LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — In its first scrimmage of fall camp, Kentucky’s offense “took care of the football” and was productive.
“That was really good,” Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said Tuesday. “… First two groups, no interceptions, no fumbles. If we can go into a game and not have any turnovers that’s huge. That was good. We’ve gotta do a really good job with making sure we stay, on first and 10, long-yardage situations or a penalty getting us backed up and being able to overcome that. We overcame, I think, one of them where we did get a penalty and then we ended up getting a first down. But a couple of them we didn’t. Those are the things we were trying to stay out of.”
Returning starting quarterback Terry Wilson completed 16 of 20 passes in last weekend’s scrimmage and also has been productive this fall. Gran said Wilson is “night and day right now.”
“He’s making quicker decisions going through his reads, getting the ball out,” he said. “He had one where he took a sack. If we can eliminate that to zero we’ll be in pretty good shape. For his first scrimmage and to only have one mistake like that is pretty good… getting a lot better. (He’s) really gaining confidence each day.”
Kentucky offensive lineman Landon Young said the offense often faces a “danged if you do, danged if you don’t” scenario because of Mark Stoops’ background as a defensive-minded coach.
“We have a really good practice and beat the defense we’re going to be out there longer because he’s a defensive-minded coach anyway,” Young said. “He’s always back there coaching them up and he just gets so mad when we run it down their throat, especially. On the other side they have things to work on so they’re going to make practice longer just because they want the defense to have extra work.”
According to Gran, the rotation on the offensive line has been established and the unit has been productive since fall workouts began more than two weeks ago.
“I think we have eight right now that are playing winning football,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of others that we feel like by week five or six, they got to jump in that role. But it’s been pretty cohesive. “
Stoops said being physical on both sides of the ball is crucial to the team’s success.
“It's a line of scrimmage game,” he said. “You better be good in the offensive line, better be going in the defensive line. Sure, we all know you want to be good at all positions. You have to be to win at the highest level. But if you're not physical, you don't have much of a chance. All in all, you know what I mean, throw it all in a bucket, come out the end. I don't like our chances if you're not physical.”
Freshman MJ Devonshire is making a name for himself on defense and has been practicing with the first team in the secondary. Devonshire is a four-star recruit who was a star receiver and cornerback in high school.
Devonshire chose the Wildcats over Pittsburgh, Penn State and Ohio State.
Gametracker: Toledo at Kentucky, Saturday, Aug. 31, noon. TV/Radio: SEC Network, 98.1 FM WBUL.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.