RIVER RAT: UK’s Brown looks ahead to the 2013 season

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River Rat

By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor

A few weeks ago, we featured parts one and two of my interview new University of Kentucky offensive coordinator and Bardstown native Neal Brown.

We touched on a number of topics, such as recruiting and installing the “Air Raid” offense, as well as what it’s like moving back home and being closer to family, life in the SEC, as well as others.

In this final segment, we’ll talk a little about the nuts and bolts of things of what fans might expect to see out of the Wildcats when they try to avenge last year’s loss to Western Kentucky in Nashville on Labor Day weekend.


PZ: How have the returning players approached the challenge in front of them?

NB: They understand (that) the results they’ve gotten — especially last year and over the course of the last few years — aren’t what they’ve wanted. The only way to change the results is to change what you put into it … whether it’s in the weight room, the film room, you’ve got to put more into it.

PZ: How has it been adjusting to a new staff you haven’t worked with before?

NB: Coach Stoops, first of all, he’s a very good guy, good family man. I think the thing that’s most refreshing is he’s coming off just being a coordinator (at Florida State) for a long time, so he’s still very, very aware of what we’re doing as an assistant coach. With the offensive guys, John Schlarman, our offensive line coach, we worked together at Troy, so there’s familiarity. Our running backs coach, Chad Scott, and our receivers coach Tommy Mainord, were with me at Texas Tech, so there’s a lot of familiarity between the four of us. And then Vince Morrow, our tight ends coach — who I’ve been very impressed with on the field and in recruiting — he’s really the only new piece of the offensive staff.

PZ: What’s the worst-case scenario when the season rolls around?

NB: We’re going to be much-improved, OK? Now as far as a win-loss number, I don’t know. There’s certain goals we’d love to reach. What we want to see is improvement. We want to be better. I’d love to come out and say “We’re going to win this many games.” The bottom line is, I don’t know. I don’t know what anyone else has. … There’s a lot to be found out about (our team). The practices we get in fall camp will be telling.

PZ: Is it a matter of how quickly the guys get the system?

NB: We’re not going to look exactly like we did at Texas Tech last year. We were in year three of that system; we’re in year one here. Our personnel is different. Our job as coaches is to make sure we put our guys in the best position possible. … The sign of any good coach is to take the players you have and mold your system around what’s the best things they can do.

PZ: Looking back at spring practice, who kind of jumped out at you and seemed like they were ready to go?

NB: I think our left tackle, Darrian Miller, had a very good spring. Very athletic, did a good job with leadership as well. I think he’s got a chance to be a major player in this conference. I thought our lone senior up front, Kevin Mitchell, who’s a returning starter, I thought he played well. If you look at our tight ends, Jordan Aumiller and Tyler Robinson, they’re both seniors, I thought they played well. I thought Demarco Robinson was our best receiver during the spring. I though A.J. Legree, who’s a sophomore, showed some signs, but he’s got a ways to go. At running back, Raymond Sanders was impressive. I think Dyshawn Mobley is a kid who’s got a lot of talent.