In-camp competition bettering the defensive backs


The Football Team training camp Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Photo by Britney Howard | UK Athletics

When players are going against one another each and every practice, training camp can turn into a routine for veteran players and can sometimes drag on.

What are some of the defensive backs doing in order to spice up these practices? Derrick Baity and Lonnie Johnson Jr. have started an interception competition to have some fun, but also to better themselves.

“He got three and I got two right now,” Johnson Jr. said. “We’ve just been going at it throughout the camp and just competing with each other and holding ourselves to higher standards.”

Last season, Baity finished with one interception while Johnson Jr. did not pick off any passes.

Even though Baity had proven to be the better interceptor, and currently has the lead in the competition, Johnson Jr. still remains confident that he will win the competition.

“It takes me to get a pick first for him to get his pick. If I don’t pick nothing at practice, he don’t pick nothing at practice so once I get one, he feel like he got to go get one,” Johnson Jr. said. “It’s cool, I’m going to beat him.”

What will the winner of the competition get? No meal voucher or extra chores at practice, just bragging rights.

“You don’t win nothing, it’s just bragging rights,” Baity said. “If he’s only one behind me and I got six at the end of the day, he got five, our DB group has 11.”

There is one thing that both of the defensive backs can win from this competition, and that’s experience on both sides of the ball.

Coming up with interceptions only makes Baity and Johnson Jr. better, while the wide receivers and quarterback who threw the interception learn how to avoid those moment in the future.

Even if Johnson Jr. does not beat Baity in the camp interception count, he still knows that this competition is for the better.

“That’s good for us, it’s good for the DB room,” Johnson Jr. said. “They see us competing and we got the young guys, we trying to leave a legacy for them so they can continue it going forward.”

 Other notes

  • After Thursday’s practice, defensive coordinator described the practice as good. “I thought the guys were focused, I thought we had really good communication, I thought it was good,” House said.

  • After UK’s first scrimmage was described as disappointing, House is excited to see how his unit will respond at the second scrimmage of camp, which is this Saturday. He called the second scrimmage a “huge” one because of the opportunity players have to bounce back from their previous mistakes.
  • House was asked who have been the energy guys so far in camp, and House named Josh Allen, Kash Daniel, Darius West and Baity as players who have kept the intensity up in practice.
  • House said the young, new inside linebackers have progressed well through camp. Some names that camp to House’s mind were Chris Oats, DeAndre Square and Jamar “Boogie” Watson.