As we close the books on spring workouts, today’s Cats most likely have the same attitude as their ancestors. Many years ago, all I wanted out of the spring finale was to remain healthy and get the game over with. Can’t say that I ever really enjoyed spring ball. Modern contact and time restrictions have softened the grind which may lead to a different attitude. I highly doubt it.
In the olden days, teams were selected by captains and seniors. On game week, they would conduct a draft. Teams were constructed differently as player preference trumped coach’s intent. To the winner went the spoils. That is, the winning team was rewarded with steak, shrimp, and all the fixings that accompany a fine meal. The losers were fed beans and wieners on paper plates. Adding to the misery of the not-so-tasty dinner in a can, losing players had to act as servers for the victors. While filling ice tea glasses, cutting defensive linemen’s steak, and bringing additional tartar sauce to winning tables, more than a few friendly jabs were thrown. All in good fun. Kind of.
On Friday, the Lexington Herald Leader’s Jen Smith broke Saturday’s “not-participating” list.
-RB Boom Williams
-WR Dorian Baker, Blake Bone, Alexander Montgomery
-TE Darryl Long
-S Mike Edwards
-LB Kash Daniel, Nico Firios
Of the above; Baker, Williams, Edwards, and possibly Blake Bone are projected starters. Depth at running back and receiver will be showcased as I don’t expect a huge drop-off in productivity. Matter of fact; Jabari Greenwood, Sihiem King and Tavin Richardson could steal the show. For the first time in his four-year tenure Mark Stoops will be able to show off his shiny new toy, a profound skill position depth chart.
As I wrote earlier this week, don’t expect coordinators to call fancy plays or exotic defenses. Leading into Saturday’s game, many hacks have written a “what to expect” story. Truth is, none of us really know what’s going to happen. History tells us that a player that won’t factor in 2016 game action will star. As the defense is painted into a schematic corner, touchdowns will be scored. At the end of the day, only one-on-one competition plays and the post-game injury report will matter.
Below are five offensive and defensive factors that you can use while evaluating game action:
-Pre-snap offensive discipline and ball security.
-Line of scrimmage and downfield receiver separation from defensive backs. Throw in no dropped passes for good measure.
-Offensive line communication and man-on-man blocking.
-QB footwork, decisiveness, composure, and pocket discipline
-Routine pass play completions.
-Open field and line of scrimmage tackling.
-One-on-one pass rush.
-Linebacker run/pass recognition and reaction.
-Defensive back breaks on the football.
Saturday is going to be fun. Hope to see you at Commonwealth Stadium.