Q&A with D.J. Eliot after 12th practice

D.J. ELIOT
Today was a no-padded practice, so the emphasis was on assignment and playing fast to the point of contact but avoiding contact. Still, it was a high-energy practice. There’s still a lot of fundamentals you can get done, a lot of assignments you can get done and a lot of things you can emphasize, and I think we were able to accomplish that. We’re not where we need to be, but we’re much improved. Certain guys that are young at certain spots are starting to step up and starting to make plays and starting to play within the defense. That’s encouraging, because we’re going to need that.

“We’ve got a scrimmage coming up tomorrow, and we’re going to really find out what some of our guys can do. It will be a live-tackling opportunity. Certainly the most important thing probably in defense is being able to tackle, so we’ll get a chance to evaluate them on that. I’m excited about it and looking forward to it. Getting ready to mark sure we’ve got everything we want in before the spring is over and everything we want accomplished before the spring is over.”

On what he hopes players took from talking with Richard Sherman: “You know, Richard Sherman was very impressive in the fact of how much a competitor he was but also on how much of a student of the game he is. He went over all of the things that he looks for on almost each play. He has certain things that make him a better player, and it’s not that he’s necessarily a great athlete. He mentioned that he may not be the fastest guy on the field, but he’s going to get the edge anyway he can to make sure that he can cover every single person he goes against. And he went into details about that. Even though they may have been defensive back details, it was important for the rest of the players to see how important and how detailed he is in his game.”

On if he stresses small details with his defense: “Yes.” (Laughter)

On the difference in Ryan

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Friday’s Q&A with Mark Stoops

MARK STOOPS
“We had a good practice today. Really was very pleased with the guys’ energy. It was good to see us — we have one more day this week, but — to go through the week, we’ve had a good week of work. Our off days, guys have been in here watching film and being around the complex a bunch and had three good days of practice. We really had great energy out there today. A little bit more efficient. We had to go without pads. Today was our last day that we had to go in shorts and a helmet, so we could not have pads on today. But I felt like we were more efficient, a little bit more effective throwing the ball, just throwing and catching. On defense we made some good plays. So, good week. I’m anxious to get out there tomorrow and tee it up and scrimmage and see where we’re at. I feel like we’re making progress, but tomorrow will be a good indicator for us.”

On Richard Sherman’s visit to talk to UK players: “It was really good. I thought it was good because that’s a guy that obviously was a great student coming through Stanford and really talked a lot about work ethic and what it takes to be that successful and all the little things and the day-to-day grind, whether it’s getting through school or competing at the highest level like he is now. I just thought he had a great message. He was very good with our team. Stayed for a long time. Answered questions, took pictures. So it was good just to be around him.”

On how Sherman’s visit came about: “He was in town doing another speaking engagement, and Coach Andy Buh coached him at Stanford and I had a contact through the same agency as mine. So they were in town.”

On if guys are working better this spring than last: “I feel like it. I feel like we’re more consistent. There was a day or two that I wasn’t pleased with. The day after spring break, of course, was a day. But ever since then, I’ve felt like the guys have been more consistent. I feel like our work ethic is getting better and our focus is better and we’re able to push through the grind of spring and competing against each other every day and just focusing on themselves individually. And therefore putting it together we’re more effective as well. And that’s what we’re looking for tomorrow: Guys individually, technique-wise, improving in the things that we’re asking them to do, and then overall, of course, look good on both sides of the ball as far as the big picture.”

