Kentucky football: Sept. 26 practice report


Kentucky Wildcats defensive end Calvin Taylor Jr. (91) celebrating after a sack. University of Kentucky football beat No. 14 Mississippi State to stay undefeated in the season on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cody Ryan

Kentucky’s defense has earned much praise since the Wildcats have started 4-0. With the South Carolina Gamecocks coming to town, the defense must again prove its case for being one of the best defenses in the SEC.

The Gamecocks are a fresh team after serving a 39-minute weather delay in the fourth quarter of last game and having the previous game canceled due to Hurricane Florence, so the defense will need to aid each other as much as possible.

After winning SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the second time, Josh Allen shied away from giving himself all the credit. Allen talked post-practice Wednesday about how the defensive backs help him.

“I love them,” Allen said. “They make my job easier. They cover the guys so hard and so long, it gives me time to get a sack.”

Mike Edwards was equally appreciative of Allen, and talked about how Allen assists him.

“He’s a great player, a great pass rusher– one of the best in the whole nation,” Mike Edwards said. “He makes my job very easy.”

Cornerback Derrick Baity talked about the necessity of rushing the quarterback and how he depends on Allen‘s play. He said he’s counting on Allen to have another big game against South Carolina and to pressure the quarterback.

“I think if our pass rush gets to the– Josh Allen and those guys get up to him and they hit him, he’s not gonna want to keep coming back,” Baity said. 

If the defensive backs can stop the pass, they can force South Carolina to become a one-dimensional team. However, the defensive backs must continue to rely on the big men upfront to apply pressure on the passer.

Redshirt freshman Tyrell Ajian had an interception in the fourth quarter versus Mississippi State to help seal the game. The pressure from elite pass rushers benefited the defensive backs.

“The pass rush helps a lot,” Ajian said. “It puts pressure on the quarterback, and as you see, he was holding the ball high When the quarterbacks are uncomfortable, they can’t put the ball right on the money sometimes.”

Defensive end Calvin Taylor discussed how pass rush and defensive backs promote a good defense.

“The rush compliments the coverage,” Taylor said. “When they pressure, it gives us time to get there. So, it goes hand-in-hand actually.”

The Wildcats are expecting a good crowd to show up for them Saturday, and UK announced Wednesday night that the game is a sell-out.

Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and will be shown on the SEC Network.