Kentucky makes some plays, finds some play makers in Blue-White Game

jsmith3@herald-leader.comApril 21, 2012 

The goal of the spring was simple for Kentucky: Find players who can make plays.

Fourteen practices and a Blue-White game later and Coach Joker Phillips believes he's definitely found a few.

In front of an announced 4,500 at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night, UK's first string beat the Cats' backups 35-28.

The non-starters were spotted 14 points to start the scrimmage.

"We've got some play makers on offense, they've got to just continue to come, continue to improve," Phillips said afterward. "They have got a lot of work to do to get on the same page, continue to get on the same page this summer."

Some of the more impressive plays in the spring game came from wide receiver Demarco Robinson, who caught two Maxwell Smith passes for touchdowns of 69 and 21 yards.

He finished the day with nine catches for 146 yards.

"His acceleration is ridiculous," Smith said of his favorite target of the day. "You get the ball in his hands and he can take off and just lose the guy in no time. Demarco has really good feet, he's like a ballet dancer."

Robinson said he was just pleased to finally be making plays.

"I'm just finally getting the hang of the game," Robinson said. "It's my second year, I'm just feeling better about the whole situation."

Phillips noted that Robinson repeatedly has made plays all spring, including also scoring two touchdowns in the scrimmage here a week ago.

"There's something to be said for a guy that every time you have a scrimmage, he makes a play," Phillips said. "Demarco Robinson is that guy. Every time we came into (Commonwealth Stadium), he made a huge play for us. Today he made a lot of big plays for us."

But Robinson wasn't the only one making them.

UK's starting tailbacks, senior CoShik Williams and junior Raymond Sanders, scored two touchdowns apiece in the win.

Smith, whom Phillips said would be the starter if the season started this week, racked up 353 yards, connecting on 29 of 45 passes with the two scores to Robinson.

The sophomore quarterback was disappointed in his overall effort, which included two interceptions. The first one was tipped, but the second one was a legit pick by sophomore corner Eric Simmons.

"Two tough passes I shouldn't have thrown," Smith said. "They were really big mistakes. ... I made a couple of bad throws. Actually, too many. I didn't think I played too well."

Smith connected with eight different players in the game, including tight ends Tyler Robinson (five catches for 75 yards) and Ronnie Shields (three catches for 42 yards).

Tyler Robinson is one of those quiet play-making types, Phillips said later.

"He's one of those guys who just rolls up his sleeves and goes to work and doesn't say a lot, not real flashy," Phillips said. "He's a guy who likes to get his nose bloodied and bloody people's noses. And he catches the football. That's what he did today."

On defense, Avery Williamson led the first-teamers with eight solo tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. Taylor Wyndham and Marcus Caffey (a cornerback recently converted from running back) had three tackles each.

The first-team defense held the reserves to 189 yards of total offense. The only big play the defense gave up was a 54-yard touchdown run by former walk-on quarterback Jacob Russell.

Behind a far-from-developed second-string offensive line, the former standout from Anderson County was on the run most of the night. He was sacked seven times. Wyndham had two of those.

In the final seconds of the game, Russell found tight end Anthony Kendrick for a 10-yard pass to make the score look closer than it was.

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com, ukwomen.bloginky.com

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