On how the defense has evolved from the day he got to UK to now: “We are very comfortable with where we’re at right now and what we’re gonna do schematically. As you know, we transitioned from a 4-3 to a 3-4. We really did a transition in the middle of year one. We started dabbling in it, and I just felt like I wanted to get ahead of it at that point. Learn the mistakes, learn the good and the bad from things. That’s why it pays for experience. But I’ve not been afraid to do that. I’ve not been afraid to switch things up defensively in the middle of seasons. We’ve talked about that before At Florida State, I transitioned very quickly to some different things. We did that and we went through some growing pains as a coaching staff and as a defense. But I feel like we grew a lot. Last year we came together and did some very good things at times. Weren’t as consistent as we need to be. We feel very good about what we’re doing right now and the package and we’ve built on it a little bit this offseason and (we’re) doing some good things. I just see the comfort level of the players, both when we can attack and when we’re playing our base stuff. You have to be able to play football. You’ve heard me talk about it many times. I mean, it’s a fundamental game. You can draw up a million different schemes. They’ve got to be able to execute it, but you have to be able to play fundamental football and tackle people and play with great energy and play very disciplined football. I see us being more consistent with that. We’re not arrived, but I think we’re getting better, and we’re very comfortable (with) what we’re doing.”

On Jason Hatcher this spring: “Jason’s been very good. He’s been good. We’ve asked him to do a lot and he’s got a great skill set. He’s explosive and he’s a great rusher and he’s learning to be more comfortable on his feet.”

On Regie Meant: “Regie’s hurt. He’s injured. He had the offseason, so he hasn’t really been out there, but Regie will be an important part next fall. He’s definitely a guy that we need to get out there.”

On any position groups that will surprise some people at scrimmage: “Eh. That’s a good question. I feel like we’ve improved, we’ve talked about at improving both at wide receiver and defensive back and I feel like inside in the secondary we’re getting much better, still need to see how we play outside at corner tomorrow. Receivers, when we’re at full strength, when we and we have a lot of guys out there we’re looking better. We’re more effective at getting the ball downfield. Garrett’s (Johnson) a little dinged up, but he’s had a great spring, very explosive. He’s got just a little minor injury so we’ll see how much he can play tomorrow.”

On if Marcus McWilson is making strides to be an every game starter: “He is. He is. I’m very hard on Marcus. I’ve known him a long time; he’s from my high school; I expect a lot of him. He’s got great talent and I just, he needs to keep on going. If you’re playing good 99 percent of the time, you’re working for the other team and he’s just not consistent enough.”

On if that missed interception versus Louisville can push McWilson: “I hope so. I hope so. I’ve challenged him a lot, not just with that play in particular but just the ups and downs, but being focused and playing at a high level because he can do it. And if he doesn’t, there are guys behind him that are going to pass him.”

On the 3-4 switch and if it was personnel based or SEC: “Combination of all of it, what we had, what we were doing, how we were going to be effective and where we were going.”

On if they’ve changed anything with recruiting without a spring game: “Yeah, we’ve been good. We’ve been getting kids on campus and that’s the biggest thing is getting them down here, around us. We’ve got some kids in town watching practice today. We’ll have a lot here tomorrow. Some of our signees are coming in town. It will be a good day. Of course like I said last week, the spring game has been very helpful in that area and we’re going to miss that part of it, the excitement of the community and our fans and our recruits, that part of it we will miss. The work day, we’ll get good work out there tomorrow and it will be open. You’ll see everything. There will be nothing held back tomorrow. In a spring game, normally there is.”

On if they’re finished recruiting: “We’re never finished. You know that. I think you saw that last year. Oh, from last year’s signing class we’re done. Definitely. We’re pushing ahead with this next class.”

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Defensive coordinator Eliot gets extension, raise

Like Kentucky’s other coaches, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot received a contract extension and a $75,000 raise, which takes his salary to $575,000. His deal runs through June 30, 2018. When new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson joined UK in December, he signed a $550,000 deal that also runs through June 30, 2018.

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Stoops discusses QBs off the field

Before the Madison County grand jury declined to indict Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker and two of his teammates for their part in a bar fight in Richmond, UK Coach Mark Stoops discussed the red-shirt freshman quarterback’s growth off the field.

“We all know there’s been a few issues here and there, but we’ve made a lot of progress throughout this spring,” Stoops said on Wednesday of the work of his quarterbacks off the field.

Patrick’s (Towles) been a great leader off the field, on the field. And Drew’s really grown, and I think that comes with being more confident and playing better on the field,” the head coach continued. “So he’s taking care of his business. I’m pleased with where he’s at, and he’s making a lot of progress.”

