing quarterback competition that may not be resolved or announced until minutes prior to kickoff vs. Kentucky. Either Kwadra Griggs or Keon Howard will be named as the starter. My guess is that both will play vs. UK.

It also retains a talented group of receivers that includes 6’1, 190-pound Allenzae Staggers. The senior caught 63 passes for 1165-yards and 7 touchdowns in 2016. The skilled pass catchers will assist whichever quarterback triumphs from the competition but doubts remain surrounding its passing attack. The team’s primary offensive constant lies within its running backs.

I don’t expect Southern Miss to have the same overbearing ground-game against the Wildcats as it did in 2016. Along with Payne, also missing is four-year starter and All C-USA center Cameron Tom who is now playing on Sundays. It returns just two starters along the offensive line.

Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson inherited a turn-key quarterback and offensive operation in 2016. 2017 offers a dissimilar experiment as he must break in a new quarterback in a pressure packed home opener against an SEC opponent that it defeated a year ago. Let the gamesmanship begin.


Cole Mosier never flinched

Cole Mosier never flinched

The SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic is college football’s premier offensive line analyst. Upon hearing the news that Kentucky left tackle Cole Mosier had torn his ACL and is out for the season, the former Auburn center, talk show host, and sideline reporter said, “The loss of Cole Mosier will be difficult for the Wildcats. I had high expectations for him in 2017 and was excited to see him compete.”

I concur.

Media members are supposed to be fair and balanced without showing overt favoritism for any single player. Bull hockey. It happens all the time. Heck, I openly pay reverence for Wildcat offensive linemen, including Nick Haynes and Cole Mosier; both high-effort, team-first football players. Much like Cubelic, I was excited to observe the senior from Walton-Verona put in work this fall. Mosier’s personality and UK career personified Mark Stoops’ “Never Flinch” mantra that he’s preached since arriving to Lexington five years ago.

The Announcement

UK Sports Information Department released this statement on Monday:

Kentucky offensive tackle Cole Mosier suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Saturday’s scrimmage and will miss the 2017 season. The senior from Walton, Ky., is not eligible for a sixth season, thus ending his Wildcat career.

Mosier, a 6-foot-6, 335-pounder who was slated to start at left tackle for the Wildcats again this season, is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday, Aug. 17. He is on track to graduate in December with a degree in political science.

“We’re extremely disappointed about Cole’s injury,” Coach Mark Stoops said. “He has been with us all five seasons we’ve been at Kentucky. He helped set the example of hard work that is the theme of this program, as he came in as a walk-on and earned a scholarship. We know Cole will continue to support his teammates this season and we wish him the best in his recovery and in the future.”

In 2016, Mosier was an integral part of the offensive line who were named semifinalists for the Joe Moore Award, which recognizes the nation’s Most Outstanding Offensive Line. Blocking for Boom Williams and Benny Snell, UK was the only team in the SEC with two 1,000-yard rushers. Mosier played in 10 of 13 games, helping the Wildcats advance to their first bowl game in six years.

Overall, Mosier played in 32 games with 13 starts at left tackle. He came to Kentucky as a walk-on from Walton-Verona High School before earning a full scholarship as a redshirt sophomore. 

“Tearing my ACL was a big blow and it’s unfortunate because I wanted to finish my career here at UK with my teammates,” Mosier said. “However, I’m going to have surgery on Thursday and I plan to rehab my knee in order to participate in UK’s Pro Day in March. I want to thank Coach Stoops and Coach Schlarman for everything they’ve done for me. I also want to thank the Big Blue Nation for their support. Coming here as a walk-on and then earning a scholarship was a dream come true. I’m going to continue being around the team to cheer them on and help the team as much as I can.”

Mosier, a 6-foot-6, 335-pounder who was slated to start at left tackle for the Wildcats again this season, is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday, Aug. 17. He is on track to graduate in December with a degree in political science.

Cole’s Career

Dang it, dang it, dang it, dang it!!

