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Kentucky Football: Shaping up in the Springtime

We aren't going to give up on basketball, of course, or baseball either, but now is a good time to catch up with the football team.

Joker Phillips' first year as Kentucky's head man has seen some changes, and it will be interesting to see how the changes show up in the games when we finally get to fall.  One of the more interesting things is how Joker is running the practices.  Unlike Brooks, Phillips has the players run from drill to drill, trying to maximize the number of reps that each player gets.

Here are some of the observations we have seen/heard around the football team:

  • The QB battle:  Mike Hartline is 100% and is beginning to separate himself, ever so slightly, from the other two guys.  Morgan Newton has consistency problems throwing the ball.  Ryan Mossakowski apparently has a nice, tight spiral that he throws with consistency, but he is behind the other two in learning the offense.

    Another thing Newton is struggling with is trying to fit the ball into places where it went in high school, but won't go in college.  He still has not adjusted to the speed of the college game, and it is hurting his decision making some.

  • Receivers -- There has been a lot of focus on downfield passing, as you might expect given the problems of the last two years.  Receivers have not been hanging on to the ball well, and that is an ongoing theme so far this year.  E.J. Adams has made an early impression, and Chris Matthews looks like a worldbeater one minute and a third-stringer the next.

    Routes are an issue for the receivers.  The defensive backs have been successful so far at knocking the receivers off their routes and shrinking the window the QB's have to hit them.  The result -- lots of picks.

More after the jump.

  • Chandler Burden's move to offensive tackle from defensive end seems to be working very well.  The center position is really up in the air with two inexperienced guys, Marcus Davis and Matt Smith vying for the spot.
  • Joker likes the speed that the defense has shown, but is less than totally pleased with the effort.  Whenever you hear coached wondering why people aren't "flying around." that's what they are talking about.
  • Taiedo Smith is playing well at safety.  So is Qua Huzzie at linebacker.

We'll have more on the football situation as we can.  In case you haven't already read them, here are a couple of links with more information: