The Kentucky Football team begins it’s sprint down the back stretch as opening kickoff approaches. With only 12 days remaining, there is still plenty of work to be done during the most crucial part of camp. Coach Stoops said today, “Week 2 and week 3 in camp, that’s where your team is formed. We gotta come out of these two weeks knowing who we are.” The easiest first step is by narrowing down the depth chart. As Drew mentioned earlier, the QB competition is down to 2, with Jalen and Max being the obvious choices (even though Neal Brown warned Kyle Tucker about ‘what happens when you assume’). The Center position is also clearing up, with Zach West primarily sticking to the Guard position. Discovering the Wildcats identity is accelerated even further when they practice well, unlike Friday and the second half Saturday. The good news is that Neal Brown thought today was one of their best practices, “but that’s for him (Stoops) to decide”.
While the most important goal to accomplish before camp ends remains with forming an identity, the staff is beginning to practice more and more ‘game like’ situations. Football games can get a little whacky at times; how both coaches and players react to circumstances can determine the outcome of a game. Whether they worked on 3rd and long, 4th and inches, or punting out of their own end zone, Neal Brown was pretty pleased with how the young team performed, “we made some mistakes, but there were some great learning points.” This is only the beginning, Stoops will be incorporating more and more of these into practice at the end of camp, devoting next week to actual preparations for WKU. “You can’t get enough of those situations. When that pressure comes and it’s game time, and you’re (put) in those situations, it has to be natural.”
The Cats improved greatly today and are beginning to gain some composure in tight situations, so long as they never have to deal with a real goober like Mike ‘The Situation’. (Actually I take that back, Avery would totally kick Mike’s ass).
-While NCAA rules can be funny, luckily they allowed Mark Stoops to address the awful news of the passing of Fulton County, GA cornerback DeAntre Turmon. Coach Stoops hadn’t had too many interactions with the 16 year old junior, but it didn’t prevent him from showing difficulty containing his emotions while discussing the tragedy. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially with his Dad. We’re asking (the NCAA) for options on things that we’re allowed to do. We’re not normally allowed to send an offer letter to somebody of that age, we’d like to do that, maybe the father would like to have that as a momento. I think we were the first one to offer him…we’re asking for a waiver in that situation, to send them some flowers and let em know that we’re thinking of them.”
– WKU seems right around the corner, but the coaches haven’t even began to push game preparations on them. Neal Brown knows it’ll be here before we know it, but there’s still plenty of camp left to go. “Right now we’ve not said one word about Western. I don’t know exactly when we will because today we had to be A LOT better than what we were on Saturday. I don’t really want them thinking, ‘Hey we, play Western in 12 days’. I gotta start thinking about it, the coaches have to, but I just want them focused on what’s next.”
– Javess Blue has received high praises sine his arrival on campus, with Neal Brown saying today, “he’s learning what to do. He’s really fast, really talented, and he will be out there ready to roll against Western.” That last statement is very important because shortly after that, WR Coach Tommy Mainord said that Javess has been practicing on a limited basis, a precautionary measure by the staff after tweaking a hamstring over the weekend.
– For those of those that are afraid to leave the house, I’m here to inform you that the weather lately has been absolutely amazing. The very specific category of ‘football weather’ has broadened it’s beautiful wings to make August a little more bearable. This morning was a different story, and Coach Stoops was glad that the team had to get some more experience in the heat, heat they could very well be facing in Nashville, “We had a good long physical practice and we needed it.”