Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Eliot discusses defensive matching game, various players

UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot met with media to discuss defensive progress in fall camp.
UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot met with media to discuss defensive progress in fall camp. Herald-Leader

D.J. ELIOT

“We had a good practice this morning. We gotta take that into this afternoon. We are getting a lot of different players reps in different positions, which is critical in training camp. Like we say every year, we have to establish depth. To do that takes reps. We have another practice this afternoon. We have a chance to get better this afternoon and even mix and match different guys in different spots this afternoon. The emphasis all spring was fundamentals. Now, that’s still the emphasis but we’re able to build on our scheme more. Start understanding different parts of our scheme.

“It’s early in training camp but I’m pleased with where we are so far. Still have a long ways to go but looking forward to working with the guys this afternoon and moving forward.”

On shuffling the starters up front: “We’ve been mixing and matching. Matt (Elam) is still going at nose (guard) with the one’s. Courtney Miggins is still going with the one’s at end. Adrian Middleton has got some reps with that first team tackle. Tymere Dubose has gotten some reps with that first team tackle. Then I’ve also seen some good things from our freshman defensive tackles. T.J. Carter, Kordell Looney, Ja’Quize (Cross), they’ve done an excellent job. They’ve got a bright future here.”

On if the defensive linemen can be moved around: “They can. Courtney is 290-300 pound kid. He’s definitely got the ability to play tackle too.”

On if they’re mixing and matching at other spots: “We’ve been mixing and matching at different spots. Our safeties are constantly rotating with who’s with the one’s, who’s with the two’s. Our nickel backs are constantly moving around, putting guys at different spots. Even at corner too. We’ve been getting guys reps in different groups at corner as well.”

On what Alvonte Bell needs to get out of the redshirt season: “Coming here so late in August he needed to get ready physically. Courtney (Miggins) was more ready physically last year to play and that’s why he played and Alvonte redshirted. He needed to get stronger, he needed to get faster. He needed to get in shape. He’s been able to do that.”

On what makes a good practice: “I’m looking for effort. I’m looking for enthusiasm. I’m looking for fundamental play and I’m looking for execution. Now I don’t expect any of that to be perfect at this stage of camp, but considering what we have in and considering we have some new guys at some new spots, I’m pleased with where we’re at.”

On if Jordan Jones has responded to his demotion and Stoops’ message: “I think day to day our players know that they have to be disciplined, they have to come out here and do what’s asked of them all the time. I think that’s for every player, not just Jordan.”

On what Tymere Dubose was able to do while injured: “Tymere has a lot of size, strength and quickness for being 320-330 pounds. So, he has that. Where it hurts you with him being injured is he missed all those fundamental reps in the spring and he missed all those fundamental reps in the summer.”

On how players are handling the hot weather and if it prepares them for game at Florida: “We’ve had a few players go down with cramping. We’ve had a few guys that needed to get some IVs or get some extra hydration after practice. So, it’s been good for us to practice in this heat so that we can be ready for it against Florida.”

On Jordan Bonner:Jordan, he had to go to summer school so he’s not where some of the guys are physically that are here for the summer, but he’s still has a bright future. He has a lot of ability.”

On if anyone at OLB is standing out right now:Denzil (Ware) is playing well and Josh Allen is playing well. Both of those guys are playing well.”

On what Eli Brown has done well early in camp: “Eli was able to redshirt last year so it enabled him to kind of take his time to learning the defense and concentrate on the little things instead of being force fed it for Saturday, so I think he’s picked up the defense better this fall than he did last.”

On if Brown is still with the ones right now: ”Yes.”

On what he’d like to see this season from a more experienced defense: “Well, in football or in defense in general, you want to always make sure you have the controllables controlled. You can’t always control a certain player who wins a one-on-one. That comes with fundamentals, that comes with sometimes just that guy making a play because he’s on scholarship, too. But what you can control: you can control alignment, assignment and effort every single play. So from the young guys last year, I want to make sure that any time they weren’t successful on something they can control, that doesn’t happen this year.”

On LB Kobie Walker after not playing for the last two years: “I tell you what, Kobie is a very good player. Kobie is extremely athletic for his size. And Kobie has had a good training camp. I think Kobie, if there was a game tomorrow, you would see Kobie play quite a bit.”

On if he can play LB or safety: “He is. He is. He has the ability to cover like a safety and he has the size to play like a linebacker.”

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