Players fought to move up the depth chart during Saturday’s preseason scrimmage at Kroger Field. It was closed to the general public, but KSR spoke to some folks who got to see the action.
1. Smoke Welcomes a Freshman to the SEC
After the scrimmage I asked Jamin Davis who is the hardest running back to tackle. “Smoke. He’s a hard runner,” said Davis. “He keeps his feet moving on contact. He’s real physical.”
M.J. Devonshire knows that all too well. The freshman cornerback, who is alternating between the first and second team, ate a stiff-arm from Smoke before the redshirt freshman running back scampered into the end zone. The move incited a reaction from the entire sideline. It was the equivalent to a dunk at an AAU game that shuts down the gym.
2. A Freshman Uses the Hit Stick
The freshmen don’t always have to be on the receiving end of “welcome to the SEC” moments. They can deliver the blow too. That’s exactly what Taj Dodson did today. As a unsuspecting wide receiver crossed the middle of the field, the early enrollee safety lowered the boom stick. “It was a nice hit. It wasn’t targeting,” insisted linebacker DeAndre Square.
3. Terry Wilson’s Reads Through Progressions
We’ve heard throughout training camp that Terry Wilson is more “comfortable” in the pocket, but what exactly does that mean? A year ago, if Wilson’s first read wasn’t open, he panicked more times than not. That is no longer the case.
For the first time, Wilson is finding his check-downs. When a few reads aren’t there, A.J. Rose and the rest of the UK running backs will gladly bail out the quarterback. Rose turned one third medium into a hard-fought first down.
Arguably Wilson’s best throw of the day happened before he could get to his running back check-down. Twenty-five yards away from the end zone, he went through two different reads before finding his third option, tight end Keaton Upshaw, open in the end zone for a touchdown. Terry is taking the next step.
4. Jordan Wright Makes his Case
The outside linebacker room got a little more crowded when UK’s coaches moved Josh Paschal back to Jack. Forced to perform in a pressure cooker, Wright brought his A-Game today. One play in particular stood out. Facing an athlete in the flat, Wright did not fall for any jukes. Instead, he hit the receiver in the open field for a tackle for loss.
If Wright does not continue to play at a high level, Xavier Peters certainly has the physical tools to make an impact. As for the NCAA, Stoops is still waiting to see if Peters will be eligible to play this fall.
5. Stoops Makes up his Own Rules
Kentucky’s head coach has a tendency to favor the defense. If you need anymore proof, he did not let the offense get away with a busted play.
“There was a play early offensively. We were keeping them out of the end zone pretty good. There was a broken play and I couldn’t give them the first down. I just couldn’t do it,” Stoops laughed. “It was a dropped snap, the running back picked it up and somehow managed to get a first down. I said ‘field goal.’ They didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t be so lucky.”