Today was the third and final Kentucky football spring practice prior to spring break. The Wildcats will reconvene Tuesday, March 20. Here’s what the defense had to say about their first week of spring ball.
Alex King’s Move Inside
King came to Kentucky as an outside linebacker. After spending his first season as a redshirt, defensive coordinator Matt House asked him to try out a new position, Mike linebacker. King has never played inside, but was excited for the opportunity.
“It’s a great opportunity because last year I sat out, which made me very humble,” King said. “It helped me understand the game better, so now I have the chance to get some playing time.”
A former basketball star in high school, it’s no surprise he described the position as “the point guard of the defense.” Obviously, mistakes will happen, but he’s happy to learn from them with the rest of the young group. House said he’s seen growth from King throughout the offseason.
“He’s put a lot of time in this offseason. He’s one of those guys that can’t get enough of it,” House said. “Now there’s a learning curve. It’s the first time he’s seen a guard pull as an inside linebacker, but he’s really put the work in, which is good.”
Davis is a Little More Prepared
Along with King, freshman inside linebacker Jamin Davis also redshirted. Davis’ situation was a little bit different. Described as a “redshirt red,” instead of being relegated to scout team and given an extensive workout plan, he stayed with the team throughout the season. House said he can see Davis’ physical and mental development after a year in the linebackers’ meeting room.
The Spring Theme for the Defense
You’ve heard it before and it isn’t changing: stop the run.
“First of all, we gotta stop the run. You hear it over and over again, but it starts with that,” House said. “The last four games we didn’t do a good enough job with that, and we’ve simplified some things to get guys to play faster and a lot more physical at the point of attack. We just gotta finish.”
Allen is Excited to have Brad White
The newest addition to the coaching staff pleased All-SEC pass rusher Josh Allen. Returning for a final season, he can already notice a difference after just three practices. White’s NFL expertise should give the elite pass rushers a leg up in 2018.
“I feel like just doing the little things like that will get us a long way to where we need to be and to where we want to be,” Allen said. “This year we have the right technique, we have the right individuals, we have the right everything. Now that we have the coach’s power that pushes us to do that, the sky’s the limit for us.”