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My first interview question and other Media Day observations

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When I started writing for KSR, my life quickly evolved into a series of firsts. During today’s Media Day press conference, I got up the nerve to ask DJ Eliot a question. That was my first in a formal setting. I wanted to know how many strong-side defensive ends he plans to rep and have ready to play on September 5. His answer was what I expected, two plus one. I’ll explain. The two will be primary pass rushers with the one providing depth while focusing on development. Just who the trio will be is still not clear.


DJ Eliot said his defense is best described as multiple, not specifically a 3-4 or 4-3. Why is that notable? Kentucky plans to rush the passer from several positions and without solely relying upon a singular defensive end. Smart move. This also allows personnel to be utilized in a various manner. Think “Position-less” basketball. Defensive ends will consistently pass rush while outside linebackers and defensive backs situationally blitz. This combination lessens the effectiveness of offensive scouting patterns and forces opposing offenses to play more conservatively. Blitzing has the capability to make quarterbacks and offensive coordinators uncomfortable.

Josh Forrest and Ryan Flannigan realize their significance to overall defensive success. I interviewed the linebacker duo at the same time. They appeared confident, mature, focused, and physically different than in 2014. Ryan Flannigan said that schematic familiarity and understanding the playbook were the most important aspects that he missed out on last year after reporting to camp in August. Flannigan’s talent was never in question. I expect him to have a break-out year now that he can read and react instead of contemplate and guess. Josh Forrest dedicated a large portion of his off-season to adding quality weight and studying film to enhance his on-line of scrimmage tackling. Mark Stoops has claimed the pair will be vastly improved. I agree. Another obvious dynamic was their communication. They both talked about the importance of inside linebackers having the ability to make timely, defensive checks/calls. In particular, the linebackers discussed the significance of effective communication with each other. The pair noticeably stayed together during Media Day festivities. Their individual and collective play will impact the team’s record.

Jon Toth is best described as an academic mauler. While on a separate interview, every defensive player I spoke with said that Jon Toth was the best center in the SEC. When actually speaking to Toth, he maintained his focus on becoming a more vocal leader and uncomfortably shrugged off my question about his future NFL career. His summer was spent adding strength and watching SEC defensive line film. Jon is a serious soul. That makes him a perfect leader of a young offensive line group. I’ve talked extremely high when referencing the Center, today confirmed my hunch. His health and durability will play a large role in UK’s journey to bowl eligibility. Oh by the way, I also think Jon Toth is the best Center in the league. I said that last year as well.

Now for my interview with the defensive linemen. CJ Johnson, Farrington Huguennin, Courtney Miggins, Matt Elam, Jacob Hyde, Josh Allen, and Melvin Lewis surrounded me and I have to be honest, I got a little uncomfortable. During my playing days, being that close to a pack of defensive linemen on a football field usually meant a pending concussion. Drew will have a video of the interview up on a post that’s coming soon. Football wise, the group appeared leaner yet bigger if that makes sense. High-performance has worked wonders for the big guys. Farrington Huguennin is clearly the group’s leader. He monitored Josh Allen’s comments and tutored the rookie during our interview. Also, when I asked the crew about ULL, Huguennin gave his fellow line-mates the evil eye of “you better be careful and not say anything stupid” look. The group has large personalities. I kind of feel sorry for Jimmy Brumbaugh. Defensive line film sessions have to be hysterical.

Shannon Dawson owned the press conference. From dropping the first curse word of the ’15 season to openly joking with hacks in attendance, it’s now apparent of why he is so beloved by players and respected by coaches. But, don’t let the dimples fool you. Dawson’s moves and comments are calculated. He understands that for his playmakers to make plays, it’s as important for them to be comfortable in preparation as getting the football in space. He also spoke of playing tight ends and confirmed my thought that limited depth at that position will dictate the number of Conrad and Long reps. His offense will feature a physical run game. Offensive linemen enthusiastically confirmed.

Much, much more coming. As for me, I had a blast. Matt will be proud, the KSR crew sat in the first two rows and I even scored a question. My hands were literally shaking before and after I made my rookie inquiry. That’s over. Nerves are gone. I’m now a full-fledged, part-time media guy.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

10 Comments for My first interview question and other Media Day observations

  1. Coach Jamin
    6:11 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Great job Freddie. I remember my first interview and how nervous I felt. It was our own Matt Jones, for his hometown paper, The Middlesboro Daily News. You wouldn’t think it would be so nerve wrecking, but it truly is. Much respect to you. Keep up the great work.

  2. Shelby
    7:02 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Great read Freddie–i love it. I am so ready to hit CWS for that first game.

  3. Tony
    7:10 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Great job Freddie, very much appreciate your insight.
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Edward
    7:18 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink


    Your posts are so much fun to read and study. Your are giving us greater detail about personnel and position strengths and how this transforms into game and season planning. We are not going to get this info from the local roundball cadre writers. I believe that as the Kentucky football upward trajectory begins in the 2015 season and beyond you will be solidly fixed on the ground floor of football analysis for the Kentucky program. Keep it coming! “till the Battle is Won”

  5. Michael
    7:24 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Way to go Freddie…great job!!

  6. Ace
    10:51 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Great read! Glad to have you with KSR Freddie

  7. Saul T. Nuts
    11:16 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie, you’re the best, thanks

  8. jaytee
    1:17 am August 8, 2015 Permalink

    Great stuff, Freddie!! Keep it up. If there is a Freddie maggard post, it is a must read.

  9. Steve Berry
    11:43 am August 8, 2015 Permalink

    Attaboy, Freddie. I appreciate the insight and enjoy reading your stuff down here in Florida. Keep it coming. Question – has the staff given up on Khalid Henderson? Haven’t heard a word spoken about him and he should provide important depth at LB.

  10. truff
    1:13 am August 10, 2015 Permalink

    curious why the only judgmental comment on the writing was taken down? part of journalism is criticism. Pick up a thesaurus and put down the remembrances of your glory days.