Randall Cobb wasn't the multi-tasking phenom in Saturday's Blue-White Spring Game that he was for Kentucky last fall. He didn't take any snaps at quarterback or return any punts. But Cobb showed he can be plenty good when he's focusing on his duties as a wide receiver.
Cobb caught four passes for 70 yards, and his 26-yard TD reception on the game's first drive set the tone for the Blue team, which held off the White 28-23 at Commonwealth Stadium.
The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 20,200, which UK officials said was the second-highest known attendance figure for a Blue-White Spring Game.
Cobb's biggest highlight came when he tipped and then caught a pass thrown slightly behind him and scooted upfield for a 19-yard gain.
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"He reminded me of (ex-UK receiver) Dicky Lyons," UK Coach Rich Brooks said. "He made a one-handed grab that was behind him and got it and gained extra yards. Those are the plays we need our receivers to make from time to time."
The game looked like a mismatch on paper. The Blue, coached by defensive coordinator Steve Brown, drafted perhaps the team's four best players in Cobb, cornerback Trevard Lindley, defensive end Jeremy Jarmon and linebacker Micah Johnson.
Even Blue quarterback Will Fidler wondered how his team got so stacked.
"Somebody must have paid somebody off," Fidler joked. "We had a great team."
But after falling behind 14-0, the White made a game of it, thanks to a surprise showing from the previously unheard of Nick Melillo. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound sophomore walk-on transfer from Lindenwood University caught a pair of touchdown passes from Mike Hartline. Brooks said Melillo put himself in position to earn some playing time this fall.
"He made plays," Brooks said. "He's going to move ahead of some scholarship players because he deserves to move up the depth chart."
Fidler, a fourth-year junior who's only seen mop-up duty, had his best day as a Wildcat. On the game's first drive, he was 6-for-8 passing for 86 yards, including the 26-yard TD strike to Cobb. He also threw a 9-yard TD pass to Matt Roark in the third quarter.
Fidler will enter the fall behind Hartline on the depth chart, but he definitely helped himself, Brooks said.
"That first drive was as good as I've ever seen Will play," Brooks said. "He clearly closed the gap. I feel much, much better about Will Filder after this scrimmage."
"It was the breakout scrimmage I had been hoping for," Fidler said. "I was glad that I was able to show the coaches that I could come in and move the offense."
Though Cobb didn't play any quarterback in the Blue/White Spring Game, the UK coaching staff will spend the off-season tinkering with the 'Wildcat' package that will feature him.
"I think it will give some teams some preparation problems," Brooks said. "It will give teams a different look and some things to be concerned about, and it's also putting the ball in the hands of a guy who can do special things. We'll see how it works. If it's successful, you can expand on it. If not, it can get de-commissioned."
Sophomore linebacker Danny Trevathan wrapped up a solid spring with 11 tackles for the Blue, and Johnson had 11. Sophomore defensive end Chandler Burden had two of the Blue team's four sacks.
Senior Moncell Allen led all rushers with 96 yards on 16 carries for the Blue. Alfonso Smith had 67 yards on 18 carries for the White before leaving with a sprained foot. And Coshik Williams had seven carries for 56 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a bruised shoulder.
Best of all for Brooks, there were no injuries that would put anyone in jeopardy for the fall.
"This was the best spring I've ever had as far as no serious injuries," he said.