We have ignored football here in recent weeks…..we are sorry. Here is the UK report on today’s scrimmage…..
Tailback Alfonso Smith showed his explosiveness on two touchdown plays and freshman quarterbacks Will Fidler and Mike Hartline saw extensive action as the Kentucky football team held a one-hour scrimmage Saturday morning at the Nutter Training Facility.
Competing in sub-freezing temperatures and bracing winds, the defense held the upper hand early in the scrimmage, stopping the offense on the first seven possessions. The reserve offense got on the scoreboard when Hartline directed a 65-yard scoring drive, highlighted by three completions to senior wide receiver Steve Johnson, and capped by a 21-yard touchdown burst up the middle by Smith.
On the next series, Fidler guided the first-team offense to a 65-yard touchdown drive. Fidler moved the team into scoring territory with a 34-yard pass to Johnson. Then, Fidler found Smith on a short pass and the swift sophomore from Louisville outran the defense for a 30-yard touchdown.
Fidler and Hartline each played with the first-, second-, and third-team units as they vie for the backup role behind starting quarterback Andre Woodson.
“It was not an ideal day for practice, but I’m pleased with a lot of the things that happened,” Coach Rich Brooks said afterward. “There was some sloppy stuff we need to clean up. Alfonso did some good things today and I’m looking forward to continued competition (at tailback). Both young quarterbacks did some good things and did some ‘young quarterback things’ that need to be cleaned up. Nerves, I’m sure, were there for them in the first scrimmage.
“I was pleased with some of the hitting and tackling on defense. It appears that we’re playing with a little more aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball.”
Defensive ends Dominic Lewis and Nii Adjei Oninku were the big playmakers for that unit. Lewis caused a fumble on a quarterback sack that was recovered by the defense. Oninku had a quarterback sack and a fumble recovery. And, except for Smith’s scoring run, rushing yardage was generally hard to come by during the scrimmage.
Brooks, however, was encouraged by the return of a couple of players in the offensive line, which is currently missing six players because of various reasons
“We actually got to see some guys that haven’t practiced much,” Brooks said. “(Offensive tackle) Zach Hennis (coming off shoulder injury) took about 10 snaps today and he looked like he came through it OK. (Center) Eric Scott (hyperextended elbow) came off the injury list and took a lot of snaps. I’m impressed with (converted tight end) Zipp Duncan’s progress so far in the line (offensive guard), and it’s obvious he’s going to be pretty good when he gets stronger.”
Fidler completed 4-of-8 passes for 72 yards and one touchdown and also scrambled twice for 11 yards. Hartline hit 8-of-12 passes for 64 yards and added an 18-yard run. First-team quarterback Andre Woodson completed 4-of-12 passes for 36 yards. Woodson was hit on the arm while following through on a pass and did not return to the scrimmage, but did not appear to be hurt seriously.
Steve Johnson was the top receiver during the workout with seven catches for 84 yards. Smith snagged three for 42, including the 30-yard touchdown.
“Steve became a big factor at the end of last season,” Brooks said. “We expect him to have a huge year this year.”
The running game has been hampered by the absence of senior tailback Rafael Little, who is recovering from recent arthroscopic knee surgery.
“By the end of next week, Rafael should be able to start doing something,” Brooks said. “He has to get his muscle strength up more than anything right now.”
Rushing (includes sack yardage): Brown 3-18; Bowling 5-16; Smith 8-12, 1 TD; Fidler 2-11; Dixon 3-10; Hartline 4-6; Ball 1-1; Woodson 1-(-4); Lyons 1-(-13)
Passing: Fidler 4-8-0, 72 yards, 1 TD; Hartline 8-12-0, 64 yards; Woodson 4-12-0, 36 yards
Receiving: Johnson 7-84; Smith 3-42, 1 TD; Dixon 2-17; Burton 1-12; Drake 1-10; Bogue 1-9; Brown 1-(-2)