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Kentucky Football Practice Report: Wednesday Focus on Defense

Matt House speaks on Florida’s strengths and his defense’s abilities.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

As we get into the second half of Florida week, Matt House spoke to reporter’s today about Kentucky’s defense going into the SEC East showdown.

House covered the success of the run defense, how the pass defense can improve and a whole lot more.

Coming off Florida’s Hail Mary win over Tennessee, House talked about Florida’s deep ball ability and if the team had practiced defending it.

“I see a quarterback that really throws good deep balls. They’ve got a couple wideouts that can blow the top off of coverage. They’ve got a couple quick wideouts,” House said. “[Hail Mary defense is] something you work every week. I’m sure that it’s something that they’ve covered too.”

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks launched a 63-yard bomb to beat Tennessee 26-20 as time expired last week.

When they’re not defending the Hail Mary (which is hopefully the vast majority of the game), Kentucky’s defense will be looking to flex its muscle when stopping the run. The Cats are third in the nation in run defense, allowing just 57 yards per game. House spoke on the key for UK’s run defense up on the line.

“I think just technique, effort,” House said. “Guys committing themselves to strain every play and do their job and trust that the guy next to them is going to do theirs.”

Kentucky’s defense really showed up on third and fourth down last week, holding South Carolina to go just 3-12 on third down and 1-3 on fourth down. House talked about Kentucky’s success on both, starting with the success on third down being about the will to get stops and being in the right place.

“It’s a little bit of both,” House said. “You can have the will to make the play and be in the wrong spot and it could be a touchdown. So, it’s execution within the call but then straining to whip somebody.”

He later said that the stops on fourth down were contagious.

“Success kinda breeds success. You’ve gotta learn how to have success, right? It’s hard to learn how to have success without having any. I think the more you have the more you trust. The more you trust, you don’t try to do too much. You just do your job and have fun doing it.”

As for the passing defense, House discussed how it can be improved.

“I think leverage on the ball, that sounds goofy, but it’s the truth even in pass coverage you’ve got certain spots we’re supposed to be on or in man coverage, certain leverages we’re supposed to be in,” He said. “Leverage in the pocket and continued pressure. We always talk about the rush has to match the coverage and the coverage has to match the rush. So I think there’s a lot of different things we can improve on.”

Speaking on some specific players, House talked about Eli Brown, who was tied for third in total tackles for Kentucky against South Carolina with six.

“I thought he came in and played well,” House said. “He did some good things. He played physical. Was it all perfect? No. Could he get better? Absolutely. But he played with great energy and he tackled well.”

House also talked about Florida’s versatile freshman Kadarius Toney, and how does well.

“He’s fast,” House said. “Really fast and they do a good job getting him the ball in open spaces whether it be a screen, jets. They had him at wildcat quarterback. They do a good job of trying to get him the ball. He’s a good player.”

Toney had 40 yards on four catches and five yards on one carry last week against Tennessee.