Some bonus Stoops after practice

MARK STOOPS
“It was good. Good Tuesday. We had a lot of work. We got a lot of work done today. We needed to. Good hot day. Felt good about the energy. Guys are starting to lock in and execute well. So overall, very good practice.”

On how fast Neal Brown’s offense was ready to go last year at this time and how fast it’s ready to go now: “I think we’ll be much faster week one this year than we were at any point last year. So we’ll see. Like I said before, you know we’re the style of offense, we’ve got to get some production on first down. That’s a big key for us to move the football. We’re not good enough on any side yet to go fast and not get first downs. So we have to move the ball, and even though you’re going fast, you still have to chew up some clock by getting first downs and running plays. But I feel good. I feel like we’re improved, and they’re ready to go.”

On the fact that he hasn’t talked much about dropped balls this fall: “Yeah. No, it really hasn’t been bad. Not too bad. Early on there was a couple days here nad there, but we’ve been pretty solid in that area. Improving. They’re working hard at it. We get those JUGS machines out here with the tennis balls, hit some guys in the eye, they start working on it.”

On if they’re requiring helmets on that tennis-ball drill now: “Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Helmets and visors. We had a helmet on when one actually caught another one of our guys, T.V. (Williams). But he didn’t get injured bad. But he did have his helmet on.”

On if that’s starting to scare him: “Oh, yeah. Yeah. When they told me during practice, I said, ‘Get the JUGS machines and get ‘em outta here. Send ‘em on their way.’ But we’ve improved.”

On if they’ve gotten to this point without any new injuries this week: “Yeah, nothing significant. And it was good, because we did get a lot of good work in today, wrapped up. We did some good good-on-good against each other and actually got our two-minute drill in today and had a good series there. The offense got one in, which was good. They needed a touchdown in two-minute drill and got one, so that was good to see. That was the first time that’s happened this camp, where they needed a touchdown and got it in, so that was good.”

On this being a big week for Patrick Towles and if he tries to keep him calm: “Yeah. I think just try to stay as normal as possible. He doesn’t need to put any more undue pressure on himself. The whole team needs to play well. I expect that he will be a little bit antsy, I’m sure, like you said. But he’s just got to calm down and stay within himself and operate the offense. And that’s where — like we talked about yesterday — it is important to get off on a fast start and give him some things that he can manage early until he gets settled in.”

On Jojo Kemp playing without the bone spurs in his ankles: “He seems to be really good. It seemed like as the year went on last year you noticed it more and more. Right now he’s very fresh and he’s healthy. He’s actually had a little — that hamstring, that set him out for a while. So he’s come back from that very well. He’s very fresh. And the nice thing is, we have some pretty good depth at running back, so they’re all sharing that load.”

On CBS Sports ranking coaches by how good they were as players and ranking Bob Stoops at No. 15 and Mark at No. 63: “That’s not right. That’s not right. That’s not right at all. I had — I guess because I did have a short career. By the time I actually earned the starting job my junior year, we were actually — my claim to fame is we were actually (the) preseason No. 1 team in the country. I was the starting strong safety. But it only lasted about four or five weeks. I got injured there halfway through that junior year. And we did lose the opener. We lost the opener at Hawaii. So that wasn’t good.”

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UK: Orange and white flag ‘FAA requirement’

Is it a Tennessee prank? Some Rocky Top high jinks?

Nope. Kentucky put out a statement via its twitter account on Monday explaining the need for the orange and white checkered flag atop a Commonwealth Stadium crane.

The flag, commonly known as an “Airfield Safety” flag, is there per regulations, UK said.

“The checkered flag atop the construction crane at Commonwealth Stadium is an FAA requirement,” the tweet said. “Cranes of this height fly the flag in order to ensure the safety of aircraft traveling in the area.”

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Mark Stoops news conference transcript

COACH MARK STOOPS

“It’s exciting. Finally game week. Players are excited. Coaches are excited. You know, ready to get this season going.

As I said before throughout this summer, we’ve improved. Be interesting to go out there and see how much. I’m just as anxious as you are to get out there and get playing. It will be great to play a season opener.

How long has it been, Tony? How many years since we played a home opener? 2007. That will be good.

UT Martin is a good football team, well‑coached team. Four returning starters on the offensive line. We’ll have our hands full. We’re anxious to get out there and see how we can play.

Q. On Darrian Miller not being on depth chart:

COACH STOOPS: Yeah. He’s going to have to sit one game. Violation of team rules. He’ll be back game two.

