Kentucky Defense Improving as Spring Practice Continues

Kentucky Defense Improving as Spring Practice Continues

by Tim Letcher

Some may call it “coach speak”, but Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White truly believes that football is a game of inches. White knows that the difference between being good and being great could also be the difference in a game.

When asked what his team was focused on during spring drills, White immediately went right back to that mantra.

“I don’t know if there’s a biggest difference. I think it’s a continual stress of hey, listen, the margin for error between playing great defense and average defense is this small, it is,” White said. “It’s making the tackle one year, then not making it last year. Dropping an interception when it should be an interception. Those plays change games, they change outcomes. It’s wins and losses, it’s keeping points off the board. Obviously, third down, we were really good two years ago on third down. Last year, we were not good enough.”

The other thing that White has emphasized to his team this spring is to play hard on every play. That’s because you never know which play in a game could be the one that makes the biggest difference.

“Understanding those crucial moments are going to be what defines this season. And you don’t know when those moments are going to happen. Obviously, third down you do but then there could be a play on first or second down, we had an opportunity to punch the ball out or had an opportunity to get a sack but we miss it.”

White believes that even those little plays, which may not seem significant at the time in which they happen, can be the difference between winning and losing.

“All of those little things add up,” White said. “That one mistake can lead to big plays and big momentum shifts. I think that’s the stress – you’ve got to play every play and every down at full speed.”

When asked if it’s harder to have focus on every play during spring practice, White had a thoughtful answer.

“Yes and no. You know you’re not playing a game, but what are you doing in spring is you’re competing for a job,” White said. “And you understand that, if coach is stressing this so much, when he’s evaluating film, it’s not just about my physical mistake, if he’s judging me on my finish, my effort on all of that as well, if I’m not doing that, I’m not going to win that starting job or I’m not going to win that backup job. So, there’s probably as much stress in the spring for players, you’re jockeying for position. Our depth chart is in pencil. When you take that mentality as a player, it should drive you.”

Focusing on the little things and playing hard on every play are the focus for the UK football defenders this spring. White intends to continue to emphasize that to his unit.

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