Kentucky’s spring practice season won’t officially end until after Wednesday morning’s practice, but last weekend’s open practice served as a worthy progress report of how the team has evolved since the start of the spring.

RELATED: Top 5 priorities for Kentucky’s spring practices

The Cats engaged in drills, seven-on-sevens and an intrasquad scrimmage with many members of the Big Blue Nation on hand. With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at our suggested priorities for UK’s spring season and assessing whether the Cats did or did not follow through on those priorities.


Addressed?: Yes, but he’s not in the clear yet.

Head coach Mark Stoops said throughout the spring that some days Towles looked like the team’s best quarterback, while other days redshirt freshman Drew Barker looked like the ace of the staff. UK only has those two quarterbacks on scholarship upon Reese Phillips’ achilles injury, and the Cats are not going to determine a starter until after the spring (Stoops said he’d talk with both quarterbacks after spring ball concludes). However, Towles received rave reviews following Saturday’s scrimmage, especially regarding his deep throws down the field. He’s the experienced member of the group (Barker has yet to receive a single snap at the college level) and whether or not he wins the job, it appears he’s shown improvements from UK’s six-game losing streak to end last season.


Addressed?: Yes

Kentucky’s five 2014 wide receiver signees each showed flashes of excellence throughout the spring, but like the quarterbacks there was no one guy who separated himself from the rest of the group. Thaddeus Snodgrass, the highest-rated of the five wideouts, appeared sharp by the end of the spring after redshirting last season. Blake Bone also impressed during Saturday’s scrimmage as a deep-ball threat in the Air Raid offense. And while he’s not a receiver, coaches seem pleased with the progress 2015 early enrollee C.J. Conrad made to help fill the void of a pass-catching tight end in the offense. Drops plagued the UK wideouts at times this spring, but those receivers showed athleticism and playmaking ability unlike any UK has had in recent years, which should give Big Blue Nation hope so long as the drops are cured. With Ryan Timmons back for a third year as an impact player on offense, the Cats should have enough polish between their bevy of young targets to keep the passing game humming.


Addressed?: TBD

Kemp was slowed last in spring ball with an illness that should have no bearing on the 2015 season, and Williams shined upon receiving additional reps in Kemp and Mikel Horton’s absence. However, without a spring game it is tough to determine whether the Cats have any plans in the works for their two dynamic tailbacks for the fall ala the “WildKemp” package used last year, most notably in the win over South Carolina. For what it’s worth, Horton seemed to impress coaches as well, and with the versatility all three backs bring to the offense there are sure to be some wrinkles regarding the running game being developed for the fall.


Addressed?: Yes and no

Elam has slimmed down by more than 20 pounds since last season, indicating he is making progress in his quest to work himself into better game shape, which would allow him to play more snaps even against teams known for no-huddle, fast-paced offenses. However, the task is far from completed. Stoops called Elam “a work in progress” earlier this spring, and while he brings power and the ability to occupy multiple blockers, his endurance remains in question. Nevertheless, expect him to make a greater impact in the defensive line rotation this season, at least early in the year. His durability for the 12-game season that now features only one open date, not two, will be determined by mid-October.


Addressed?: No

Kentucky has talented pass rushers capable of picking up the slack this fall, including Jason Hatcher (who saw a healthy amount of playing time last season opposite Smith when Dupree was playing outside linebacker), Regie Meant, Cory Johnson and others, but none have shown the dominance Dupree and Smith displayed at their best during their UK careers. That’s not to say those players can’t develop into Dupree-like stars, or that the depth at the position won’t allow UK to rotate pass rushing threats to manufacture pressure, but it is to say the base defense now lacks a dominant presence up front that defenses will have to game plan around early in the year. However, those kinds of players are a luxury, especially at Kentucky, so this is far from a slight as the Cats look ahead to the fall.