LEXINGTON — Senior receiver LaRod King is so intent on being a team-first player that he pretended he could not even remember who threw him a touchdown pass in Saturday’s scrimmage so not to leak any information on UK’s starting quarterback battle.
“I don’t even remember who threw it. Honestly, I really don’t,” said King. “We ran so many plays. I am tired. I can’t remember.”
“I am not a coach. I am just a player,” King said. “It is their call. I am getting the ball from all of them, so I¿am happy regardless. I don’t care who is back there. I just want the ball. I have to be a little selfish, but to my knowledge that is not my call. I am just a player. For me to speak on that, it’s not my position.
“That’s just how it is. I really don’t care. As long as I am getting the ball, it is fine with me at that point. Whoever can control the offense and do their job at the end of the day (should start). I mean if something happens it is always going to be their fault regardless of what anybody else thinks. Whoever can handle that pressure and think on the move, is the quarterback.”
Here are other thoughts King shared after Saturday’s scrimmage:
Question: How did you play in the scrimmage? Any impressive catches?
King: "Just the usual. I could have done better. I had a few mistakes here and there. Just going and attack the ball. Other than that, things I can work on. No blown assignments. I think I did pretty good. I scored on a short fade pass. I just want to score. That’s it.”
Question: What have you thought of the secondary players you are going against daily?
King: "They are pretty good. Martavius Neloms has stepped it up as a leader and is doing really good back there. Mikie Benton is always flying to the ball. Fred Tiller is a guy you will probably hear a lot. There is a lot of potential, and I love it. The more competition, the better. You can only have 11 guys on each side and everybody dying for a spot, so that's good."
Question: Are you more focused now as coach Joker Phillips indicated?
King: “That is the way it has to be. It’s football camp and nothing else really matters. It is all about football and taking care of my team. The spring is in the past. I want to move to the future. That is something that is way behind me. I am not talking about the past any more. I¿am trying to move forward in my life and make sure my team is good. We are a team. It is not about me. It is not about my quarterback. It is not about my defense. It’s about the Wildcats.”
Question: Who has impressed you offensively?
King: “Me of course.”
Question: Who else?
King: “I really like the whole offensive line. Those guys have come a long way. Matt Smith and Larry Warford really have to control the offensive line and we have some young guys, but they are taking care of things. There were not too many blown assignments (in the scrimmage). There might have been a little bit of fundamental issues here and there. A step left, a step right. But other than that, those guys are putting it out there. They are probably the hardest working guys on the team right now.”
Question: Are freshmen receivers Demarcus Sweat and A.J. Legree pushing you, motivating you?
King: “Definitely. I¿am not going to let anybody take my spot, but at the same time I am going to help get guys ready like right now. I will keep working with them, keep them in the film room. Work with them in drills. Coming out of high school, you really don’t know how to be a college athlete, how to watch film and how to run routes. You have to learn them all over again. So if you are constantly going, you lose your focus because there are a lot of distractions out there. But as long as the focus stays on football, they can only get better.
“Does it bother me? It would bother any player. I am a competitor. I am not going to sit here and walk around like nobody can take my spot because if you are not getting better, you are getting worse.”
Question: Do you agree with coach Phillips that UK does not need a go-to receiver?
King: “You should have six go-to receivers. Not just one. Does that make sense.¿I want to have a balanced offense rather than just have one (star) receiver. For the defense, all you do is double team him and you have to rely on other receivers to make plays. Our goal is to have a balanced offense. I¿am not here to single me out, say I am the best. I want to have six receivers that are the best.”
Question: Do you like what the freshmen can do?
King: “Yes, I love it. Everybody is dedicated and pushing each other to be better. At this point, those young guys are really stepping up and making big plays. It is anybody’s game at this point. For more info, you would have to talk to (receivers) coach (Pat) Washington.¿I am not a coach. I am a player and do my job.”
Question: How do you develop chemistry when you are not sure who the starting quarterback will be?
King: “You just work every day. You never take a day off. You have to practice, run routes when you are tired. You have to be able to think when you are tired. So however he is thinking at that point, you have to be able to put yourself in his shoes and see what he sees on the field. It is just little things. At that point it develops over time. So the more time you spend with your quarterback, the more times you get the ball.”