Stoops, Brown after Wednesday practice

MARK STOOPS

“Good practice today. We just kind of cleaned up some things from camp and went a little lighter than usual today and really just wrapped up some corrections from the scrimmage yesterday. Just cleaning up things, and we’ll get started on Western tomorrow. So overall, pretty mellow day. Wasn’t a whole lot, much to talk about as far as anything major happening out there today. Just some basic clean-up work.”

ON IF THIS TEAM HAS A ‘BEST’ PLAYER: “Well we feel like we have some good quarterbacks. That’s why there’s been good competition through camp. And yeah, I think we have some good players. I think Raymond may be a guy that I think we expect a lot out of.”

ON WHETHER A CLEAN-UP DAY MEANS THIS TEAM IS SQUARED AWAY OTHERWISE: “Yep, that’s where it’s at (smirking).”

ON SAYING RYAN TIMMONS PUSHING TO START, WHETHER OTHER FRESHMEN ARE: “A lot of the wideouts. A lot of the wideouts, they’re going to play. Whether they start and all that, we’ll figure it out. We’re still battling through that.”

ON WHAT HE DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT TACKLING IN THE SCRIMMAGE: “Position on the football. A big part of being a good tackling team is having  great position on the ball, great leverage, and everybody being where they’re supposed to be. Usually great team defenses are pretty good tacklers, and we need some work. We need work at our position on the football and understanding the defenses and then the ability to tackle once they get in space.”

ON WHETHER TACKLING WAS AN ISSUE IN PREVIOUS PRACTICES: “It’s been better. It’s nowhere – we’re a work in progress. We have to have great position on the football. If we play with great energy and we play with a lot of passion and we play very hard and we’re in the right spots, you got a chance.  Without that, you have no chance.”

ON LIKING THE RIVALRY GAME MOVING: “I guess so. Why not? I just left a pretty good rivalry at the end of the year. The Florida-Florida State game is pretty big, a pretty big deal at the end of the year. From my understanding, that was what was best for both conferences, so that’ll be great. That’ll be a lot of fun.”

ON WHO ON UK’S DEFENSE IS CAUSING THE MOST PROBLEMS FOR THE OFFENSE: “Yeah, Bud’s active. We’ve missed Z the last couple weeks. That’s slowed down some of that activity, but Bud I’d say is the most-active guy up front. In the perimeter, there’s been nobody just jumping out and making a bunch of plays. We’ve seen some improvement, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

ON WHETHER HE FEELS BETTER ABOUT THE OUTSIDE LINEBACKER SPOTS: “Yeah, I mean, we’ve got some work to do – on the perimeter. I’ve said that since I’ve been here. So we need to continue to work.”

IF ZA’DARIUS SMITH, CODY QUINN OR ZACH MYERS PRACTICED: “Not yet. They weren’t out there today.”

HOW MUCH BETTER IT MAKES OFFENSIVE LINE TO PLAY AGAINST DEFENSIVE FRONT: “I’ve been impressed. I thought we’ve just done a solid job. Really, once we get into our injuries and things like that on the defensive side of the ball it kind of limits us some, but when we’re healthy I think both sides of the line of scrimmage are in decent shape. There’s not the depth that we’re talking about, but I thought they’ve done some good things blocking this camp.”

HOW THEY WILL BALANCE WATCHING FILM OF BOBBY PETRINO’S FORMER TEAMS AND WESTERN’S CURRENT PERSONNEL: “We’ll get started on that tonight. But yes, that definitely comes to mind. I want to say both coordinators have had a lot of time to kind of reinvent themselves if they choose. They’re both outstanding coordinators, and they’ve had a lot of time to put new packages and new wrinkles together. So it will be somewhat of an unknown. I think both of them have some staples that they’ve done throughout their career and been very successful. So we’ll have to prepare for a lot of things. And the good thing is with our offense, they’ve done a lot, whether it be through spring and through here, trying to always look for new wrinkles. So we’ve seen a lot of different styles through camp.”

