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KSR’s Monday Night Football Notebook: Closing the Combine and Starting Spring Practice

I am back in the Bluegrass after a weekend in Indy.  Sorry to bring the cold weather with me, just when you thought spring had sprung.  Along with cold weather, I have a few numbers and stories to share.  First, the numbers.

Josh Allen

Jordan Jones

Lonnie Johnson

Darius West

Derrick Baity

Benny Snell

40-Yard Dash

4.63

4.62

4.52

4.39

N/A

4.66

Vertical Jump

N/A

32.5”

38”

33.5”

38.5”

29.5”

Broad Jump

118”

123”

129”

113”

127”

119”

3 Cone Drill

7.15

N/A

7.01

N/A

7.06

7.07

20-Yard Shuttle

4.23

4.37

4.1

N/A

4.31

4.33

Bench Press

28

23

15

19

10

16

C.J. Conrad’s abrupt dismissal and Mike Edwards’ injury induced absence shrunk the field of former Wildcats.  Each should be fine in time to be tested at UK’s Pro Day later this month.  The only answer I do not have is why Baity did not participate in the 40-yard dash.

This week analysts will decide who were the “winners and losers” from the NFL Combine.  Kentucky Wildcats will not be featured in either category.  Upon first glance, Benny Snell’s numbers were disappointing, until you realize that nobody expected Snell to post great numbers.  He’s best at breaking tackles, not showing off breakaway speed.

Three Wildcats earned some money in Indy, even though they weren’t exactly chart toppers.  Darius West and Jordan Jones may have been fringe draft picks before they posted above average Combine numbers.  Lonnie Johnson was looking to jump into the first round.  His 4.52 wasn’t one of the best times, but it should be fast enough for a player his size.

Determining what exactly each player did for their draft stock this week is difficult because we did not see the most important part of the Combine.  The weekend isn’t about the Underwear Olympics; it’s about meeting face-to-face with NFL front offices.  A long process, how each player performed behind closed doors will take them farther than any padless drill.

Josh Allen Sports Science

The NFL Network analysts were not always overly complimentary of the Kentucky Wildcats, but they did take the time to make sure Josh Allen got the love he deserved with a featured Sports Science segment.  The most impressive number: Allen had a sack in 2.5 seconds last season, faster than the average NFL quarterback’s release time.

Highlight of the Week

Some rules are meant to be broken.  “No Photos or Videos” be damned, I needed this picture of Rob Ryan and Wade Phillips in my life.

I expected it to be a who’s who of odd encounters with NFL coaches and general managers.  Unfortunately, they kept the media as far away from the action as possible.  The only drill we were permitted to attend was the bench press, an event that was open to the public.  I guess I’ll have to wait until UK’s Pro Day to bust Jon Gruden’s chops.

Numbers for New Players

Before I share a few of the more interesting tidbits from Mark Stoops’ first spring practice press conference, we now know the numbers of the nine new Wildcats that joined the team in January.

6 — Jared Casey

11 — Moses Douglass

21 — Quandre Mosely

26 — Brandin Echols

30 — Taj Dodson

48 — Tra Wilkins

75 — Eli Cox

86 — DeMarcus Harris

96 — Isaiah Gibson

The only player that did not receive a number is Marquez Bembry.  The JUCO outside linebacker underwent knee surgery upon arriving to campus and will miss the entire spring.  Bembry is the only significant absence to report (although Stoops did say Ahmad Wagner has a hamstring injury that will sideline him for the first week of practice).  You can find a complete spring roster here.

Stoops’ Expectations for New Staff

For the first time since he promoted Brad White and hired Jon Sumrall, Stoops broke down what the changes mean for his defense.  Even though White has never made calls or coordinated a defense, Stoops believes the transition will be smooth.

“For me, just because he hasn’t done it, we know what we want to do, and we have a lot of confidence in him.”  Stoops added, “and I’m there. It’s not anything we do that I’m not tuned into, for the past two years, with building the defense.”

There will likely be a few bumps in the road once the games arrive, but for now, the players are happy to have him on board.

Our players have so much respect for Brad (White) and what he’s done and the way he can coach and how detailed he is.  It’s a lot of fun.”

As for Sumrall, Stoops believes the players will quickly buy into his style.

“He brings a lot to the table. Again, he’s a guy that can relate to anybody and you can see that. He has high energy and works exceptionally hard to it. He’ll bring us a very experienced, good recruiter.”

What will happen in the Secondary?

With five starters departing, the primary task of the spring is finding their replacements.  Stoops is taking his time to share who that could potentially be.

“It’s not worth discussing or telling you who starts. It doesn’t matter, you know there’s going to be a lot of work to do between now and then. They have a lot of work to do, so there are some guys who have had some experience.”

Jordan Griffin and Tyrell Ajian have some experience at safety and Davonte Robinson will surely play significant snaps.  Stoops also mentioned Cedrick Dort and Yusuf Corker as a few experienced players, but Moe Douglass, Taj Dodson, Brandin Echols and Quandre Mosely will play a role.  What that specifically is will take shape over the next six weeks.

Weekly Alliance Update

As you’ve already heard, Austin MacGinnis was incredible in his AAF debut.  The former Wildcat’s clutch performance carried the Memphis Express to their first win.  You’ll enjoy this story on MacGinnis by former Depth Chart Podcast guest Jason Munz.  If for some strange reason you don’t like it, you’ll love this trick play in the snow from the Old Ball Coach.

UK Football Commit is Blowing Up

Before I depart for the day, one recruiting nugget.  Offensive tackle Richie Leonard has received plenty of attention since he became the Wildcats’ first commitment in the 2020 class.  After earning offensive line MVP honors at a regional Nike camp, Leonard picked up offers from Miami and Florida State.  Tennessee and West Virginia also offered last month.

UK was wise to go all in on Leonard early in the process.  It’s almost like they have a good eye for talent or something.

I’ll be back at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility tomorrow morning for updates from the offense following practice No. 2.  March Madness has a different meaning on South Campus.

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Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

3 Comments for KSR’s Monday Night Football Notebook: Closing the Combine and Starting Spring Practice



  1. jimmer
    9:04 pm March 4, 2019 Permalink

    Why no Bunchie Stallings at combine?



    • mashburnfan1
      10:09 pm March 4, 2019 Permalink

      Is by invite only so am guessing he was not invited. Don’t know but really no other reason for him to not be there.



  2. davis2319
    9:52 pm March 4, 2019 Permalink

    Honestly I thought they covered us pretty well. Multiple times they said “a contingent of wildcats here at the combine” and they complimented most our guys in some of the drills they participated in. They even talked about Mark Stoops and the job he has done at Kentucky.