On the first of many Southeastern Conference football teleconferences, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops on Wednesday broke down his defensive tackle position, which will have two new full-time starters in Mike Douglas, who played significant snaps last season, and Melvin Lewis.
They will start and be part of a probable five-man rotation for the Cats this season at that spot, with Regie Meant, Matt Elam and Cory Johnson. The rotation will largely depend on what scheme Kentucky is playing at a particular time.
“We feel pretty good about a five-man rotation in there,” Stoops said. “We’re beginning to get the depth that we need and we’re also getting some size.”
Here is what Stoops said about each player in that rotation:
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On Douglas: “I’ve been very pleased with Mike and the way he’s worked. A senior, he’s taken on a leadership role. He’s really done a nice job. Mike had a good year a year ago. He’s just a touch undersized but very active and plays extremely hard.”
On Lewis: “He gives us some of that size at the nose tackle position that we need. Definitely over the 300 (pound) range. So that’s good to have Melvin.”
On Johnson: “He’s a guy that’s really improved a bunch this camp. He’s getting very active inside and beginning to create some plays. So happy with that.”
On Elam: “Matt Elam is a guy that we’ve all talked about, the recruiting. He’s an extremely talented player, working extremely hard to get himself in shape and in position to contribute this year. He will help and he will play this week, but we all know he’s a work in progress as well, so we’ve got to continue to develop Matt, but he’s going to have a bright future.”
On Meant: “Regie Meant is a guy that redshirted a year ago, hit the weight room extremely hard, gained a bunch of weight. Again, he’s one of those big guys inside, gives us a good, physical presence.”
Read everything Stoops had to say during Wednesday's SEC coaches' teleconference on Jennifer Smith's UK football blog.