It seems only appropriate that Jon Toth's future career path is mechanical engineering.
Kentucky's two-year starting center likes to study how things work, how they can work better, how the moving parts work together.
"He's a super smart guy and he runs the whole operation," UK quarterback Patrick Towles said of the junior center from Indianapolis.
"I give him the calls and he gets it together upfront. I can change it if I need to, but he's the real brains. He gets everybody going in the right direction."
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That hasn't always been easy for Toth, who started the Cats' final 11 games of the 2013 season and has been the starting center ever since. He was recruited as an offensive guard and converted to a center. Toth had to learn to snap the ball while simultaneously trying to stop the angry 350-pound guy in front of him.
Toth had to learn how to get everyone in the right scheme under a new coaching staff. Then, to make matters worse, he saw his weight drop to 270 pounds that first season after he got the flu.
All of that seemed to prepare him for this upcoming season, at a strong 295 pounds and arms and abs he's so proud of that he bares them even in 26-degree weather.
"I like to show off the progress I've made and my development," he said with a smile Saturday after his play in a scrimmage had head coach Mark Stoops singing his center's praises.
Toth has made such significant progress that he's become the teacher for nearly every guy on the offensive line, especially the younger ones around him like Nick Haynes or Ramsey Meyers.
"He's like a coach out on the field," said Toth's position coach, John Schlarman. "You can teach it, you can show it to him and then you can turn him loose, and he can execute it and make sure some of those younger guys around him are going the right direction."
When the team goes into the meeting rooms to dissect film, Schlarman said any mistake Toth makes is fixed almost instantaneously.
"If he misses a call or something, you can show it to him, he'll see it on film and he won't miss it again," Schlarman said. "That's huge as a coach."
It's huge for Toth's quarterback, too.
"If he misses something, he'll go back and fix it just like that," Towles said with a finger snap. "You've got to tell him once and he fixes it. I have no doubt we wouldn't be the team we could be without him."
Toth is going up against a tricky defense in the spring, Stoops' always evolving and changing schemes, and the center has performed well under pressure, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said.
Especially against Stoops' three-down front that brings pressure from every which way, Toth has been good at solving the problems before they happen.
"The mental part of the game with him I think is awesome, not to say that the other part isn't, but that position with us, we need a guy that understands what's going on and gets all those guys on the same page," Dawson explained. "We take that off the quarterback and that's all on him, and I think he's more than capable of doing that."
With all but one starter back, Kentucky's offensive line needs to learn from its mistakes last season, which included allowing 36 sacks for 236 yards in 12 games, second worst in the Southeastern Conference and 105th out of 128 teams nationally.
Those numbers as well as the most important one — 5-7 to end the season — drive Toth.
"We were one win away, a couple of plays away from a completely different season," he said. "It's definitely a huge motivating factor to know we were right on the edge and we just need a little more to get over the hump."
When Toth talks about making improvements, he's not just talk, his coaches said.
His coaches saw Toth make dramatic improvements by the end of last season and they think he will get better with the added experiences and strength.
"He is a hardworking guy," Schlarman said. "He's a guy that every day when he comes into this facility, he gives you all he's got. And he's got the physical tools to do some really, really good things."
All of those things coupled with Toth's quick thinking will make him a pretty good mechanical engineer, his position coach theorized.
But it also will make him an even better center in the fall.
"I don't see him tapped out yet," Schlarman said. "He's got a ceiling where he can continue to progress and get better. And I know with him, he's going to work to do that every single day. ... I think he's got even more growth in him."
Montgomery might sitthe rest of spring
Sophomore wide receiver Alexander Montgomery missed Saturday's scrimmage and practice on Monday with what Stoops called some issues with his surgically repaired knee.
"Nothing major, but there's a chance he will not participate the rest of this spring," Stoops said of the wide out, who missed all of last season. "I anticipate a full recovery and all that; just a few lingering side effects from the surgically repaired knee."