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Training Camp Report: Learning Through Contact

Mark Stoops’ players received their first day off from training camp Wednesday. They did not suit up on the field, but they did spend quite a bit of time in the film room.

“I thought we were a little loose on Tuesday,” said defensive coordinator Brad White. “Yesterday I thought all the assistant coaches did a good job in their position rooms getting all those mistakes we’ve seen occur over and over again, getting them cleaned up. We didn’t see nearly as many today.”

During their recovery time, the players also got a chance to dance in the locker room. Nobody has better moves than redshirt freshman defensive lineman Davoan “DayDay” Hawkins.

Kash and Childers UK’s middle linebacker wants a day off and it’s not because he’s trying to skate one past his coach. He’s asked Stoops if it’s okay to take a “personal day” to see Tyler Childers this Sunday at Keeneland’s Railbird Festival. He was representing Eastern Kentucky’s finest following today’s action on the field.

@JDrumUK

Rookies Adjust to Physicality UK’s DC liked what he saw from the Cats’ practice Thursday morning. “Overall, I’ve been pleased with the effort. I thought we had a solid practice today. Obviously, there’s some things to clean up,” White said.

Some of that is simply learning on the fly, especially for the young players who are getting popped by the big guys for the first time.

“You can tell there was some inexperience and indecisiveness at first, trying to dissect too much instead of going and playing ball. But that’s every young kid. It happened to me, it happened to everybody that’s out here on this field when they first got here,” said Kash Daniel.

“You can definitely tell they’ve changed in how they approach practice. Now they know practice is going to be very physical. They know that a high school game is going to feel like they just got out of a college practice.”

Scrimmage Looming The team has taken a few lumps in practice, but they aren’t tackling players all the way to the ground. The first time the players are truly tested in a game-like setting will be Saturday morning. White is anxious to see how the young team responds to the atmosphere.

“It’s one thing to get to the point of contact. We want to see who can finish it all the way to the ground. All the tagging off on the hips, all the glove-hand placement, who can make the pick, who can make the tackle, who can pin a guy to the ground when the offense is going full-speed? That’s going to be the real test.”

Move for Mosely — One of the highest-ranked JUCO safeties in America was recruited to play cornerback at UK. After learning the position in the spring, Davonte Robinson’s injury forced the coaching staff to move him back to safety for training camp. It should come more naturally for Mosely, but if they’re not careful, the moving and shaking could get him lost in the wash.

Paschal Helps Inside  After celebrating his successful final cancer treatment, White explained how JP’s experience as a defensive end helps him as a Jack linebacker.

“Anytime you play multiple positions, it gives you an appreciation for the whole picture. He understands the strain those guys go through. If you play loose on the edge, what kind of strain that puts on the guys inside. He has a tendency — which is great, which is sort of my philosophy — he’ll play tighter on the edge than most guys. Now, he believes in his power and his strength. He’s bigger than most so he can, but he also does it out of respect for those guys inside of him.”

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Article written by Nick Roush

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