Up the gut strength and an ongoing football dictionary
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Up the gut strength and an ongoing football dictionary

Article written by:Freddie MaggardFreddie Maggard
toth to twoles bigblueinsider Much like in baseball, a team’s worth increases when its strength lies within the middle of the field. This is the case for the 2015 football Cats. Last season, the defensive edge prevailed. Kentucky is now seeing a role reversal for 2015. Offensively, the center line group was inconsistent. This fall, those same returning players have the potential to be a unit strength. Below is a position breakdown for players who are projected to solidify the middle of the football field.


Center: Jon Toth has started 23 games and is the best football player on the line of scrimmage. Right Guard: Zack West is a 30 game starter with ample back-up, Nick Haynes. Camp competition will occur. Left Guard: Ramsey Meyers won the starting role at the beginning of 2014. Cole Mosier is a quality back-up that can play multiple positions. Quarterback: Patrick Towles or Drew Barker will lead an attacking offense. As this position goes, so will the Cats. Running Back: Boom Williams is on the radar to be an All-SEC performer.


Nose Tackle: Melvin Lewis is the only returning starter on the defensive line. Lewis is an All-SEC candidate and is the defensive anchor. Matt Elam will provide quality minutes in reserve. Inside Linebacker: Josh Forrest put on 22 offseason pounds. NFL aspirations are attainable. Middle Linebacker: Ryan Flannigan can now read and react. Skill is there to be a significant factor. Strong Safety: Marcus McWilson will have to hold off a pair of rookies in Darius West and Mike Edwards. Collectively, this position will be vastly improved. Having Mark Stoops as its position coach emphasizes the need for higher production. Free Safety: AJ Stamps is special. Late year injuries slowed him in 2014. Stamps is an elite level, SEC safety. Marcus Walker will learn, then take up the role as the Wildcat centerfielder in 2016. Both are high level players.


This may be simplistic to some, but enlightening for others. As we crawl closer to the opening game, I’ll start ending some posts with football terms that are frequently being thrown around during camp. I hope this helps. Hand in the dirt: When discussing the differences in the outside linebacker and the defensive end positions, this phrase refers to a player that begins the play in a three point stance. For example, when lining up to rush the passer, a DE has one hand on the ground while in his pre-snap stance. An OLB is standing, or in a two point stance. Nickel: Standard defensive backfields include four players: two cornerbacks plus one strong safety and one free safety. A fifth defensive back is labeled as the Nickel. For Kentucky, this position has been played by Blake McClain and or Kendall Randolph. Expect to see a Nickel player used in passing situations. 3 Technique: Term that describes a defensive player’s alignment when the defensive tackle is lined up on the outside shoulder of the offensive guard. For UK, Regie Meant or DJ Johnson will occupy this spot. Of the defensive linemen, the 3 technique is normally capable of stuffing the run and rushing the passer. Nose Tackle: Another Defensive Tackle reference, but in this instance the defender is lined up over offensive center. In scheme identification, the defense begins with an odd number when a nose tackle is utilized. For example, a 3-4 identifies one defensive tackle as being a specific over the center defender. An older term for this is nose guard. Melvin Lewis and Matt Elam will occupy this position. Mike: Specific linebacker positions can described by names. Mike stands for Middle Linebacker. UK’s 3-4 scheme has two inside linebackers. Will: Weak side linebacker, normally line up opposite of declared offensive strength of the formation. Sam: Strong-side linebacker. This player is aligned to the strength of the offensive formation. Jack: A fourth linebacker can take on various names. Regardless of moniker, this position is a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end. Kentucky has several that fit this description. When I refer to “Positionless” football, the Jack is the main culprit in my theory. Bud Dupree played this position, and played it well. Hope this helps. Again, I’m not trying to me mundane. One of my goals is to explain the game in an understandable manner. Understanding terminology is a step in that direction.

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