Thank you, Lamar Thomas

Jack Pilgrimalmost 5 years

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Aritcle written by:Jack PilgrimJack Pilgrim
Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.09.00 PM Last night, there were two key plays that brought back awful memories of last season and early on in the Stoops era. Fans groaned and media members shook their collective heads as Garrett "Juice" Johnson made two crucial drops, one on first down when the offense was driving down the field, and the other a potential 20 yard pickup when the offense couldn't get much of anything going. The two drops by Garrett Johnson were ugly, there's no denying that. The throws by Stephen Johnson were right on the money, they were cake-walk catches and assured first down receptions, Juice just flat out dropped them. Though Johnson ranked in the top five of drop efficiency in the SEC last season, he has improved tremendously this offseason and throughout the year, and those two mistakes were highly uncharacteristic of him. Though they sucked at the time, those were actually two of very few significant drops of the season, and we have WR coach Lamar Thomas to thank for that. The drops this season under Lamar Thomas have been non-existent. Under Tommy Mainord, the Wildcat receiving corps seemed to have a drop on every other play, several of which were the difference makers between a bowl and no bowl last year. Fans place much of the blame on Patrick Towles last year, but Kentucky ranked among the top in the SEC in receiver drops; little help came from the unit. This season, however, UK has some of the same playmakers at receiver, but they're actually living up to their potential. Jeff Badet has shown unbelievable quickness with the ball in his hands, creating separation from the opposing corners out of the slot and on the outside. Last night he caught two really tough bombs from Stephen Johnson, one in coverage, the other on a trick play that seemed to hang in the air way too long. Last season, those two plays are likely not converted. Last night, they put two impressive scores on the board. Tavin Richardson has had some of the biggest grabs of this season, as his hands have been excellent from week one all the way to his one-handed grab on the two-point conversion attempt last night. We all heard he was going to be good, but his incredible hands have been a game changer on the outside. It's scary to think UK could have this kid for another three years. Garrett "Juice" Johnson has shown some insane quickness and agility to get the ball in his hands, and has managed to put up a whole lot of yards in his Kentucky career. This season, he has made the most in his time on the field, despite a decreased usage rate with Stephen Johnson at quarterback. Juice leads the team in receptions with 22, to go along with 277 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Timmons is making some tough grabs, including one last night to move the sticks on a moving screen when UK needed some positive momentum. After starting the year slow, he has made significant progress the past few weeks, and will play a major role in UK's receiving corps to finish out the year. Though they haven't gotten quite as many reps, even Kayaune Ross, Jabari Greenwood, and Blake Bone have shown some good things. When Dorian Baker knocks some of his rust off from a nagging hamstring injury, he'll have his fair share of opportunities in the latter half of the year as well. Route running has been superb, separation is there, and most importantly, the receivers are coming down with catches. When Lamar Thomas turned a new leaf and came over from the dark side, many UofL fans scoffed at his departure. They claimed it was some random graduate assistant that manned the receiving unit for the Cardinals, and Thomas was just there for show. In his short time at Kentucky, however, Thomas has proven himself by completely revamping an underperforming receiving corps to become one of the deepest and talented units in the SEC. You have to give credit where credit is due, he was a home run hire by Mark Stoops and the UK coaching staff. Thank you, Lamar Thomas.   @JackPilgrimKSR  

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2021-09-23