Q. Started 24 straight games, has been look on as a veteran guy:

COACH STOOPS: It happened some time ago. We’ve addressed the situation. He’s done what he needed to do. He’ll be back in good standing after one game.

Q. How do you feel going into year two?

COACH STOOPS: You feel a lot better. You feel a lot more confident. But as I said, I think even as an assistant throughout all these years, you’re always anxious to get out there in the first game, see what you have, where you are. I know we’ve improved. We’ll see how much.

Q. On Kyle Meadows being asked to step up

COACH STOOPS: I feel good about Kyle. Be good to get him out there and see what he can do. Jordan Swindle will do good on the left side.

Q. On Bud Dupree being listed at linebacker on depth chart

COACH STOOPS: It varies. We just listed it that way this year. Depends on the personnel they start with.

Q. On that being a way to get Jason Hatcher on field, too

COACH STOOPS: That’s going to be a big part of it. We wanted to get Jason on the field a year ago. He went through some good growing pains. He’s getting better. He’s a good football player. That is part of it, to get him on the field.

Q. A lot of new kids this year, just like last year. You have a lot of leadership. Easier to get things down than it was a year ago?

COACH STOOPS: Definitely. Always more comfortable year two with implementing the offense and defense. We went through a transition last year in‑season, as you know, going some more three down. It was good to have a whole off‑season, see what we did well. Players are more comfortable. Coaches are. I feel good about that.

Q. Will Demarco Robinson play this week?

COACH STOOPS: He will. Demarco is in good standing. He paid his price. He was suspended the last two games of last season. He met the obligations he needed to. He’s back in good standing and will be back in game one. There will be one other person, Rashad will have to sit one game, as well.

Q. Do you do anything to get the young guys ready for the bright lights?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I think they just need to go through it. We put them in pressure situations all through camp. We just got to throw them out there and see what they can do. I expect them to go out and play well. Some of the wide receivers will be forced into action. I want to say we have four redshirt freshmen that will play, four on the O‑line, four redshirt freshmen that will play on the O‑line, four true freshmen will play at wide receiver.

Q. On Alex Montgomery’s status:

COACH STOOPS: Alex is out. He’s injured. He’ll be out for some time.

Q. On how Patrick Towles has responded to being named a starter:

COACH STOOPS: He responded well. He was trying to be a good leader. When you’re in a quarterback battle, that’s tough to do sometimes. Think the comfort level of him trying to be the leader, trying to lead the offense has helped him. Getting some guys back healthy is good. Javess Blue has been back healthy out there for a few days. That helps as well.

Q. Home opener since the first time since 2007. Is there value in that?

COACH STOOPS: I definitely think so. Just playing at home in the opener is exciting to me. I know our fans are ready to go. We need to do our part. I know we’ll have great support. We need to go out there and start fast and play good football, play with great energy, play with great discipline, make it exciting for the fans.

Q. A lot of teams in this league don’t get to play their first two games at home. How important is that?

COACH STOOPS: I think it’s real important, I do. I think we need to start fast. We need to go out and play well. Like I said, we’ve talked a lot. Coach Spurrier always says it best: In the talking season, we talk a lot. We’ve improved. Our football team has worked hard. We’ll see where we’re at. I know we’re going to play better. It will be good to see these young guys get out there and play, see how we’ve improved, see the veterans, guys like Bud and Z, see them come out and see how much they’ve improved. It will be good to play at home.

Q. You have a lot of young kids playing for the first time. How do you keep these guys calm?

COACH STOOPS: That’s part of the unknown that I say we’ll see and how you respond from year to year. Certainly with young guys, some guys are going to go out there for the first time and they’re going to exceed our expectations, then some guys will probably have some rough spots here and there, have some mental mistakes, physical mistakes, things like that. That’s why you have to get out there and play. There’s no substitution for experience. You got to get them out there, get them on the field, and get them playing. We tried to put them in as many game‑like situations as we could. We try to prepare them the best we can with all different situations. Had a good camp. Put them through a lot of tests. We’ll see how they go play.

Q. What do you know about UT Martin?

COACH STOOPS: They have a great defensive player, No. 40, the linebacker, an exceptional player. He’s a really good football player. He can play anywhere in the country. Really like the way he plays. Like I said, I think they’re a well‑coached team. They’re very multiple on both sides of the ball, can do a lot of things. You got to be prepared for a lot, which is good for us to spend that time getting ready for a variety of offensive or defensive schemes. I think they’re the type of team, it’s a little unknown. They might get out there and try to pressure the heck out of us, or drop. They’ve shown both, where they’ve been conservative and drop eight guys into coverage a bunch, or they can blitz the house and come after you. I imagine we’ll see a bit of everything. It will be good for us to see how we prepare and respond to that.

