White Wants Young Defenders to Be Prepared for Their Moment

White Wants Young Defenders to Be Prepared for Their Moment

by Tim Letcher

Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White always wants his players to be ready when their time comes. He can even use one of the Cats’ current players as an example.

“Look at Max Hairston, the one moment he got was the biggest moment of the season before (2022), against Vandy, fourth and 10, they got the big play,” White said. “He could have gotten down on himself, but he used that as motivation in the offseason. In the first game (of 2023) against Ball State, he’s all over the place with his eyes, making mental mistakes. He settles himself down and look at the season he had last year.”

Whether its recovering from a mistake or finding it hard to get on the field, White implores his players to be prepared because their moment could come on the very next play.

“I think the message to everybody, when it’s your time to step up, you don’t know when that’s going to be,” White said. “It’s the same thing for anybody. When it’s your moment, it’s the time you put in ahead of time. You can’t try to get ready immediately. You have to prepare that that moment is coming.”

White believes that it’s difficult for young players to understand that they have to be ready to go at any time, even though he and the coaching staff are telling them that anything can happen at any time.

“Obviously, when it’s a competition for a spot, they know, they can see that coming,” White said. “But it’s really those ones that, maybe there’s a returning starter and they just go through the motions. And just as fast as that, somebody’s going to get hurt and you’re going to be in the game. You’ve got to be ready.”

With 10 returning starters on the defensive side of the ball, it might seem like a difficult time to be a young player on this year’s UK team. However, White knows that those players need to be ready because their time could literally come at any moment. It’s trick to balance that while also coaching veterans who have been in the system for some time.

“If you try to progress too fast, those backups that are trying to gain confidence, they can fall way behind and you can steal their confidence,” White said. “So, it’s trying to mix being ahead with some older guys so they don’t get bored, but also gaining confidence in what we do with those guys that don’t have those reps. We’re a team that’s both really old and really young. We’ve got a lot of young guys that we have to build and be ready to be backups and be ready to enter the starting lineup at a moment’s notice.”

Being prepared for anything is the key, and it’s the lesson White is stressing to his young defenders.

Related Stories

View all