Matt House praises Kentucky defense


Kentucky’s Mike Edwards and Josh Allen tackle Lamar Jackson during the Wildcats game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John’s Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Mohammad Ahmad

UK football defensive coordinator Matt House spoke highly of the Wildcats’ defense following Thursday morning’s practice.

House said that everyday has been “more physical.” He gave praises to his secondary, saying that “they’re a year smarter and understanding concepts better.”

“Mike (Edwards) is just a football player that makes plays in space,” House said. “He does some instinctive things you don’t have to coach him to do.”

Edwards said that he has been trying to improve his technique and craft during camp. He spoke about how he’s been taking care of his body and “taking his game to a whole other level.”

“We’ve stayed consistent, more consistent than we were last year,” Edwards said of his defensive teammates. “We’ve got a lot of singers on the team, and we’ve got a good team bond.”

House also spoke highly of young linebacker Jamar “Boogie” Watson and senior safety Darius West.

Watson, a redshirt sophomore, has been running with the first team in practice this week. West played all 13 games last year after being out his sophomore year with a knee injury, but according to House, has progressed from that.

“Not only is he (West) a year more experienced, but he’s been healthy for a whole year. That makes a huge difference, and it gives him more confidence,” House said.

“I’m a unique player that has a lot of wiggle, but I also have a lot of power and can be physical in both the run and pass game,” Watson said.

House said that a huge part of what makes his defense stout is the improvement of his linebackers’ blitz ability and edge rushers on the defensive line. Senior tackle Adrian Middleton echoed that, saying a big focus for him is explosiveness coming off of the ball.

“Being explosive will help me with getting more penetration through the line and making more plays, Middleton said. “Today I saw good hand strikes and run stops. Everyone has been locked in and focused this week.”

While House gave praises to his defense, senior linebacker Josh Allen did not do the same for himself.

“I was just real tired and the weather affected me,” Allen said. “I wasn’t making enough plays today and I shouldn’t have a bad day, but I will watch film to fix my mistakes.”

The team will wrap up week one of camp this Sunday, August 11th.