Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Animated Gran discusses offensive problems; Eliot happy with defense’s effort


On offense struggling today: “It was absolutely awful. There was no juice. That’s coaches’ fault. That’s everybody on our side of the ball: You’ve got to get them ready to come out. We’ve had 10 practices in a row where we’ve had a lot of juice and enthusiasm. I talked about that on Thursday. D.J. (Eliot) talked about that, the enthusiasm coming out. You’ve got to come out and you’ve got to be ready to play. Coach talked about growing, growing and maturing, and we didn’t do that. It was awful. We lost up front. We didn’t convert. We were off targets on throws. Just it wasn’t good. I didn’t have them ready to go and it has to be fixed.”

On whether this was that wall he predicted they’d hit: “We’ve got it all in. There’s no excuse for that. The wall should’ve happened two or three days ago. It shouldn’t have happened today. Not on a scrimmage. Not in the stadium. That should not have happened.”

On no leaders on field: “Leaders. The one thing we talked about. Talked about who’s going to be the leader on this offense. When things go down, you can’t be up, down, up, down. Once something goes down, get them back consistent and be a leader. Who was that guy. I didn’t hear a soul out there. So absolutely. We’ve got to find those leaders and we’ve got to find them fast.”

On whether there are players this spring who have shown potential to be leaders: “Yeah. They’ve got the potential. But everybody worries about what are they going to think of me and their peers and all that, and that’s horse crud. We’ve got to make sure we get that fixed. We’ll bring some guys in and we’ll talk about it and make sure we come to work on Tuesday with some guys not only guys with enthusiasm, but guys who are going to lead. And it’s going to be real leading, it’s not going to be fake. It’s going to be guys who have earned that leadership, they come out every day and the work. Guys that can be respected. I’ve talked to a couple of them about it, but it wasn’t good enough today. At the end of the day, it’s on me. They weren’t ready to go and we’ll get that fixed.”

On whether he saw anything positive situationally: “I did. Yeah. I did. At the end, we had two two-minute situations and we had two minutes with the one timeout and we had to score a touchdown and we scored a touchdown twice. That was positive. It’s never as good as you think; it’s never as bad as you think. But for us to have to go down there and go to the end to have something positive happen is ridiculous. That’s not good enough.”

On putting this behind them going into last week of spring: “Well, the last thing I said to them, I said, well, we talk about recovering. We talk about having short-term memories. This is over with. We’ve got to correct it. Monday they’ve got to come to work like pros. We’ve got to get everything fixed, get it done, go to Tuesday, install nothing and whatever we do we execute it and take a step forward. The next four practices, we’ve got to get better. So it’s going to be no problem getting going into this summer getting better. We’re going to get better.”

On whether they saw a new side of him today: “No. We went. We called. We tried to get them in a good situations, get them short, easy throws quickly when things weren’t going well. And we just didn’t execute it. So like I said, we score 10 times in a row or we don’t I’m going to try to keep even keel and make sure that they know we have to, at the end of the day, if we go three and out, that the next series we’ve got to go and put that behind and go score a touchdown. They won’t be like that on Tuesday. I can guarantee you that. They’re going to come and we’re going to go to work. As long as there’s competitive stuff going on. If they break up a pass and a guy and then the next one, we make a great catch, that’s what I didn’t see today. I didn’t see that competitiveness; I didn’t see that contested stuff that’s been going on. We’ve got to get that going on Tuesday.”


On today’s practice: “We did some good things. The emphasis in spring is fundamentals. I think we got better fundamentally. There’s plenty that we need to improve on but if you don't have the fundamental things then you’re in for a long year. That’s been the emphasis this spring. I saw improvement in that. But we still got a lot of things we have to get better at. More urgent. Have to be able to handle tempo offenses. Did not play very good in two minute. The offense won both two minute situations. A part of that is because that’s a high tempo situation. Our players weren’t urgent enough and ready to play that situation. That’s critical. There’s a lot of high tempo offenses out there and we have to be ready for them. Today hopefully was a good learning experience.”

On anyone who stood out on run defense: “I’ll have to watch the film but I do think we did some better things up front.”

On Mike Edwards: “Mike’s a very good cover DB. I’ve seen more maturity from him this year in the fact he communicates better. He’s more aware of situations. He’s assignment sound. He’s emphasizing on his technique. He’s always been a good athlete. Last year he was a good athlete and a good player for us, but now I see him improving as an overall player. He looked better on all the little fine details of being a DB.”

On the front seven: “They’re getting better. We’ve had turnover every year at that spot so we have challenges there of getting those guys ready. I think they’re getting better everyday.”