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Can UK stop the rush this year?

  • UK will have to find away to stop the rush this yr. Mizz was 11th in rushing last yr. If we can find away to stop teams from running it all over us, we may beat teams like Mizz, Vandy, Tenn etc.

    This post was edited by Matt May 2 years ago

  • if Cobble, Rumph and Coleman can stay healthy for even most of the year, I think the answer is Yes. Cobble and Rumph are two very BIG human beings. With the potential of Rumph, I see why the staff stuck with him for so long. SPECIAL in the middle

  • There's a long list of things that would have to get better to beat Missouri on the road, and that would be a good place to start.

    I've heard the coaches are confident that they'll be better versus the run in the front seven, but that's something I'm going to have to see with my own eyes before I get too optimistic.

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    E-mail: JDRUM@247SPORTS.COM Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JDrumUK

  • Later in the year we were better against the run. Early in the year we weren't very good. Our defense is going to give up some rushing yards because of how we do our personel groupings. But we should also get some negative plays. The best thing we can do to help our run defense is to have a good offense that keeps our defense off the field and gives them a lead to play with.

  • Side bar: Thank you, Matt for editing that friggin' title.

    To the point of the post: I hope the 'Cats can stop the run, and their front 7 should be pretty damn good. The problem I have is the back half. Not many experienced guys, but that leaves the door open for the young guys to step up. I hope the defense completely transforms its self.

    Keep Calm & Stoops On..

  • I feel more confident that we'll be able to stop the run more than stop the pass.

    Reasons:
    -We return the entire d-line. They're all bigger, faster, stronger, more experienced, and deeper
    -The LB's that we have are big and talented.....just need experience
    -We lost both starting CB's and have poor depth. (While I don't forsee a major loss of production out of the starting CB's, I do think we'll feel it from the lack of depth)

  • Our front looks good to me but getting double-teamed will be the name of the game for these guys so I think the run stop success will have to come from good linebacker play. They will need to meet the runner at the los, not after they have penetrated the los, this will be the important feature to this defense when it comes to the run.

  • I agree. Call me a doubting Thomas, but I have to see it with my own eyes. Especially after George ran pretty well against our #1 D in the spring game. Also, what Joker has identified as the pre-season strengths in the past, turned out to be our biggest weaknesses. Hopefully, that's not the case this time. Stopping the run is probably the first step in becoming competitive in the SEC.

  • Just to be clear... Do you mean "stop the pass rush" or stop the run?

  • Stopping the rush is always the hardest thing to do in the SEC. This league has some of the top RBs in the country year in and year out and every team has at least one quality back. But the biggest difference in the SEC and the rest of the country is the quality and quantity of players on both sides of the line.

    I really believe the Cats have the DTs to make a strong front and I think the DEs are improving, but my concern is that when UK has to turn to the backups to get some snaps that is were we fall way off from the rest of the SEC. So IMO UK will have the starters to stop the run, but once teams get into the second string we will still have problems with strong rushing teams.

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    "Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC."~Mitch Barnhart 11/4/12

  • I'm a lot more worried about the passing game. I like our d line, although LB is a big question mark. Our secondary is just flat out scary, though.

  • Mizzou being ranked 11th in rushing last year in enough for me to be worried, but the atmosphere of that Stadium and the good possibilty that we will have to stop Green - Beckham has me worried the most!

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  • I guess I assume you don't think George is a very good back either, right?

  • Like everyone else I think our front 7 will play well and slow down the run but the DB's have me worried. Obviously we need our offense to find itself and stay on the field to help them out too. I think we have to pass to set up the run as we simply don't have the big uglies to man up and run it effectively enough for the more traditional approach.

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    Stoopified!

  • I also think our D-line will be better because Rumph wasn't that strong in the weight room last year as he will be and boy does he move well for a 320#er. Cobble was also coming off a shoulder surgery, if you go back and watch the first 4-7 games he wasn't half the player he was when we played GA or TN. Coleman is going to be a good one too. I just hope he doesn't gain to much weight. I really think he should add mass over time and not just look to add all the weight he can like some have done in the past. It hurts their athleticism way more than it helps at the POA. It should be added the right way, if he and everyone else can do that we should be very solid as long as Chapman and Grafree are ready. At one point last year we were down to our 6th DT, that goes to show you can really never have to many good DT's... IMO Cobble is the main ingrediant in our scheme if he can demand those double teams it will help everyone. I really wish Brice could have stuck around, he had the ideal frame for NG, he was also one of the best looking 320# I can remember seeing when i saw him in the mall right before he left...

    Getting good LB play is just as important as having good D-line play. I'm confident in Avery and Dupree, I don't have to say much about those two other than I pray they stay healthy. Simpson is a wild-card... Alot of people are saying Forrest proved he was a better player during the SG, my answer for that is I do think he has alittle better instincts and zone coverage ability, but at the end of the day it's a much larger priority for us to be strong at the POA than it is for our SAM to be good in coverage. While you want both, we all know teams will always test our chin, with the running game that's why I still favor Simpson atleast until Forrest can add alittle more upper body mass. There is no doubt Forrest's frame can withstand plenty of more size, he is listed at 6'4 but once I saw him standing next to Bruase and he looked atleast 1 inch taller and to me Bruase looks a legit 6'4.

