Today’s practice started like Monday’s for most people…slow. But once the Cats got going, Mark Stoops was pleased with their groove. Here’s just a little bit of the scoop shared with the media this morning.
People cannot stop talking about Jacob Hyde at the fullback position. I can’t lie, it’s entertaining to watch the 330-pounder line up in the backfield, but I am much more concerned about what happens after the ball is snapped. Saturday I was surprised.
The first two times Hyde lined up behind the center in their Jumbo package, they called pass plays. The play-actions worked perfectly, with one resulting in a touchdown to tight end C.J. Conrad. “It’s important,” Dawson said. “To be able to throw the ball out of those heavy sets well, because it can’t be a deal where they see him coming in the game and you’re running it every time. Hell, I can defend that if that’s the case.”
Last year, that was Jojo Kemp in the Wildcat. Dawson wants to ensure that his offense is as difficult to plan for as possible. So far, he’s doing a good job of keeping his boss off balance on the defensive side of the ball.
“To me putting the ball in play different places to different people are the most important thing. Handing it, throwing it underneath, throwing it in this area, throwing it in that area, being able to attack different areas with different people. In the scrimmage — I’d have to go back and see — one of the extreme positives in my opinion was a lot of people touched the ball. A lot. And when that’s the case, typically defensively it’s tough, because they can’t — they don’t know where the ball’s going.
The next step in misdirection: getting the big fella at fullback to catch a pass. But Hyde still has some time before he’ll be working on his hands with the jug machine, “Like milk jugs machine? I think he’s on that one.”
Notes and Injury Update
– Blake Bone is better, but needs to get more physical. Somebody who has no problem with that is Garrett Johnson. Juice is one of the few guys playing inside and outside receiver. He’s been filling Timmons’ spot in the slot as he sits out this Spring. The beautiful thing about the slot in Dawson’s offense is the deeper routes, “Oh that’s fun,” Johnson said. “Anything deep, I’m all for it. I get to showcase my speed, something I only got to do a little last year.”
– Drake Jackson is becoming a permanent fixture around Spring Practice this week. One can only assume (it’s against NCAA rules to speak to recruits while they visit campus) the nation’s best center in the Class of 2016 is using his Spring Break to shmooze with visiting recruits. If I was a gambler, I’d say he played a big part in the two Yahtzees! from this weekend.
– Today Patrick Towles commented on the added luxury of depth at the wide receiver, making it more fun for him to spread the wealth. Unfortunately, he might be left with one less at receiver. Stoops said today that complications in Alex Montgomery’s surgically-repaired knee will likely keep him out for the rest of Spring Practice. Stoops expects a full recovery, but they refuse to chance it when they don’t have to.
The linebacker position has been pretty thin this Spring, with a couple of the guys getting banged up after Saturday’s scrimmage. However, Stoops did say that early enrollee Jordan Jones has been exceptional when called upon, with Nico Firios and Kobie Walker taking lumps in practice.