Stoops said he’s sat down at regular intervals with Barker to talk about his behavior off the field, which has now included two run-ins with the law. The first was his part in an air-gun incident on campus during the season.

“I’ve said it before: He’s a good kid that made some mistakes, and he’s got to go out there and be consistent on the field and off the field,” Stoops continued on Wednesday. “He knows that. I like him, but what I like about him right now: He’s just going about his business, trying to be the best quarterback he can be, take care of himself off the field. So far so good.”

The UK head coach also applauded the example that Towles sets off the field.

“Patrick definitely works extremely hard, carries himself the right way,” Stoops said. “He’s a very good role model off the field, and I hope it rubs off on Drew.”

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Q&A with Dawson after Wednesday’s practice

SHANNON DAWSON
On who his quarterback is: “Got a couple of them.” (Laughter)

On if he’s still in the race: “Me? Nah, I think I got beat out pretty early. (Laughter). I’d be transferring right now.”

On Mark Stoops saying he does not buy the idea if ‘you have two quarterbacks, you have none': “Nah. I think — in a situation we’re in right now, we’ve got two guys playing pretty good. You know? To me if you’ve got one guy playing really good and one guy not then it’s not making anybody better. I think that the key to those guys right now, and both of go out and one day one of the might be a little better, the other day the new one might be a little better but they’re pushing each other. So, that’s the best part of it.”

On if having a quarterback that knows how to win and play in the SEC matters right now: “Not right now. I mean, right now this spring is really for getting me and them on the same page and just repping, learning. It doesn’t matter to the point to where I’m going to sit here and I’m stressing about making a decision, because we don’t play Saturday. So that doesn’t matter to me. I mean I’m pleased with where both of them are at. Obviously both of them do some things that are bad at times, but those things are slowly getting less and less. That’s the furthest thing from my mind right now, to be honest with you. I just care about them going out there every day, trying to develop a level of consistency really where your down day isn’t so down. That’s the biggest thing: the consistent players are the better ones. That’s just the way it is. Great plays typically don’t win games a lot. It’s routine plays. So it’s the guys that’s consistently making routine plays, getting the ball to the right guy consistently, routinely. You don’t have to do anything super-human. Both of them are talented enough to make every throw. So the problems we get into sometimes is when we think we can do a little too much. Just put the ball in play and move on to the next one. So I mean, just make routine plays.”

On if he’s ever played two quarterbacks before: “I mean, I had a year where we played a couple, two or three guys, but it was more because of injury than anything. I haven’t ever done that.”

On if he prefers not to play two quarterbacks: “Well, we’ll see. That’s not anywhere close to my mind right now. If we were playing Saturday, I’d give you an answer. We’re not playing Saturday. We’re scrimmaging Saturday. Both of them will play Saturday. We’ll roll them Saturday for sure.”

On working for a defensive head coach: “Well, i mean, it was one of the reason I came obviously: just to have it all on my side of the ball, to do whatever I wanted. Not that I do — the system is pretty much the same, but there are 15 to whatever percent of it that I wanted to do and we’re doing. So I mean, I just think it’s just being 100 percent over it. That’s the main thing. So, I mean, I think that — I’ve worked for defensive head coaches in the past. I think that just sitting and talking to them they bring a different light on how to view things than offensive coaches do. So, there’s times where Coach Stoops will point out things during practice that I typically don’t view that way because I’m looking at it from the other side of the ball. So I just think that aspect is helpful: having a defensive guy to sit there and tell you, ‘When you do this, this is good but if this guy did this right here it would be really tough on us.’ You know? So that’s probably the biggest thing.”

On if there is much of a difference in what he’s asking the offensive linemen to do than what they did in the last two seasons: “Not really. No, I mean, typically protections haven’t been created for a long time. Really haven’t. So I just think that we are doing – we’ve probably have simplified it a little bit without our sets. We’re putting the guard’s hand on the ground, which is creating some leverage in the run game, which is something we did at West Virginia a couple years ago that really helped out. So those are probably the two biggest things. And overall, protection-wise, schematically, no. We don’t have different level drops and stuff. I think that we’ve kind of pushed everything together as far as protection goes, which simplified it for them a little bit. So I don’t think it’s very different from what they were doing and from what most people are doing right now, to be honest with you.”

