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6 Football Notes after 6 Days of Practice

The Kentucky football has now gone through 6 days of practice. Some questions have been answered, while other new ones have been raised. The anticipation and excitement for what Mark Stoops has in store for Kentucky football fans continues to grow as we inch closer and closer to that August 31st kickoff against Western Kentucky. Here are 6 football notes after 6 days of practice:


1) Nate Willis is still in limbo… mystery about his eligibility still remains

The issue can’t be hidden. Kentucky’s secondary is thin, and it continues to get thinner. Kentucky has been anxiously awaiting the news on JUCO CB Nate Willis for a few weeks now. Willis has now said that he should know by tomorrow or Tuesday whether or not he will be able to suit up for Kentucky this fall. Willis would most likely be an immediate starter and big time impact player at a position of need for the Cats.

Stoops was asked about Willis’ status, and the waiting game appears to continue. “No, no. We’re working on it. We’re working through it. We think everything should be good. We hope. I’ll know more next week, I think. Hopefully early next week.”

2) The QB position appears to be Jalen Whitlow’s to lose

Even though the coaches won’t flat out come out and say it at this point, leaving the competition open for a while longer… all of the reports seem to suggest that Jalen Whitlow has looked the most impressive so far in the 6 days of practice. The position at this moment, appears to be his to lose.

3) Marcus McWilson might be changing positions

Marcus McWilson came into Kentucky as the highest rated recruit in the class. He earned his 4-stars at the position of safety though. In the past few days though, a shift has been seen with McWilson’s position. McWilson has been moved to a “nickel” position to utilize his 6 foot frame.

Stoops talked about the adjustment a bit, “A little closer to the line of scrimmage and could be viewed as a linebacker in some regards versus certain sets. At nickel, he’s a good versatile guy. But he’s thick; he’s got some good weight to him. And just trying to find the best position for him to put him in a position to be successful and really help us.”

Bradley Dale Peveto said McWilson could be used as a nickel to match up against bigger wide receivers. “It’s hard to find that guy, and that’s exactly what Marcus is. He’s a 210-pound guy that can run.”

4) This team is getting better. How good better will be? That remains to be determined. But improvement is taking place.

Even though the coaching staff still sees a ton of room for improvement, they feel good about the progress that has been made from the spring until now. Many fans have said repeatedly that they will judge Stoops’ success more by the development they see during the season from Game 1 until the final game than they do the wins and losses. So far, the development seems to be taking place.

5) Expect the see big things from the “Kittens”

Any time Mark Stoops points out individual players for doing well, you can almost always expect to see either the name of a freshman or the name of one of the other newcomers/transfers. Ryan Timmons, Marcus McWilson, Jeff Badet, Javess Blue, etc. have been named early on as standout performers. The talent amassed in just one recruiting class under Mark Stoops is impressive and the talent is showing through. Experience may be an issue with some of those guys, but from a raw talent stand point– they are much more aligned with the rest of the SEC. The advantage for the rest of the SEC with young talent is that they get to sit a few years and gain experience behind the older talent. Kentucky does not have that luxury, which is both good and bad. Whether the young players are 100% ready or not, they might have to play. On the other hand, the available playing time and potential to compete for a starting spot right away is part of what attracts many players to Kentucky.

6) Tempo, Tempo, Tempo…

The tempo still isn’t quite where the staff would like it to be, especially when you hear offensive coordinator Neal Brown talk about it. For the normal eye who has just been watching Kentucky football practices over the past 5-6 years, the tempo looks much faster. Brown still wants more though. He’s not satisfied.

Kentucky’s “two-spot” method, which essentially puts four groups on two fields at a time to give more reps, has already helped with conditioning and tempo. DJ Eliot thinks it’s a good thing, “It helps. Nobody stands. Nobody stands on the sideline when you two-spot, so throughout the whole practice, everyone’s getting reps.”

Considering some of the thin areas on Kentucky’s depth chart, giving every player on the roster a chance to compete early and prove that they can potentially fill some of those gaps has been a good move by the staff.


Only a few more weeks folks…


Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

21 Comments for 6 Football Notes after 6 Days of Practice

  1. duh
    2:37 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Ally, you are such a great writer, I hope we don’t lose you to Sporting News, SI, ESPN etc. This is the best article I have ever read…honest.

  2. #7
    2:49 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    The seventh note would be uk sucks at football.

  3. Yep
    3:03 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Ally, McWilson isn’t really changing positions. A Nickleback is just an extra cornerback or safety on the field. A base defense has two corners and two safeties. A Nickle package substitutes a corner or safety for a linebacker or linemean.

