Cats' Defense Preparing for 'Old School' Iowa Attack
As the Kentucky football team prepares for Iowa, it’s Citrus Bowl opponent, defensive coordinator Brad White has been forced to give his team somewhat of a history lesson.
Iowa’s offense employs something that many teams today don’t use – a fullback. White has had to introduce that concept to some members of his unit.
“Obviously, something we don’t see very much is that two-back run game, the fact that they play with a fullback,” White said. “Some of our guys, especially younger guys that came out of high school and have only seen spread offenses, they don’t even know what a fullback is, so you’ve got to coach them up on that. So there’s a challenge in that aspect and it’s nice that we’ve had a couple of weeks to prepare.”
UK linebacker Jacquez Jones could recall only one time in his career that he has faced a team with a fullback.
“I think I played a fullback once when I was at Ole Miss, against LSU,” Jones said. “I’m really excited because Iowa is an old-school football team where they’re just going to try to run it down your throat and we’re just going to have to man up and stop it. It’s going to be a bunch of big boy football and that’s what I’m ready to play.”
White said the energy that the team has displayed during bowl preparations has been outstanding.
“I know our guys, right now, are really excited to get down there and go,” White said. “The energy, the excitement, the juice in practice, has been at as high a level as I’ve been around in my four years here, in terms of practice pace, speed. I think they’re going to be ready to go.”
Jones, jokingly, said he knew why the energy was so high.
“I think we’re all just ready to get out of the cold weather and go to Orlando,” he said. “That’s why I’m excited. I just want to get back to warm weather.”
In reality, Jones knows that the Citrus Bowl is important for the Cats to keep momentum going.
“Coming off a great recruiting class, all eyes are going to be on us on January first,” Jones said. “So we’ve got to go out there and play our best.”
White said that there are a couple of times a year that make it difficult on coordinators because teams can come up with unexpected wrinkles in their game plans.
“Bowl games and the first game of the year,” White said. “There’s so much you just don’t know. Teams have three weeks to add wrinkles.”
White’s unit is preparing for whatever Iowa brings to the Jan. 1 contest. And if there’s more history that needs to be learned in the process, the Cats are willing to learn.