On having tackles in a two-point stance and guards in a three-point stance: “Yeah.”

On the reason: “A couple years ago, just to try to – we preach being physical up front, and trying to run the ball more effectively and more efficiently. So a lot of times when you’re in a two-point stance (standing up on your feet, no hand on the ground), it’s hard for those guys. Because typically inside guys are leverage-on-leverage. Defensive tackles are a little bit shorter and their leverage is lower, so a lot of times when you got a guard in a two-point stance trying to block a guy that’s coming off the ball that’s low, it’s hard. It’s hard to gain leverage back. So putting those guys in a three-point stance, in my opinion, it just creates a little more physical and mental approach to running the ball. My reservation with it a couple years ago when we went to it was it hurt in pass protection. I didn’t want to affect pass protection. But I don’t think it does. I think it actually helps create a pocket, because they’re not on the same plane a lot of times, so I think it helps the guards engage and create a natural pocket for the quarterback. So it hasn’t been any negatives in my mind, just watching it over the past couple of years. It’s been extreme positives in the run game. I think the O-linemen like it, because you can sit here and preach being physical and preach running the ball better, but I think you put them at a disadvantage when you’re telling them, ‘OK, but I want you to stand up in a two-point stance, but I want you to block that guy who’s about to fire off into you.’ I just think it goes along with what we’re preaching. We want to be more physical. We want to play mean up front. So to do that, we need to give them an advantage.”

On players saying the tempo has slowed down considerable this spring: “I don’t know what percent we are a tempo offense. Not as much as people think we are, to be honest with you. But to go back to what you said: My opinion of spring football is to get better at stuff. A lot of times when you’re going fast, you don’t put clear clips on tape. I don’t necessarily think it’s very beneficial for the defense and it’s not beneficial for the offense. You’re sitting there trying to evaluate whether your right guard or right tackle can cut off a 4i (a defensive end playing on the center-side of the tackle) or whatever. But when you’re going fast, a lot of that stuff gets cloudy. So in my opinion, in the spring, I like to line up and put people in positions where: let me see if they can do it. So I’m not interested in going fast in the spring at all. We haven’t tempo’d one play in the spring. I want to be able to execute with people lined up, and I can get that fast stuff taught in the fall very easily. We’re going to go fast. There’s no doubt about it. That’s not going to be all we do. At points in the game, when defenses start getting lined up, what are you going to do? You better be able to execute. So we’re just trying to get better at executing in the spring. And again, we’re not trying to trick the defense. We’re just trying to get clean pictures on tape. The only way to do that is to line up and play ball.”

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Q&A with Stoops after Wednesday practice

MARK STOOPS
“Good practice. I felt like we made some progress out there. Good energy out there today. More consistent on both sides, better at making competitive plays, so overall good work. Got to finish out the week here.”

On Jordan Swindle’s leadership: “Yeah and he needs to continue to do that really. Great kid, straight-A student, but needs to be a better leader and continue to push and bring along other guys.”

On Joey Herrick and Thaddeus Snodgrass: “They’re both doing some good things. Thaddeus is a guy, as you know, we had an opportunity to redshirt a year ago. We really feel like he’s got a bright future. He’s strong and he’s got a lot of upside. He’s a guy we feel like can help us outside, got some deep balls, just needs to be a little bit more consistent. Joey is working more on the inside and has that finesse and ability to create space and make some plays inside. They’re both doing some good things.”

On if Ryan Timmons is mentoring younger wide outs: “I think to some extent, to some extent he can. Ryan is a guy that needs the reps as well, so it’s unfortunate he can’t go through spring. But he’ll get a lot of work in the fall. He should be 100 percent. He was banged up (last season); I talked about that postseason. He’s a guy who needed shoulder and ankle surgery. So he plays quite a bit, gets beat up quite a bit. But he did need the reps. Nothing we can do about it, just get him healed up and get him out there as quick as we can.”

