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Stoops, Cats to use unique scoring format in annual Blue-White game

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and the Wildcats will conclude spring practice with the annual Blue-White game set for Friday night at Kroger Field. (Keith Taylor/Kentucky Today)

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Kentucky will conclude spring workouts with the annual Blue-White game set for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Kroger Field.

The blue team (offense) will take on the white squad, comprised of Kentucky’s defensive players. The scoring format will feature a variety of ways both teams can score, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Normal scoring (touchdown, extra point, and a field goal) will be used, but more points can be awarded as well in an effort to provide more balance between the two units.

“If the offense earns consecutive first downs to start a drive it will be awarded two points and one additional point for each first down earned after,” the university said in a release. “However, if the offense finishes the drive with a touchdown or a made field goal those points override any points earned from first downs. For example, if the offense starts a drive with three consecutive first downs then punts, it will be awarded three points. However, if that same drive ends with a touchdown instead of a punt, the offense will receive only the points earned from the touchdown or extra point.”

Kentucky special teams and secondary coach Dean Hood said keeping the offensive and defensive teams on the same team provides a realistic approach for the coaching staff to follow.

“When you don’t split the teams and you just play offense and defense, you get to rotate your guys like you would in a normal game and so does the offense,” Hood said. “It really allows like an extra practice because the offense is getting their rotations and doing exactly how they would if they were going to go to 11 personnel to a 12, they don’t have to put a third-team tight end in there that hadn’t been doing that skill set. It really gives you an extra practice.”

Hood added the Wildcats will use basic formations and schemes on both sides of the ball during the two-hour scrimmage.

“I think it almost gives you another practice because the reality is, when you’re playing a spring game on national TV, No. 1, you’re cautious of what all you’re doing,” he said Thursday. “You want to do good fundamental things and you want to do your offense and do your defense, but you’re kinda cautious what you’re putting out there on film.”

Things to watch:

* All eyes will be on quarterbacks Gunnar Hoak and transfer Terry Wilson, both of whom are competing to replace two-year starter Stephen Johnson. Hoak and Wilson split the reps with the first-team unit throughout spring workouts.

* Benny Snell will compete in the spring game, but will likely won’t be a steady participant. The coaching staff doesn’t want to take any chances with the team’s standout running back in a game aimed at providing a preliminary blueprint for coach Mark Stoops and his staff to follow next season.

* On the defensive side, end Josh Paschal has turned eyes this spring following the move to a new position. Pascal earned considerable playing time last season as a true freshman, giving the team hope for the future on defense.

* The lack of depth at linebacker could give DeAndre Square, a true freshman, an opportunity to showcase his skills. An early enrollee, Square has been producing behind the scenes and could see considerable playing time next season.

Bobblehead night

The Lexington Legends announced Thursday they will be giving away Mark Stoops bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on June 12.

“Coach Stoops is not only a great football coach, but also a great member of our community,” Legends President and CEO Andy Shea said. “We are thrilled to have another University of Kentucky coach bobblehead at the ballpark this year.”

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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