Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Everything Mark Stoops had to say after Cats’ first scrimmage


“In my eyes it was just an OK scrimmage. I feel like we have a lot of work to do. Good thing we still have three weeks. Two weeks would be pushing it, three weeks there’s a lot of time to get some things ironed out. Felt like just a typical scrimmage in camp. Both sides of the ball did some good things at times. That’s why it’s always hard for me to gauge the success. You just want to see good, hard, clean football. I saw that at times. I saw some things that were sloppy at times, as to be expected the first time we teed it up live and went about it. But the guys have got a good attitude and got a lot of work in. I think we came out of it, for the most part, unscathed. I’m slightly concerned with Cole Mosier. Got injured out there so we’ll give you an update on Monday and see where he’s at. But other than that we came out relatively healthy. Good, physical scrimmage so it’s a good starting point. We just have a lot of work to do.”

On if anyone stood out: “Not really. I think if there’s any one thing, the ball didn’t get in the end zone until late in the scrimmage. But the offense had an opportunity and turned it over down deep going in. It’s good to see the defense come up with a stop and hold them out of the end zone but poor for the offense to fumble the ball. Like I said, mixed results.”

On if Jaylin Bannerman is working on offense now: “He is. He’s working some at tight end. We’re just trying to find the right position for him. He was standing up there at jack. We feel like we have a lot of depth there at jack, sam and jack. He’s a big body we’re trying to move him around, possibly inside on the defensive line. Give him an opportunity maybe at tight end as well.”

Did I hear you say the ball was on the ground once today? “With the ones and the twos, I believe the ball was only on the ground one time.”

On pass catching: “Yeah. I felt like we were good. Couple of young guys had an opportunity to make some plays.”

On if there’s any particular area he’s referencing when he said they have a lot of work to do: “I think all of it. Putting it all together. I think we’ve worked really hard fundamentally at doing some things better. I think that showed up today. There was definitely some positives, some good things. We were more stout up front than we’ve been. Better at run defense in general. They did rip off a couple, but I think in general we more solid. Saw some more second and longs. That’s what we were looking for.”

On if the team worked on special teams today: “We did. We did punt and kickoff return.”

On how Stephen Johnson and Drew Barker performed today: “I saw both guys really do a good job of protecting the football, first and foremost. I thought both guys really showed up at times with some impressive throws and threw it in some really tight windows. I liked seeing that. I liked seeing the competitive plays when it’s good defense, good offense and somebody making a play, and you saw that at times today.”

On if Josh Paschal participated: “He wasn’t able to go today. He should be out there ready to practice on Monday.”

On if he’s seen Josh Alen and Denzil Ware step up during camp: “Yeah, I have. They’ve been really good. We did some two-minute, like I talked about. We did some two-minute this week, a couple days, and in predictable pass situation they’ve been very good, very tough to block.”

On seeing players contest each other in two-minute drill: “Yeah, it’s been good. We’ve had two days. I did it yesterday. We did four racks of it yesterday, so I wouldn’t have to pile it in today. That gets taxing on guys. They get pretty winded in those periods. So we got two days of it last week. It was good to see. Again, both sides did some good things at times. We’ve just got to continue to work it.”

On if it’s a vote of confidence in freshman OLBs that they’ve moved some older guys from that position: “Yeah, I think we definitely have some guys to work with. There’s no doubt. We feel good at that position.”

On what has to happen to improve run defense: “Well, it starts up front with our interior guys. We’ve got to be fundamental and strong up front. We were for the most part today. We got cut out on one run. I think the offense does a nice job, they spread us out and they cut us off at one spot and it was a big run. Outside of that it wasn’t just driving on us. I felt much better about just the play in and play out of getting them in some longer situations. What else you talked about was fundamental, but obviously just executing offensively and defensively. We have a lot in on both sides of the ball. Being able to execute that, that’s why we need the time. Being able to put it all together, even in a scrimmage sometimes, it’s hard to get all the looks that you want to, all the offense and all the defense that you’re going to need throughout the course of a year.”

On impressions of Lynn Bowden after a week: “Lynn is really coming on. He’s just a good football player. It’s hard to force feed them. There’s so much learning involved. He just got here. The other day he had a really good practice. He showed up today with a couple nice catches. I believe he’s got a really good future. I love his attitude The kid comes in and he’s what I expected in that he’s a great kid, he’s a competitor, doesn’t want anything handed to him. He wants to earn his way. The players like him. He works extremely hard. He’s a competitive kid. He’s got a bright future. It’s just hard, just hard to learn it all and force feed them. He is catching punts and kickoffs, and hopefully by three weeks we’ll get him in a position to be able to touch the ball.”

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