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Notes and Quotes from Monday’s Spring Practice

JD Harmon’s two interceptions against Missouri in 2012 were the most on the team that season. (Nicholas Benner/ Mizzou Mag)

JD Harmon's two interceptions against Missouri in 2012 were the most on the team that season.  (Nicholas Benner/ Mizzou Mag)

JD Harmon’s two interceptions against Missouri in 2012 were the most on the team that season. After missing 2013 because academics, Harmon is poised for a big return. (Nicholas Benner/ Mizzou Mag)

–  Mark Stoops had an old friend in town watching the scrimmage, but not just any old friend.  Pete Jenkins has coached for 41 years at the best programs in the country, focusing primarily on defensive linemen.  He was on the Eagles’ staff during their NFC Championship runs in the late 2000s after coaching 5 SEC championship teams, and most recently at USC.

Jenkins spends most of his time now watching collegiate practices and talking turkey with the coaches.  As a bystander last year, it is a night and day difference compared to this year.  For Stoops, it’s much more difficult to see the improvement day-to-day, but Jenkins’ confidence reassured him that they are getting better, “Sometimes when you see it every day, you want to make those steps faster, but he knows, and he told me, it’s a much different team, a better looking team. It looks like we’re more physical and all that.”

 

–  After watching the tape on the QBs, Mark Stoops was still a little reluctant to hand the starting job to someone but did have this to add.

“I’ll give you a bone here.  I’m still impressed.  Patrick (Towles) is improving, he’s throwing some balls we all know he has the arm talent to execute.  I feel like Drew (Barker) is doing some good things for a young guy out there.  Again, that’s not dismissing the other two guys, they did some good things as well.”

In the words of Malibu’s Most Wanted, B-Rad G, “It ain’t much, but it’s all I got.”

 

–  Za’Darius Smith used his offseason to build more muscle, but physicality wasn’t his biggest concern.  With the absence of Avery Williamson, Z knew that he needed to become a Senior leader on the defense, despite having only spent a season on campus.  “I’m being more of a leader and being more experienced,” Za’Darius said, “The best is to come.” 

 

–  Before team meetings new Special Teams’ Coach Craig Naivar jams 80’s glam band rock.  That’s a great photoshop waiting to happen.

 

–  Mark Stoops is a secondary specialist, but last year Ashely Lowery was the only player in the entire unit with a pick.  JD Harmon was the team’s interception leader in 2012, but academic issues kept him on the sideline for 2013.  For Harmon, it was painful watching from afar, “I took it upon myself.  It was kind of my fault.”

Harmon is hard on himself, but it should pay off in the long run.  Harmon’s help is just the tip of the iceberg as the coaches constantly stress the importance of forcing incompletions.  “It’s something that we’ve been emphasizing,” DJ Eliot said.  “We track it everyday in practice.  We’ve had some where we had a bunch, and we’ve had some that we haven’t had very many.  A lot of it just comes down to finishing plays.  Sometimes you get them in the right spot then it’s a dropped ball or it’s a tipped ball that we don’t bring down.”   

Article written by Nick Roush

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

26 Comments for Notes and Quotes from Monday’s Spring Practice



  1. RICK
    4:49 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    7 wins and one will be over the cards.



    • 2 and 10
      4:54 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      LOL!



    • predictable
      5:14 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Why is Rick predicting NC State’s record for next season?



  2. Bubba
    4:54 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    DON’T CARE. I heard so much of this last year. Oh the team is getting better…the team is going to be competitive….so and so looked great in practice…blah blah blah. Meanwhile, a 2-10 season later, here we go again. This time, they are telling you last year’s team stunk, but this is one is much better. If they couldn’t admit last year’s team stunk until now, what makes you think they aren’t doing the same thing with this team?

    I’ll start caring when the coaching staff starts coming clean and stops sugar coating EVERYTHING.



    • SEC
      4:58 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Hey Stoops. Take a cue from Calipari. Tell us how bad this team is so we don’t get lofty expectations and then are handed a 2-10 season. Tell us the team stinks and then deliver a 6-6 season. We’ll all think you’re a genius and a heck of a coach for turning a terrible team into winners. Right now we think you are turning good teams into losers.



    • The Prophet Bubba
      5:08 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Wow. Haven’t played a single minute in the 2014-15 season, and The Prophet “Bubba” has already written them off. Go Cats….

      Q: Whats the Superfecta results for the next Kentucky Derby? I wanna take some money to Vegas.



    • NL
      5:18 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      In his defense, I think he is trying to keep the excitement up for recruiting purposes. IDK if it is the right thing to do, but I think it may have something to do with it



    • Hunter
      5:22 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Bubba and SEC are the same “UK” fans that probably jumped off the bandwagon during basketball season and probably went on a fire Cal campaign with the rest of the fair weather morons. When Stoops turns the program around do us all a favor and don’t be supportive. Be negative as I’m sure you always are. You expect him to turn a program around in one season after the mess Joker left him? He’s is getting one thing Joker wasn’t and that is good talent to compete. I say by next season he has us in a bowl game with a 6-6 record.



