Defense dominates in UK's second spring scrimmage

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky defense controlled the action during the second major scrimmage of spring practice, allowing no touchdowns during the workout held Saturday morning at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Wildcats scrimmaged for approximately one hour and 20 minutes in cold, windy conditions. The scrimmage format featured the first-, second-, and third-team offensive units against the first-, second-, and third-team defenses, respectively. The kicking game was included during the workout, so the offense began each possession at varying spots on the field.

“I thought it was a good scrimmage. I think we’ll get a lot of teaching done out of it,” Coach Rich Brooks said. “Some guys did some good things, some maybe not quite as good. I thought both quarterbacks (Curtis Pulley and Mike Hartline) did some good things in tough conditions to throw the ball with an inexperienced receiving group. We didn’t get the ball to the tight end as much in this scrimmage as we did last week. I think overall it was pretty good.”

Taking advantage of blustery weather that made throwing the ball difficult, the defense surrendered no touchdowns and only one made field goal during the 11 offensive possessions. The defense also claimed two turnovers, an interception by senior linebacker Braxton Kelley, plus a fumble recovery.

“We looked a lot better from a defensive standpoint (than last week’s scrimmage), not giving up big plays,” Brooks said. “The secondary did a much better job today than they did last week. I thought our coverage was very good, tighter coverage. Even the balls that were caught were contested.”

The offense did move the ball at times, generating 314 yards total offense on 81 plays, while making 20 first downs. The offense took six possessions onto the defensive side of the field, but mustered only one field goal. The other forays into defensive territory were stopped by two missed field goals, a fumble, a punt, and being held on downs.

Pulley and Hartline each had two possessions with the first- and second-team offenses. The only offensive score came on Pulley’s initial possession with the second-team offense. Taking over on the 10-yard line, the offense drove 59 yards. Pulley converted a pair of third downs with a 13-yard pass to fullback A. J. Nance and a 17-yard throw to wide receiver Anthony Mosley. Junior kicker Lones Seiber got points on the board with a 49-yard field goal.

Pulley and Hartline each led another drive into scoring position but were foiled by missed field goals from a reserve kicker.

“I thought they (Pulley and Hartline) both performed better this week than they did last week,” Brooks said. “Certainly there were some good things handling the offense today. I thought they both made some very good throws. The production in the passing game wasn’t there because there weren’t so many wide open as there was last week. I think the experience at receiver is still impacting our throwing game.”

Junior Alfonso Smith and sophomore Moncell Allen handled the tailback duties for both the first and second teams. Allen gained 85 yards on 15 carries while Allen picked up 44 yards on 11 rushing attempts. Derrick Locke missed the scrimmage while competing in a track meet and Tony Dixon was held out of action because of an injury.

“I thought both Moncell and Alfonso did some good things,” Brooks said. “Overall I thought the running game was good.”

There was one touchdown scored during the scrimmage. On a punt return, the punt coverage team forced a fumble which A. J. Nance picked up and returned 36 yards for a TD.

Kentucky returns to the practice field Monday morning for the final week of spring practice, which wraps on up on Saturday, April 19, with the Blue/White Game.

Scoring plays

2nd offense: Seiber 49 field goal

Punt team: Nance 36 fumble return (Seiber kick)

Rushing (attempts – yards)

Allen 15-85, Smith 11-44, Pulley 9-35, Bowland 7-28, Hartline 3-14, Ball 1-3, Conner 1-2, Lyons 1-1, Fidler 1-(-2)

Passing (completions – attempts – interceptions, yards)

Pulley 8-15-1, 66

Hartline 5-14-0, 38

Fidler 0-2-0, 0

Sargent 0-1-1, 0

Receiving (catches – yards)

Lanxter 4-28, Mosley 2-26, Lyons 2-16, Allen 2-6, Nance 1-13, Bogue 1-10, Adams 1-5

“Rich Brooks Show” on Monday: The Rich Brooks Radio Show will be broadcast on Monday from 6-7 p.m. EDT. The show will be carried by the Big Blue Sports Network, including WLAP in Lexington and WHAS in Louisville.

Coach Brooks will discuss the team’s progress during the spring and the upcoming Blue/White Game.

Spring Football Calendar: Practices are open to media and fans. Practices held at Nutter Training Facility unless noted otherwise. For practices at Nutter, fans should stand behind the ropes in the porch area. Fans may sit in the stands for practices at Commonwealth Stadium.

Practices might be moved indoors to the Nutter Field House in case of bad weather.

Mon. Apr. 14 9 to 11:15 a.m. (confirmed)

“Rich Brooks Radio Show” on Big Blue Sports Network, 6 to 7 p.m.

Wed. Apr. 16 9 to 11:20 a.m.

Fri. Apr. 18 9 to 11:20 a.m.

Sat. Apr. 19 Blue/White Spring Game, 1 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium