Jen Smith on UK Football

Practice report: Scrimmage prep, will Boom Williams sit, Kentucky’s improved pass rush

▪  Scrimmage Take 2: Saturday is move-in day for Kentucky students onto campus and moving day for the football players with the Cats having a closed scrimmage at Commonwealth Stadium. Already this week special teams coach Jeff House has said that scrimmage will help solidify who plays where for his unit as well as determine a starting punter. So what do the offensive coaches hope to see in this second scrimmage? “I want to see the quarterbacks make great decisions and great targets,” co-offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw said. “That’s what’s going to help us win on Saturday. So we’ve got to continue to do that at practice and scrimmage, especially in scrimmages. The last scrimmage was very successful. I want to see us control the football. I want to see us take care of the football.” So much of it is coach speak, which Hinshaw acknowledged with a “blah, b  lah, blah” in interviews, but he said the whole one play at a time mentality will be the focus of the offense.

▪  Will there be a Boom? Not even running back Boom Williams knows if he’ll be playing the role of running back or cheerleader on Saturday morning at Commonwealth Stadium. The junior, who coaches have been holding out of heavy contact while he comes back from offseason elbow surgery, said he hasn’t met with Mark Stoops yet to determine his job. He hasn’t said anything yet. I usually meet with him and Coach Gran and they usually give me the scoop on everything,” Williams said. “So I’m just waiting on the green light from those guys.”

▪  QB Johnson improving: Much was made the past week or two about accuracy issues for junior college transfer Stephen Johnson, but his position coach said he’s seeing improvement across the board from every QB in that area. “I’m really hard on him and the fact that I don’t accept any missed throws ever, so in that process, they know I’m coming down on them if they miss a throw,” Hinshaw said. But he noted that it’s a fine line he walks not to hurt the confidence and climb too much into a signal caller’s head. “I’ve kind of (gone) through that with all the quarterbacks where they’ve gotten so frustrated but now they’ve learned to kind of mute me out a little bit.”

▪  Plenty of pass rush: Both Hinshaw and offensive line coach John Schlarman said that the Kentucky defense’s ability to get in the backfield is much improved. Schlarman said the offense has had trouble containing a guy like linebacker Josh Allen. Hinshaw said he wouldn’t name names, but said the entire defensive line is making its presence known. He’s been all over his QBs to get rid of the ball faster. “We don’t get hit, but boy, I tell you I’m on ‘em to death: ‘Look, right there, you just got your bell rung and you’re holding the football in the pocket.’ … If you don’t throw the ball away, you’re costing the team 10 yards, seven yards, eight yards a sack fumble, all those things. So the D-Line is doing a great job putting pressure on us.”

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