Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Kentucky coordinators discuss second spring scrimmage


On how the offense looked today: “I think what's gonna show up is third downs. We started the drill off in third downs and we went through and did a really good job. We had about 12 of them and I think the percentage is gonna be really high. We executed great. But then when we got into the scrimmage and we got to third downs, we didn't convert. So now we're not moving the ball and we're not being able to sustain drives. I thought they did a great job on defense in terms of on first down. We did not stay ahead of the chains. I don't think we were efficient enough.”

Good things that happened: “We talked about at halftime, we kind of took a break, we said, 'OK, that half's gone. Now we're going into the second half, what are we gonna do? Are we gonna worry about that or are we gonna recover?' Came out, first offense went down and scored a touchdown. Second offense came down, got down there, I expected drop eight. They didn't. I wish I would've called a pass, we had a chance for a back shoulder fade over here. We ran the ball and we got beat. Kicked a field goal. Those are still points, so those two drives, something we can build on there in the second half. But at the end of the day, it came down to third down efficiency and it came down to converting on third down.”

On protecting the quarterback in obvious passing situations today:Yeah, we've gotta – especially with the second group right now. That's the one right there where we've gotta get that fixed. Eyes, our progressions on our slide we got to make sure. They did a good job on twisting. Coach Schlarman was telling them when we got together and we got a chance to visit about it, they were twisting and we weren't picking up the twists. So that's definitely something we've got to get ironed out.”

On the special teams competition: ”Everything's competitive. Everything's about winning. Everything's about winning the drill, winning the competitive battles that we have at the end of those segments. You can certainly see it already that it's showing up with the effort, it's showing up with the technique right now and it's awesome.”

On if it was good to see Drew Barker regroup after slow start:Absolutely. First two drives, we didn't convert. The first one we were first down, second down then we went third down and we didn't convert. Then we had a dropped ball. You know, you got to move on. He came back and that next drive in the second half, he went down and he forgot about it and he did some good things.”

On what he's hoping to get out of moving Ryan Timmons around:Well, you want to try to get your best players on the field. And then with our offense, you want to be able to get your right sides guys can play on the left hand side. If we can do that through these 15 practices and they know all the positions, if you got a guy like Timmons that knows both inside positions, then if something happens and somebody gets hurt, then you're not sitting there going, 'Gosh almighty, we're with a guy that may be better sitting on the sideline.' So that's what we're trying to get out of that.”

On what he is trying to instill in the wide receivers:Well, number one, know what to do. Number two, we got to make sure that they're competing on every play. We've got to be consistent. I keep using that word, but you can't drop balls. Thursday's practice we had probably four or five contested throws on fades and we made four of them. And then today we had a couple of them, so whether that's a target throw by the quarterback or it's a jump ball, we got to make those. We just gotta get more consistent at that position and keep competing.”

On if that's a matter of concentration: ”It's everything. It's concentration, it's technique, it's knowing the play and being in the right position. It's everything when it comes to the receivers concentrating.”

On what he has seen from Sihiem King:He's done a really good job. He's a guy that can make you miss in space. He's got the speed. We'll see on a couple of runs if – making sure that he stuck it up in there and he wasn't just trying to bounce it outside. With a guy like that that's a scat back, you don't want that to happen. But I've been really excited about what he's shown so far running the ball. And today, we didn't run the ball as much. I wanted to kind of see our quarterbacks and see what they could do. That's what we're trying to get done in the 15 days. Put them in bad situations and see if they can handle it.”


Opening statement: “It was good to get back into the stadium with a game atmosphere. We had some situational football and a lot of tackling. I was pleased with the energy and enthusiasm. So we have to stay up and have that type of attitude throughout spring. But fundamentally we need to get better. Our strongest area right now is probably our secondary play. I think they’re playing our best. In the other areas certain guys are playing good in certain spots but we still have a lot we need to get better at.”

On how much of the secondary success is based on experience: “Some of that is the case because a lot of those guys were starters or in the rotation last year. So some of that is certainly the case.”

On Matt Elam: “He does some good things. Matt does some good things. He still has things he has to get better at.”

On Jordan Jones being energetic: “Jordan has a very enthusiastic personality. Some people may find that annoying. I don’t (laughs). I don’t. But he brings that love for the game everyday. 100 percent effort on every play and enthusiasm.”

On who may find Jones’ enthusiasm to be annoying:

“Some of the other players I think.”

On if they need a guy like that: “I like having one. I like having a guy that comes here every day and loves the game. His mouth may run but so do his feet. It’s a good thing.”

On Kash Daniel: “Kash is very mature. He’s learning quickly for someone who is supposed to be a high school senior. Seeing the college game for the first time, he’s learning very quickly. But he also has the physical tools to be a good college linebacker. There’s not a need to develop so much physically, so he’s ready to go physically, and he has the maturity. He just needs the reps and continue to get better.”