UK football notebook: Defense delivers TKO in scrimmage

Guy, Wilson flourish in attacking scheme

Herald-Leader Staff WriterApril 10, 2011 

Last week, the University of Kentucky football team had a short scrimmage that ended in a draw, with the offense getting off to a fast start before the defense got off the mat and evened things out.

But Saturday's first full scrimmage of the spring, which was closed to the media, resulted in a technical knockout for the defense. Coach Joker Phillips said the defense was the aggressor throughout, and other than giving up a couple of big plays, pretty much set the tone.

"We played really, really fast, and at times we played dominant defense," he said. "I thought we played with enthusiasm and flew around."

The star of the day was senior Winston Guy, who has really taken to his new role as a linebacker/safety who plays closer to the line of scrimmage. Guy recorded a couple of sacks and was constantly in the backfield making plays.

"It's a different Winston Guy," Phillips said. "I like the way he's playing."

Junior Ridge Wilson, who's also switched positions to more of a hybrid linebacker/defensive end, also had a good scrimmage and appears to have benefited from the move.

"Any time you move a guy closer to the ball you get faster," Phillips said. "So I think that's helped us."

Phillips said new co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter is slowly but surely putting his stamp on the unit.

"They're starting to take on his personality, which is aggressive and attacking," Phillips said. "He's a loudmouth who likes to scream and holler, and now you're seeing our defense doing it."

Offensively, the Cats had a rough go of it. UK had problems with dropped balls and fumbles for the second week in a row, and Phillips said the receivers had at least six drops in the first 15 plays.

Phillips said it was hard to make a true evaluation on quarterback Morgan Newton because of all the gaffes.

"He didn't get much help from the wide receivers," Phillips said. "There were way too many drops. We can't leave yardage out there on the field, and dropping balls and putting balls on the ground, that's leaving yardage on the field. We need to be able to run the ball better, and when we do throw, we've got to catch it better."

UK offensive coordinator Randy Sanders put all of the backs and receivers on notice, saying if they don't step up their games they could lose time to the freshman newcomers who arrive this summer. Kentucky signed two tailbacks (Marcus Caffey and Josh Clemons) and six players (Daryl Collins, Rashad Cunningham, Nile Daniel, Josh Forrest, Demarco Robinson and Bubba Tandy) who could play receiver.

"I told all of them, we've got five practices remaining, and when we get done with spring practices, we'll know who we can count on in the fall and who we're not and which freshmen we're going to have to work in there. I'd say right now that we're going to have to work with some of those freshmen backs and receivers from what I saw today."

Trevathan honored

University of Kentucky senior linebacker Danny Trevathan has been named a pre-season second-team All-American by GoDaddy.com.

Trevathan was a first-team All-America selection by Collegefootballnews.com after leading the SEC in tackles with 144 and earning first-team all-SEC honors.

Junior guard Larry Warford made GoDaddy's honorable mention.

Delic out after hernia surgery

Sophomore defensive end Nermin Delic will miss eight weeks after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia, UK Coach Joker Phillips said this week.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Delic played in eight games as a true freshman, recording five tackles and 1.5 sacks. He is listed No. 2 behind Collins Ukwu on the spring depth chart.

Delic is expected to be fully recovered for the start of fall camp in August.

Towles, Harris ranked as three-star recruits by Scout

Scout.com recently released its recruiting rankings for the class of 2012, and two players who have committed to UK were ranked as three-star prospects: Highlands' Patrick Towles, who was listed as the nation's No. 23 quarterback, and Mason County's Josh Harris, who was the No. 40 running back.

Manual defensive lineman Thomas Chapman, who has also committed to UK, was not ranked.

Here's a look at the rankings of some other top in-state prospects with whom Kentucky is involved:

Zeke Pike, Dixie Heights: five-star, No. 3 QB

Anthony Wales, Central, three-star, No. 46 RB

Joe Manley, Bowling Green, three-star, No. 38 OG

Daniel Ross, Jeffersontown, three-star, No. 55 DE

Tyrone Pearson, Seneca, three-star No. 29 DT (committed to Louisville).

Chip Cosby covers UK football for the Herald-Leader. This article includes his opinions and observations. He can be reached by email at ccosby@herald-leader.com.

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