10:11:31UKvsSC2020FB

South Carolina Gamecocks running back Kevin Harris (20) runs the ball down the field during the University of Kentucky vs. University of South Carolina football game on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 41-18. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Ahead of Kentucky’s road test against South Carolina on Saturday, defensive coordinator Brad White took the podium to provide thoughts about UK’s defensive progression and what he’s seen from USC thus far.

“They’ve got offensive skill all over the place. The running backs are really talented in how they distribute to them—-all four of those guys, they make sure they get touches,” White said.

With USC sophomore QB Luke Doty getting the starting job, White commented on what he’s noticed in his progression:

“We saw Doty last year as a freshman, he’s coming back. He made some really tough throws against Georgia that showed a lot of toughness and grit standing in the pocket,” White said.

Doty will be throwing to a receiving corps that has gained a lot of praise from coach White in his presser:

“Their recievers—everybody saw what kind of catches they can make on the outside edge, so they’ve got a lot of weapons to deal with. They can push the ball down the field and they’ve got receivers who can go up and get it.” 

The ‘Cats will walk into a tough road environment for the first time in over a year—White expects his defense to use the noise and energy to their advantage. “Fans are gonna be louder when your side has the ball, and they’ll be quieter when their side has the ball, so we’ll be able to communicate more,” White said. “This week for us, the crowd is gonna be more of a momentum thing when we’re playing defense on the road.” 

Coach White expressed that his defense has struggled at times in the passing game. For this week, White expects USC to utilize the pass again, but UK will be working on the necessary adjustments to go to Columbia prepared.

“They’re gonna push the ball down the field, but just like the last two opponents, we can anticipate the ball coming out quick as well. So, we’ve gotta continue to pin ball carriers to the ground, continue to tackle, and when they take their deep shots, our guys have to convert and win,” White said.

White closed with his defenses’ emphasis on causing turnovers going forward: “There’s a huge emphasis—we wanna try to give the offense short fields, but you have to do it within the scheme work. When the play is there, we gotta be there to make it.” 

Coach White and the UK defense will be tested this weekend as they try to improve to 4-0—a daunting task that could have massive implications on the direction of the season.