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Bouvier’s emergence not a surprise to UK teammates, coaching staff

Kentucky senior wide receiver David Bouvier, a former walk-on, leads the Wildcats with two touchdown receptions in the first two games. The Wildcats host Murray State Saturday at Kroger Field. (UK Athletics Photo)

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

David Bouvier’s emergence as one of Kentucky’s top receivers this season hasn’t been a surprise to offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

“It kind of started in camp. Somebody asked me who was doing a really good job in camp and I thought he was our MVP of camp,” Gran said earlier this week. “He was very productive, does everything right every day. All that hard work and what he does, that consistency is showing up right now in games.”

Through the first two games, the Lexington Catholic product has caught five passes for 91 yards, including one touchdown in each of the first two games. He hauled in a 29-yard strike from quarterback Terry Wilson in a 27-16 victory over Florida, ending the Wildcats’ 31-game losing streak to the Gators.

“It’s a great feeling,” Bouvier said of his touchdown catch. “It happened early, so I wanted to stay focused. I was going to celebrate afterward when we won, but I was very much into the game. Looking back, it was crazy, but I had to make sure I stayed focused and played the game well.”

As with the rest of his teammates, Bouvier waited to celebrate a win that had eluded the program for more than three decades.

“It was crazy and (breaking them) in the Swamp, that made it even more special,” he said. “After the game, I really took it in. I just looked around and I was like, man, we really did it. I knew this team was built for it. It’s different than any different team I’ve been on since I’ve been here at UK.”

Like Gran, Wilson has been pleased with one of his top throwing targets.

“We have a lot of trust in him,” Wilson said. “That came along in the summer when we were working out and throwing on own our time and getting to know all of the receivers. (Bouvier) has done a great job of extending plays and just being that go-to guy — he’s pretty fast and he can get open. We like him.”

PROPS FOR BENNY

Throughout his coaching career, Gran has coached numerous running backs in his career but considers Benny Snell among the best in any backfield he has engineered.

“He plays with an edge,” Gran said. “He plays like you’re supposed to play this game. This game, man, you’ve got to have respect for it. You respect everyone but you fear nothing. We’ve got respect for this opponent and the next opponent and the next opponent, and you’ve got to go. You’ve got to get ready to go, don’t fear anything and let’s play. He plays like that every day in practice.”

Through the first two games, Snell has rushed for 300 yards and ranks second in the league behind Mississippi running back Scottie Phillips, who leads the league with 311 rushing yards in the first two weeks of the season.

NO NERVES, ALL TECHNIQUE

Although he had a fumble and threw an interception against the Gators, Wilson was flawless in the second half against the Gators and said his calm demeanor paved the way to his breakthrough outing in Gainesville.

“Keeping my nerves (was the key),” Wilson said. “I played more comfortable (and) I feel like didn’t let my mistakes get to me. I’ve got to limit my mistakes and stuff like that, but I just felt like I was more comfortable.”

Wilson rushed for a career-high 105 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown run last week. He also had a 31-yard gain in his second contest as Kentucky’s starting signal caller.

“I just relied on my technique and just did what the coaches asked of me,” Wilson said. “I really didn’t try to do too much. I just played my game. It’s just crazy. I really didn’t feel like big things were happening, I was just out there playing ball. It was crazy when I watched the film to see the plays I was doing. I just relied on my technique.”

O-LINE DRAWS PRAISE

Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman praised the performance of Kentucky’s offensive line in last week’s win over the Gators and singled out the lay of left tackles Nassir Watkins and E.J. Price.

“I think they’re progressing nicely,” Schlarman said. “They got better from Week 1 to Week 2. That’s what you want to see in guys that haven’t played. I was really pleased with E.J.’s physicality. I thought he came off the ball and knocked some guys around in the run game, which I think is something he brings to the table. Nassir does a nice job in there, picking up things and his movement. … I’m excited about their progress and I’m excited to see how much further they have to go to because I know they’re both going to get better.”

Schlarman said Kentucky’s overall depth at guard has proven to be valuable, especially after starter Landon Young went down with a season-ending knee injury during the final week of fall workouts.

“There’s not really a lot of drop-off and that’s a good thing,” he said. “We played really physical from the point of attack and that was something from the first week, both of those guards didn’t play maybe as good as they could have played against Central Michigan. Credit to them because we challenged them all week to get better.”

Schlarman was nominated for the Capital One Bowl-FWAA Courage Award Wednesday.

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

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