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Kentucky Football: Mark Stoops breaks down Saturday scrimmage

Plus highlights of what went down in UK’s first major scrimmage.

TaxSlayer Bowl - Georgia Tech v Kentucky Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

“In my eyes it was just an OK scrimmage.”

Not exactly the report you we’re hoping for? With all of the increased fanfare leading into the 2017 season, having the head coach say the first practice was “ok”, doesn't sound too good on the surface. However, we must remember we’re only into the beginning of training camp and no fan should panic just yet. Let’s take a look at the positive and negative from the Cats first scrimmage.

“Both sides of the ball did some good things at times. That’s why it’s always hard for me to gauge the success.”

See? It wasn’t all bad. UK built an identity on offense last year with Benny Snell being a sledgehammer and Stephen Johnson chucking the ball deep. The defense needed to shore up their run stopping ability.

What does this mean? It appears the defense has gotten use to Snell’s running downhill, and have made the appropriate adjustments. With every camp in football, be it high school to the NFL, the defense always starts off camp with a slight advantage.

The offense is still working out run routes for WR, RB are trying to find which gap in the line is the best place to attack, and the O-line is putting all it’s blocking schemes in. The defense is usually seeing basic formations, which allows them to read and attack.

“Lynn is really coming on. He’s just a good football player.”

Looking for the next big UK star, look no further than Lynn Bowden. The true freshman from Ohio has only been practicing for a week after clearing his academic standing. For Bowden to have made an impact in his limited role after one week speaks volumes of his play making ability. He’ll get most of his opportunities as a kickoff and punt returner to start, with times as a slot receiver and RB mixed in.

“Well, it starts up front with our interior guys. We’ve got to be fundamental and strong up front. We were for the most part today. We got cut out on one run. I think the offense does a nice job, they spread us out and they cut us off at one spot and it was a big run. Outside of that it wasn’t just driving on us.”

One of the biggest questions heading into the season is defensive line. For UK to be successful, the D-line has to be effective at pushing the line of scrimmage and filling in the gaps. For yesterday’s scrimmage, it appears that the early work from Coach House’s D-line is making good progress. We’ll find out on September 2nd if this holds true.

“I think all of it. Putting it all together. I think we’ve worked really hard fundamentally at doing some things better. I think that showed up today. There was definitely some positives, some good things. We were more stout up front than we’ve been. Better at run defense in general.”

Coach Stoops has three weeks of practice to put all of the puzzle pieces together. Let’s be honest here, Stoops wasn’t going to be happy after yesterday’s scrimmage. He has successfully built up the program from the ground up over his first four years. Successful recruiting has lead to more talent, more talent has lead to more wins, more wins and a bowl have raised expectations. Coach Stoops and his troops are grinding to reach the next rung on the ladder, fighting for a SEC East title with a trip to Atlanta.

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