UK football notes: Rumph requires surgery; should return for fall

mmaloney@herald-leader.comMarch 29, 2013 

The good news and bad news out of Kentucky spring football practice Friday was topped by Donte Rumph.

The bad, as expected, is that the injury the defensive tackle suffered this week is indeed significant.

Rumph was to undergo shoulder surgery Friday.

The good news?

"We expect Donte to make a full recovery and be back with us in the fall," Coach Mark Stoops said outside the Nutter Training Center.

Rumph, a 6-foot-3, 323-pound senior, is a two-year starter. He started all 11 games in which he played last year, notching 36 tackles, including six tackles for a loss and four sacks.

With Rumph out for the rest of the spring, "Tristian Johnson's getting those reps, and he's progressing every day," said D.J. Eliot, UK's defensive coordinator.

A 6-foot-1, 277-pounder, Johnson started the final nine games last season and finished with 27 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. Good results

Stoops pronounced Friday's scrimmage "good."

"We went about 140 plays and got some good work, kept everybody healthy for the most part and did some good things on both sides of the ball," Stoops said. "Obviously, we've got a long way to go, but it was some good work."

Stoops said positives in the closed practice included several takeaways by the defense. He said the offense moved the ball well at times, but was hurt by the turnovers.

"Just like you would expect, the defense is further along," Stoops said. "Because if the defense just gets lined up right and makes them execute — the offense — it's always a little bit harder for them to get started."

"I saw some guys making some plays and being aggressive," Eliot said. "But we've still got a ways to go.

"I think, assignment-wise, we're right where I want to be. Fundamentally-wise, we're not where I want to be right now."

Tempo

After reiterating the "long way to go" theme, Stoops said, "we're getting a better sense of urgency each and every day.

"Offensively, I like the positions that the coaches are putting them in. I like the tempo which we're doing things. Defensively, the same thing. We're coaching them hard.

"I like what we're doing. We look good at times. But a dropped pass here or there, or a turnover, and the mental toughness is not where we need it to be. We step on the field with a top-10 team right now — we've got a long way to go."

Quarterback contest

Stoops on the competition among quarterbacks Maxwell Smith, Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow: "They look good at times and look bad at times. That comes down to the players around them as well. Players have to make plays, and the other 10 guys around the quarterback, they need to be in position and doing the right things and making plays."

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229 Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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