This week we hear from UK Coach Joker Phillips as 2012 camp opens. We'll breakdown the Cat's 1st practice, talk about why Fan Day should be as big as Midnight Madness, and continue position breakdowns with the RB's and D-line.
Listened to the show and it was very good. A lot of good insight. Of course, I didn't agree with everything that was said but still the knowledge and insight was excellent. Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. I agree that I'm a little concerned with the hype of the D-Line. Like you said on the podcast, there was similar hype for the O-line last year but there were warning signs that they weren't as good as hyped. In 2010, UK was near the bottom of the SEC in rushing, even with Randall Cobb padding the statistics when he ran from Wildcat. Also, in 2010, Hartline was really good at avoiding sacks so they had a very low number of sacks in 2010 which helped lead to the hype. So, we found out last year that the O-line wasn't that good after all. This year we're hearing a lot of hype about the D-Line. But when you look at what these players did last year in terms of tackles for losses it isn't impressive. It's not like UK has a Jeremy Jarmon or a Corey Peters returning. Instead of hyping the D-Line, UK should be telling them that they have to be much more productive this year.
2. I didn't go to fan day but I went to the Blue/White game. Everybody says how awful Maxwell Smith looked at fan day so apparently he was really bad. However, if given a choice between fan day and Blue/White game, I would prefer that Smith looks good in the Blue/White game, which he did. He didn't look like the next great UK QB along the lines of Couch, Woodson and Lorenzen but he looked very competent along the lines of Hartline as a senior. I was pretty surprised and disappointed to read and hear all the reports of how bad he was at fan day but it's just a fan day. Hopefully, he just had a really bad day. We shall see.
3. I hope the DBs aren't as bad as you guys think they are. Mosley and Burden had very disappointing years last year and I'm hoping Rice and Neloms do a better job. Simmons and Dixon showed some coverage skills at the Blue/White game but they also got beat some too. UK has a lot of depth at safety and between all those players there should be some good ones. Faulkner and Lowery are both potentially good SEC safeties.
4. The lack of separation you saw on fan day from the WRs is concerning. That was somewhat the case at the Blue/White game too. In fact, that is what made Maxwell Smith's performance that day impressive because he completed passes to receivers who were not that open. One big upgrade from last year should be the receivers' hands. DeMarco Robinson and Darryl Collins both appeared to have better hands than the WRs last year. I hate to jinx them but they were a big upgrade from the 2011 Blue/White game where the WRs probably dropped at least 10 passes.
5. Nice to hear Towles threw such a nice pass. Joker said the Towles has that "it" quality that only 2 previous UK players have had: Randall Cobb and Andre Woodson. That's pretty strong company, although I don't remember people talking about Woodson like that when he was a freshman. Maybe he meant later on.
The combo of our low DB expectations and our WR's lack of seperation was even more concerning. However, we did not get to see the freshman and Legree and Sweat are have more size than most of the returning WR's
Also the d-line has been so non-existent for the last few seasons any plays from them will be a positive step.