On clarity at quarterback spot: “It’s a broken record and you’ve heard me talk about it for a long time. There’s good and bad and there is everyday. There’s days when one or the other does separate himself, but not consistently, not every day. As I said throughout the spring and I saw it again today, we’re improving at that position. Both guys are improving. So that’s a good thing.”

On frustrating not having a clear-cut starter: “I know the old adage that if you have two you don’t have any, but I don’t believe that. Right now with Reese (Phillips) being out, we only have two quarterbacks on campus and both myself and Coach Shannon (Dawson), we believe that we can win with both of them.”

On coach responsible for kickoff and punt return groups and needing more from both groups: “Derrick Ansley. The actual return guys? Yeah. We need to improve there, as you know. We’re working a bunch of guys there right now, seeing who’s most comfortable, and who can make some big plays in particular in the punt return game. Kickoff return, we’ve got some guys who can do that, plenty of guys. Punt return, we need to be more consistent and create some bigger plays. So we’re seeing what we can do. Hopefully Garrett can do that. T.V.’s got the ability to make some people miss, and Boom’s back there a little bit. We’re working on it.”

On if he’s seen growth from T.V. Williams: “Absolutely, yeah. Really been impressed with him the past week or so. He’s starting to really step up and make some plays, and it’s been a pleasant surprise for him to go outside and be able to make some plays. As you know he’s a little big on the short side to play outside, but he has the ability to get off some press because he’s so shifty, and he’s made some good plays. He’s stepping up.”

On the QBs off the field: “I think we’re doing a pretty good job. We all know there’s been a few issues here and there, but we’ve made a lot of progress throughout this spring. Patrick’s been a great leader off the field, on the field. And Drew’s really grown, and I think that comes with being more confident and playing better on the field. So he’s taking care of his business. I’m pleased with where he’s at, and he’s making a lot of progress.”

On how much he challenged Barker to get those issues squared away: “Quite a bit. We sat down and talked quite a bit. I’ve said it before: He’s a good kid that made some mistakes, and he’s got to go out there and be consistent on the field and off the field. He knows that. I like him, but what I like about him right now: He’s just going about his business, trying to be the best quarterback he can be, take care of himself off the field. So far so good.”

On defense chanting “Bad Boys” again and if they’re taking some ownership on that side of the ball: “We got to continue to develop. You can’t talk yourself into those things. You have to be a good unit. You have to play with confidence. You got to go out and execute every day. You can’t just go out and make up something. So I’m not really too concerned about that. I’m interested in getting better and being more consistent and trying to become a dominant unit. We’re not there yet. So like I said, I think that comes with confidence and working.”

On if Towles’ leadership sets an example for Barker: “I think so. I definitely do. I think Patrick definitely works extremely hard, carries himself the right way. He’s a very good role model off the field, and I hope it rubs off on Drew.”

On the running backs: “They’ve been very impressive. Mikel’s out right now, so he’s missed some practices. Boom looks very impressive. And Jojo’s been out a little bit with a sickness. So nothing major, but he’ll be back out there Friday, I would anticipate, but he’s missed a couple practices with a sickness. But they’ve really done some good things.”

On if Jacob Hyde is getting more touches with those backs out: “He did catch one in the flat today. Wearing number 66, so I had to throw a flag on that.”

 

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Details on Kentucky’s open practice

Kentucky fans will get another chance to see an open practice on Saturday at noon. The practice will be held at the Tim Couch Practice Fields at the Nutter Training Center near the UK baseball stadium.

Parking is available free of charge in the C8 Lot between the practice fields and baseball stadium, the E Lot beside the baseball stadium, parking structure No. 7 as well as at the E-lots near the practice fields and tennis center. The E6 Green lot near Commonwealth Stadium also is available.

In a release, UK reminds no chairs allowed, no entry into the training center and no autographs or posed pictures are permitted at the open practice.

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Extended, amended deals for football staff

As Coach Mark Stoops promised when he was given his multi-year contract extension and pay increase by Kentucky at the end of October, his assistant coaches as well as some key staff also received bumps in pay.

