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WBN Nightcap: What We Learned at Fan Day

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Yesterday was Kentucky Football Fan Day at Commonwealth Stadium. Joker Phillips and staff treated those in attendance to a live practice with a scrimmage, an autograph session with all of the players and a fireworks show to end the night. Attendance was estimated in the between 2000 and 3000 fans and it may have been more if not for the threat of rain. The weather cooperated this time, unlike the Blue/White game, and by all accounts folks enjoyed themselves. Tonight we will look at a few items of interest from Fan Day. However that this is the first practice of the year and some or all of this may change by September 2nd. Please don’t get too excited or step onto a ledge because of one practice.

  • There really is a quarterback competition going on. Heading into the fall most have assumed that Maxwell Smith will be the starter with a little competition form Patrick Towles, but Morgan Newton got equal reps with Smith and was the most impressive passer in the group. Smith struggled in surprising fashion and frosh Towles and Whitlow looked to need some seasoning.
  • Dy’Shawn Mobley is a bad man. A month ago reports started leaking out about Mobley being strong and physically impressive. Yesterday several photos were taken and Mobley looks like a redshirt senior, not an 18 year old. If he can learn to pass-protect, he will play this season.
  • The elder WRs aren’t going away without a fight. When the first team offense rolled out it featured Larod King and EJ Fields out wide. I know I spent some time talking Fields up this year and hopefully he takes the starting job for good. There was also an Aaron Boyd sighting. Boyd caught a 40 yard pass from Newton over touted frosh Fred Tiller. Tiller had good coverage but Boyd made a spectacular catch. Hands have never been Boyd’s problem, if he can learn to separate from defenders he may actually play this year. Unfortunately Gene McCaskill is still recovering from his knee injury and did not participate.
  • The tight end may be back. The coaches ran a lot of plays out of double tight end formations, with Ronnie Shields and Tyler Robinson appearing to be the guys atop the depth chart. Not sure if this is an effort to get both on the field as weapons or to provide blocking help. Robinson is practically an offensive lineman.
  • The CBs will be young. No surprise here, after Marcus Caffey failed to stay eligible everyone knew some young guys would have to play. Luckily the starters will be 2 seniors in Cartier Rice and Martavious Neloms. It’s unfortunate because I think Neloms developed into a solid safety but given the circumstances it was the right move. Behind the starters everything is wide open, Tiller and Cody Quinn ran with the backups, Quinn being the most impressive of the young guys. Freshman walk-on JD Harmon also played well. Johnathan Reed didn’t stick out, but as a corner that can be a good thing.
  • Landon Foster & Khalid Henderson will play. Foster walked into a bad situation and was immediately the most consistent option available. Look for him to start against Louisville. Fellow freshman Khalid Henderson, a highly touted linebacker, appears to have worked his way into the coaches good graces. Unlikely that he will start but Henderson should see the special teams and nickel action.
  • Bookie is a work in progress. Bookie Cobbins is switching from quarterback to receiver this year with the logjam under center. He struggled to catch the ball yesterday and sometimes seemed out of place. Missing spring practices due to academics may have slowed his development a bit.