Since the media had the chance to view an open Spring Practice, one of the primary storylines heading into this season became, “Can these WRs catch the ball in the Air Raid?” After watching the group that hasn’t scored an offensive Touchdown drop a variety of passes during the practice, it became a valid worry for #BBN. An immediate point of recruiting emphasis for Coach Stoops’ staff was signing WRs, racking in four exceptional recruits in a short amount of time. Now that practice has started, the question of “Can they play right away?” is slowly turning into a “HELL yes they can” response.
Of the all the incoming freshman, Alex Montgomery has been the most pleasant surprise for Coach Stoops’ staff, “Everyday he’s doing good things, and he’s been very consistent. I like his strength, I like his work ethic, he’s making plays.” The praise doesn’t stop with Coach Stoops, with Neal Brown saying, “he’s probably made as many plays as anybody we have in camp.” The added push is making the older guys play THAT much harder every down in practice, “They have all came in and been a factor, and it’s making guys like Demarco [Robinson] and A.J. [Legree] play better. They’re pushing them. They’re either going to get better, or those guys [the freshmen] will be the first ones that roll out there against Western.”
Javess Blue arrived on campus later than most, but Neal Brown believes he is learning the offense more and more each day. With a growing level of comfort on the team, Javess understands that he could have to become a leading receiver, but knows that it won’t happen without learning a lot first, “There’s times where I need to be a leader, but there’s plenty of times where I need to step back and learn so I can have everything down pat.” It is going to take many more practices before the freshmen can play without mental mistakes, but they are showing the staff playmaking ability the team so desperately needs, “We’re still looking for that playmaking ability, we’re still looking for that consistency. You see some flashes here and there, but we need to push through this grind,” said Coach Stoops. By taking baby steps in the right direction, the WRs are poised to become playmakers, not pass-dropping play-breakers.
– After missing Fan Day Fun with a sprained ankle, Za’Darius Smith was once again held out of practice. The staff knows that these injuries can be nagging, but they remain unconcerned with his situation. After a few hiccups Saturday, DTs Donte Rumph and Mister Cobble were both practicing at 100% today.
– There has been a lot of talk about how the simplicity of the new defense will help the players make more plays, but Coach Stoops hasn’t seen that transition to practice yet, jokingly saying, “It doesn’t seem very simple to them because they’re making a lot of mistakes.”
– A referee crew was brought in during the team part of today’s practice. The goal for the staff is have to have them there often to help mitigate pre-snap penalties that can often crush important drives.
– Coach Stoops accidentally got his number tweeted out when a recruit posted a picture of his official offer with Stoops’ cell phone number on it. “Let’s just say I’m completely Kentuckian now; I have a nice 859 number.”