Maybe he only did it because he knew he was meeting with the media before the Greater Louisville Alumni Association luncheon Friday in Louisville, but offensive coordinator Neal Brown met with quarterbacks Reese Phillips, Maxwell Smith, Drew Barker and Patrick Towles Friday morning.
“I’ve got a good feel for how they learn, what makes them learn, what makes them tick, what motivates them,” Brown said. “Now what we’re going to do is turn up the heat on them. I’m going to try to put a lot of pressure on them early, see which one of them reacts.”
Players report Aug. 4 for preseason camp and Brown says settling on a starting quarterback quickly is a priority.
“We’re going to throw a lot at them and try to put them in tough situations,” he said.“I think they’re fresh, which is important at this time. I know they’ve got a much better feel for the offense than they did even in the spring. I’m excited to see them.”
Presence helps: Not only has Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari been able to spend extra time with his team this summer, but so has football coach Mark Stoops and his staff.
Stoops believes it will help, too.
“It’s really helped us, as you would imagine. We’re still a young team and need to improve in a lot of areas, and just that time,” Stoops said. “The first thing is just your presence being out there. Those players work extremely hard in the summer, and it kind of didn’t feel right, with coaches obviously needing some time to get away here and there, but for us to be gone and not out there and be present while they’re working their tails off sweating and lifting and working hard and everything.
“So our presence just being there supporting them I think means an awful lot. And then the time, spending on football and watching film and doing those things can do nothing but help us, and in particular the young guys, the guys that are just joining our program. So that’s been very good and very positive.”
Cards staying: Reports have surfaced recently that Cincinnati would like to start a series with Kentucky and other reports have UK considering no longer playing Louisville annually in the future.
Stoops doesn’t see the UK-Louisville rivalry ending unless the SEC would go to a nine-game schedule, a proposal that was voted down this year by league officials. Stoops said Friday that “I do anticipate” the rivalry game staying part of UK’s schedule.
Louisville and UK play the final game this year, the first time that has happened since the series started back in 1994.
“Any time you’re an in-state rivalry, it’s important. I think both groups, both institutions have such strong fans and fan base, it’s important to them; it’s important to our players, it’s important to us. There’s no denying that,” Stoops said.
Gators win: Kentucky lost a marquee recruit when Cincinnati offensive lineman George Brown gave his verbal commitment to Florida over UK on Friday. Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 118 overall prospect in the 2015 class — and No. 5 overall player in Ohio. That would have made him the highest ranked Rivals.com commitment in the Stoops’ era at UK.
His final five schools were Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana State but it was clear Kentucky and Florida, which both got a visit in the last week, were his final choices and he even tweeted a picture showing hats of those two schools when talking about his decision date.
The 6-7, 260-pound tackle, who had over 50 scholarship offers, is a cousin and former teammate of Mike Edwards, a 2014 UK signee who is not on campus yet because of a shoulder injury but plans to enroll at UK?in January.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Patrick Loney loved his size and knew how important he could be for future UK offensive lines.
“He uses his body very well. He understands how to use his size to protect same size defensive lineman,” Loney said.