Mark Stoops held his pre-spring practice press conference on Monday. Spring practice is here and the Wildcats’ roster is sitting at 111, an all-time high during the Stoops era. Here are a few notable situations we learned from the head coach.
1. Josh Paschal Moves to Defensive End
Paschal had played the outside linebacker/defensive end position. What this means is that the Cat’s fill one immediate need at DE which was vacated by TJ Carter and Calvin Taylor Jr. Paschal to DE also frees up competition at outside linebacker with Jordan Wright on the inside track to a starting role and J.J. Weaver developing into the rotation. The other OLB position will be maintained by Boogie Watson. The senior is a proven veteran and poised for a breakout season.
2. Phil Hoskins Returns to the Field
Much like with Paschal, a vacancy at DE will be filled by Hoskins who missed all of 2019. Hoskins is “twitchy” and can provide immediate, internal pass rush. Questions at DE have been initially answered.
3. Terry Wilson will be Good to Go in 2020
Starting quarterback Terry Wilson is expected to be back under center for the 2020 season. However, he will not participate in team (11-on-11) or 7-on-7 this spring. He will instead work on specific drills and focus on rehabilitating his surgically repaired knee. Redshirt freshman QB Nic Skalzo will also be limited in a similar fashion to Wilson. With two QBs restricted, Sawyer Smith, Joey Gatewood, Beau Allen, and Amani Gilmore will see extensive action. You can never have enough arms during the spring. Practice reps will only boost QB depth as this positional competition will be fun to watch and puts the spring game into play as a critical time for evaluation.
4. Who Replaces Stenberg?
Kenneth Horsey will get the first shot to replace Logan Stenberg at left guard. Stoops also mentioned that former Belfry Pirate Austin Dotson will have an opportunity to impress during spring practice. I’ve often said that replacing Stenberg will be a serious challenge. For the Big Blue Wall to continue its dominance, all eyes will be on the left guard position.
5. Kelvin Joseph will Play Cornerback
Kelvin Joseph will play cornerback. This position group is packed with talent which will lead to daily competition. Kentucky’s secondary is deep and skilled. Where players will fill roles is the primary question that could be answered during spring practice.
What does all this mean?
Kentucky will embark on spring practice with a packed roster and will have several position battles to entertain the BBN. The most obvious will be at quarterback where the most encouraging news of the day was that Terry Wilson is expected to be ready for the 2020 season. The most impactful news was that Josh Paschal is now a defensive end.