Mark Stoops defense may finally be coming together the way fans expected
Most of the preseason discussions you hear about the University of Kentucky football team is centered around Benny Snell and the offense. But the defensive side of the ball may be where UK is able to close the gap on the rest of the SEC and allow them to take a major leap forward and win a bowl game. Last season, the Cats had the overall 8th best defense in the SEC behind Coach Mark Stoops.
UK will return 9 of 11 starters this season from a defense that was already showing improvement.
Remember that Stoops was brought to Kentucky, in large part, due to his defensive background. Stopping the run is a key component to any team that wants to be competitive in the toughest college football conference.
This season, Kentucky has the pieces to do just that.
Mark Stoops was clearly much more pleased after Kentucky’s second scrimmage than he was after the first. UK’s final decision at Quarterback will have impact on the defense as well. Turnovers and putting the defense in bad field position will not be something the Cats can afford.
Gunnar Hoak or Terry Wilson under center will determine a lot for the defense, as well.
Here is what Stoops had to say about the Quarterback situation.
“We’re very close on the snaps. I think we’re about dead even with Terry and Gunnar,” Stoops reporters. “We have to look at this film. They both did some good things today. The offense in general, moved the ball pretty good.”
We are entering Year Six of the Mark Stoops at Kentucky, and simply stated-it’s put up or shut up time in two specific areas…
…Defense & Discipline.
Players like Josh Allen, Mike Edwards, Jordan Jones, and Derick Baity will all be relied upon to make big plays. Currently, injuries are really throttling the defenses time to prepare for game 1 against Central Michigan. Jordan Jones is still dealing with different injuries that are preventing him from getting on the field.
Stoops commented on the defense after Saturday’s second scrimmage.
“Defensively, it’s hard to judge,” Stoops said. “Just very inconsistent at times. Got to look at the film and see whether it was just very good execution offensively, making great individual plays or not doing so well defensively. We are very thin at certain positions, and we knew it was going to look quite ugly at a few positions going into it and it was. So, got to get some guys healthy and get a solid two-deep going. That was hard to do today for the defensive side of the ball.”
While the second scrimmage wasn’t perfect and there are some guys with nagging injuries, there was ZERO talk of serious injuries. Recall last year after two scrimmages, Kentucky already had lost its starting left tackle and WR for the season. https://t.co/37yrpxhMub
— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) August 18, 2018