LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky held its last bowl practice in Lexington on Tuesday afternoon as players will disperse for Christmas before heading to Jacksonville, Fla., for the TaxSlayer Bowl.
The Wildcats will hold their first practice in Jacksonville on the 26th but players are off until then. Offensive players and coaches met with the media Monday and defensive representatives did the same Tuesday.
What we learned
- Bowl practice has been treated like a spring practice in that it gives young players a chance to impress. A few names have popped up on both sides of the ball as improving young players. On offense: Luke Fortner, A.J. Rose and Justin Rigg. On defense: Jaylin Bannerman, Jamar Watson, Ja’Quize Cross, Davonte Robinson and Kordell Looney.
- Everyone knows what Georgia Tech’s offense looks like, but not much has been discussed about the Yellow Jackets defense. Here’s what offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said about it Monday: “They’re a lot like Vanderbilt in terms of just schematically, they know their gaps, they’re athletic. They’re not as big as some of the teams, but they’re athletic and their linebackers run down hill. Their two safeties tackle really well.”
- The scout team offense has been trying to perfect its Georgia Tech impersonation. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said discipline will be crucial: “It can be difficult,” he said. “It sure can. It’s something they’re not used to seeing. We’ve had some good practices. We’re getting some good looks from our scout team and I’m pleased with our progress.”
- Kentucky will play in its first bowl game since 2010 and the coaching staff wants players to strike a balance between work and fun: “And I don’t think we’ll have a problem with our kids wanting to win the game,” Gran said. “Then it just becomes, ‘Can you do both?’ Can you have fun? Yes you can. And can you be locked in and focused to go out and take care of your business. But, yeah. It’s a great question. I think there’s a balance there.”