UK Football

Gene McCaskill is catching on as receiver and punt returnerQ&A

Gene McCaskill has quietly emerged as one of the more consistent performers among Kentucky's group of freshman receivers. His 10 catches are the second-most among the five true freshmen who have played this season.

McCaskill will also return punts on Saturday, allowing fellow freshman Randall Cobb to concentrate on QB.

Q: You've had seven catches the last three games. Has the light finally come on for you?

A: I've been working hard. I've stayed on top of my playbook and tried to learn from the older guys all year. I've just tried to do whatever I could in practice to help get myself on the field.

Q: Was coming in and playing receiver as a true freshman a lot tougher than you thought it would be? What has been the toughest part?

It was a lot tougher for me because I played quarterback in high school. It was an adjustment for me playing receiver. Thankfully I had DeMoreo (Ford) and Dicky (Lyons) there to help me out. They made things a lot easier. Running the routes and getting the checks down were the toughest part.

Q: Has your recent play helped your confidence?

A: It's helped my confidence a lot. You just want to get out there and make plays. And I think me and Randall have a good connection. Hopefully we can keep that going.

Q: This will be your first time returning punts in a game. That's a big-time responsibility in a high-stakes game like this, isn't it?

A: I've been practicing there all year, but I was stuck behind Randall and Dicky. With Randall playing quarterback full-time now, I just have to step up. It's just focus. Once you focus and catch the ball, from there it's just trying to make one move and get upfield.

Chip Cosby