HOW MUCH HIS COORDINATORS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO REINVENT THEMSELVES: “I think you’re always…You’re always trying to grow. We as coaches are always trying to improve and put our players in a position to be successful. So I think there’s always some of that. I could go back to my first year at Florida State. We went through all training camp, all spring ball — the year before my first year there — all through training camp, then I want to say it was the second game of the year — you’ve probably heard me tell that story before — but we went in the second game of the year and absolutely got gutted by Oklahoma. We changed that week in certain parts of our defense, with leverage and just subtle things. It’s not like we went from a 3-4 to a 4-3 or something like that, but we changed. So you have to do what you have to do to put your team in a position to win.”

HAS HE SEEN ANYTHING FROM MAX SMITH OR JALEN WHITLOW NOW THAT THE QUARTERBACK COMPETITION HAS BEEN WHITTLED DOWN? “I think I’ve been impressed with all three guys, the way they handled themselves through the whole process. They’ve done a nice job of just kind of putting their head down and going to work. The only thing — and I’ve been hit with this question throughout camp — is that one guy and helping develop him as a leader. And I think that is the one negative to playing all three guys for as long as we did. So, but other than that, they’ve all just put their head down and done the best they could and had a great attitude. Whatever quarterback is in there, their teammates support him.”

DID NATE WILLIS PARTICIPATE TODAY? “Yes.”

NEAL BROWN, OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

“Y’all can fire away. I’m sure you want to talk about the O-line.”

WHAT QUARTERBACK FINALISTS MAX SMITH AND JALEN WHITLOW DO WELL: “Well, I think first of all, we’ve got quite a bit of time before the first game, so I think there’s always a chance for separation. Really, we’re just looking for production more than anything, guys that can lead the offense, manage it. We’re looking for somebody that’s not going to make a big negative play, that’s going to make all the routine plays. And that’s what we talk about a lot, is being consistent and making routine plays. Routines plays that are stacked on top of each other.”

IF RAYMOND SANDERS HAS TAKEN A LEADERSHIP ROLE WITH QB POSITION IN FLUX: “I don’t necessarily think it’s in flux. I think we’ve got a good issue, because I think we really had three guys that are quality players and I think Reese Phillips is a guy that’s going to be an upper-level SEC quarterback at some point in his career. So I don’t really think it’s in flux. But I think what you’re alluding to is, we haven’t had the one guy that’s the go-to guy on offense as far as – where it’s usually your quarterback. We haven’t had that because we’ve had a competition and it’s ongoing. But Raymond Sanders within the backfield, I would agree. And Jonathan George also. Jonathan George had two tremendous scrimmages. He’s done very, very well. Those two seniors, we’ve leaned on them heavy, and then up front, like I said a couple days ago, Darrian and Kevin Mitchell.”

WHAT SMITH AND WHITLOW SHOWED IN CAMP AND SCRIMMAGES THAT MADE THEM RISE ABOVE: “There was some separation there, as far as, we’ve basically been tracking everything they’ve done. I guess it was – and Tony may know more than I – 31 or 32 practices, I think. Basically chart any competitive situation we’ve been in. We charted how they’ve done with the ones, how they’ve done with the twos, completion percentages, any statistic you can possibly think of. And those two, their numbers were better and their productivity was better.”

WHAT IMPRESSES HIM ABOUT RYAN TIMMONS: “He’s a playmaker. I think it’s up in the air. I think that’s a very good position battle. Daryl Collins and Ryan Timmons are both competing at that H position, and they both had a really good camp. I’m pleased with how Daryl Collins has stepped his game up and really accepted the challenge that Ryan’s given him. But Ryan can run. Ryan’s familiar with this offense, so the learning curve wasn’t as steep as it was for some of those other freshmen. And he’s really good with the ball in his hand. He’s fast and he can make people miss.”

INTANGIBLES FROM SMITH AND WHITLOW FACTOR INTO DECISION? “No, not really. I think if you look (at) all four of those guys’ intangibles, I mean, all four of those guys have what we’re looking for as far as being good people, guys with character, those type of things. All four of them had those.”

HAVE QBS BEEN LIVE IN SCRIMMAGES? “No, we haven’t. We haven’t. And I think that’s always a fine line. You kind of, you go back and forth, but it always ends up like this. You just say, ‘Hey, the risk is not worth the reward, really.’”

