Redshirt freshman DeAunte Mason has been moved from quarterback to tight end, Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks announced following Wednesday's practice.
Mason, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder from Nashville, quarterbacked the scout team last fall. But Mason is behind juniors Mike Hartline and Will Fidler on the depth chart, and UK will bring in two highly touted high school quarterbacks, Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski, this fall.
"His arm strength wasn't up to what I think it needs to be ... in this league," Brooks said. "He had athletic ability when we recruited him, and we were going to give him a chance to play quarterback. But at this stage he doesn't look like he's going to be in the mix, so we just need to get him at a position where he'll have a chance to be successful."
Mason said UK offensive coordinator Randy Sanders told him this week that the coaching staff thought a move to tight end would be Mason's best chance to get on the field. The Wildcats have four scholarship players at tight end, including seniors T.C. Drake, Maurice Grinter and Ross Bogue. The fourth is sophomore Chris Cessna, a converted linebacker.
"I'm just trying to learn the blocking schemes," Mason said. "I know the routes because I played quarterback. I'm going to try it out for the spring and see how it goes."
Shorthanded at right guard
The Wildcats have recently been without their top two players at right guard. Sophomore Jake Lanefski, who's currently running first team, is out with a pulled hamstring. Lanefski's backup, redshirt freshman Dave Ulinski, missed his third straight practice with an undisclosed illness.
Brooks said a recent test for mononucleosis came back negative on Ulinksi but that mono remains a possibility.
"He's got some type of virus, and he's not responding to antibiotics at this point," Brooks said.
Defensive line responds
After hearing criticism from Brooks, the UK defensive line dominated the offensive line Wednesday, racking up several sacks during 11-on-11 drills.
"I'd been very upset with our D-line," Brooks said. "I'd been getting on them for three or four days about getting off on the ball. Finally they did today, and obviously our offensive line wasn't ready for that.
"That's the tempo we need to practice at, not only in scrimmage situations but in pass protection and everything else. That gets our line ready to see a full-speed, get-off-on-the-ball pass rush."
First scrimmage Saturday
UK's first scrimmage of the spring is 10 a.m. Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. It will be open to the public.