Notes to know from Saturday’s practice

Junior safety Ashely Lowery will play against Western Kentucky, Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops confirmed Saturday.

Stoops let media into a 45-minute span of practice in the morning, and Lowery was running with the first team.

The Kentucky coach was asked if that meant that Lowery, who has been charged with a DUI in Georgia after his car accident in early May, will play against the HIlltoppers on Aug. 31

“I am at this point planning on playing Ashely,” Stoops said. “We will penalize him when and if these charges come about and all that. Right now, we’re just gonna move forward. There’s a lot of unknowns about that situation.”

Lowery, a 6-foot-1, 219-pound safety, had a single-car accident in his hometown of Cleveland, Ga., on May 4. He flipped his Nissan Altima multiple times and was thrown from the vehicle. Lowery spent several days in the intensive care unit of a local hospital, but he suffered relatively minor injuries.

He has not been allowed to speak with the media since the crash.

Lowery is UK’s only returning safety with more than three career starts. He played in eight games for UK last season and finished fifth on the team in tackles with 43. He had a career-high nine against Vanderbilt along with an interception.

QUARTERBACK QUERIES: Kentucky will not name a quarterback before the opener Saturday against Western Kentucky, Stoops said.

“I don’t see the reason to, really,” he said. “I think both guys are working extremely hard, and there’s probably no reason for me to name a starter.”

Both offensive coordinator Neal Brown and Stoops said they have developed a plan to play both Jalen Whitlow and Maxwell Smith.

“We plan on playing both of those guys, but we’re not going to set anything in stone because if the first guy goes in there and is doing very well, we’ll let him go,” Stoops said.

Also, Brown added: “We’ll go in and whoever the starter is, they’ll be given some rope. I anticipate playing both quarterbacks, but obviously if one quarterback comes in and plays well, we’re not going to take somebody out if they’re playing well.”

INJURY UPDATES: Kentucky has had several key players miss the end of camp with injury, including center Zach Myers and cornerback Cody Quinn.

Without getting into specifics, Stoops said he expected most of the walking wounded to return come Monday.

“A few guys dinged up and things like that, but we should be pretty close to 100 percent come Monday,” the coach said.

When asked why Quinn was not seen at practice on Saturday morning and if he was still with the team, Stoops said he was.

“Like I said, we should be pretty close to 100 percent come Monday,” he said.

CHAPMAN DEPARTURE CONFIRMED: Patrick Graffree posted Friday on Twitter that he is planning to leave Kentucky and play for Eastern Kentucky in the fall. He also tweeted out good luck to fellow red-shirt defensive tackle Thomas Chapman, who was transferring to Murray State.

Stoops confirmed that Chapman, a former standout at Manual, and UK are parting ways.

“He and I had a very good talk,” Stoops said. “He’s a wonderful young man and a good person, and he was exploring those options and he and I were on the same page that if he was able to receive a scholarship then he was possibly going to explore that. If not, he was going to stay here and join us in the fall. As of yesterday, that’s where he and I left it.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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3 Responses to Notes to know from Saturday’s practice

  1. Pingback: Video: Scenes from a Saturday morning practice | John Clay's Sidelines

  2. Pingback: No reason for UK to name starting quarterback | John Clay's Sidelines

  3. jcc says:

    Wow what a giant loss in Patrick Graffree the 6″ 5″ 280 pounder who was no doubt responsible for some of the recruits that we were able to get, he himself was the #10 rated player in the Commonwealth, He was in Love with UK so what happened? Good luck Pat as you move up to the next level and UK’s loss is no doubt EKU’s gain!!!