Matt House’s biggest priority against EKU is to stop the run


Kentucky Wildcats defensive coordinator Matt House coaches the defense during the open practice at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility on Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff

Going into every game UK Football plays in this season, defensive coordinator Matt House will likely have the same game plan, stopping their opponent’s run game.

Even heading into the game against Eastern Kentucky, whose quarterback threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns last week, House’s biggest intent still is to stop the run.

“EKU’s got two big, good backs, too,” House said. “It’s still going to start with stopping the run, when you make a team one dimensional, then you earn the right to rush the passer, but if you don’t stop the run you don’t earn the right to rush the passer.”

EKU’s rushers were ineffective last week against Western Kentucky, only netting 25 yards on 22 attempts. The inability to run the ball forced EKU’s quarterback Tim Boyle to pick up the slack on the offense and throw 46 times. 

Despite losing to WKU, Boyle still put up an impressive stat line, which has caught House’s eye.

“This quarterback does a good job, he gets rid of the ball on time, he’s got good receivers to throw to, they’re certainly going to present a challenge,” House said.

No emotions yet for Dean Hood

As gameday against EKU nears, a lot of eyes are going to be on Dean Hood. 

The special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach will be facing the team he was the head coach on for eight years. Despite all the anticipation, Hood is strictly focused on preparing his football team right now.

“There’s no emotion yet, I mean I’m sure there will be at some point, because right now it’s just preparation,” Hood said. “You have an emotional attachment to the kids that you recruited and you coached so I’m sure at some point that’ll show itself, but right now its just all about preparation.”

Story: Dean Hood predicts “a lot of emotion” when UK football faces his old team.

This won’t be Hood’s first time coaching in a UK/EKU football game, as he coached the Colonels when they nearly upset the Cats in 2015.

Now Hood will be on the opposite sideline, a role he finds to be more difficult.

“It’s easier to be the underdog, there’s really no pressure,” Hood said. “When you are the team that’s not the underdog, the big thing is to match the intensity and match the energy and the passion of the other team.” 

Hood said if the Cats can succeed in matching EKU’s intensity, energy and passion, he expects UK to come out on top. 

Denzil Ware not scared of much, except his head coach

In Mark Stoops’ Monday press conference, the head coach said he was hitting the defense in the head with sledgehammers to stop the run against Southern Miss.

After Wednesday’s practice, defensive end Denzil Ware explained the sledgehammer was a symbol for Stoops’ words, especially when he gets angry.

“Him turning red, that’s the sledgehammer,” Ware said.

There’s not many things that the 6-2, 245 defensive end is afraid of, but when Stoops brings out the “sledgehammer,” that’s when Ware knows he messed up.

“I’m real scared, when his face starts turning all red and he starts getting tense, I’m like, ‘Coach, don’t blow up, I’m sorry,’” Ware said. “He’s all about respect and that’s what I give him.”