Shortly after UK Head Coach Mark Stoops’ press conference, UK Defensive Coordinator D.J. Eliot took command of the podium to offer his thoughts on the upcoming season.
Eliot has been with Stoops for all three seasons and coached under him at Florida State. In all that Eliot has never seen Stoops waver in his confidence that he can turn Kentucky into a winner.
"I will tell you there hasn’t been many times when I have been around him that he wasn’t confident", said Eliot before also adding, "I think Coach Stoops has had a plan in place since we have been here. We feel like the pieces are falling into place."
When asked what he thought would be the vanguard of his defense, Elliot immediately said the secondary.
"We have very skilled players and I think we have a lot of talent at the other positions. I think we have a chance to be good at the other positions, too. Training camp is going to determine how well we play and how well we develop", said Eliot about the unit.
Eliot also stated nose guard Jacob Hyde and incoming JUCO defensive linemen Jordan Bonner both have chances to contribute this season.
On Bonner’s experience, Elliot had this to say, "Sometimes with junior college players they’re a little bit ahead of high school players and the fact that they have already played college football. He has already played two years of college football just at the junior college level."
The staff will have to bring Bonner along on "some assignments", however.
Eliot had high praise for Jacob Hyde’s off the field and practice intangibles.
"I think that Jacob has the right attitude. Jacob has the character that we’re looking for. Jacob has the work ethic. Jacob has all of the intangibles, I have been very impressed with what type of person he is and the effort that he has put in."
However, "it is too early to tell" what Hyde’s role will be, Eliot also said.
Finally, Eliot doesn’t seem to think that facing former offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson will be "distraction", but it could "be a disadvantage. I’m comfortable in what he does, but also he is comfortable in what I do."