Sept. 19: Kentucky football practice report


Kentucky Wildcat football players greet fans during Cat Walk before the game against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Erika Bonner

On Tuesday, the post-football practice topics were geared mostly toward Mississippi State’s tough defensive line, but on Wednesday, Kentucky defensive players and coaches were focused on the Bulldogs’ offensive abilities and how they plan on containing them.

One of the threats that Mississippi State poses is in Nick Fitzgerald, the starting dual-threat quarterback, who passed for 243 yards and 123 on his feet.

“I mean he’s a guy that’s elusive, he’s fast, he’s big. He can still throw the ball vertically down the field, so it’ll be a big task,” defensive coordinator Matt House said. “We gotta be disciplined, be in great football position, have great leverage on the ball, and have good rush lanes to be successful.”

Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel said Mississippi State’s offense will give the Cats several challenges this weekend.

“They’ve got a really good quarterback, a really good running back, really good offensive line, receivers, tight ends, you name it. They have really good players all around,” Daniel said. “It’s all about how focused we are and how gap sound we are, and how good we tackle.”

Daniel gave a game strategy as to how they plan on defending a quarterback who is so good at scrambling and getting yards.

“As long as we’re gap sound and inside-out on stuff, making sure we’re keeping the ball on our inside pad, not getting out leveraged by the football, expanding it out to our help. It’s just a lot of little key factors like that. We know what kind of athletes we’re coming up against this week, but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Daniel said.

Last year’s matchup against the Bulldogs in Starkville is in Kentucky’s rear-view mirror, but there are some things from watching the film from that game that cornerback Lonnie Johnson said can be fixed.

“Just realizing that that wasn’t us. You know, the physicality, the way were playing was sluggish,” Johnson said. “It just wasn’t us. But we’ll do what we gotta do this year, on our field.”

The Cats are ready for the challenge of taking on the No. 14 ranked team in the country Saturday and look to extend their winning record to 4-0. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Kroger Field, and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.