By LARRY VAUGHT
He played in all 13 games last year and made six starts at left tackle. Yet junior Landon Young says he only had a “decent season last year” and is hoping to be a much better player for Kentucky this season.
“The offseason was a lot of fun for me. I lifted a lot. That’s one thing I had to focus on was getting my body stronger along with my technique,” said Young. “Last season was not what I wanted it to be. My body was not where it needed to be. But lot of lifting, working out, getting my cardio up, getting my technique sound and lots of reps will make me better.”
He’s been part of two bowl teams at Kentucky but wants more — a lot more.
“I think there is no ceiling for us. I think it is going to go exponentially higher after this and I think this is just stepping stones and building blocks on top of one another. I think it will just keep getting better,” Young said. “I came here to help change the program with a bunch of good guys and now adding more recruiting classes of fantastic athletes and all team guys — guys that you work well with in every group — only makes that easier. You can see the attitude and work ethic of the program increase.
“It is now about putting the finishing touches on a big year and even elevating the attitude more. We have a good head on our shoulders. We want to put in all the hard work we need and bring anyone having trouble up with technique, attitude, anything … bring them up with the rest of us.”
Ever wonder what drills an offensive lineman can do in the summer to make himself better? So did I, so I asked Young.
“It’s a lot of footwork drills, flexibility in the hips, getting down and making sure your pad level is where it needs to be. A lot is about explosion level and making sure you have good hand placement,” Young said.
He says the drills usually involve other offensive linemen and they take turns holding pads and “beating the crap out of each other” during the drills. Young says Logan Stenberg and George Asafo-Adjei are the two linemen he doesn’t want beating up on him.
“Big George can lift the house and his punch is so violent and aggressive. Same thing with Stenberg,” Young said. “He is just a big human being at 320 pounds and he has a lot of mass behind him to push you. Those two are not my favorites (to go against) but we still like to go at it.”
He would like to take a go at playing tight end occasionally as he got to do in the bowl game last season to give UK more depth at the position and some extra blocking.
“They want to bring it back this year, or I hope they do. It’s a nice twist. Gives me a little change of scenery,” Young said.
Can he catch?
“Oh, 100 percent. I probably have some of the best hands out there. O-linemen in general do but they never trust us,” Young laughed and said.
* * *