White Likes Progress of Youth in Spring Practice

White Likes Progress of Youth in Spring Practice

by Tim Letcher

One of the most important parts of any spring football practice is getting opportunities for younger players to develop their skills. For the Kentucky defense this spring, several young players have gotten a chance to get those reps and to improve.

UK defensive coordinator Brad White has been pleased that his young players have gotten that type of experience this spring.

“I think a lot of young guys got reps,” White said. “If you look at the overarching theme for me, a lot of guys got a lot of reps.”

The mid-year enrollees, especially, are making a big jump to the college game. White spoke with one of those players recently about the transition.

“I was talking with one of the young freshmen, he said high school was good, one of the all-star games he was able to play in, he was like, man the speed and the pace increased when everybody there was good,” White said. “And he came here, and it’s just a whole different level. I laughed and I said what you’re feeling now is just a sliver of what you feel on game day.”

White likes how the older players on defense have helped the younger players come along this spring.

“Our older guys do a nice job of putting their arm around them and saying, I’ve been exactly where you’ve been,” White said. “I’ve felt these exact same feelings of frustration of, man, am I good enough? Can I do this? These guys are way bigger, faster, stronger than me. It comes down to time and you have to be patient and put in the time.”

In addition to helping the younger players transition, the older players also provide valuable reps to the younger players. That can only help those rookies get better.

“They get the feel of what it really is. That’s the keys when you step up,” White said. “Every matchup, you’re typically going against an older guy that’s savvy, that’s experienced. You get closer and closer to like, oh man, this is what it’s going to be like on game day.”

Now, White wants to see how the early enrollees perform in front of a crowd. They will get that chance on Saturday in the Blue-White Game at Kroger Field (1 p.m.).

“For young guys, it’s their glimpse of doing it in front of a crowd, in front of a lot of people,” White said. “You want to see who can step up in that moment. Hopefully they all do, the light and the moment is not too big.”

White likes how these younger players have developed in spring. Now, he hopes they can carry the momentum from spring drills into the summer and the fall.

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