I hate this for Cole Mosier. As highly-regarded prospects inked and reported to Lexington, Mosier did not flinch. He played in 33 games, starting in 13 of those. It’s not only the number of games/starts that matter for the former walk-on; it’s the position in which he played. Left tackle is a coveted and important position along the offensive line-of-scrimmage. Think about that for a minute: Mosier was an in-state, zero-star walk-on that developed into a starter that protected Wildcat QB’s blindsides for three seasons.

Let’s take a deeper look at offensive tackles signed by Mark Stoops from 2013 to 2016. These signees are listed below:

(*Please note that this list is per Rivals and is an estimate based on the uncertainties of specific players signed with sole intention on playing tackle.)

Kyle Meadows, 3-star (Starter right tackle)
Josh Krok, 3-star (Transfer)
Nick Richardson, 4-star (Transfer)
George Asafo-Adjei, 3-star (plays RT and RG)
Mason Wolfe, 3-star (In 2017 rotation)
Logan Stenberg, 3-star (Starter LG)
Tate Leavitt, 4-star (Competing to be in 2017 rotation)
Landon Young, 5-star (Started 3 games LT)

Mosier worked. Mosier competed. Mosier fought for and earned a place at the head table. How could you not pull for a player that worked his way from zero offers and recruiting stars to playing in 33 games while starting 13 at left tackle in the Southeastern Conference. Respect sir.

What Does All This Mean?

The Landon Young era has officially started. Young and Mosier shared time at left tackle. There will not be a drop-off in production. In actuality, Young and Mosier were competing for the starting position in fall camp. But who now backs up Young?

There are options:

— Kyle Meadows can kick over from right to left tackle in case of an emergency due to George Asafo-Adjei’s positional versatility and being able to play both guard and tackle.

— A true freshman may enter the rotation. Naasir Watkins, Sebastien Dolcine, or Austin Dotson may get thrown into the fire much like Young was a year ago.

— Mason Wolfe and Luke Fortner are also possess a diverse skill set and could provide depth if necessary.

— Depth limitations are not existent at this point. John Schlarman has strategically built a stable of offensive linemen that have and can play multiple positions. By definition this can only be described as player development.

— Landon Young will be a star at the University of Kentucky. Respectfully, he is not a player that rests on his laurels or potential. UK Football’s Director of Performance Corey Edmond and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Hill both singled out Landon Young as one of two players that jumped out to them as high performers in offseason workouts. The other was fellow offensive lineman George Asafo-Adjei.

What Does This Really Mean?

It stinks. I hate it. While an overabundance of click-bait stories is spent discussing players that have underachieved or failed to work at a level in order for them to reach their potential; Cole Mosier simply put his head down, kept his mouth shut, went to work, became a leader, and didn’t flinch.

I also hate this for the Mosier family who has certainly been on a roller coaster ride over the past four years as Cole transitioned from no-name walk-on to being mentioned as one of the better offensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference.

Cole Mosier still has a chance to extend his football career and play on Sundays. In bittersweet fashion, rehabilitation will now focus on Pro Day. I don’t mind saying it again: I’m pulling for him to succeed.

Cole Mosier, thank you. Good guys still can finish first. His effort, work, and transition from walk-on to starter will go down in UK Football lore alongside others that took a similar path. Jeff Brady was a walk-on from Newport Catholic that finished his UK career as an all-conference performer and played several years in the NFL. Dr. Joel Mazzella was also a non-scholarship player that went on to become a two-time All SEC guard. Joel is now a successful physician in Jacksonville, Florida. Mike Knox was a non-scholarship fullback from Memphis that made his money and earned a full-ride on special teams as well as during passing situations. There are many more stories. Each paint a picture of having a dream and owning the fortitude to act upon achieving the highly unlikely.

Thank you, Cole.