  4. Whitlow4QB
    3:16 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    This is indeed Jalens job to lose. Smith is good but is one dimensional and if he gets hit and lands hard on that right shoulder again…his season could be done for. As for Towles, he will be the back up to Smith.

  5. Very Impressive!
    3:37 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Poster #2-Your analysis is so very keen and timely. Just wondering-how much thought went into your witty post? It is just short of brilliant. Can we count on you to post here often? We surely hope so.

  6. Louisville1Cal4
    3:44 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    @ 2
    Spoken like a true tool.

  7. Obviously
    3:53 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    #2. We are all aware that UK football sucks. It doesn’t take much analysis to determine that. In our best form we still suck, relatively speaking. We are a long way from being in our best form.

  8. Just u wait and sea
    4:01 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    You weren’t at fan day practice were you Ally?
    Really stinks to post fluff and not observe.

  9. bigbluebear
    4:05 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Yeah we sucked so bad we are holding up your 2013 strength of schedule up ot of the gutter(still last or next to it) all by ourselves. And anyone worth their salt would rather lose playing the best than equal/flap your wings over beating up glorified d2 level schools. But then again why should they be any different than every other brainless bully that hides their true cowardice behind the false bravado built upon beating up weaker individuals. Give me a black eye/fat lip et all that accompanies the good fight given by the strong of heart/character when faced by great odds/overwhelming foe. For those are the ones that know that victory can only come from w/in and an unchallenged/predetermined victory is/are useless if they are all you know you will have to face. Or that you have gotten a shortcut to a destination everyone else had to forgo to be eligible. That is whywe WILL be good again in football. Because we havepaid our dues and then some. Karma is the great equalizer and is no friend to the weak of character/strong on baseless inuendo w/personal hangups and feelings of inferiority. We are Blue and soon enough they will be feeling so too! The truth can only be held back by circumstance until the dam of lies bursts from it’s ever weakening false foundations.GBB!!!

  10. UKeah
    4:55 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Penn State smells like teen spirit

  11. Cool Daddy
    5:00 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Good post ally

  12. johnw
    5:00 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Fellow KSR Readers I was wondering if any of you could tell me what is a good radio headphone that I can use inside commonwealth to pick up the games…and where I might get one at…. Thanks

  13. niaps
    5:50 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    I am sorry but Whitlow at QB just flat out scares me. He was the one dimensional QB last year as his passing just plain stink stank stunk. Sure he is a terrific runner in space but QB’s don’t often get space. Would love to see him on the field every offensive play but as a wide out or slot receiver.

  14. Same
    6:05 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    @13 That’s the same way I feel about Whitlow. What happens when we need to go deep? Will he be able to thread the needle at times? I’m on the Patty Ice bandwagon, (If you want to call it that). The kid is 6’5, has a cannon, and was even the #32 athlete nationally according to espn. Between Smith’s shoulder issues, and Jalen’s noodle of an arm, I just think it would be better to go with the guy who has NFL qualities.

  15. I say
    6:51 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    #14, Compared to the other two, how did Towles do fan day?

  16. wkylawcat
    8:34 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Agree with 13 and 14. Disappointed to see Whitlow perhaps get the job. Feel like over the long haul, he is more limited than Smith and maybe Towles.

  17. common sense says;
    8:34 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    When are all you experts going to realize the coaches see these guys every day and are in an infinitely better position to decide who the best choice is at this time? If you don’t trust Neal Brown to make the best decision, given that he wants to win more than you, you need to go sit in a corner and take a deep breath. Getting a life might help as well.

  18. niaps
    9:21 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    All I can say if Whitlow is the best at moving this team so be it and I am behind the coaches all the way. It means to me that this team will be run oriented and the air read will be on the back burner.

  19. UK
    10:29 pm August 11, 2013 Permalink

    Towles just isn’t where he needs to be and Smith’s shoulder just isn’t the same since he got injured. Whitlow will be fine, and should do well. Needs to learn good decision making and when to remain in the pocket or not, but he will be fine.

  20. Andy
    12:17 am August 12, 2013 Permalink

    To some of you guys here 2nd guessing Whitlows passing abilities, the GUY has passed for more yards than SMith and Towles during the spring practice and games and moved the offense more effectively. Who is to say he cant throw a 50+ yard bomb. He can do it. Last season he was thrown into the mix and had not practiced heavily at QB. For now he out playing both Smith and Towles and I am more than comfortable with him being the QB, oh plus the dude can make plays with his leg.

  21. cats42301
    1:24 am August 12, 2013 Permalink

    18) I have to disagree. The Air Raid system is more quick, short passes than it is deep passing. I think it suits Whitlow’s game just fine. IMO.