Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Eliot on developing depth, how he keeps from getting frustrated

D.J. ELIOT

We had a good practice today. The guys came out fired up. They’ve been locked in this week and just concentrating on themselves and what each player can do to get better. I saw them working on that today and I was pleased with that. We’re continuing to fine tune our techniques and assignments to be the defense that we want to be and today’s practice led us in that direction.”

On what the backups have to do to put themselves in situations where they can be trusted on Saturdays: “They have to execute in practice. So as soon as they execute enough in practice to have us feel confident in playing them then they’ll get more reps. And so we’re working on that, we’re working on getting as many guys as we can ready for the games and today was another step in the right direction.”

On what he's seen out of T.J. Carter and Naquez Pringle: “They have a lot of ability. Naquez is extremely strong, he’s a big load, he’s hard to move. He can knock people off the ball. And then T.J., for his size, is extremely athletic and physical. T.J. has a lot of talent as a defensive lineman. We’re wanting to get both of them on the field and trying to get them ready.”

On if he’s stuck if the young guys aren’t ready because they need to give the starters a rest: “It is the case and we’re working to solve the problem. We need to get more players on the field. We need to get more guys in the rotation. And so, you know, every day in practice is crucial.”

On De’Niro Laster not playing a lot and why: “Laster is mainly working now at outside linebacker. He’s mainly playing outside linebacker. And so we’ve gone back and forth with him to figure out what’s the best fit for him and for us. And that’s where he’s been getting a lot of reps now. He’s catching up on his assignments there and getting better every day.”

On if Courtney Love showed any lasting effects of playing 96 snaps: “You know Courtney hasn’t seemed too gassed considering he did that and played hard every play.”

On if coaches were pleased with Love’s play: “I was. I was. I thought Courtney did a good job.”

On Jordan Bonner: “Jordan is in the same boat as a lot of the guys, especially in Jordan’s situation because he didn’t get here until August. So he’s in that situation where he’s trying to learn his assignments and technique so we can put him out there and we can feel confident that he’ll do the right thing. If you remember last year we didn’t get Mike (Edwards) and Derrick Baity on the field until the second half to the season. So sometimes it takes time on developing people on those aspects.”

On Florida’s new physical back and if UK expects to get a heavy dose of him this weekend: “We may. I think they have a lot of good backs. They have good running backs that I think can run the ball and they’ve got speed and size, so you have to be ready for all of them.”

On what he saw from Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio in his first start: ”I think Luke, for his first start, he didn't seem too rattled considering the situation he's been under. I don't think he seemed too rattled.”

On how he keeps from getting frustrated:Well we just have to emphasize on that, on finishing games and making sure that the guys don't lose focus the longer the game gets, the more tired they get. That they stay locked in the entire game so they can be disciplined to execute and to play with their technique for the second half.”

On how defense finished today with crowd noise piped in:They did well. That's mainly for the offense. Away games for the defense is pretty quiet, but they did pretty well.”

On if he expected the depth to be better in fourth year: ”I think that we've had some good players at different positions, but we've never really had them all at the same time. We had Bud (Dupree) and Za'Darius (Smith) here for a while, but we didn't have the secondary that we have here. I think that we've been able to develop players at different positions. We haven't necessarily been able to develop enough for an SEC schedule at every position. Some of that's just because guys take longer, some guys take longer to develop, and some of that is that maybe we had a player like Bud that was so good why would we ever want to put his backup in? You know? So the younger player behind him didn't get developed.”

On what he think Mark Stoops means when he says players are “rat trapping”: “Well, I think what that means is a disciplined person does the right thing all the time and an undisciplined person every now and then will not do the right thing. When somebody becomes disciplined but maybe they weren’t always disciplined then when adversity hits they get caught in that trap, and that’s what he refers to about that.”

On if he saw that on film from opener: “I saw some. I saw some examples of where we lost focus and where we lost discipline, and that was discouraging.”

On what he liked about the first half: “I think in the first half we were playing with a lot of energy and confidence and we were great communicators. I think in the second half a lot of that fell off. I think that some of the lack of communication led to some of the mental errors, so we have to continue to stay on top of that.”

On if the first half came too easy: “I don’t know about that. It just was – it was an example of adversity hit and then we didn’t respond the right way.”

On how hard it was to stop Southern Miss momentum after long TD at the end of the first half: “It was hard. It was hard to get the momentum back, but we’ve got to find a way to do it. Got to find a way.”

On if Josh Allen has been able to practice: “Yeah, he’s been practicing. He’s been in and out of certain drills, but he’s been practicing.”

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