There’s always at least one day of camp that coaches and players wish they could get back. Friday was that day for Kentucky this fall.
POOR EXECUTION: The team took a step back on Friday, Coach Mark Stoops told the media after the practice and the day before Kentucky’s second closed scrimmage at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. “Just sloppy, feeling sorry for themselves, a little bit banged up,” he continued, noting that a sickness had been slowing some players. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was pretty succinct in his assessment. “Today’s practice? Yeah, it was bad,” he said. “We just didn’t execute very well. We play like that, we won’t beat anybody on our schedule, I can tell you that. We got to do better than that.” Dawson specifically mentioned those dreaded pre-snap penalties and little crispness or efficiency. On the positive side, he said there were plenty of “coaching points” available from the practice. Quarterback Patrick Towles, who locked up his starting spot earlier this week, said practice was sloppy. Poor execution and other issues. “We got a great opportunity tomorrow,” he said of the scrimmage. “The good thing about camp is you get tons of opportunities. We’ll watch the film and we’ll move on and we’ll correct it and we’ll get better tomorrow.”
TALK OF THE LEAGUE: Towles said he had no idea that his confident statements about the Cats being a Southeastern Conference championship game contender on the Paul Finebaum Show would gain so much attention. But Towles didn’t dial back the confidence Friday when asked about it. “I would say it again if I had to, if he was sitting right in front of me,” Towles said. “You know, I firmly believe that. I don’t think I could be more clear with what I said. And I totally stand by what I said.” What he said basically was that the Cats have the pieces in place to get to Atlanta and that he’s confident in his receivers, offensive line and defense. The Kentucky coaches and players seemed to like the bold words out of their quarterback. “I loved it,” Dawson said. “I like the confidence, and our kids do believe that.” The head coach said he wouldn’t want Towles to get on a national show and say he thought UK would win a few games. “We don’t go out here and do all this to not win, right? Absolutely,” Stoops said. “What’s he supposed to do? You don’t say those things unless you put the work in. I think we’re putting in the work, guys have worked hard.”
POSITION UPDATES: Cole Mosier, the offensive lineman recently awarded a scholarship, said he’s been worked at right guard, right tackle and left guard during the spring and fall camp. On Friday alone, he worked at both of the right-side positions and said he was comfortable at either. Dawson mentioned that Garrett Johnson and Ryan Timmons are the two wideouts working out at multiple positions (slot and outside receiver spots). “Those two guys are really versatile guys,” he said. Anyone else? Right now we’re trying to get good at the one we’re playing. I’m gonna try to get guys good at one position.”
INJURY UPDATES:Not a ton of injury discussion Friday night after the ho-hum practice, but Timmons and offensive lineman Kyle Meadows were both able to go, Stoops said. Linebacker Ryan Flannigan is improving. The trainer told Stoops the junior is getting more range of motion, but there’s still no timeline for his return. Stoops mentioned there were a few players battling illnesses, but they should be back on Saturday.
DAILY LINK: Our annual position series kicked off Friday with a look at the running back you don’t know: Sihiem King, whom Stanley "Boom" Williams and several coaches said is going to be a difference-maker on Saturdays.