UK Football

Practice report: Barker on previous experience bouncing back, offensive tackle updates, details on simplification

▪  Simplification simplified: Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran broke down what exactly he means by simplifying the offense, something both he and head coach Mark Stoops discussed coming off the 0-2 start and the mauling at Florida. In Gran’s world, simplification means breaking down practice film to figure out which plays UK is running to perfection in practice and building his game plan for New Mexico State around that. “If we have to cut, we’ll cut, if we don’t, then we’ll be good.” For example, if UK ran 29 plays in its team drills on Tuesday night and only 10 of them were run well, then they’ll use those 10, Gran said. He wants plays that the offense is running effectively and quickly. It’s something similar he had to assess at Cincinnati his first season as coordinator there.

▪  Barker bouncing back: After the throttling at Florida this weekend, Barker was asked how he bounces back from such a dismal showing (2-for-10 passing with three interceptions) and he went back to his sophomore year as a starter at Conner when the Cougars were throttled 42-14 by Covington Catholic. The next game was a playoff game and Barker responded by completing 14 of 23 of his passes for 229 yards and two touchdown passes to go with 15 carries for 66 yards and another score in a 28-7 win over East Jessamine. So he has some stinker game experience to draw from, he said. “The next game was a playoff game so it really wasn’t hard to move on from that knowing we had a playoff game,” Barker said. “But obviously we don’t have a playoff game now. It’s only the third game of the season so we just gotta look at it as a great opportunity to have our first win.” For his part, quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said he’s been careful not to be too hard on the sophomore. The coach remembers his own growing pains when he played the position. “The whole key is what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Hinshaw said, “but you’ve got to learn from it and we can’t make those mistakes anymore.”

▪  Offensive line updates: Left tackle Cole Mosier, who injured his right ankle in the second quarter at Florida, was still in a boot. Offensive line coach John Schlarman said true freshman Landon Young was getting most of the first-team reps at that spot and had been performing at a high level. If Mosier isn’t available this week, the Cats did get a bit of good news with George Asafo-Adjei’s return to practice this week. He missed last week’s game with an ankle injury. Between Young, right tackle Kyle Meadows and Asafo-Adjei, they feel confident that they have enough options at the tackle spots. Meadows could be moved to left tackle if needed, too. “We’ve created some competition out there and more depth that we’ve had probably in recent years, so that’s a good thing. Now they just have to continue to get better.”