Hamdan Looking for Brown, Key to Take Next Steps Forward in 2024

Hamdan Looking for Brown, Key to Take Next Steps Forward in 2024

by Tim Letcher

New Kentucky offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan is still getting acclimated to his role at UK. He continues to learn about the talent he has within his unit as spring practice enters its third week.

One area where the Cats have experience is at wide receiver. Hamdan has liked what he has seen from that group thus far.

“I think it starts with great personalities in that room,” Hamdan said. “I think certainly, in my career, coaching quarterbacks and receivers, sometimes that receiver room can be a little more enjoyable on a day-to-day. But those guys are completely bought in, they really are.”

Hamdan credits Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops for creating a culture that challenges players while also allowing them to thrive.

“Everything that Coach Stoops has established here, his practices are tight, allows them to go out there and truly make every rep extremely important,” Hamdan said. “We focus on speed off the ball, we focus on transition. That group is one of the groups that’s getting better every day.”

Wide receivers Barion Brown and Dane Key will both be juniors this fall and are expected to anchor the receiver group in 2024. Last season, Brown had 43 receptions for 539 yards and four touchdowns receiving. In 2023, Key caught a career-best 42 passes for 636 yards and six touchdowns.

Both Brown and Key have mentioned wanting to be 1,000-yard receivers, but Hamdan wants the duo to focus on the little things that will allow each of them to get better.

“I never want those guys to put so much pressure on themselves with things like that,” Hamdan said. “They’re both NFL talent level receivers and we’ve got to get them playing extremely fast with a focus on their fundamentals.”

Hamdan has had the opportunity to coach outstanding wide receiver duos in the past, and he sees Brown and Key in a similar light.

“I was fortunate in (2016) to have John Ross and Dante Pettis at Washington,” Hamdan said. “It was a similar situation. I think it’s got to come right back to the joy, the love of the game, the love of each practice and getting better. Whether that stuff happens now or in a few years, those are two guys we want playing for a long, long time.”

Both Brown and Key figure to be key players in the Kentucky offensive attack this fall. Hamdan knows that this spring is important to both of them, as well as the rest of the wide receiver group, as they learn a new offense with a new, higher-tempo pace.


Related Stories

View all