UK coach finally sees offensive progress during scrimmage

April 18, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Finally Rich Brooks has proof to justify his belief that Kentucky's offense can be effective next season.

Quarterbacks Shane Boyd and Andre Woodson combined to complete 19 of 29 passes for 198 yards and one score in Saturday's scrimmage at Commonwealth Stadium. Unlike previous scrimmages dominated by the defense, the UK offense managed to score twice against the first-team defense.

"I thought we finally made significant progress on offense," said Brooks, who left immediately after the scrimmage for the west coast because of the death of his mother-in-law. "It was the first time we've scored on the first team defense, and that's a big deal.

"I thought Shane was very good except for the one interception. With Andre, there was night and day difference. He finally showed the ability we expected and made very significant progress from where he had been."


Woodson was 8-for-11 passing for 76 yards and ran eight times for 20 yards. He still seemed tentative at times, but offensive coordinator Ron Hudson liked his grasp of the offense better.

"He's learning and it shows," Hudson said. "Now does he have work still ahead? Absolutely."

Boyd was 11-for-18 passing for 122 yards and one score, a rollout pass to Tommy Cook where he led him with a perfect pass. He also ran five times for 22 yards and the first score against the first-team defense.

"Shane is capable of throwing on the run," Brooks said. "We just don't want him doing it all the time or to feel like he can just throw it anywhere when he's on the run."

Tight end Eric Scott, a redshirt freshman, had three catches for 54 yards. Jacob Tamme, another redshirt freshman, had four catches for 43 yards and took advantage of increased playing time because of injuries to Glenn Holt Jr. and John Logan.

"It felt good just to good more playing time," Tamme said. "I just tried to make something happen when I was in there."

Brooks noticed.

"Both (Scott) Mitchell and Tamme showed some good skills at receiver and it was nice to see Eric Scott make some plays," Brooks said.

Defensive coordinator Mike Archer was not nearly as happy with his group, especially after it let the offense score to begin the 90-minute scrimmage.

"We were apparently resting on what we did last week," Archer said. "We did better later in the scrimmage, but I was very disappointed in our start."

Cornerback Earven Flowers had the only interception, but he left the scrimmage with an ankle injury. Running back Draak Davis also injured his leg during the scrimmage.

Sophomore Andrew Hopewell, who had 38 yards in last week's scrimmage, rushed for a team-high 39 yards and one touchdown on five carries.

"He made some nice runs and cuts," Brooks said. "He knows what he's doing."

Replacing Abney: One objective for Kentucky during spring practice is determining who will replace Derek Abney as the primary kickoff and punt returner.

Special teams coach Steve Ortmayer says freshman Keenan Burton has looked the best on punt returns.

"Our strongest punt returner should be Keenan Burton," Ortmayer said. "Keenan will also be in the mix as a kickoff returner, but we also think highly of Draak Davis and John Logan, Arliss Beach and Andrew Hopewell are all also potentials in the kickoff return mix."

He also says that incoming freshman Dicky Lyons Jr. could compete for playing time at both return spots.

"He has some of Derek Abney in him, that's what we saw when we recruited him," Ortmayer said.

Catchable ball: Abney got to catch passes from Shane Boyd and Andre Woodson, who are competing for UK's starting quarterback job this spring, last season as well as Jared Lorenzen.

Abney says Woodson, a redshirt freshman, throws the "easiest ball to catch" of the three.

"When Jared throws he throws so hard that the rotation on the ball is not enough to keep a tight spiral," Abney said. "Shane throws just as hard as Jared, but he throws a tighter spiral for the most part. Now Andre, he throws the tightest spiral and the softest.

"Andre doesn't have quite the arm strength of Jared or Shane. As a receiver, he had the easiest ball to catch because when the ball comes off his hands, it would rotate just perfectly. It's an easy ball to catch."

Blue-White Game: The Blue-White Game to end spring drills will be Saturday at 1 p.m. in Commonwealth Stadium. Both admission and parking are free.

Unlike past years, the Kentucky football team will play all four quarters. The alumni teams, which have played the first quarter in recent Blue-White Games, will play during halftime.

WLAP (630 AM) will carry the game and will start its coverage at 11:30 a.m.

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