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Notes from Kentucky’s Final Spring Practice of 2019

The 2019 edition of Kentucky spring ball will culminate with Friday night’s Blue/White Game. The action on the practice fields concluded this morning. Mark Stoops was pleased with the Cats’ effort through 14 practices.

“It’s been a very productive spring,” Stoops said this morning. “It’s been a long time. Guys put in a lot of work. We had a good, strong winter. Guys are lifting and running. We stretch it out, going three days a week for five weeks, players getting up every morning, lifting and meeting on the off days…it gets to be a little bit old by this time so they’re looking forward to wrapping it up tomorrow with a good spring game. Got a lot of work done this spring, and knock on wood, we’ve been blessed with not too many serious injuries. Hopefully we’ll get out tomorrow, get some good work done and stay healthy.”

Kentucky has accomplished plenty over the last five weeks, but there’s still room to grow before there season kicks off August 31.

“We have a long way to go, but that’s what spring’s for,” said Stoops. “We know we have some holes to fill. Guys are working hard. We’re well aware of that.”

Prepare for Big Plays

Earlier in the spring season, Stoops joked that the secondary is making him lose his hair. Finding five new starting defensive backs is no easy task. Brandin Echols is one of the first cornerbacks to step up, but as you’ll see tomorrow, the group still has plenty of progress to make.

“It’s hard to tell right now. We go against each other so much and get a feel for it,” said Stoops. “I think tomorrow will be a little bit of a determining factor for that. Tomorrow they’ll be put in some bad situations. They won’t be protected much, so I don’t know if it will be a true indicator. It’s certainly geared up for the offense to have more success. We’ll be pretty vanilla on the defensive side so don’t go attacking them too much if they have some success tomorrow.”

Stoops is scheming it up for the offense to have success down the field, and frankly, I love it. The more big plays, the better.

Frustrations from Paschal

Josh Paschal has returned to action full-time this spring, but he’s not yet the same Josh Paschal. Still working through complications from his surgery, the UK defensive end cannot completely control the game like he could prior to his fight with melanoma.

“He’s still a little bit frustrated because if you know anything about him, he wants to come out and be the dominant player he knows he can be. He’s just not there yet,” said Stoops.

“There’s still just getting used to that foot where they reconstructed it and did a lot of surgeries on it. The poor kid — it’s just frustrating for him. So at times I’ve just got to talk to him about trying to be patient, and he is. He’s blessed to be out here. He greatly appreciates that he’s out here but he just wants to play at that same level and it’s a bit frustrating. We’re confident in time he’ll still be 100%.”

Squarely the Best

DeAndre Square had an eye-opening spring game in 2018 as an early enrollee. After playing in every game as a true freshman, he earned SEC All-Freshman honors. There’s still room to improve, but defensive coordinator Brad White likes what he sees so far.

“Great players never get satisfied, and he’s not satisfied where he is, but he’s definitely made some strides. It’s really been a comfort and a command difference you can see.”

No Dead Weight

The talent across the board has dramatically improved since Stoops first took control of the Kentucky football program.

“In general, I feel good about where we’re at. All of our guys seem to be improving,” Stoops said. “There’s not a whole heck of a lot of dead weight here anymore in our program. If there is, they have a tendency to move their way out, move on, so I think most of our guys are progressing.”

What White Wants to See

Obviously, an injury-free scrimmage is top priority. After that, he wants to see who rises to the occasion in front of the bright lights while playing a simple scheme.

“Hopefully tomorrow some guys stand out and flash. In really simple calls, who can stand out?” White said, “At the end of the day, it’s a bottom line business. We want guys that can make plays.”


Article written by Nick Roush

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

7 Comments for Notes from Kentucky’s Final Spring Practice of 2019

  1. ClutchCargo
    2:33 pm April 11, 2019 Permalink

    Interesting comment about dead weight. If Stoops is happy, I’m happy.

    • mashburnfan1
      10:01 pm April 11, 2019 Permalink

      Guessing we lost most of that “dead weight” when Elam graduated.

  2. Gocats30
    2:49 pm April 11, 2019 Permalink

    Cant wait for tomorrow!!

    • mashburnfan1
      10:03 pm April 11, 2019 Permalink

      agree, actually be the 2nd time to see them in 2019, Orlando and now. What a season, time to rinse and repeat.

  3. RealCatsFan
    3:02 pm April 11, 2019 Permalink

    Wow, they must have really taken a pound of flesh from Josh’s foot. I just pictured the usual excision for skin lesions, but I guess they wanted to make sure they got clear margins and had to go a lot deeper. Best of luck to him!

  4. kjd
    4:31 pm April 11, 2019 Permalink

    If we see big things from the offense, it won’t mean a thing because that’s the goal.
    Opening game we’ll see what we have.

  5. shelby
    9:01 pm April 11, 2019 Permalink

    Really pulling for josh paschal, hope he’s at full speed next season and kills it. A kid that young shouldn’t have to hear the word “cancer”