By LARRY VAUGHT
Before the season started senior linebacker JJ Weaver didn’t mind the comparisons to UK linebacker Josh Allen, the 2018 national defensive player of the year.
Like Weaver, Allen turned down a chance to leave UK early for the NFL to return for a senior season. Like Weaver, Allen added weight before his final season.
However, Weaver’s season has not quite tracked like Allen’s final year did. Weaver had six quarterback sacks in 2021 and three in 2022, both team highs. He also had game-changing plays – remember the fourth-quarter interception against Florida in UK’s 2021 upset win.
Weaver has started the season okay but not spectacular but defensive coordinator Brad White is not yet worried. He has 10 solo tackles and four assists through four games along with two pass breakups, two tackles for loss and one quarterback hit. However, he has just one sack in four games.
“I think he’ll continue to make big plays and we need him to make sort of game-changing plays for us,” White said. “Those will come if he just stays true to who he is, stays true to sort of the training the technique. Play with a little bit of reckless abandon.
“A lot of times, if you’ve been in the system a lot, you know all the strengths and weaknesses of the defense. You know what they’re trying to do. Sometimes, you just don’t need to overthink. We talked about that. I’ve talked about all the time football IQ. There’s that pre-snap, but then when it’s post-snap, you just got to let it go, trust what you saw pre-snap and then just play.
“I think he’s going to be just fine. He’s still really helping us win. And I think he’s going to make some plays like he has in the past that changed the outcomes of ballgames.”