Jen Smith on UK Football

Practice report: Top playmakers on defensive side, how Cats are trying to grow pass rush, blitz packages

▪  Rush week: Pass rush wasn’t exactly Kentucky’s specialty last season with the Cats finishing near the bottom of the nation in tackles for loss and sacks and many of the players who were responsible for those plays are gone now. So who will fill the void? Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot specifically mentioned linebackers Kobie Walker, Josh Allen and Denzil Ware and then on the defensive line, junior college transfer Courtney Miggins.

▪  Defensive line play still needs to improve: Miggins was mentioned again later as one of the bright spots on the repurposed and retooled defensive line and Eliot said he’s really seen the player’s play pick up. The guys around him still have a lot of work to do. “The concerns are we've got to get better at every other D-Line position. I think Courtney Miggins is the one that's playing really well and all the other ones need to get better.”

▪  Personnel file: Per the normal interview cycle, Eliot was asked about the play of several individual players and here’s some of what he said. On cornerback Derrick Baity, Eliot said the sophomore had a strong spring and offseason and has continued to impress. “Derrick has made himself into a very good player.” On linebacker Eli Brown, who has been a bright spot for a group still growing, Eliot said: “You know he still hasn’t played a snap of college football and there’s still a lot to learn, but I’ve been very impressed with his work over training camp.” On linebacker Kobie Walker, Eliot said the sophomore is athletic and speedy and has been difficult to contain for the offensive line.

▪  All weather day: Kentucky spent most of its first of two practices on Wednesday working inside Commonwealth Stadium in the rain, which made Eliot happy. “We got some rain elements, which are good,” he said. It was a regular practice where they tried to clean up some issues seen in the scrimmage.

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