Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Matt House on defensive growth, progress he’s seeing from Ware, Daniel


On if it was a situational practice today or scrimmage at stadium: “Yeah, it was a mixture of situations and stuff. But it wasn’t a scrimmage. Coach Stoops just put them in a lot of different situations which was good.”

On the defense’s biggest area of progress: “I think our run defense has improved. It’s still a work in progress. We’re not there yet but I think we’re becoming stout in there.”

On getting reps in the heat in the afternoon: “Yeah, I think Coach Stoops, when you get in the dog days of two a days it’s just trying to change the schedule and keep the players fresh and keep it from being too monotonous.”

On if Lonnie Johnson is getting to the point where he’s caught up: “Yeah but he’s got a ways to go yet. He’s gotta keep getting himself into football position and finishing plays.”

On the nickelback position: “I’ve been pleased. Mike Edwards has done a nice job. Jordan Griffin has played a bunch of different positions and done a good job. Kendall Randolph has given us some good snaps. I think that position has developed as we’ve gone which has been good.”

On what Baity and Westry need to do this season to improve: “I think just finishing on 50-50 balls. Just play smart, understand situations, formations and make the sure tackle when the ball is thrown out there.”

On how difficult it is for a player like Boogie Watson to play inside and out: “Boogie is a smart guy. It’s hard and takes reps. He’s definitely grown and improved in there. He’s a really intelligent football player and a loose football player.”

On what he brings to the field: “Athleticism. He’s an athletic guy that can move.”

On if Elam looks different from last year: “He’s improved. He’s got to continue to improve. I do think his pad level has improved from last year. He’s being a little bit more disruptive. But he still needs to be more consistent.”

On if Denzil Ware has taken a step forward this year: “Absolutely. I think Denzil continues to improve every practice. He’s really worked. I think he’s had a good training camp.”

On what he likes about Ware: “First of all leadership wise he’s given us some vocal leadership and some leadership by example. He’s had a really great attitude. On top of that he’s made a lot of great plays. He’s made very few mental errors and he’s been in better football position. It’s been good.”

On T.J. Carter: “He’s getting firmer in the run game. You can tell he’s not a freshman anymore. That year in the weight room, spring ball, that summer. The experience of playing last year. He’s definitely improved.”

On if there’s any particular area he wants to concentrate on and improve: “Fundamentally we have to get better in every area. I think the thing we really have to focus on is handling tempo. Getting lined up to tempo.”

On how much the pass rushers have to contribute to dropping back in pass defense: “A bunch. You’re not going to rush both those outside backers every play. Because if you do you’re playing with either holes in zone coverage or you’re playing man free with no middle hold player. One of them is dropping a bunch.”

On the biggest improvement in Kash Daniel: “I think mentally he’s just way better. Leaps and bounds better. He’s not making nearly as many mental mistakes.”