    At the end of the day I really think Simpson will be a beast, close to 235#. If Forrest shows he can man the Sam spot and Rancifer/Malcom or anyone else proves to be able to play WILB we may see SImpson slide inside. I honestly like that move because Simpson already has very good strength and runs plenty good enough.

    I do fear that we are going to be alittle weak at ILB at Will. Brause did play well I hope he continues to develop because he has all the tools. He also looked to have pretty good instincts. SInce Brause has such good speed and size I wonder if Rick and Joker would think about moving him to Will? I know alot of people are expecting great things from Henderson and a couple other freshman LB's but that's far to much IMO. Our scheme is one of the more complex a kid will ever walk into. I just hope Jabari and Brause can get it done along with Rancifer and Malcom. IMO Rancifer is going to be a very good ball player. I liked his HS video more than any LB on the way or on the current roster. He's a true side-line to side-line LB with the ability to make plays in the backfield. As soon as Rancifer adds some much needed mass he'll be fine. As of right now he's listed around 225-230. To be honest, I don't think that's 100% accurate. Malcom is also listed on the top end of that range. Malcom is a long kid at 6'3 but with all his length I think he's still about 10+# shy of were he needs to be unless he improves at reading his keys, the size factor can be overcome if a kid proves to have a keen nose for the football.

    If Malcom keeps focusing on his strength and improves at reading his keys we should be fine. The thing is in a 4-3 a LB can sometimes get away with a bad read because there are a extra LB in pursuit that can physically reach almost every play. In a 34 your ILB's really have to be consistant, that's the key. At ILB our Mike has to have the strength to shed blocks and Avery can do that. He looks very good, he's listed at 245 and that just may be spot on. Since we don't run a 2 gap 34 we can still play a smaller ILB at Will than most teams because he's covered up by a NG in the 1 tech, a DT in the 3 tech and a Rushbacker in the 7 tech, that allows him to play more like a normal 43 WLB but in certain schemes he still needs to be alittle stronger than you adverage 43 OLB. I'm not in panic mode just yet because I know if Chuck Smith and Joker think Malcom can play then I do to. I just think he needs to start making it a point to understand and learn all he can about how to get over/under blocks and at reading his keys. The physical reps he gets during Summer and Fall camp should help Malcom a ton but what I found helped my game during college was taking about 15-20 min every day and doing mental reps. Every week during my college days we got the percentages of what plays teams ran in every formation. This is what will take Malcoms game to the next level, I have no doubt the ability is there, Malcom just needs to lift hard and heavy and do plenty of mental reps every day. If he does this he will become the player Joker and Co expect.

    The one personel and allignment aspect of this 34 hybrid defense that I have talked about with numerous people that worries me is the fact that we play a 5 technique that isn't physically big and strong enough to 2 gap or set the edge like most other 34 d's. We use a 255-265# SE, and while that's big by most standards it pales in comparison to teams that deploy a base 34 defense. Our Sam is also smaller (right now) than most all other 34 teams. On average most teams use a 280-320# SE and Sam LB that is anywhere from 235-260#'s. I know some will say well "that's why RIck calls our D the hybrid", the thing is our current personel is fine when we are playing Spread teams but when teams come at us with 2 TE's or extra O-lineman we are very out matched. In saying that I really think we should either use two big OLB's or use a big 5 tech like Donte Rumph when we play against "I" teams or other power running formations. I 100% feel that if Ridge would have stayed out of trouble we would have saw RIdge and Bud on the field together when we played those power running teams. The thing is if we do use a big 5 tech it hurts our NG/DT rotation. That's why i'm hoping like Hell that Langston Newton or Daniel Ross (if he does end up on campus as a walk-on) can grow into this role within the next year or so. This position along with 6'1-6'2 225-240# HS ILB's are two very tough positions to recruit for. I've also said this for years, I really think all ILB/MLB prospects should be 100% familiar with the position, a kid like Malcom was a DE/Rush-Backer in HS, no he doesn't have that size in D-1 SEC football but that's the skill set he's developed, yes there has been kids move from DE to MLB and do great. However I think that's a major reason why Malcom and others seems to be a step behind while at UK. It's very similar to HS Qb's moving to WR. While there will always be kids like Braxton Kelly (who played DE in HS) and Randal Cobb's (HS QB) you still have the majority that take alittle while longer.

    You can't just plug a DT in at the 5 tech because this guy still needs to be athletic enough to provide a pass-rush. Langston and Ross are two that are perfect for this role (Ross even more so than Langston). The thing with LN is he's a very explosive kid, i'm not just saying this because he does Track and field but because it's easy to see it on tape, on tape he really moves and shows top shelf quickness. Why more big teams were not all over this kid blows my mind. He is a very serious kid too, which fits the profile perfectly of a 5 tech perfectly because those guys will never lead a team in sacks or tackles but are just as important as anyone on the defense. I'm not saying Ukwu, Douglas or Farrinton can't get it done, but since Ukwu had his shoulder injury and will take a few more months into the season to recover from and since Farrington still hasn't added enough upper-body mass it will be tough for him to set the edge once we start playing against those 320# SEC OT's. I do think Farrington, Paschal and Dupree end up leading us in sacks. Those three showed me they are very athletic in this SG.

