Don’t be fooled, this is his Clark Kent outfit.
I’ve preached and preached for the past couple weeks about the Kentucky Spring game, and now that it has come and passed, I feel as though #BBN has a better understanding of where their football program stands. The stadium was more full for an inter-squad scrimmage this spring than it was for a couple HOME GAMES last season, and everything (well, almost) had the feeling of an actual season game. The Spring game was an opportunity to have some questions about the Football Cats answered, and while most everyone else was looking at the QB competition, I couldn’t help but notice that the Defensive unit looked pretty solid at just about every position and was anchored by the big guys up front.
First and foremost, ZA’DARIUS SMITH IS A MAN AMONG BOYS. I constantly found myself muttering something about how “this guy can’t be blocked,” and more times than not, he wasn’t. You can tell that “Z” has that MKG motor, and he made it a habit on Saturday to live in the backfield. I could sit here and spit out stats from the scrimmage yesterday, but those numbers wouldn’t do #94 justice. He did everything well: read screens, took good pursuit angles, consistently beat his man off the ball, and his hand placement made it nearly impossible to get a solid block on him. The media guide has him listed at 6’6″ and around 260 pounds, but I think that’s hiding the real figures a little bit. The man is a monster.
Z is the anchor of the defensive line, and the fact that he has to be accounted for EVERY play will free up the guys on the inside from double teams. If an offensive guard has to bump out and help the tackle on his match-up with Z, then guys like Tristan Johnson (LaGrange, Georgia everybody) will be able to camp out in the backfield. The guys up front play off of each other, and an advantage in the trenches serves the team as whole well. “Our communication is our biggest strength. If I look at one of the other guys and tell them I’m in a six technique, they know how to adjust,” Smith said after the game. “We still need to work on our hand placement, but we just get in there and work hard everyday.” THE GUY ISN’T ONLY TALENTED, BUT HE KNOWS THE GAME AS WELL. DANGEROUS….
It’s only the spring game, true. But really look for #94 to make a huge impact this season on the defensive front. The man himself said that there is a lot of potential on the defensive unit because there is “speed everywhere.” Size hurts, but speed kills.
Great job #BBN for making the spring game a success. Both the players and coaches all felt the love at the stadium and the recruits in attendance all walked away impressed. There’s a lot to be positive about moving forward, but as everyone knows the SEC is no cakewalk.
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