We're a few weeks in to UK's spring practice schedule, and only four days away from their annual Spring Game which fans can attend. It will be this Saturday, April 9th, at 1:00 pm inside Kroger Field. But, before we get to that, let's talk about some points that made it out of spring practice this afternoon.
1. The offense has been throwing more than running. Rich Scangarello says that over the last few weeks his offense has been hitting the pass game really hard, often more than the run offense. "We went out there with the intention of probably throwing it more than running it, that was the mindset, just wanted to see the quarterback's play, and evaluate them all and to see the receivers make plays, and put guys in position to do some things, and we were able to do that and get a good evaluation. I thought Will (Levis) did a good job too."
Even with this being a newly-founded air-raid style offense that Liam Coen built the foundation of last season, and that will continue into this season as well, Rich says the run game is still a big section of this offense. "As far as the run game goes, I feel very strongly that we're on pace. The outside zone, the inside zone, it's complimenting everything. For us, it is what we do, it is at our identity, and it is important that we master it. Yes, we have emphasized it and no it won't go away during the year." With that being said, it seems like he meets the standard that fans are wanting by dominantly throwing but still utilizing the running backs when needed, rather than going all in on one side and staying loyal to it even when it's failing.
2. Previewing the spring game. Rich says that during the spring game they won't throw everything out there for people to see, avoiding revealing the entire playbook. "I mean, listen, one of the advantages to what we're doing is the unknown. Obviously you'd like to keep as much of that in-house as possible until the last second. So as it goes, you don't want to go out there and give them (opponents) everything." He says their main goal is just to evaluate their players and see who is going to step up going forward.
3. UK OL Coach, Zach Yenser, noted two players that have been catching his eye. Coach Yenser says there are a lot of guys playing well this spring, but two guys who have specifically stood out to him were Kiyaunta Goodwin and Tashawn Manning. "Kiyaunta is doing really, really well for us. Heck, the guy should still be in High School right now. He's a big son of a gun. He's doing well, his head is spinning a little bit with some of the protection and stuff like that, but we expect that, being a young guy. But I'll tell you what, when he knows what he's doing, and he's right about 95% of the time right now, but when he knows what he's doing he's very talented," said Yenser. The bulk of what Kiyaunte Goodwin is currently trying to get better at is the snap count and adjusting to the speed of the game. Other than that, he complimented Goodwin with, "Everyday that he steps on the field man, he's picking up just a little bit more. It's encouraging."
Zach Yenser also doubles down on Tashawn Manning, who was mid-year transfer from Auburn this past winter. "He is a bull, man. That dude can move people off the spot. He's aggressive in the run game and the pass game, and he is a very, very talented football player. He will be, he has a chance to be - and he was at Auburn - he has a chance to be really good in this style of offense, just setting angles, running guys off the ball." He continues by saying that Tashawn has been phenomenal this spring and has big hopes for him here.
While these are just a few tidbits coming from the depths of Nutter Fieldhouse this week, I'll take them. And if you're anything like me, I cannot wait to see another football season under Mark Stoops and honestly wish that it was already September. It seems that each year this football program is reaching new heights and developing a national recognition for itself.
I also love that UK puts out these videos onto their social media accounts so that fans can feel what it's like first handedly be out there on the field, inside the practices, seeing what it's like to be a player or a coach. Check it out.
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