“OK” Means On Schedule for Cat’s First Live Scrimmage

Mark Stoops described UK’s first major scrimmage as being just “ok”. In my opinion, “OK” can be interpreted as exactly where the Cats should be following two weeks of fall camp. Think about it for a minute; an athletic competition stalemate can be labeled as ok if there is no rooting interest. A “draw” means both sides were equally as efficient. The fact that the Wildcat offensive line and running back Benny Snell aren’t steamrolling a questionable defensive line on a consistent basis can only be construed as an improvement or better than expected outcome. As you can read in my post of the inner workings of a fall camp scrimmage, Saturday was the Cat’s first game-like simulation. Coaches were on the sideline. Plays were signaled in from coordinators and assistant coaches. Imaginary and literal cords were cut. This may not seem like a big deal; but it is, especially for younger players. Here are some of the significant happenings that were announced by Mark Stoops, Eddie Gran, and Matt House on Saturday:

Mark Stoops

“Good thing we still have three weeks” was an early press conference phrase that grabbed my attention. Some head coaches intentionally send motivational messages to their team that indicates performance was substandard regardless of actual circumstances. I do not think Stoops is cut out that cloth. He’s proven to be a coach that says exactly what’s on his mind and has not sugar coated his remarks during his stay in Lexington. The fact that the first live scrimmage was not completely adequate did not come as a surprise. Nerves and the uniqueness of simulating its first actual football game since April are conditions that add to its difficulty level.

Left tackle Cole Mosier was injured in the scrimmage. The extent of his injury will be announced on Monday. Hopefully for Mosier, test results will be minor. However, quality depth at the tackle position will lead to Landon Young moving into the starting role if Mosier’s injury is serious. To me; this was the most severe news that came out of the Joe Craft Football Training Center. But, camp injuries are a part of the game. Attrition is managed by roster construction and management.

The offense turned the football over in the red-zone. Stoops was especially not pleased with this result. But, as the head coach, he was thrilled that his defense produced a turnover in the red-zone. It’s the give-and-take nature of scrimmage evaluation by a head coach.

-Stoops has been pleased with OLB’s Josh Allen and Denzil Ware. He feels good about those positions but reinforced that his interior defensive line has to consistently “play stronger”.

-He singled out freshman Lynn Bowden as “showing up” during Saturday’s practice. Also as expected, Bowden is working as a punt and kick returner. The more Bowden has the football in his hands in open space the better the Kentucky Wildcats will be in 2017.

Eddie Gran

“We are our own worst enemy” referred to the offense’s 10-12 play drive that resulted in a red-zone turnover. Turnovers cost the Cats a couple wins in 2016. Gran understands that a repeat -7 turnover margin will greatly limit its ability to win football games.

-Freshman RB Bryant Koback is not full-go, but is expected to be so next week. I’ve said it many times; it takes four running backs to navigate a SEC schedule. Koback’s presence on the depth chart would be a bonus.

“We find out a lot when the lights come on” was a phrase that Gran used to describe the difference in a typical practice and a full-live scrimmage that took place on Saturday. Again, there is a major difference in having coaches in player’s ears from behind the huddle to normal sideline-field communication. It’s like a sense of independence that can lead to unwelcomed pressure which negatively impacts execution.

-Gran reinforced Stoops in praising Lynn Bowden as one of the guys that showed up.

-Kayaune Ross has stepped up and will factor in the receiver rotation. Ross is one of the hardest workers on the team. I’m happy for the young man.

-Garrett Johnson made two contested catches. But the major news about Johnson is that he’s playing outside instead of a slot position. This frees up repetitions for the younger players.

Matt House

– “Got a goal line stop”. The defensive coordinator was happy with that result but unhappy that the offense drove the length of the field prior to the turnover.

-Cornerback Derrick Baity made good plays. House also singled out true freshman OLB Jordan Wright and the “good things” he did rushing the passer.

-Jamar “Boogie” Watson is receiving practice reps at both inside and outside linebacker. DE Calvin Taylor excelled in the spring game. His coordinator expressed positivity in Taylor’s continued development.