    • Jim 1
      6:04 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      What good would it have done if Stoops & his staff had told last years’ team you stink and will have a terrible year. The coaches knew early on that the talent level was would not allow them to be competitive and negative talk would only add to a bad situation.

      I felt that Towles was mishandled by Joker and led to his failure as a qb. I was hoping that by getting him to red shirt, that Stoops and coach Brown was seeing his potential and the right guidance would help him become a better qb. It seems that Towles and Barker are the leaders at this time..

      Even with this UK may no win many games. It’s still a building process and Stoops has to be careful with his words around some UK fans who want overnight success.



  3. Here is to hoping the Cats have 5 wins going into their last game.
    4:58 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Crushing their dreams will be well worth it. Based on what we saw at the UofL Spring game, it’s going to be a brutal loss for the Cats.



    • Charlie Strong isn't walking through that door
      5:01 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Spoken like a true little brother. Run along now.



    • You're right. A Strong team would beat you by 10 points.
      5:22 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      You’ll have no such mercy this year, big sis.



    • UKats1996
      6:40 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah after that UL Spring Game I’m actually feeling good considering they showed how their defense is ass…I could have scored on them



  4. The Trolliest UL Fans in the World
    5:04 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t always troll KSR, but when I do…..

    I make damn sure it’s a football post.

    (Because honestly that’s all we’ve got.)

    #WeAFootballSchoolNow



    • €====)
      7:54 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      And UK football is very very bad.



    • Yet
      8:49 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Still lead in wins over UofLoL.



  5. classof68
    5:15 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Is anyone else tired of hearing “he did some good things” when it comes to football practice?



  6. Blubba
    5:18 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Hey Blubba. If you (or anyone else) listed to the coaching staff last season, they told you exactly how bad the team was. You were constantly reminded that there was no depth, that the only way out was to recruit their way out, that the team needed help, that the team needed to get better and that this was not a quick process.

    If your tiny little brain processed something different, it was as a result of the lack of oxygen to it. Kentucky has the absolutely worst fanbase in the nation. Quick to turn on their coaches/player, but even quicker to pat themselves on the back for being “the most passionate.”

    As it turns out, UK fans probably need to be labeled the most ignorant fanbase in sports. So easily manipulated by basketball coaches, so ignorant of other sports.

    Even when the coach constantly reminds you that building a football program is a process, you’re too stupid to process and retain the information.



  7. Tomas
    5:25 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Mark Stoops made a lot of mistakes last season, but being dishonest wasn’t one of them. He repeatedly said last years team was going to struggle. He stressed the process, which to me means that he knew they were going to be bad. I fully expect major improvements this season. Especially in the secondary. I imagine this team will still struggle a little. If he gets to 4 or 5 wins this season, I will be happy. Football is not like basketball, turning a program around takes time, usually 3 or 4 seasons. And unlike basketball we are in a good conference, so there a lot of good teams. Last years team was vastly improved than the year before but still won the same amount of games. Stay patient, Stoops may not be able to turn it around, but at least give him the time to do it before you flood the internet with your negativity.



    • SCCat
      6:04 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      True indeed. With that said, and i say this as a homer, i think the schedule sets up so that we can get some early momentum, and perhaps go into the Tennessee and Louisville game with something on the line.

      that would be a huge improvement and would be exciting for this fan at least.

      and who knows, maybe this is a year they beat someone they shouldn’t (looking at you Florida) and i get to lose my mind one saturday afternoon…



  8. Breaking News
    6:02 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    UK still sucks at football.



    • Jim 1
      6:21 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Hey troll birds, what kind of birds do you recruit over in birdville, jailbirds?



  9. Bubba Earl
    6:04 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Blasphemy! someone has HACKED half of my name, where’s my lawyer!!!



  10. ( . ) ( . )
    7:40 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Stoops wit a pair of tities!



  11. voodoodaddy
    8:13 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    In the words of Malibu’s Most Wanted, B-Rad G, “It ain’t much, but it’s all I got.”

    That would be KSR talking about Nick Roush



  12. BluKudzu
    10:33 am April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Last year was a totally miserable year for UK football. I commend Stoops for stepping in and trying to raise the teams expectations of themselves.
    Blaming last year on Stoops is crazy, expecting moderate improvement this year, is not. I sincerely doubt a winning or break even season will materialize, this year.
    4 wins will be huge, next year, a winning season might be obtainable.
    The current state of the condition of UK football is the AD’s fault. He gave the job to Joker. That move ended all momentum UK football ever had.