Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Eliot on newly focused defense, facing Alabama’s versatile quarterback

D.J. ELIOT

On if this Wednesday’s practice was better than last week when Mark Stoops was so displeased: “I think so. I think we did some things better. We’re still not there yet. We’re working on cleaning up a few things, but I think we did get better.”

On what Denzil Ware did well last week: “He rushed the passer well. He played the run well. He executed much better and played extremely hard.”

On defense being more aggressive, energetic: “We just didn’t do anything different, just did the same thing we’ve always done, just I think the players were executing better. They were playing faster, felt more confident in what they were doing and playing faster.”

On if there was a decrease in mental lapses for defense: “A tremendous amount especially from the beginning, but we still had more than we should. We still had more than we should.”

On Alabama QB Jalen Hurts and not playing like a freshman: “Oh I know. He’s extremely talented, very athletic, a strong arm, for a freshman he’s really got a grasp for that offense. It’s very impressive. He’s tough to bring down in the run game. He’s also, like I said, an accurate passer that makes good decisions. He’s a very good player.”

On how Matt Elam played against South Carolina: “I thought Matt played hard. You know, I thought he came off the ball harder and struck blockers. I thought he even rushed the passer decent. We got some good push.”

On what he’s seen recently from Kash Daniel: “Kash is very mature. Kash is a player that takes the game very seriously. Kash has worked extremely hard. Kash is athletically ready to play this year. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s physical. He’s still picking up the scheme, but I see him getting better every week.”

On if players had more of a bounce to them in practice after having success against South Carolina: “I thought we had a good attitude, but I thought that for the most part last week besides that Wednesday they came out focused and ready to get better too.”

On if Matt Elam will get more opportunities against Alabama because of his success in big sets: “I think so. Matt, his strength is his size and he’s hard to move. Power run teams and teams that have bigger personnel groups out there are more of his fit.”

On Tymere Dubose:Tymere has played in the last couple of games and he’s a very physical player. He can really knock the blockers off, he can get in the backfield. Since his knee injury he hasn’t been where he was athletically, and I think he’s catching up.”

On Alvonte Bell making a jump the last few weeks:Alvonte, fortunately for him, has been able to get a lot of reps. Alvonte played quite a bit of snaps in the first couple games, so we saw him improve tremendously with experience. Then this last game he made a couple real good plays, like you mentioned, and I think it’s with the repetitions that he’s getting.”

On where Kengera Daniel fits in now that his suspension is lifted:He’ll be working with the twos, but we plan on seeing plenty of playing time from him on Saturday.”

On Kobie Walker’s status:Yeah, he is day to day. He practices but I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent.”

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