LEXINGTON, Ky. — Day 4 of Kentucky’s preseason camp is in the books. Defensive players and coaches were available after practice for interviews.
“We’ve had a good four days,” defensive coordinator Matt House said. “A good start. We gotta keep cleaning up the details. The energy has been good. I think we’ve improved.”
Tymere Dubose was held out of spring practice and Mark Stoops revealed Sunday that the defensive tackle was removed from the team during spring football to put all of his attention on academics.
“I’m proud to say that he did that,” Stoops said. “We’re finishing this last summer class right now, but he’s put a lot of work in and he’s done a lot of good things. Hopefully he’ll mature in all areas of his life and come out here and have a good camp and get back out there on the field.”
The 6-foot-5 junior is back with the team. House said he’s working his way back into football shape.
“He’s flashed, but then there’s sometimes where you can tell he’s rusty, too,” House said.
First-year defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc will likely have to rely on any able bodies to fill in on Kentucky’s defensive front. Dubose is behind starting defensive tackle Adrian Middleton and redshirt freshman Kordell Looney on the depth chart.
“We need everybody,” nose guard Naquez Pringle said. “It doesn’t matter who it is.”
The time off put Dubose behind, but LeBlanc said he’s quickly catching up.
“Surprisingly, he had a lot of recall, so now it’s just getting back into football shape,” LeBlanc said. “You know how it goes. You do all the running in summer. Football’s a little different. So now he’s gotta get to another phase of being in football shape, but Tymere’s gonna be fine.”
Quinton Bohanna wasn’t among Kentucky’s most heralded 2017 signees, but the Cordova, Tenn., native is making quite the impression through four days of camp. House was asked if any young players have stood out. He pointed to the 6-foot-4 and 320-pound defensive lineman.
“I thought Quinton Bohanna had a good first four days,” House said. “He’s done a good job. He’s a guy that’s kinda flashed a little bit and I hope we can continue to see him grow. He’s done some good things.”
LeBlanc echoed praise for the freshman.
“Surprising young guy,” LeBlanc said. “Doing things well. Of course he’s going against guys at his level with the freshmen and the third team, but he got some two reps today and we’re gonna throw him in the fire and see what he can do. But great surprise from Quinton so far.”
As for the challenges a newcomer like Bohanna faces?
“You got an 18-year-old kid coming in and he looks the part, but he’s going against a 21-year-old man who’s been here for three or four years,” LeBlanc said. “That’s a little taxing on a kid. Having to learn the defense, having to learn the pace, getting up in the morning, have to study, all that stuff.”
More Kentucky practice notes
- Kendall Randolph is the only player listed at nickelback on Kentucky’s preseason depth chart. Randolph worked behind Blake McClain at nickel a year ago, but offseason ankle surgery held him out during the spring. Randolph is practicing, but not full go. “Not quite where I want to be, but I’m just taking it day by day, working on being real patient right now,” Randolph said. “I’ve got a lot of faith in my training staff.”
- T.J. Carter and Kengera Daniel hold the top two spots on the depth chart at defensive end, but LeBlanc likes what Looney and Calvin Taylor have shown early in camp. “Kordell Looney is popping up and he flashes,” LeBlanc said. “Calvin Taylor is showing some really good stuff right now. He’s a big kid. He’s 6-5-plus, 295, and he’s got really long arms. So he’s showing up right now. Again, we’ve had two days with just helmets, two days with shoulder pads. That’s a long way to go and much to tell.”