DOES THAT LIMIT HOW MUCH WHITLOW CAN IMPRESS WITH HIS RUN GAME? “That’s one of those deals that goes back and forth. Like, the defense (says) ‘That’s a sack,’ we say it’s not. But who knows? It probably all evens out.”

BEST THING HE TOOK FROM THE SCRIMMAGE: “We played much better. We didn’t make the mistakes that hurt us the week before. We didn’t have the unforced errors. I don’t think we turned the ball over, either with a pick or a fumble. Neither one of those. Our penalties were way down. And we didn’t have the dropped passes.”

 

 

SAID IN SPRING, BUD DUPREE WAS CAUSING OFFENSE FITS. IS THAT STILL THE CASE? “He’s got a lot of juice off the edge. He’s a quick twitch guy, obviously playing linebacker. He’s going to be as good — maybe minus Clowney and a couple of other guys — his initial burst off the edge is going to be as good as anybody we see. For Darrian and for Jordan and then when we bounce Kevin Mitchell out there for those guys to see that everyday in practice has been great for us. Is it frustrating some? Yeah, because he gets us. He gets us and we have to do some things protection wise to go against him in practice, which we’ll use as we get into the season also.”

HOW BENEFICIAL FOR A YOUNGER OFFENSIVE LINE TO GO UP AGAINST A VETERAN DEFENSIVE FRONT LIKE YOURS? “Great. Jordan Swindle is a much, much better player because for all spring and all fall camp, he’s lined up 90 percent of the time and Bud’s been in front of him. His weaknesses have been exploited and he’s had to either get better or he takes a beating every day. And he has gotten better. Now, does Bud still make plays? Yes. But he’s gotten a lot better.”

ON WIDE RECEIVERS AT SCRIMMAGE, WERE THEY BETTER: “Yeah, better. Much better. The best scrimmages we’ve had so far — I think it was the second one in the spring and then the second one, the one we had yesterday — the receivers played well. And when they make routine plays again; when they make routine plays and catch the ball — you know, I’m not looking for circus, acrobatic catches or circus catches or anything — we just want, ‘Hey, if the ball’s in your area, catch it. Those two scrimmages, where we’ve played really well, where we looked like a good offense those two scrimmages, those guys made routine plays.”

IS DEMARCO ROBINSON HOLDING OFF JEFF BADET AT HIS WIDE RECEIVER SPOT: “Yeah. You know if we had to play tomorrow, Demarco would run out there first. Demarco’s got a lot of, a lot of skill set that we would look for when we’re recruiting. He’s dynamic. He can stick his foot in the ground, he’s very quick, he can run. The only negative is his slight build and he’s gotten this far with it. I don’t really see it as an issue, but he’s played well. He’s made a bunch of plays for us so far in fall camp.”

WHO WOULD START AT ‘H’ WIDE RECEIVER SPOT BETWEEN RYAN TIMMONS AND DARYL COLLINS: “I don’t know. I really don’t. It’s about even. They’re definitely going to play. For the most part, all of those guys that will be in the top two or three receiver on the depth chart will play and play a good amount of snaps.”

IF NEITHER QUARTERBACK SEPARATES HIMSELF THIS WEEK, WILL WKU GAME BE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY GAME OR WILL YOU PLAY THE HOT HAND? “I don’t. Too far out to tell. I’m not avoiding the question. I just don’t know yet really.”

AS A KENTUCKY KID, DO YOU HAVE ANY FEELINGS ABOUT KENTUCKY-LOUISVILLE SERIES BEING MOVED TO THE END OF THE SEASON? “It will be different. I think it’s one of those things that, I think that’s the rivalry weekend, you know what I mean? I think one thing that’s going to be neat about it is each team is going to go through the same process. I think think it’s going to be — there’s not as many games that week, you know — so I think maybe on the earlier in the season, we get lost in the shuffle a little bit. Some people may disagree with that, but later in the year, playing on that rivalry weekend, I think it will be good for us. It doesn’t matter anyway. We’re going to play it at the end.”

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, Brown after Wednesday practice

  1. Pingback: Video: Neal Brown talks about quarterbacks | John Clay's Sidelines

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