After grieving (like most Kentucky fans) for a few days over the 1st round exit in the NCAA Tournament, I took it upon myself to get some positive, fresh football notes into the minds of fans to get them even more pumped for the 2022 football season. There's just too much doom and gloom, so I'm here to remind the BBN that the Football 'Cats have been working their asses off over at Nutter Fieldhouse during Spring ball!
Rich Scangarello: What does he bring to the table?
Coach Rich Scangarello is a very respected coach in the NFL and will look to keep a similar 12 personnel playbook. Scangarello was brought into Lexington to run the same pro-style offense that the UK staff, athletes and fans are now adapted to due to the success during the Liam Coen era. During the first media opportunity for Spring ball, Will Levis took the time to speak on key differences between former offensive coordinator Liam Coen and replacement Rich Scangarello. "I think Coach Scangarello bring a lot of technicality to the quarterback position and is really able to focus on the little things, with his experience and just how many NFL quarterbacks he has worked with. He understands how different guys 'tick' and how footwork and timing align with certain concepts and routes I think little things like footwork wise and timing wise Rich is gonna help us a lot more on."
Will Levis also mentioned that 'day 1' of Spring practice didn't feel like the first day, simply because much didn't change offensively other than a little bit of terminology. Levis went on to say after the first practice, there were signs of rust which is to be expected, but a lot of things were done really well.
Talking with the media, Coach Scangarello told his story about the first time he saw Will Levis and Kentucky in 2021. "It's random but I caught, I wanna say it was the LSU game last year but there was a game where we were sitting, watching having Saturday night dinner in the NFL before our team meeting, and Kentucky was on. I was like, man, quarterbacks catch my eye, it's kind of what I do, I would think. I said man this guy's pretty good."
Scangarello then went on to say that when he went on to watch Kentucky tape after Stoops had reached out to him, he discovered the qualities he'd look for in a quarterback, Levis had.
Promising comments from Zach Yenser
After spending much of his time with the media honoring late Kentuckian John Schlarman, Yenser talked about the presence of the Big Blue Wall and how having a focus around the position group isn't necessarily what players are expecting. Coach Yenser went on to express that what ever it took to get Rich Scangarello on the coaching staff, to do it because he knew what kind of coach he was, both coming from the 49ers.
Yenser also noted that if highly touted recruit Kiyaunta Goodwin was being recruited by Yenser, that he would have told him to come in expecting to play year one, and not to expect to redshirt. Yenser followed his previous comments by saying that if Goodwin is good enough to play, we could see an 18 year old start at left tackle in the SEC. If Goodwin is not ready, we could see him play up to 4 games to see what Kentucky has at that option moving forward.
Wide Receiver room
Last season the receptions were racked up by Wan'Dale Robinson in one of the most impressive seasons a Wildcat receiver has ever had at the school. As Robinson looks to make an even better name for himself in the NFL, it's best we stop the rumors now that Will Levis is not going to have any targets to throw the ball to. Brenden Bates and Keaton Upshaw are two more than capable tight ends that can get in space and make plays, along with a loaded WR group that includes Jordan Dingle, Barion Brown, Dekel Crowdus, Mike Drennen II, Dane Key, Chauncey Magwood, Clevan Thomas, Rahsaan Lewis, Tae Tae Crumes, Izayah Cummings and maybe the star, Virginia Tech Transfer Tayvion Robinson. This is a group that will be far more experienced, yet also adds a new dimension of athlete in Barion Brown and Tayvion Robinson.
Stoops' comments on injuries
In head coach Mark Stoops' introductory press conference for the 2022 season, he gave an update on the injuries lingering from the 2021 season. Stoops announced that junior wide receiver/tight end Izayah Cummings has been out due to an offseason surgery, presumably from the arm injury he'd suffered in the Georgia loss. Stoops went on to address that Dekel Crowdus, Clevan Thomas and Keaton Upshaw were all participating in Spring practice in full form, and that Octavious Oxendine is still dealing with his lower leg injury but still competing in 'partially'.
Kentucky looks to continue the success from last season as they will kick off the 2022 season on September 3rd, as they face Miami (OH). Kentucky will then travel to Gainesville in one of the biggest games of the year the next week, as they will face the Florida Gators.
Football time is getting closer and closer. As a matter of fact, we are only 165 days away from it.
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