By - Ira D. Combs
Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.
With the annual fan day festivities behind us and week # 1 of fall camp in the books things are starting to take shape for the 2013 Kentucky Wildcats football team but make no mistake the next 12 practice days or two weeks over all will be the most important in settling the depth charts on both sides of the ball as well as most all special teams roles .
Of course we were at last saturdays open practice and along with picking the brains of a few other long time media members here is the top five tidbits of information we can share with you this week now that we are beginning our 10th year with this weekly syndicated column covering UK sports :
# 1 - As many inside the UK football program predicted back on signing day several freshman have already made a significant impact on this football program in the first week of fall camp . It appears based on several post practice comments by coach Stoops and Brown that two freshman wide receivers have caught their eye in our states own home grown Ryan Timmons and Floridian Alex Montgomery . Those two players have been referred to the most but Coach Stoops has been very quick to point out that he has been pleased with all three incoming freshman wide receivers and JC transfer Javess Blue .
# 2 - On the defensive side of the ball the young pups who have been impressive are DE Jason Hatcher out of Lou. Trinity and DB Marcus McWilson one of Stoops prize recruits out of northern Ohio . Hatcher along with JC transfer ZaDarius Smith and outside linebacker turned rush end Bud DuPree should upgrade the Cats pressure on those athletic and talented SEC quarterbacks to keep the defensive backs from hanging out on that island so long as in past years .
# 3 - Specialty teams especially the two return teams should be much more productive this year with the influx of speed , athleticism , and elusiveness in players like Ryan Timmons , Demarco Robinson , and Javess Blue . Field position is such an important part of football and with the return of 2nd team all SEC punter Landon Foster and return specialist like those mentioned earlier the Cats hope to be able to flip the field in the kicking game on their opponents this year for a change instead of having it flipped on them .
# 4 - In my opinion based on saturdays open practice the quarterback competition appears to be slowly separating itself with Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow showing a little more consistency , comfort , and confidence in executing the new Air Raid 2 version of Neal Brown's offense . Although I think this competition has really been blown out of proportion because with the 12 game schedule this team has to work it's way thru their will be plenty of snaps for at least ( 2 ) QB's if not all three .
# 5 - It was also learned after saturdays open practice that offensive coordinator Neal Brown and defensive coordinator D. J. Elliott will both be on the sidelines during games with Coach Stoops as they make the calls for each play on their respective sides of the ball . Other assistant coaches will be up in the press box relaying information down to the coordinators before , during , and after each play to assist them in making their calls . However , Stoops can intervene at any time and make changes and suggestions to each coordinator especially on those strategic 3rd down plays .
Future UK Football News Coming This Week
For those of you who feel like this year's 2013 UK football team is destined for youthful mistakes and general sloppy play but hold hope and enthusiasm for the future due to Mark Stoops obvious recruiting ability keep an eye on the running scroll of the main page of our website www.combsbrothersonkysports.com later this week around thursday or friday .
The SEC athletic directors are meeting this week so you should see the official SEC football in-conference schedule released for 2014 . UK already has three of it's four non conference games under contract for 2014 ( Louisville / Away - Ohio University / Home - UT at Martin / Home ) Kentucky's fourth non conference game for 2014 has not been decided as of this date but if history holds true it should be a 3rd non conference home game .
Cal's Special Fall Hoop Events Set
As usual the guru of college basketball recruiting ( John Calipari ) has come up with a couple more special recruiting perks to spice up the 48 hour experience recruits are allowed to have when they take their offical NCAA visit to Lexington and the UK campus .
The 2013 UK Alumni Charity game is the first fall hoops extravaganza that will actually be on (Mon.) Sept. 9th when the 2010 Elite 8 team of Wall , Cousins , etc. will battle the 2012 NCAA championship team of Davis , Kidd - Gilchrist , etc. at Rupp Arena with the tip off set for 7:00 p.m. , tickets for this game are ( 20.00 lower level or 10.00 & 5.00 upper level ) and they can be obtained by calling 1 - 800 - 745 - 3000 or by going online to www.ticketmaster.com or by going to the Rupp Arena ticket office . There are a few premium seats close to or on the floor for $50.00 .
The 2nd special hoops game is a pre-season NBA exhibition game between John Walls / Wahington Wizards and Anthony Davis / New Orleans Pelicans team which also has Darius Miller on their roster as well . This game will be played at Rupp Arena on (Sat.) Oct. 19th with tip off slated for 7:00 p.m. which is the night after the annual Big Blue Madness extravaganza that always draws premier recruits from across the country . Tickets for the NBA exhibition game on (Sat.) Oct. 19th can be obtained by going online to www.ticketmaster.com or dropping by any ticketmaster outlet or by dropping by the Rupp Arena ticket office any time from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. monday thru friday .