Many of those contract details were made public by the university on Tuesday via its open records contract database. In general, the terms of the deals did not change. All of the assistant coaches that had previously been on staff now have contracts that run through June 30, 2017.

The university’s legal office, which maintains the web site with updated contracts for coaches and staff, may still have more to update. So I’ll keep you posted as they are made public.

Most of the new contracts were signed in February and the pay rate went into effect on April 1.

  • Wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord got a $50,000 raise that puts his salary at $275,000.
  • Derrick Ansley, who previously coached the cornerbacks but now works with the entire secondary, will make $275,000 annually.
  • Offensive line coach John Schlarman will receive $250,000 per year, an increase of $25,000.
  • Running backs coach Chad Scott will receive $275,000 per year, a bump of $35,000.
  • Defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh will receive $250,000 a year, an increase of $50,000.
  • In January, new outside linebackers coach Andy Buh signed a one-year deal that pays him $200,000 and runs through June 30, 2016.

Two key strength and conditioning coaches received pay raises as well. Head strength and conditioning coach Corey Edmond signed a new contract that runs through June 30, 2016 that pays him $204,000, a $51,000 increase from his most recent deal. On April 1, assistant strength and conditioning coach Donald Horton singed a new one-year deal paying him $50,000, which is roughly a $10,000 bonus from his previous contract.

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Wide receivers coach Mainord gets pay bump

A new contract addendum of at least one Kentucky football assistant, wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord, was made public by the university on Tuesday. Mainord received a $50,000 raise and now makes $275,000. His contract runs through June 30, 2017, according to UK records.

When Mark Stoops received his contract extension and pay raise in late October, he said assistant coaches and coordinators would be getting pay raises as well. Those others have not been released yet.

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Q&A with Stoops after Monday’s practice

MARK STOOPS
“Good practice for a Monday morning. As you know, sometimes it’s pulling teeth on a Monday after a long weekend, but I felt like a little time off was good for us. We were a little banged up, a little sick. They responded well, came out and had a good practice today. We had our fair share of mistakes obviously, but guys have good attitude, good energy; they worked hard. So overall a good day’s work, got a lot in, so need to continue to push forward this week and have a great week.”

On linebacker spot: “Yeah, it’s thin. With Nico (Firios) out and Courtney (Love) is hurt. Jordan Jones coming in at midterm is good; he’s shown some good promise for a young guy. He’s battling with Khalid (Henderson) to get some more playing time, so that’s helped us. Nico is doing well. Ryan (Flannigan) and Josh (Forrest) are really playing well. Those two have made some big improvements.”

On if there’s a point in time when light came on for Flannigan: “There was because you saw him athletically stand out a bunch and there’s always that balance because you always want to play your best players, and sometimes as they’re learning it can hold you back a little bit from play calling, from moving forward and what you’re doing. It gets moving fast sometimes for guys in that first year. He was a guy who reported late, got there late in the summer, so it took him a while to get caught up. Yeah there were some times throughout the year when we just felt like athletically he gave us some pop and we had to push him forward. Then he started putting it together late in the season. It doesn’t ring a bell what game that was, but he’d shown some flashes. It’s interesting because some of our offensive guys — and Coach (Shannon) Dawson being here — he stands out to him. He doesn’t know all of our defensive guys that well yet, but certain guys kind of pop out at you and (Flannigan) is playing more physical and he has that explosiveness and he’s putting it altogether as far as what to do. So that’s been a big improvement for us.”

On if he’s been trying to help younger players now, too: “Yeah, I think he’s starting to take on that role a little bit. That first year, he was just holding onto his own and trying to figure things out, but he’s starting to play with a little bit of an attitude and swagger and help. It’s good for us.”

