This Saturday Matt House will get to see what his 2017 defense looks like in a live scrimmage for the first time. As his offensive counterpart Eddie Gran might say, now he gets to see how they play “when the bullets are flying.”
“So much of when we go out here in practice, practice is scripted,” House said after Wednesday’s practice. “You have a team run period, you have a third-down period. You move the ball and play in the red zone. A scrimmage, a great thing about it is, you’re playing a whole game, right? So in your own mind, you have to put yourself in that situation that, ‘Hey we just went from normal down and distance to it’s third-and-long without the period flipping it.’ Now the kids have got to play situational football.”
How they react will be revealed on film and in the numbers. The first priority for House’s defense is easier said than done.
“No. 1, stop the run,” said House. “We want to continue to see the guys straining for the football and guys having situational football awareness, understanding whether it’s third and long, understanding when the ball gets into the strike zone, the red zone and just play football, not just run calls.”
Last year Kentucky surrendered 228.15 yards per game on the ground to rank 110th nationally and 12th in the SEC. It all starts up front. Quinton Bohanna received early praise from the coaches, but Saturday’s scrimmage is a different level of football for the true freshman.
You’ve heard what House wants to see, but Freddie Maggard provides much more detail here.