    A true 5 tech was a obvious weakness every time we played a team that used 2 TE's or multiple OT's. When we played Vandy they ran Power-Off Tackle over and over. WKU also done well running off tackle. If a guy like Tristian Johnson continues to add enough size and strength to play some NG or DT it would be a major plus for us, we could then use Rumph at SE against those Power running teams until LN or someone else comes along. I do think Farrinton is a good player, another couple months or maybe even a year or two in the weight room will no doubt prepare him much more for this role. Our SE and SAM LB really do have a tough job. You can't just bring a safety down in the box all the time either, if you do you are asking to get beat over the top with play-action or other passing plays... I know alot of people aren't talking much about Mike Douglas but as of right now I do think he is our best option at 5 technique on running downs other than Rumph or Coleman. He looked very good at the SG, he did look 265-270 and not soft either. Sorry for the short-story, but these are some things I hope we can find a remidy for, if we can't we may see more teams attack us this way.

  • Really informative Todd, thanks. you sound like you really have a good grasp of what our defense is or wants to do.
    I consider myself a crazy UK football fan, if fact, college football as a whole, but I don't have half of the knowledge of the defensive schemes that you do. Where did you play?

  • Todd: IMO a very large immovable NT and two athletic tackle types on the outside are what is needed for the 3-4 especially in running situations.

    I wonder why they dont uses Cobble, Rumph and Coleman togeather in those situations.

    UK has a dire need for Chapman, Gaffree and Newton to be game ready this fall.

    IMO Douglas could be a wild card because he has gotten bigger and is getting close to the size we need in a player at his position if he can maintain his quicknes with the size gain.

  • " I wonder why they dont uses Cobble, Rumph and Coleman together in those situations."

    They will this season and they did for a few snaps during the BW game.

    "UK has a dire need for Chapman, Graffree and Newton to be game ready this fall."

    That's the plan. All three will get really long looks and in the end I look for 2 of the 3 to play this season. If Ross had made it in he would have been in the rotation IMO. Kid is a beast and has the size & strength to play now! I hope he gets his act together and makes it back in a couple years?

    "IMO Douglas could be a wild card because he has gotten bigger and is getting close to the size we need in a player at his position if he can maintain his quicknes with the size gain"

    Douglas - 6'4 269 & Huguenin 6'4 263 are both wildcards for this defense. Both have SEC size so now it's just a matter of finding the right fit in order to get the right personnel on the field.

  • I love Graffree's attitude but I don't expect him to make any real contribution till his RS Jr year...

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    Stoopified!

  • I don't look for Newton to play unless their are alot get injured... I do think he has a very good body type for the SE positions though, he's a 18 year old thats already 250# and very solid. By his 2nd or 3rd year I look for him to be a 270-280# beast with good athleticism...

    I really hate it that Collins is coming back from shoulder surgery I really think he could have been a very good 5 technique with another year to get prepared. He has very very good strength which is exactly what playing the 5 tech is all about. He also has plenty enough athleticism to get into passing lanes on third down. Ideal 5 techs are alot like Collins Ukwu, you want a 5 tech to be anywhere from 275-310# with enough speed and quickness to provide a legit pass rush. These guys are also big and strong enough to play inside in a 3 tech on passing downs. Farrinton is athletic but after I saw him at the SG I don't think he has enough upper body strength to be a true 5 tech yet. He'll be used more like a true 1 gap player instead of a 2 gapper like a true 5 tech needs to be.

    To answer the question someone asked I played at Cumblerland College, now known as Uni of the Cumberlands. I played OLB/Rush-Backer 03 class...

    You are right C, it would be nice to see Cobble, Rumph and Coleman all out there together, if we done that it would really hurt our DT rotation. I do like Douglas though, I coundn't believe how big he had got, Yea he may only be listed as being 5-8 pounds bigger than Farrington but he has alittle less body fat, Douglas is much larger in his upper body/Arms and thighs. I look for him to be a good one for years to come. Joker has already said that Farrington is ahead of him it must just be because of him being a better pass rusher, I have a serious problem believing he's better at the POA, Douglas looked much stronger and played very well as a redshirt this past year. He's my fav at LE if Ukwu doesn't return to full strength by the UofL game...

  • Agreed. I don't know why so many are expecting him to be an impact player from day one.

  • good grief. . . did anyone actually read this book??

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  • I don't think he's a impact player but we need depth and IMHO 2 of the 3 DL coming in will play. No one thought Coleman would make a impact but he was pushed into service due to depth issues and did ok. IMO the same thing will happen this season with Chapman, Graffree & Newton.