On not having a spring game and what that mean for recruiting: “Really, I like having one of course because of the excitement we’ve had for the first two years for our fans and for recruiting. It’s been a big help. From that standpoint, it’s going to be a big miss. We are going to miss that. From a practice point of view, really not at all other than of course seeing some quarterbacks, but we kind of have a good feel for them now. Kind of getting them out there in front of the fans and putting a little bit more pressure on them now if you will, but other than that it really won’t affect us. We’ll actually get more done with a practice and/or complete scrimmage than watering down two teams and trying to put a good product out there for the fans to be excited about. So from that standpoint not much. Overall, there’s not much we can do about it. As I told you earlier, I was not interested in moving it off site and playing it at a high school or something like that. That I was not interested in.”

On the accuracy of quarterbacks: “They’re improving. They’re getting better. We needed to. We’ve talked about that a lot, of becoming more accurate, and certainly with Patrick because he shows flashes of that big arm. One of the criticisms of him — and he knows this — is to be more accurate on some intermediate throws. He’s improving on that. He’s becoming more patient in the pocket. The way Coach Dawson is coaching him — I think it’s been documented and talked about by him and all of you have maybe talked to him about that — he’s more quiet in the pocket with his feet and more calm. And you’re starting to see that, and I think that’s helping him with some intermediate throws. Both quarterbacks for the most part have been much improved through spring. Each of them have their moments of some special plays and then some not so good plays, but I think overall we’re definitely getting better play.”

On if there will be a special recruiting event in place of the spring game

We are. We’re having a big day this week. Probably need to talk to Tony (Neely) and we’ll decide whether that will be open to the media and to the public. More than like it will this Saturday. We’ll bring our players’ parents and we’ll bring in recruits and have a big scrimmage and have a cookout afterwards, things like that, spend some time with some kids. So, yeah, we’ll do that this Saturday.”

On if any redshirt linemen on either side of the ball have stood out: “Nah. You know, I think overall we feel better about them. We feel more depth. We feel like they’re improving, but nobody that really just jumps out at me. So…(Nick) Richardson is getting better. (Jarrett) LaRubbio is out there getting better. So, they’re improving.”

On not hearing Josh Krok’s name much this spring:He’s been a little banged up, yeah. He’s had some issues going on. He was sick, but he’ll be a factor. He’ll add some depth.”

On the secondary responding to Stoops spending time coaching there:Yeah, I hope so. I think, yeah, we’re playing excellent in the safety position. If I could just get those corners straight. No, I’m just joking. I’m working with the safeties primarily, but I’ve always been involved and worked with them. I think what’s helping us is we’re getting more and more depth and getting the talent level at that depth is what we’re looking for. So it’s really nice to, when you’re working with some guys who are maybe running second-team or third-team that are talented and you know are going to be players some day. So I think inside, we’re really doing some good things, and really we have played pretty decent for the most part at the nickel and the dime and the safety position. We need to continue to improve outside. And that’s a key to any team. Outside wide receiver, we need to be explosive out there offensively. And defensively, you’ve gotta be able to match up with those guys. It’s a big key, and that’s recruiting and continuing to develop the guys we have to get them better.”

On Josh Forrest:Josh is — I’ve said it a few times I’ve really been impressed. I feel like Josh is really improving. I felt like we all saw flashes last year and you saw him running sideline to sideline. He can run, he can cover, he’s got great length. He needs to continue to be more physical and he’s working on those things.”

On if Kendall Randolph can break into the corner position:He can break in at corner. He has played some at corner. We’ve moved him around a bit and, yeah, he is a guy that is versatile.”

On if A.J. Stamps is showing signs of building off his first year: “He is. He’s really solid. He’s another guy that maybe you could mention, say, hey, maybe put him outside, but I don’t want to weaken us inside. I think he has the ability to be a very good player at the position he’s playing.”

On what Denzil Ware brings to the defense:Denzil is a guy — he’s explosive, he’s fast, he’s got some natural pass rushing abilities. What hurts us is just experience and just putting it all together. And again, I talked about that last week, is just how much we ask that position to do. A guy that stands up, he has to be able to play like a defensive end a bunch when we’re rushing him and he needs to be able to play like a linebacker some when he’s on his feet and we’re dropping him. So we do a lot with that position, and he’s a young guy and needs to continue to get better, but he’s got a bright future.”

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