Stoops, Eliot post Tuesday practice

MARK STOOPS

“Good day, good practice. We got a lot of good work in again. It was beautiful weather out here again so we had a good, long and physical practice. We got some good work in, both sides of the ball were good at times and inconsistent at times, just what you would suspect. Overall, pretty good.”

ARE THERE ANY NEW INJURIES TO REPORT? “There’s nothing significant. We’ve got some ankle (injuries), we’re getting some guys here and there banged up but I don’t need to get into every detail of every nick during two-a-days. If anything is significant or anybody (will be out) any length of time I’ll be the first to tell you guys, alright? But nothing major, just some bangs, bumps, bruises and a couple of twisted ankles.”

HAS THE CONDITIONING BEEN WHAT YOU HOPED IT WOULD BE? “Yeah, you know what, I’ve been pleased. I am. I feel pretty good about that. The good thing is we’ve talked about the tempo of this offense but there has been some very lengthy drives, some 12-play drives at times so it’s good to see the guys in shape who can handle that. That’s always what you worry about early, we’re segmenting all these practices but we’ve been putting the ball down a bunch and moving it during team (periods), so it’s very much like a scrimmage situation. Today was live, full go, so that was helpful. Just like you’d suspect there, a few things jumped out at us, a couple of missed tackles and things like that.”

WHICH QUARTERBACK LED THOSE LONG DRIVES? “There’s been a few. I can’t hint off to anybody. I can’t tell you that, I’m sorry. There has been some good ones at times, like I’ve said. Those guys have all done very well at times and been inconsistent at some.”

DO YOU HAVE A BETTER TIMELINE IN PLACE FOR THAT DECISION? “We’re working towards it. Everybody is all anxious to (hear about) it. You’ve got to remember, everything has been open. There have been equal reps to this point, but we’ve evaluated every snap going back to last spring. So everything…we’ve got all the information on who has done what and all that. Again, you like to let them see with the ‘one’ offense, with the ‘one’ wide receivers, with the ‘one’ offensive line and all that so we’ve got to give them the right opportunities with the right guys. But yeah, we’ve collected all this data and we’ve got an idea, sure, just like we do at all of our positions.”

GIVEN THAT HE’S RUNNING WITH THE 1ST TEAM DO YOU ANTICIPATE ASHELY LOWERY WON’T MISS ANY GAMES? “He is going with the first team and I will make a decision on (discipline) pretty soon here. We haven’t gotten into specifically game planning for the first game yet.”

WHAT DOES FRESHMAN WR ALEX MONTGOMERY DO THAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU? “He’s very big and strong. He comes from a great program in Florida. I’ve known his head coach for some time, who is just a tremendous head coach who comes from a very good background. (Montgomery) is a good, tough kid who is mature and has handled himself very well.”

IF JALEN WHITLOW DOESN’T END UP WINNING THE QB JOB WILL YOU FIND OTHER WAYS TO GET HIM ON THE FIELD IN THE OFFENSE? “(Whitlow) pulled one and ran for about a 50-yard touchdown. I’ll give you that bone. He did. He pulled one and ran one right into the end zone. Not very good defense but he looked good running down there.”

SO IF HE’S NOT THE (QB) WOULD YOU FIND ANOTHER WAY TO USE HIM? “Yeah, I think that’s reasonable and I also think there’s a place for him whether he won the (quarterback) job or not to play him in a game (there) because of the dimension he gives you.”

YOU HAVE TALKED A LOT ABOUT FITTING THE DEFENSE TO YOUR PERSONNEL. HOW HAVE YOU DONE THAT? “We’re trying everything. We’re doing everything in our arsenal. We’ve got some odd stuff in there, some 3-4 stuff in there today and we’re doing everything we can to get guys in position to be successful. We’re limited in certain spots.”

IT HAS COME FROM THEIR END BUT CAN YOU CONFIRM ANYTHING FROM YOUR END ON NATE WILLIS BEING CLEARED AND WHEN HE MIGHT BE ON CAMPUS? “I can’t confirm that on my end. I hope when I walk in the building I’ll have something that tells me that, you know what I mean? We’re very close. I believe he said that, that all the work was done to get it done so we’re expecting to get him here very soon. We certainly need him.

SAME FOR MELVIN LEWIS? “Melvin should be close as well. We hope to have them here on campus by the end of the week at the latest.”

D.J. ELIOT, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR

WHAT’S THE BEST THING YOU’VE GOT FOR US, HOW’S PRACTICE? “You guys are big-time journalists. Practice went well. We had our ups and downs. We did some things good, though. We played with some intensity, we played physical at times. We haven’t done that throughout training camp at times. We did it today. We made some mistakes; we weren’t perfect, but there was definitely some good things.”

WHAT QUARTERBACK IS CAUSING YOUR NO. 1 DEFENSE THE MOST TROUBLE? “You know what, they all do different things well.”

CHANGING DEFENSE FOR PERSONNEL. WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED THIS SEASON? “What I do is I make different defensive calls sometimes based on where I think I may have a strength or I may have a weakness.”

ARE BEING MORE MULTIPLE THAN IN THE PAST? “Not anymore than we’ve done before. We’re a multiple defense. We do a lot of different things. We go through training camp and we do different fronts. We go through different coverages. That’s pretty typical of us.”

HAVE YOU BECOME MORE COMFORTABLE WITH SOME LINEBACKERS OTHER THAN WILLIAMSON? IS THERE ANY DEPTH “I think that Avery is still miles ahead of the rest of them. The rest of the group as a whole a lot. Every day, I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with those guys.”

COMMENTS ON WALK-ON LINEBACKER ROBBY IRGANG FROM WEST JESSAMINE? “Well, he was better than you were (to the Channel 36 anchor). By the way, I coached him at Houston.”

HOW IS ROBBY IRGANG? “Robbie is doing an excellent job. As a matter of fact, he’s picked up the defense faster than any walk-on player than I have ever coached.”

HOW HAVE THE REST OF THE PLAYERS PICKED UP THE DEFENSE, AS FAR AS MENTAL MISTAKES? “A ton better from the spring. We’re a ton better from the spring. We’re not where we need to be, but we’re seeing the improvement.”

IS THIS DEFENSE EASIER TO PICK UP THAN THEIR PREVIOUS DEFENSE? “We hope so. If not, you’re not a very good coach, you know what I mean. We’ve got to make sure everything we do is multiple and that we have enough bullets when we attack an offense, but not complicated for the players.”

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT ZA’DARIUS SMITH NOT BEING OUT HERE YET? “I’m not concerned. No.”

ON GLENN FAULKNER, HAVE YOU SEEN PROGRESS? “Yes, we’ve seen progress from Glenn Faulkner. He’s doing some good things at times.”

ON WHO WILL BACK UP ASHELY LOWERY? “Eric Dixon has stepped up and he’s doing a great job for us at safety. I expect him to continue to progress throughout training camp.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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One Response to Stoops, Eliot post Tuesday practice

  1. Pingback: BBL: No basketball trip to Tennessee for UK | John Clay's Sidelines

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