VAUGHT: Archer likes extra practice time

Mike Archer

No one is probably happier to have more time to spend practicing than Kentucky defensive coordinator Mike Archer. His unit did not live up to its preseason expectations most of the season before playing its best overall game of the year in the final regular season game at Tennessee.

Now Archer is busy trying to fine tune the defense even more this month with the additional practice time the Wildcats have because they are playing Clemson in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Dec. 29.

"I think the extra practice time is invaluable. You can work on fundamentals and stress tackling and getting off blocks and not have to worry about somebody getting hurt and missing the game Saturday," said Archer. "There was a point in the year when we had so many guys hurt in the line on both sides of the ball that we were just trying to hang out by a threat. One game we had three defensive tackles — Myron Pryor, Lamar Mills and Corey Peters. We were just hoping nobody would get hurt. That's a problem."

Archer says there is no way Kentucky's defense cannot make "significant progress" during the extra month of practice before the bowl game.

"With a young team like this, you would expect that kind of progress with an additional month of practice and work," Archer said. "I kind of look at how our offense evolved. I took at (quarterback) Andre Woodson and see him starting two years ago at Auburn or remember watching him last year. He was not as good. Now I look at him and he is one of the best in the league, maybe the country.

"It is called maturation and game experience and being able to handle all those things. I think he would tell you the same thing. Hopefully our young guys on defense will be making those same kind of strides next year and getting this extra practice time and playing in a bowl game greatly enhances that process."

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