Each year, a few surprises come out of spring and fall camp on the Kentucky football team. We hear about specific players getting faster and stronger, learning the system better, and usually, it turns into breakout seasons on the field.
Though we haven’t hit fall camp quite yet, the coaching staff already has few impressive individuals to watch out for.
For defensive coordinator Matt House, junior defensive tackle Phil Hoskins immediately came to mind at the UK Football Kickoff Banquet this afternoon.
“Phil Hoskins is a guy in my mind. He’s a disruptive guy, he had a great spring. You can tell he’s gone through his second year of football now, and we’re certainly excited about what he can bring to the table,” House said.
But beyond that, he’s excited to see what comes from fall camp opening up next week.
“A lot of these other guys, that’s what training camp is for. That’s what’s exciting about training camp. We’ve seen the talent, now we get to see it live,” said House.
As for the offense, the list goes quite a bit further.
“AJ Rose has the chance to be one of those guys, as well as Justin Rigg,” said offensive coordinator Eddie Gran. “You saw him a little bit later in the year, and you’ll get to see a lot more of him. And I think our receivers, we’ve got some young receivers and I think you’re going to see a huge jump from Isaiah Epps and Josh Ali, those guys. Lynn Bowden, who just started that position, you’re going to see a big jump from him and those other people.”
So what is clicking for Bowden, exactly?
“Just big picture for him,” Gran said. “He’s just understanding that when he gets a guy pressed on him, when he has outside leverage on him, inside leverage on him, he gets those things figured out. He didn’t play that position, so I think what (wide receiver) coach (Michael) Smith has done, and what he’s going to continue to do with him in camp, the more time he gets with him in game-like situations, the better he’s getting. You can see the young man can make plays.”
Has the growth from year one to year two been significant? Gran says he has no doubt in his mind.
“I don’t think there’s any question (we saw significant growth this spring). Just getting back to the individual work, the fundamentals, getting off press, and learning how to play fast. We talk to our kids about playing with urgency, and coach really challenged our guys, especially at that position. You have to compete, but you have to do it with a sense of urgency. With a lot of those kids, especially Lynn, they’re getting a lot better,” said Gran.