Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: House on Florida’s big play ability, Hail Mary plays and third-down improvement


On Florida offense: “I see a quarterback that really throws good deep balls. They’ve got a couple wideouts that can blow the top off of coverage. They’ve got a couple quick wideouts. And they’ve got the same backs that ran for a bunch of yards on us last year. I think they’re big up front.”

On if they’ve practiced Hail Mary defense: “It’s something you work every week. I’m sure that it’s something that they’ve covered too.”

On key for rushing defense up front: “I think just technique, effort. Guys committing themselves to strain every play and do their job and trust that the guy next to them is going to do theirs.”

On Eli Brown: “I thought he came in and played well. He did some good things. He played physical. Was it all perfect? No. Could he get better? Absolutely. But he played with great energy and he tackled well.”

On how much of the third down success against South Carolina was guys being in the right place and how much was it the will to make plays: “It’s a little bit of both. You can have the will to make the play and be in the wrong spot and it could be a touchdown. So, it’s execution within the call but then straining to whip somebody.”

On what position on the ball means:“Leverage within your gap. Leverage within, every defensive call has a certain support system whether it’s a corner support, an outside linebacker support, knowing where your support system is and where you fit the ball. And then we we talk about position on the ball, it’s not just defensively, it’s also body position. If you’re an inside-out-player, keeping it on your inside pad and in good football position. If you’re an edge setter, keeping the edge.”

On how much he’s used the word ‘strain’ this year: “A lot.”

On if it’s his favorite word: “I don’t know if it’s my favorite word but I do think it’s necessary to play great run defense.”

On if they’re picking up on it: “I think so. They understand what it means and they’ve shown it at times.”

On if the tackling has improved a lot: “Yeah. The second game, I’ll be honest with you, Eastern Kentucky we didn’t tackle the way we wanted to. This past game against South Carolina we tackled much better.”

On the biggest improvement from the first game until now: “I think in assignments, guys playing faster and leverage on the football.”

On if 4th down stops can become contagious: “Absolutely. Success kinda breeds success. You’ve gotta learn how to have success, right? It’s hard to learn how to have success without having any. I think the more you have the more you trust. The more you trust, you don’t try to do too much. You just do your job and have fun doing it.”

On collective play at nose guard: “We’re having a collective group that’s doing a good job of buying in and saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got to roll. And when I’m on the field whether three plays or 20 plays, I’m going to bust my hump to be at my best,’ which is big.”

On what UK needs to do to improve pass defense: “I think leverage on the ball, that sounds goofy, but it’s the truth even in pass coverage you’ve got certain spots we’re supposed to be on or in man coverage, certain leverages we’re supposed to be in. Leverage in the pocket and continued pressure. We always talk about the rush has to match the coverage and the coverage has to match the rush. So I think there’s a lot of different things we can improve on.”

On how dangerous Florida true freshman athlete Kadarius Toney is: “He’s fast. Really fast and they do a good job getting him the ball in open spaces whether it be a screen, jets. They had him at wildcat quarterback. They do a good job of trying to get him the ball. He’s a good player.”