Cats begin Florida prep, continue team work

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A week and a half before Kentucky next takes the field, the Wildcats began initial preparations for their game against the Florida Gators.
They didn't, however, turn their backs entirely on the first-team defense vs. first-team offense work that took up most of Tuesday's practice.

"We decided to do a lot of work against each other again today and just get better," head coach Mark Stoops said on Wednesday. "We did get ahead and work certain situations and first, second down versus Florida in some segments. But got some good work in."

Though he was pleased with his team's focus, Stoops did say the drops that plagued UK in its loss to Louisville have popped up more often this week than during previous practices. The kind of work the Cats got in on Wednesday can help address that, among other things.

"It goes back to trying to do too much," offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. "They've got to do their job. It's like I tell them all the time: We're down by 10, there's no 10-point play. It's not like we can go out there and get a 10-point play. All you can do is catch the ball. Once you catch it, let's get straight up field and see what happens."

With some additional time on his hands during the bye week, Brown has taken some time to watch tape of some of the nation's elite offenses. That's only served to reinforce Brown's point that the Cats need to focus on making the simple play.

"I think, and you all have heard me say that before, is often good offense - like during this bye week I've watched some of the better offenses in the country - they just consistently make routine plays," Brown said. "That's what we've got to do. If we consistently make routine plays, last week we're in good shape. Do we win? I don't know. But we play a lot better."

Freshman running back Jojo Kemp played about as well as he could have given his opportunities against U of L, rushing for a career-best 80 yards on just five carries. After the game, Stoops and Brown both said their intention was to get him more touches, as well as sophomore Dyshawn Mobley. Both have responded to the opportunity in practice.

"Jojo had a good day today," Brown said. "Dyshawn's had two good days. There's always...He can smell getting on the field. He can smell the playing time. He understands what he has to work on. He has to be better in protection and things when he doesn't have the ball in his hands. He's good with the ball in his hands. He's got to help the team when he doesn't have the ball."

UK will return to the practice field on Thursday, but Wednesday was the last day any players or coaches will be available for interviews until next week. Stoops intends to put the extra time to good use.

"We just got some work to catch up on and some recruiting," Stoops said. "I will spend some time with the family though. Have to do that when you can, right?"

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