“It was not a good performance by the defense,” White said Thursday. “No one is going to make any excuses about that. We’ve got to play better across the board. We’ve responded at times this week but still too many mistakes for all of our likings. Players, coaches included.
“We’ve gotta keep cleaning that up. There have been times that we have played well and that’s what we need to do. We need to learn how to be consistent and how to sustain.”
Kentucky senior linebacker Kash Daniel said White had every reason to be disappointed following the scrimmage.
“Each player on the defense wasn’t pleased and each one of our coaches weren’t pleased,” he said. “Not the fact that we look absolutely terrible, that’s not the case. It’s just the fact that we set a standard for ourselves each and every day we come out on the field and (last) Saturday, we just felt like overall, we didn’t meet up to that standard.”
Despite the disappointments from scrimmage last weekend, White said the defense was solid on third down.
“What I’ve told the guys is there’s no cheat code,” White said. “You can’t just punch in a code and jump right to third (down). We’ve got to be consistent on first and second down to give us a chance to go on third and to make plays on third down and to get off the field. We can’t call the punter if we’re having a bad situation. We’ve gotta work our way through bad series. The way you work through bad series is you’re good on first and second down and you get a chance to get off the field on third.”
White has the task of replacing seven starters from last year’s squad, including Josh Allen and five players who saw significant time in the defensive backfield but knows he has time to get better before the opener.
“This isn’t a situation where we can just roll the ball out on the field and think we’re going to go dominate,” he said. “We have to learn how to strain on every play. We talk about it a lot as a defense, that word strain. When you don’t or one guy doesn’t or two guys don’t, that’s an effort thing and it’s a problem. We’ll get that fixed.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.