kentucky football

Freshmen growing up in a hurry

Cats practice in full pads

ccosby@herald-leader.comAugust 12, 2009 

Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks finally got what he had been waiting for: a practice in full pads with his entire team together.

After working out in a split-squad format the first four days of fall camp, Brooks had all of his troops together for one session and fully decked out.

And while there aren't many proclamations that can be made after one real practice, Brooks said he was fairly pleased.

The Wildcats even scrimmaged for the final 12-13 minutes of practice and will have their first full scrimmage of the fall on Saturday.

"We had some mistakes, particularly a lot of rookie mistakes, but people were flying around," Brooks said. "I saw some pretty good things out there," Brooks said. "I'm impressed with some of our depth, some of them don't know exactly what they're doing yet, but there's no question we've got some really good athletes out here."

Coaches are always interested in getting a real look at the freshmen in action for the first time, and Brooks said there was the usual mixed bag.

"Some of them have looked better than others," Brooks said. "But there's some very good talent in that group."

There were some typical freshman growing pains. Brooks said he talked with a freshman running back about securing the ball, and then the back promptly went out and fumbled during the scrimmage portion of the practice.

"I think that will hit home a little more now," Brooks said. "The speed of the game has got some of them on their heels a little bit, which you would expect, and the physicality of the game has some on their heels a little bit."

Some of the freshman admitted there was some culture shock.

"It was a little different," said freshmen defensive tackle Mister Cobble. "I'm not bigger than everybody now, so I have to get used to that."

Freshman linebacker Qua Huzzie came from a football factory in LaGrange, Ga., and grew up with hot, physical practices. But trying to balance that with learning the system presents the biggest challenge to date.

"The speed and the physical play, I'm used to that from where I came from," Huzzie said. "The hardest part is learning the plays, the technique and the gaps. But I've learned a lot from watching the older guys and I feel like I'm getting better. I've just got to stay in the film room."

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