We’re less than a month away from football being back in the Bluegrass.
As the Kentucky Wildcats prepare for the upcoming season, they held their first scrimmage on Saturday. Unfortunately, it left a lot to be desired when it came to the defense, which is in a major transition after losing most of its starters from a year ago.
“Defensively, we got a lot of work to do. I was disappointed with the strength of our team,” said head coach Mark Stoops after practice. “The inexperience is no excuse, but you know you’re going to make some mistakes, and some things are going to happen. But the strength of our team needs to be the strength.
“Today, I just didn’t feel like we were up to the challenge defensively. That’s disappointing. But fortunately, we have a lot of time left to get some things rectified.”
Not only did Kentucky lose its entire secondary, as well as Josh Allen and Jordan Jones to graduation, they’ve also lost Davonte Robinson for the year to injury.
Junior college transfer Brandin Echols, who was expected to push for a starting job, has been sidelined with hamstring injury, so it’s no surprise to see the defense is having some major growing pains.
The good news is the offense performed better, though there still a lot of work to do there as well.
“Really pleased with the offense,” said Stoops. “I thought we really played and did some good things. Things that set us back were some typical mistakes, things that have hurt us in the past. We’ve gotta get those corrected.
“Getting behind the chains, penalties...we were sloppy that way. We did take care of the football, but any time we got behind the chains with a sack or anything, it was hard to overcome. But overall, they did some good things.”
While it’s still early, it is becoming clear that the offense will be what carries this team in 2019 after the defense shouldered much of the load last year.
The Wildcats now have just three weeks until their regular-season opener against dangerous Toledo team that’s picked to win the MAC West division.
Here is a recap of what Stoops and center Drake Jackson had to say about the scrimmage and the progress being made by the team, courtesy of UK Athletics.