Coach Stoops wasn’t too pleased with his offense today, but was it because the offense played bad, or the defense played well? I’ll take the latter.
The defense came ready to play in early down situations. By getting hands on passes early, they put the offense in a lot of tough situations, “We get behind the chains early and we’re not very efficient.”
Last year the Cats were last in the SEC in interceptions, a rare occurrence for a Stoops and Eliot coached team. They’ve placed an extra emphasis on getting hands on the ball this Spring and it has paid off. Today the unit came down with multiple picks, including one by linebacker Josh Forrest. Forrest has received praise from the coaching staff for his athletic ability, even though it hasn’t been easy learning the 4-3 and 3-4. Forrest caught one of the three interceptions last year, and takes pride in his hands.
With CB Nate Willis out 3-4 months for hernia surgery, the Cats need guys like Forrest to step up. Stoops believes the return of JD Harmon at cornerback has given them much needed versatility and depth. AJ Stamps might be the most versatile playmaker in the group. He’s received praise all Spring from the staff, but his skills with the ball are another new revelation. A guy that played both sides of the ball in JUCO, Stamps doesn’t hesitate to make the big play, and he can do something with it once he comes down with an interception.
Willis’ injury is the only major setback, but the amount of guys ‘banged up’ has forced them to adjust their practice plans, and possibly their plans for the Blue/White game. Today Stoops wanted another full scrimmage, but it was too risky with dwindling numbers on the depth chart. He’d like to have some fun next week and decide teams with a draft, but they might have too many guys on the sideline.
Even though the Cats are struggling with depth (what’s new), Stoops expects to get a lot out of his team in the final week of Spring practice. Stoops wants to see some continuity from his offense, and that could mean deciding a starting quarterback, “if we can figure it out in the last week we will. If not we’ll continue to work through it. We have time until our first game.” Other than quarterback, he wants to determine a solid pecking order at running back, wide receiver and defensive line.
Eight days til the Spring game. Don’t Geek BBN.