LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Neal Brown finished his high school career at Boyle County second all-time in receptions in the State of Kentucky. He was then a two-year letterman at UK, catching a more modest ten passes and one touchdown. Now fourteen years removed from his final season as a player, Brown, the Wildcats second-year Offensive Coordinator has lately been pushed into double duty, having to re-live his days as a receiver.
"It wasn't good enough when I was here the first time," said Brown. "The bad thing is I'd be in the two-deep right now. We got everybody else hurt. (Receivers) Coach (Tommy) Maynard had to run some routes today. That's definitely not good."
The Wildcat's already thin receiving corps has been hit hard by injuries. Javess Blue and Alexander Montgomery have missed spring practice, while three others, Ryan Timmons, Joey Herrick and Thaddeus Snodgrass have been banged up. Monday, Jeff Badet went down after twisting an ankle.
"We're banged up a little bit at wideout," Brown said. "Well, we're thin. Our numbers aren't where they should be. We've got to get -- we need more scholarship wideouts, we need more walk-on wideouts. We've got help coming. I think we're probably a year away from getting this thing, from a numbers standpoint, where it needs to be. We were grossly thin getting here, then we had some injuries this spring that definitely haven't helped."
And receivers are certainly needed to run an Air Raid offense that had to be toned down considerably a year ago with receiver and quarterback issues. Three very inexperienced players are still battling to win the quarterback job. Redshirt Sophomore Patrick Towles, redshirt Freshman Reece Phillips and true Freshman Drew Barker need all the work they can get.
"That's why we were out here doing some extra work with me and (graduate assistant) Tyler (Sargent) catching the ball," Brown said. "Just because we don't have enough -- the quarterbacks aren't getting enough work right now, so we've got to build it in pre-practice and post-practice stuff to make sure they're getting enough reps of the stuff we're going to run."
Brown said he expects to sit down with Head Coach Mark Stoops after the spring game and perhaps name a starter at QB in the next week or two.
"Nobody has grabbed it yet," said Brown. I'm really interested to see what happens Saturday."
The Blue-White game is Saturday at 3:30 pm at Commonwealth Stadium.