The 2014 Blue/White game concluded just under a week ago and the focus of the team now firms to the remainder of the offseason. While you can’t take too much from just one practice, some things became clear from this one.
The offense will be running at a much faster pace than what we saw lady season. Limited personnel forced an adjustment in scheme that appears to have been since thrown to the wayside. In its place, a smoother moving attack that focuses on a balance of short, intermediate, and long passes mixed with a hearty dose of the running game allowed the coaches to showcase a much more balanced strategy than the run – heavy schemes of last year.
It appears that the running game will still be featured prominently, and why not? A stable of running backs featuring Braylon Heard, Jojo Kemp, a healthy Josh Clemons, and a surprisingly strong Mikel Horton might be the best group at UK in decades. The quartet was so good that incoming freshman Boom Williams will likely get an extended look at receiver this fall and be cross trained in a similar manner that Ryan Timmons was last season .
We all knew he was good and that he would get better as he matured, but if the spring game was any indication of how often the coaches plan on utilizing him, we can expect to hear his name a lot this season. A jack of all trades, Timmons was used as a runner, receiver, and a return man and the staff has to be salivating about the possibilities his unique skill – set offers.
Depending on who you like the best, you probably have a varying opinion on how each quarterback did. All three looked good at times, and all, three still have some question marks. The seemingly run – heavy play calling when he was in could cause some concern for Reese Phillips, but his passes were largely accurate and well-timed. Drew Barker looked like the future of this program at times, but also reminded us that he’s a freshman at others. The biggest takeaway that I saw was a completely reinvented Patrick Towles. Towles started the game, which lends itself to him being the current front runner, but looked like a much more confident and skilled player than I was expecting. His interception was unfortunate and he was the only QB not to find the endzone, but his poise and ability to throw the deep outs was surprising to say the least. The battle may not be decided yet, but it appears that a guy many thought would ultimately transfer may be in the drivers seat moving forward.
The bug guys up front look good. Swindle and Miller truly looked like the bookend tackles that this offense will need and the interior line looks as good as they have in years. Toth, West, and Meyer have all gotten rid of any baby fat and this group now looks like a bunch of grown men. Obviously it’s tough to really grade out a scrimmage where the QBs can’t actually be sacked, but holding back a formidable defensive end tandem deserves praise in itself and the running backs still basically had canyons to run through.