Two Practices, Fan Day Have UK off to 'Good Start'
The Kentucky Wildcats continued their busy start to fall camp.
On Friday, the Cats had Media Day and their first practice. Saturday brought Fan Day – an event that began with an autograph session attended by a huge contingent of blue-clad fans and ended with an open practice.
“It was a great Fan Day today,” head coach Mark Stoops said. “We had a great attendance and appreciate everybody coming out. Beautiful day out there today.”
Interaction with media and fans is nice, but the priority for UK is beginning preparations for a 2018 season that will kick off just four weeks from Saturday. Thankfully, the Cats have had no trouble focusing so far.
“I thought it was a good start,” Stoops said. “First two days have been really good. It’s hard without pads on. We get to put uppers on tomorrow, get to put shoulder pads on tomorrow.”
Many eyes at the open practice were trained on Gunnar Hoak, Terry Wilson, Danny Clark and Walker Wood – UK’s four quarterbacks. The battle to start on Sept. 1 is very much on.
“It’s hard,” Stoops said. “I stood back there for part of it and the pocket was really messy. We have to get some stuff cleaned up. It’s always like that. Defensively we oughta be a little bit ahead right now, putting a lot in and guys are comfortable. We have some experience over there.”
Outside of the quarterback position, UK has a roster flush with experience. With that, the Cats are off to a pleasantly clean start when it comes to execution, energy and effort. The other factor in UK’s good start to camp is a productive offseason, which was led by those returning veterans.
“I think also why it’s really good is the guys did a great job this summer,” Stoops said. “Our older players did a really good job of coaching and doing things this summer. It’s very evident that our players did a great job with 7-on-7 and they even did some team run and some blitz and team. They put a lot of work in, you could tell.”
All that adds up to a happy coaching staff.
“Overall I’m really pleased with the team’s effort and attitude,” Stoops said. “We got a long way to go, but I like where we’re at. We’re in really good shape. You could tell we’re bigger, stronger than we’ve ever been.”