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Training Camp Report: Full Pads Popping

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

For the first time in training camp, the Kentucky football team was suited up in full gear.

“I liked their attitude and I like the way they’re approaching everyday,” said offensive coordinator Eddie Gran. “We weren’t as consistent today. Up until today we had been really consistent on offense, but we’ve gotta have patience. When we throw that much on — zone and red zone — that stuff’s going to happen.”

It wasn’t as great as Gran would have liked to see, but it was great to hear pads pop once again. In the short 30-second highlight compilation from practice, wide receiver Clevan Thomas makes multiple appearances.

Big Guys Inside

Typically when you think of slot receivers you think of small guys like Clevan Thomas or David Bouvier. Entering training camp, Gran switched things up by placing Allen Dailey in the slot. A 6-3 205-pound target from Pinson, Alabama, his size gives the Cats a different look when running through the middle of opposing defenses.

“He can body up on some guys, chicken-wing guys, create that separation and get the tough catches on option routes. He’s still quick enough to run whip routes and digs inside, so that’s been good because now that Epps is down, he’s able to go outside where he started. He’ll be a role player for us and go in and out,” said Gran.

I talked to Dailey about the differences between the two spots and how he’s approaching training camp entering his second season in Lexington.

Freshmen Receive Extra Reps

The media folks got thrown for a loop. Typically, the coordinator leads off the talking session before we are joined by players. Today the upperclassmen walked over to the sideline first, while the coaches ran 15 additional reps with the Threes, a.k.a. the underclassmen. All too often they get relegated to the back-burner. The additions to the back-end of practice will give the young players significantly more live reps for them to learn from on film.

Why the RBs are Catching more Passes

Terry Wilson has a better understanding of the offense now. Essentially, he’s finding his check-downs much easier. Gran believes all three players have good hands, but he gives Kavosiey Smoke the designation “best route runner” amongst the backfield.

Quote of the Day

“Football is not a hard sport. People make it hard, and unfortunately we play the game with people.” — Michael Smith

I don’t quite understand the quote from the wide receivers coach, but that’s a message he tells his players.

Defensive Backs Impressing

“I’m surprised at our defense right now,” said Josh Ali. They’re doing really good. Most people say, ‘Oh, we have young DBs,’ but our DBs are actually experienced, they’re smart and they know what they’re doing.”

Battling daily with Jamari Brown and Cedrick Dort, Ali has created quite a rivalry with the latter.

“Cedrick Dort is really coming along and I think he’s going to do something big,” said Ali. “Some people may say he’s small or undersized, but I think he’s really going to surprise people.”

Ali shared some trash-talking stories and explained how rewarding it was to get back into the end zone at the end of last season.

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Article written by Nick Roush

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