FB: Offensive, Defensive Lines Helping to Improve Each Other
The Kentucky football team had its first scrimmage on Saturday and while there were plays being made all over the field at skill positions, perhaps the most intriguing battles were done in the trenches.
That’s an area where the Cats have an extensive amount of experience, on both the offensive and defensive lines. With experienced, talented players going against each other on every play, each of these guys have the chance to get better, according to senior offensive tackle Landon Young.
“Iron sharpens iron, that’s the complete truth,” Young said. “I’ve got one of the (leading) sack returners coming back (Boogie Watson) and that’s who I want to go against every single practice.”
Head coach Mark Stoops liked what he saw from both the offensive and defensive lines in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“Impressed, impressed with the way we are playing and moving people,” Stoops said. “There were some good battles today. I was impressed with our starting defensive line. Those guys are pretty stout and have done some really good things. I was impressed with both sides. I thought there was some good blocking and some good running by the running backs. Defensively, I thought we did some good things.”
Young thinks that what the offensive line went through last season, having to change offenses completely when Terry Wilson went down and Lynn Bowden Jr. became quarterback, made the unit stronger.
“I think it’s going to be really interesting going back to a more conventional offense,” Young said. “That adversity last year made us really hone in and realize that, no matter what obstacles we have, we can still win games.”
Due to what happened last year, it’s no surprise the area that Young has been working on the most.
“One big thing that I’ve been working on is my pass game,” Young said. “That’s something I really focused on throughout the quarantine, coming back into fall camp. That’s something I really honed in on.”
Young knows that both the offensive and defensive lines are working very hard and still have something to prove.
“In the trenches, we always have good fights out there and we go out there with our mentality and attitude and we want to get stuff done,” Young said. “We want to go back out there and prove to everybody that we’re the best offensive line, the best defensive line in the nation.”
Without having viewed the film, Stoops liked what he saw from his team in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“It was a very good scrimmage today, we were able to get a lot of plays in, got a lot of reps, got a lot of players to look at. Good first scrimmage,” Stoops said. “Overall, in general, I was pleased. Sometimes, early on in camp, it’s very sloppy. I saw some sloppy plays but I also saw us regroup and get things together and fundamentally play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Of course, Stoops knows there are still things to be cleaned up, especially with the second stringers.
“I’m a little more concerned with, down the line, defensively because some of the twos, (the offense) did rip off some big runs that we’ve got to get fixed,” Stoops said.
As far as which unit, the offense or the defense, is ahead of the other at this point, Stoops didn’t say. The UK head coach looks at that through a different lens.
“That’s always going to go back and forth. You’ve heard me say this before, I’m looking for quality football,” Stoops said. “Not one side having success because the other side missed an assignment. I’d rather see competitive plays on each side. We’re looking for good, clean football.”
And when the season starts four weeks from today at Auburn, Stoops hopes its those guys in the interiors on both sides of the ball, who are improving every day by facing each other, who can lead a good, clean effort in the first contest of 2020.