With the 2022 Kentucky Football season just a little over 5 months away, the Cats are already preparing for their SEC Championship run. Today, (Tight End) Brenden Bates, (Wide Receiver) Tayvion Robinson, (Offensive Lineman) Kenneth Horsey and (Offensive Coordinator) Rich Scangarello stepped in front of the media to discuss a multitude of things, and I’m here to inform you of the main takeaways.
Brenden Bates on TE and fullback possibilities
Brenden Bates started things off by saying a line I think I haven’t heard the entire time I have existed, stating that he expects the tight ends to get a chance for more receptions this season. Bates then answered a question in regards to having a full-time fullback and the differences between in his role with a fullback and without one, and compares this offense to the San Francisco 49ers. "Oh yeah, it's completely different. The stuff that Coach Rich has introduced to this offense is a lot like Juszcyyk from the 49ers. I've seen his role, he's very similar to what we're doing now. It's a way more versatile fullback than a traditional fullback."
Bates went on to say that he and Keaton Upshaw have played both 'F' and 'Y' tight end spots, as well as fullback. While the offense is seeming to stick to the same style as last season, it is important to note that the tight ends will have a more diverse role in this seasons offense.
Bates also noted that he has been watching a lot of film from both George Kittle and Kyle Juszcyyk, arguably the best tight end/fullback duo in the NFL.
When Brenden Bates was asked who has stepped up that maybe he was not expecting to, he gave credit to former 4 star prospect Jordan Dingle. “I think Dingle has. Each year he's been developing well and seeing what he's doing now at such an early age, he's so far ahead of the game."
Brenden told media that having a fullback in the sets gives the offense more opportunities to shake things up running the ball, as well as the potential to attack with play action calls. Bates was very adamant that the current script for the 'F' and 'Y' tight end positions and fullback position is still very much not finished, and also mentioned brother of Jordan, Justice Dingle, has played some at fullback.
Tayvion Robinson on younger talent, potential punt returns
Robinson started his Week 2 presser saying he is determined to work hard everyday and to be a leader to the younger receivers. Robinson, a senior transfer from Virginia Tech, caught 113 receptions and 9 touchdowns in his tenure with the Hokies.
Youth seems to be a main focal point this offseason in the wide receivers room, and is constantly being brought up by media. With Josh Ali and Frankfort stud Wan'dale Robinson gone, it will be an interesting summer as the receivers compete for a starting spot on the roster. Tayvion Robinson and Rich Scangarello have both mentioned true freshman Dane Key as a name to watch out for. "Dane Key is really good. He came here and was trying to learn as fast as possible. He's a taller guy, plays outside and has a great catch radius. He catches a lot of balls and he looks good going into spring so far,” said Scangarello.”
A little bit of breaking news did occur during the presser, when Robinson said that while speaking with coaches before transferring to Kentucky, he had made it clear to them that he wanted to continue catching punts, and has continued to do so in the spring.
Kenneth Horsey on legacy of Big Blue Wall, Zach Yenser
Kenneth Horsey was next to the podium, to discuss the Big Blue Wall. Horsey started off things to say that the offensive line isn't necessarily 'rebuilt', but he feels it is “reloaded.” Horsey says that the offensive line has built a culture at UK, and that the athletes coming in will continue that culture.
Horsey went on to discuss multiple topics, and believes that new offensive line coach Zach Yenser will fit right into the culture, and even discusses Yenser in a tribute to late coach John Schlarman. "It's honestly a small world, the fact that (Yenser) was coached by Schlarman previously, but I feel like that speaks to the legacy of Coach Schlarman. We always, we constantly think about how we leave our legacies and I honestly believe Coach Schlarman's legacy was bigger than what he did in this building."
My biggest takeaway from Horsey's time with the media was the provided update on freshman phenom Kiyaunta Goodwin. "Kiyaunta's a great kid. Great kid, big kid (chuckling). He's very passionate, he's willing to put in the work, he's very coachable, he's ready to listen to anything that we, if we have any positive criticisms or anything like that, or even if we have to dump on him at times. He's very accepting of that, because he knows he's not a finished product..."
There is still plenty of online debate on whether or not Goodwin will redshirt or or play this season, but Stoops as stated previously is not scared to play him for more than his four redshirt games.
Rich Scangarello on Levis collab, balanced tempo
Scangarello stepped in front of media and first addressed adjusting from the NFL life to college. Coach Rich said that the biggest thing for him was just getting a feel for the players on the roster, since he was not around the program during conditioning and and weightlifting leading up to spring practice.
Scangarello mentioned that even though it is early on in the offseason, his mind has determined he wants to run a very balanced offense, as he plans for an offense that is very versatile. "Slow it down, play fast, play no huddle, I mean be great in situational football. Sometimes that requires changing the place a little bit so I think that we'll have the flexibility to do a little bit of everything."
Coach Scangarello went on to discuss he and Will Levis' relationship, and went on record to say that after a while, the relationship would be a lot less coaching and more of a 'collaboration', and feels that Levis is earning that right more and more every single day.
Cats Coverage's postseason coverage is brought to you by Mad Mushroom, the home of the original cheesestix. You can use our promo code 'CAT5' to receive $5 off a purchase of $20 or more at select locations in Lexington and Richmond, Kentucky, including 2 more locations in Indiana.