In two weeks, ULL will roll into town marking the official start to the college football season. Most likely, UK will have one last evaluation scrimmage. The purpose of this practice is to identify which personnel will play, redshirt, start, or be named as reserves. Following that, final depth chart decisions will be made as specific game plan preparation begins.
The final ten camp days are a strange time. A freshmen class that had formed a close bond will be divided. Some will move to the scout team and redshirt. Others will be playing on Saturdays as well as one Thursday. Veteran players that have experienced significant playing time may now be called upon to be back-ups.
Depth chart demotion is humbling and can be dealt with in two ways:
1. Support the team and continue to work
2. Pout and become a detriment to the team
These dynamics are not UK specific. Happens in every locker room across the nation. When we hear about the importance of “Team,” one must understand that there are both positives and negatives that contribute to its wellbeing. These ebbs and flows are typical in amongst most organizations. The group/team that values the greater good in higher accord than individual success, is a classic description of organizational accomplishment. I have a good feeling about this team. Being around them on a limited basis, I’ve witnessed a seriousness or maturity that I’ve not seen since the Jacob Tamme and Wesley Woodyard days. Those two UK legends held the entire program accountable. Is there a Tamme or Woodyard type leader on this team? No, but there are more that are closer to that duo than in the previous four years.
Earlier on KSR, I wrote a piece on “Clowns” and “Captains.” When depth charts are finalized, this theory will be put to test. As a refresher, a team is divided into three distinct groups: 10% are Clowns, 10% Captains, and remaining 80% are “ROY”. Roy stands for, “Rest of Y’all” or the main body of the team. Which element is stronger, either the Clowns or the Captains will pull the ROYs in their direction. Let’s hope the Captains win out. For Mark Stoops’ sake, there’s no other option than for Captains to rule the locker room.
As we close in to gameday, my posts will become more technical. We’ll start diving into specific personnel match-ups, schemes, and keys to the game. However, my goal is to describe football in the most understandable manner possible. So, sit back, go to www.kentuckysportsradio.com at least 94 times a day and then hit refresh. Action will be coming fast and furious.
Audible: Refers to when the quarterback changes the originally called play to a different one based upon defensive scheme or personnel. Young QB’s are coached to only change a “danger” play into a safer call. The more experienced the quarterback, the more latitude he has in calling an audible.
Bootleg: Misdirection pass play where the quarterback fakes a run to one direction, then rolls to the opposite side to throw a pass or run the football himself.
Flat: Outside part of the field beyond the widest offensive/defensive lineman that extends from line of scrimmage 5-10 yards downfield. Mostly referencing zone pass coverage, this area can be covered by a cornerback or outside linebacker.
Hook/curl route: Pass route that features a pass catcher (WR, RB, TE) as he runs a specific number of yards downfield and turns back to face the quarterback for a spot throw.
Post route: Another pass route when the receiver initiates his route vertically then veers toward the goal post or middle of the football field.
Square in route: More passing tree verbiage. In this case, the receiver again begins the route by running vertically then makes 90 degree turn crossing over into the middle of the field. At what distance the 90 degree turn is made varies. This route is also referred to as a “dig” route. For young quarterbacks, this is the hardest throw to make. There is a great deal of ash and trash over the middle. In the beginning phase of quarterback development, in this particular route teaching QB’s to not watch the rush and trust his instincts are challenges. When I see young QB’s make this throw, normally that represents an advanced understanding of the position and a positive sign of confidence.
Zone blocking: Finally getting the big guys involved. Zone blocking is a scheme or blocking principal that mandates linemen to block gaps or areas, not so much a specific defensive lineman. One of the main goals of zone blocking is for the offensive linemen to reach the second level and block linebackers at their projected location.
We’re getting close. Once a final depth chart is released, I’ll dive into personnel analysis.