March 9, 2016
After rumors and speculation of a potential injury to Jordan Jones ran for 24 hours, Coach Stoops first question answered what is on everyone’s mind:
“Yeah, Jordan won’t play this week. He is out this week and we’ll see.”
Stoops went into detail with the bottom line being that Jones will be week to week with an undisclosed shoulder injury. Eli Brown will start in his place at the Will linebacker position.
“Eli has played well,” Stoops said. “I was really looking forward to seeing him get more reps this past Saturday, but when he made that foolish penalty, it kind of aggravated us. He’s been playing good. He’s really had a solid camp, so I’m looking forward to seeing him play. I’m sure he’ll be excited and he’s going to play a bunch of snaps and he’ll have to play well for us.”
Kentucky will also be using Jamar Boogie Watson more with Jones sidelined. Watson has rarely seen the field, but Stoops is confident the redshirt freshman can make an impact.
“We have a lot of confidence in him,” said Stoops. “He’s a guy who can play multiple positions. We’ve been working on him learning linebacker and defensive end in some predictable pass and 3rd-down packages. He can do many things.”
Beyond Jones being out, no other major injuries will hamper the Cats going to Columbia.
Kentucky has one more practice Friday before travelling to their first SEC game of the year against the Gamecocks. The Cats have owned USC the last 3 years, looking to extend the streak to 4. While both teams have the same record, UK is the underdog.
The prognosticators are leaning heavy on South Carolina. With UK not looking like world beaters the first two weeks, USC has won both of its games on the road. Their wins however may be deceiving.
The Gamecocks were outgained in total yards in both contests, won the turnover battle, had short fields for easy touchdowns, and had a kickoff return for a touchdown. If the Cats can limit turnovers and correctly cover kicks, this gives them a fighting chance.
Having won with a very young team in Columbia two years ago, the Cats will be bringing some experience with them. Denzil Ware, as a freshman, returned a fumble off of a 2 point conversion 97 yards. Chris Westry, also a freshman, had an interception on USC’s last gasp drive. That experience should carry over.
This may be the tone setter for the rest of the season. If Kentucky goes down and wins, the potential for a special season will be within its grasp. If they lose then the Florida game becomes that much more important.
USC will be ready with a sold out crowd, a “blackout” for the fans, and the most annoying chicken call coming from the loudspeakers. The majority of analysts say the Gamecocks will own UK. I say they’ve got another thing coming. Give me Cats 27, Gamecocks 17.
Let’s keep this train running.