Neal Brown discusses LSU

NEAL BROWN
“We had a really good practice today, had a lot of energy, a lot of focus. I told you after the game we were a little lackluster last week in practice. Got away from some details. Really I thought going into that South Carolina game, we really prepared well and really played with a lot of discipline, a lot of details. Some of our negative plays last week in the Monroe game were due to some fundamental errors, not paying attention to details. We got back to that today, had a really good practice. Focus was good, energy was good. Our guys are excited about the opportunity to go down and play in Tiger Stadium, Death Valley. LSU is about what you’d expect. They’re big, fast, strong. They, Coach Chavis has done a really good job there for a long time. Most of you all have been around for a lot of his years coordinating defenses so you all know kind of what he’s about: four-man front. Danielle Hunter, their defensive end, No. 94, really can come off the edge. He’s going to pose some problems. We’ve gotta account for him, similar to Dante Fowler that plays for Florida. They’re young interior d-line, but you can see them getting better week in and week out. No. 4, their linebacker (Kwon Alexander) from Alabama, he’s as good, probably the best linebacker that we’ve played to this point. He’s very talented; he strikes you. He runs well. And they’re the most talented secondary we’ve played. They’ve got some youth there, but they are really talented. They’ve got guys that will pay for play and play for a lot of pay. So we’ve got our hands full, but we’re looking forward to it. What? 7:30? 7:30 kick. Let’s see if we can go down there and get our sixth win.”

On combating the noise: “We really, we go silent count all the time. And I’m not trying to downplay it because it is loud. And really, other than (Jordan) Swindle — and it could’ve been quiet as a mouse and he may have jumped off sides three times against Florida — we really had no issues down at Florida. I don’t really expect us to. We practice in the indoor with loud music playing all the time. That’s everyday, every time we go over to the indoor, so I don’t really expect it to be a problem. It is loud, though, and they’ve added a few thousand seats since last time I was down there.”

On most pleased with Demarco Robinson: “What I’m excited about Demarco is kind of where he is as a person than where he is as a football player. He’s always been talented. I think the game has taken (on) a lot more importance for him over the last nine to 12 months. He’s become a leader in that receiver room, where if you’d told me that a year ago, I’d have been worried about that. He’s been a really good guy for — he’s always been football smart. He’s an intelligent football player and he’s got a good skill set. He’s not very big, but he’s got a good skill set as far as he can make people miss; he can stick his foot in the ground. He’s got really good hands, can run routes. But he’s really matured. Football has gotten more important to him and he’s making plays. You know, on Twitter, what’d you say: he’s 15 of 15? Yeah, so he’s been sure handed for us. I think he’s made as big or bigger impact in the return game also.”

On if Brown is a voracious reader (on Twitter): “Nah, I catch up. I check Twitter before I go to bed. I’ve gotta keep up.”

On accepting game manager role at times, but also needing Towles to make plays: “I don’t know. I don’t really know what a game manager is. I think what happens, when people get labeled that, a game manager, people are thinking they’re not making mistakes. You know, but Patrick he didn’t make any real big mistakes last week. It wasn’t his best game, but I thought from how he handled everything and adversity early. He missed a couple throws, but I thought he came back and made some big throws later in the game. So there’s going to be some times that we need him to play at a really high level to win and there’s going to be some times where he just needs to get the ball where it’s supposed to be. We’ve had some games, like the Florida game, he kept us in there, made some huge plays, you know? Last week, some guys made some big plays around him. Now, he threw a heck of a ball on that go route to Javess that Javess made a play on, but not a bunch of ‘wow’ plays last week, but I thought he played pretty solid. I don’t know. I probably didn’t do a very good job of answering that question.”

On which kind of game this is: “He’s gonna have to go make some plays. There’s no question about this one.”

On Boom Williams learning to take hard coaching, and what that process entails: “Well, he doesn’t take everything personal. We always make a point to say, ‘Hey, we’re correcting.’ When you’re in a constricted time frame, you don’t have enough time to say, ‘Stanley, man, I really wish you would run that route full speed’ or ‘I really wish you would please hug that o-line before you made that cut.’ You just don’t have enough time, so you got to say, ‘Stanley let’s go! Make that cut now!’ Or ‘That’s not good enough!’ And we always talk to our guys about, we’re correcting the action, not the person. Just because I got on him doesn’t mean I didn’t like him. And Chad tells him the same thing. So I think he’s understanding that. He’s able to separate, ‘Hey, they’re telling me that so I can be a better football player so I can be successful on that play, not because I’m a bad guy.’ Does that make sense?”

On what Stoops has done to keep veterans in the fold while brining in new players: “I think he did a really good job from the get-go. And maybe it didn’t show in the win-or-loss column last year, but I think he stands in front of this group and says, ‘There is no my guys. You’re all Kentucky Wildcats. You’re my guys. Whether I recruited you or I didn’t recruit you, you’re my guys.’ And he’s done a really good job of brining those guys in. The guys that are here, that are players for us, have bought in. I think Mark said it the other day in his press conference — those are our leaders. The guys that were here before we came, those are our leaders. You talk about Darrian Miller, Jordan Swindle. You talk about Bud Dupree. Those guys. Those are our leaders. Za’Darius we brought in, Coach Brumbaugh was able to recruit. But I think he’s done a really good job. He’s sincere. I think that probably doesn’t get talked about enough, but he’s a really sincere individual, and the kids understand. He’s not one that is trying to sell anything. He’s sincere, and when he says ‘You’re my guy,’ that’s what he means.”

On what the wide receivers have to do to be successful against LSU’s secondary: “We have to stick our foot. We have to mix up our releases, because they’re gonna press us. The difference in them and a lot of people is they’re long. They’ve got — I think all three corners are 6-foot-plus. And I think his name’s Robinson, he’s 6-2, maybe 6-3. So we’ve got to be able to stick our releases and we must keep their hands off of us. And we’ve got to take into effect that they’re a little bit longer than the average guy we’re going against. So I think sticking releases, mixing them up and keeping their hands off.”

On having a different playmaker step up each game: “Well, I think it’s great for team morale. And I think it makes us a little harder to prepare for. I was watching Coach Miles’ press conference yesterday. How many guys — we got several guys with more than 10 catches or something like that. So I think it makes us harder to defend. People can’t push their coverage to a certain guy. And then running back, we’ve been by committee a little bit, and each one of those guys has at different times really, really shown the ability to make big plays. I think it’s been positive for us.”

On what he said to Jojo Kemp after he threw an interception: “Nothing. He shouldn’t have thrown it, but it’s not that big a deal. I made a joke to him, really. Now he took it really hard on himself, and it affected him, that fumble he had. We had that really blocked well, and it was a good snap. He just dropped it, and he would’ve hit it for a long way. But we always talk about playing the next play, and he didn’t do that. I fibbed to y’all last week. He doesn’t throw it great. Y’all saw that. But he shouldn’t have thrown it. But it wasn’t that big a deal to me. I tried to make light of it.”

On Les Miles saying UK has a player in the wildcat that can throw it a little: “A little? I don’t know. A little? I guess it depends. He did throw it a little. A little to the other team.”

On if the goal is to at least make the defense think they could throw it: “That is. I think we needed to get it on film. And we’ve got a couple other trick plays we can do out of it also.”

On if they have any backs with a better arm: “I don’t know. We need to do tryouts. We need to do tryouts. They’ll all say they are. We don’t know.”

 

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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