Special teams coordinator Andy Buh is putting a different spin on spring practice for Kentucky’s special teams players.
The unique change splits the unit into four smaller teams, with each team being led by a different player: linebacker Courtney Love, wide receiver Charles Walker and defensive backs Blake McClain and Darius West.
Those four players monitor the week’s data from drills and practices, franchise a set of players, make trades for others and are forced to “cut” a teammate or two.
It’s “Survivor” meets GM mode in “Madden 16.”
The players who get “cut” won’t be allowed to participate on special teams for the remainder of the spring.
“That’s real life; you either win or you lose,” head coach Mark Stoops said, as reported by Kentucky.com’s Jennifer Smith. “It’s in black and white. They’ll get another opportunity, not the rest of this spring though. They’re cut from special teams. But I think we’re making it fun but also putting that accountability back on the players.”
The added accountability has led to added competitiveness, likely because no one wants to be cut. It’s even shown up in other areas of the field for the Wildcats.
“Everything’s about winning the drill, winning the competitive battles that we have at the end of those segments,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said, according to Kentucky.com. “You can certainly see it already that it’s showing up with the effort, it’s showing up with the technique right now and it’s awesome.”
Hopefully, this interesting approach to spring drills will bear fruit, as UK finished last season ranked 10th in punt return average (7.4 yards), seventh in opponents punt return average (10.2 yards) and 11th in opponents kickoff return average (20.8) — all SEC marks.