UK football notes

Defense finds its groove

Locke still has speed, but needs conditioning, coaches say

ccosby@herald-leader.comAugust 23, 2009 

The University of Kentucky's second scrimmage of the fall was more balanced than last week's opener when UK Coach Rich Brooks reserved most of his compliments for the offense.

After allowing the offense to march on scoring drives in its first two possessions last week, the first-team defense held the offense to a field goal during the regular portion of the scrimmage. The offense did manage to put together a couple of scores during the goal-line session and the two-minute drill.

"It was a pretty even scrimmage so I can't be real unhappy with one side of the ball," Brooks said. "They kind of got me in between today. A lot more energy, a lot more hitting and really good plays on both sides of the ball."

UK doesn't release official statistics for its fall scrimmages, but defensive coordinator Steve Brown's unit came after quarterback Mike Hartline more this week and was able to pick up a handful of sacks.

"The defense picked it up more," Hartline said. "They threw a lot more blitzes at us, and showed us a lot of different looks."

Other highlights

■ Sophomore Eric Adeyemi had a 70-yard punt return for a TD, and Brooks said Adeyemi is also coming on strong at wide receiver after a slow start.

■ Defensive end DeQuin Evans continues to impress, as he recorded a sack in the scrimmage.

"He's just a relentless guy, and I think now he's starting to get comfortable with the defense," Brooks said.

■ With sophomore receiver Randall Cobb sitting out to rest his back, Brooks said freshman LaRod King is pushing for a spot in the rotation. King is listed at 6-4, 190.

"He's clearly put himself in the mix," Brooks said. "He's a big guy that can go up and get the ball and break a few tackles."

■ Several players left the scrimmage with various injuries, none of which Brooks deemed as serious: sophomore cornerback Cartier Rice (groin), senior fullback John Conner (ankle), senior safety Ashton Cobb (neck), sophomore linebacker Ronnie Sneed (groin), and redshirt freshman receiver E.J. Fields (foot).

Locke getting back in shape

UK junior tailback Derrick Locke took part in Saturday's scrimmage after missing last week's scrimmage and several practices with swelling in his knee. Both Brooks and Phillips mentioned that Locke, who has run a sub-4.3 40-yard dash in the past, was caught from behind by Trevard Lindley after breaking free on a screen pass.

"Locke is out of shape," Brooks said. "He needs some conditioning now, but he came out of the scrimmage fine except for me knowing he's not in good enough shape."

"We humbled him in a hurry," Phillips said. "It's not because he's lacking speed, I can tell you that now. He still has really good speed. The thing he's lacking right now is conditioning. The pool workouts don't get you in football shape. The only thing that gets you in football shape is being out there running wind sprints with the team and running plays with them, also."

Backup QB battle hot, heavy

Brooks said that junior Will Fidler and freshmen Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski are all still competing for the backup quarterback job behind Hartline.

"Will's making a strong case right now," Phillips said. About a pass Fidler completed to Fields, Phillips said, "That was a throw a lot of guys in this league haven't made."

Brooks said that sometime at the end of next week the staff must make a decision on which freshman, Newton or Mossakowski, is the most ready to play and start to plan accordingly.

"We'll have to narrow a package for a freshman quarterback and see if they can execute that package with the precision that it needs to be because right now we have so much in that it's a little overwhelming for them," he said.

Two more commitments

Kentucky got its fifth and sixth commitments for its 2010 class in Tyler Brause and Teven Eatman, a pair of teammates from Wynford, Ohio.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Brause plays quarterback for Wynford but will likely move to another position in college. Brause selected UK over offers from Maryland, Stanford, Syracuse and Iowa State and several other.

The 6-foot-7, 280-pound Eatman projects as an offensive lineman in college. Eatman had Louisville, Syracuse, Indiana and Iowa State among his offers. Both Brause and Eatman are three-star prospects by Rivals.com.

UK now has six known commitments for 2010: Brause, Eatman, South Carolina defensive lineman Justin Henderson, LaGrange (Ga.) kicker Joseph Mansour, Murfreesboro (Tenn.) defensive tackle Tim McAdoo and Georgia running back Raymond Sanders. McAdoo is reportedly a 'soft' verbal, meaning he will consider other schools during the recruiting process.

Cats on pre-season awards list

With most of the pre-season magazines and watch lists having been released, here's a look at UK players who have been named.

John Conner, FB, best blocking back in the SEC by Birmingham News

Zipp Duncan, OT, all-SEC second team by SEC Media; All-SEC third team by SEC Coaches ■ Jorge Gonzalez, C, watch list for Rimington Trophy (best center); All-SEC second team by Birmingham News; all-SEC third team by SEC coaches

Mike Hartline, QB, all-SEC third team by SEC Coaches

Micah Johnson, LB, all-America third team by Phil Steele's College Football; all-SEC second team by SEC Coaches, SEC Media, Birmingham News, Phil Steele's College Football, Lindy's, Athlon College Football; preseason watch list for Dick Butkus Award (best linebacker); Rotary Lombardi Award (best lineman/linebacker); Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player)

Trevard Lindley, CB, watch list for Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player), Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back); all-America first team by ESPN.com, Phil Steele's College Football, Playboy, Athlon College Football; all-America second team by The Sporting News; all-SEC first team by SEC Coaches, SEC media, ESPN.com, Birmingham News, Phil Steele's College Football, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Lindy's, Athlon College Football

Corey Peters, DT, All-SEC third team by SEC coaches; All-SEC fourth team by Phil Steele's College Football

Chip Cosby covers UK football for the Herald-Leader. This article includes his opinions and observations. He can be reached by phone at (859) 231-3440 or by e-mail at ccosby@herald-leader.com.

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