Mark Stoops has been quite the politician since he landed the Kentucky job. He’s been a media favorite, and the players have seen only his good side.
But after yesterday’s practice, Stoops was visibly upset, after what he called an ‘average and lackluster practice’ from his defensive unit, via the Courier-Journal.
“They got it,” he said after UK’s fifth practice of the spring. “They did.”
Stoops was asked whether or not the players are still getting used to the new coaches, and if their technique led to the disappointing showing.
“I’m not buying that,” Stoops said. “They know what’s going on now. Now it gets back to habits. Now it gets back to: ‘This is Day 5, Monday morning, and I’m going to go back to my old ways and just get out here and BS around, mill around for a few periods and then we’ll play a little bit.’ It’s not good enough. It’s not acceptable. You have to play good every snap. Every play is important. Every snap, you’ve gotta have some passion for what you’re doing. If you’re just out here milling around … (bad) position on the football, all that stuff’s going to get you beat.”
The reason Stoops’ defensive unit may have been unproductive is because it was the offense’s best day through five practices.
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown was pleased with his unit but expressed continued concern over the lack of wide receivers. His concern isn’t pointed towards guys not stepping up, but it’s pointed toward the overall lack of numbers, with just six total scholarship wide receivers.
“We’re light on numbers even to get through practice. These guys are having to do something they’ve never done. In a spread offense, we’re playing fast. We’re going to play a lot of snaps out here. Their legs are getting dead.”
Demarco Robinson, Daryl Collins, AJ Legree and DeMarcus Sweat are a strong foursome, but after those four, things start to get hazy. And Brown’s offense often features five-wide sets, one more than the four proven players.
However, help is on the way when newcomers hit campus this summer. Ryan Timmons, Jeff Badet, Alex Montgomery and Javess Blue will certainly help with the spring depth problems.
Everyone (I’m guilty!) has been giddy at the thought of Kentucky’s offense racking up yards through the air, but few know the amount of receivers it takes to make the Air Raid offense work. And Kentucky has nowhere near the bodies right now.
Last year, Brown guided Texas Tech to the most passing yards in the already pass-happy Big 12. The Red Raiders had 23 more attempts and 42 more completions than Oklahoma, the second-highest passing offense in the league.
In contrast, Texas A&M had the highest number of attempts (492) and completions (329) than anyone in the SEC. Texas Tech had 102 more attempts and 89 more completions than the SEC-leading Aggies.
But it takes a formidable cast of receivers to make that happen.
Photo Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports