The University of Kentucky wrapped up camp on Tuesday afternoon and will have no practice Wednesday as players begin classes. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson chatted with the media afterward:
FEELING BETTER? There was a strong emphasis on being a more physical offense this fall camp and his group didn’t disappoint, Dawson said when asked if he had any questions answered that he may have had going into this. “I feel comfortable in the fact that if we have to grind out some wins and grind out some yards, I think we can do it,” he said. “We have the mentality up front. I think we have the guys up front. We definitely have the running backs that can do it.” At all of his other coaching stops, Dawson said he was never completely positive his teams could line up and run the ball when it had to be run. ”We’ve worked it enough (in camp) that I think I feel comfortable with it,” he said. “Now ultimately, we have to do it in a real game, but our kids are playing physical and their effort’s there.”
TIGHT END TALK: Kentucky will put a real emphasis on recruiting more to the tight end and fullback spots under Dawson. He said that while discussing true freshman tight end C.J. Conrad, whom he called talented. But he doesn’t want to overuse and possibly injure or wear down a true freshman. “Obviously he’s a big part of what we do,” he said. “Tight ends and fullbacks are a huge part of what we do. We’re going to use those guys and we have guys other than him that are capable and that definitely helps.”
BIG PLAY BAKER: Patrick Towles was asked if there were any offensive players who have been consistently good in camp and like any good quarterback would, he gave a nod to center Jon Toth. But he also had this to say about sophomore wide receiver Dorian Baker: “Dorian’s making plays – he made one today where I almost lost it,” Towles said. “One of those one-handers on his back hip that he makes look like he’s been doing it for 15 years.”
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'IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME':Dawson made it infinitely clear that his quarterback is a huge factor in his game planning from week to week. If Towles tells Dawson that he’s not comfortable with running a play — even if it’s one of his coordinator’s favorite plays — that it does not go in the game plan. “He’s a lot more important than I am when it comes to that,” he said of his QB. “He has to be comfortable, not me. It has nothing to do with me. If he isn’t comfortable with something, then it’s out.”
INJURY UPDATES:Dawson doesn’t usually provide a lot of injury updates, leaving it to head coach Mark Stoops, but he did say that running back Stanley “Boom” Williams seems close to 100 percent. “He looks good out there. I don’t know what percent he is, but he looks close to it if not 100,” Dawson said.
DAILY LINKS: Colleague Mark Story takes a look at Patrick Towles and his confidence. The NCAA denied the hardship waivers for Nebraska transfers Greg Hart and Courtney Love, but UK is still appealing.