Q. On Stanley “Boom” Williams:

COACH STOOPS: He’s going to start at kickoff return. He’s a guy I will be excited to see him with the ball in his hands. He definitely is a difference maker. Same with Mikel. Mikel Horton is the same way. I think he’s a guy that I want to see run the ball in the first game and see where we’re at. We do have the luxury of having some depth at running back, so we got to get those guys the ball.

Q. On the two freshmen running backs in pass protection:

COACH STOOPS: They’re getting there. They’re getting to the point where we trust them, where they can operate the whole offense.

Q. On Braylon Heard get starting the reps at running back:

COACH STOOPS: Braylon and Jojo. We list those guys. We look at them as starters. We may start in a package with both of them, so…

Q. Has a starter been named between Henderson and Flannigan?

COACH STOOPS: They both will play. We’ll see how practice goes this week. They’ll both play. They both have done a nice job.

Q. What do you think of Patrick, to be able to go out and win the quarterback job?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it was real important. As I’ve said, I think you’ve got to look at Patrick and be proud for him, the way he’s responded to the situation. A year ago, you know, he came out of camp at this time, he was third on the depth chart. He just looked at it, what can he do to improve. Like I said, he just went out and battled, got better over the year, came out this year, flipped the script, came out of it number one. He has an opportunity. I have a lot of confidence in him. I appreciate the way he’s gone about his business. I think our team has. He has this opportunity now. He needs to make the most of it.

Q. On Demarco Robinson in punt return duties:

COACH STOOPS: He is. We’re still grooming Timmons. As I said before, I think you’ll see both of them in the first game. Demarco has done it for a while, has experience. He’s comfortable catching the ball. His decision making is better than most just from experience. We’ll continue to get Timmons involved, as well.

Q. You’re down three receivers this week, but numbers‑wise do you feel you can use those four wide outs?

COACH STOOPS: I do. I feel better. We were discussing our depth chart over the weekend and early this morning. We do feel good about the wide receiver position. I feel like if we are in a four wide receiver set, we do feel we’re two deep. Maybe not as experienced as you’d like to be still at certain spots there, but talent‑wise we’re getting to the point where those are the guys we’re looking for. You just need to continue to get better, keep on working, see who goes out there and make the plays.

Q. What does UT-Martin do offensively?

COACH STOOPS: They do a little bit of everything. They can put an extra tackle in and play him at tight end. They may try to get big and run the ball a little bit. They’ve done that certain games. They get into what we call a 20‑personnel look, like our offense, like a lot of people do, that H backoff, do a variety of things. They get into a little bit of the quarterback run game stuff. There’s a lot to prepare for. It will be good for us. There’s a lot of things we’re familiar with, that we see from our offense as well, even if it’s just the sets, things like that, from 11 or 20 looks. 20 looks is just two backs, three wide receivers.

We’ll see a lot of things from them, I’m sure. Like anybody, the first game, they’ve had a long time to make some tweaks and adjust some things. So you never really know in that first game. They could come out and emphasize something we haven’t seen much of. But that’s where all the practice and preparation comes. Whether they’re empty sets, big sets, whatever, we’ve worked it all.

Q. Question about your team. What have they got to do better?

COACH STOOPS: I just think consistency. We’ve got to go play well and be consistent. We’re not good enough to make simple mistakes and shoot ourselves in the foot, turn the ball over, things like that obviously. We want to be very consistent. We want to pick up our tempo offensively and continue to grow and move the ball like we want to move the ball. We talk about our running backs and things like that. Of course, I’ve always said that, Neal has always said that. We’ve never given anybody any false indication of what we want to be offensively. We want to be balanced. Of course, that means we need to throw the ball better than we did a year ago also. We need to grow offensively and do what we want to do that way. Defensively, again, be more consistent. We need to get more turnovers. We certainly need to get more interceptions. Just be a more consistent group. Fundamentally we’re getting much closer to where we want to be, especially up front. I think in the secondary we’re getting better. We just need some play‑makers to step up.

Q. On percentages run to pass:

COACH STOOPS: That’s going to vary week‑to‑week. We always want to be close to 50/50. You look at UT Martin, they were very balanced a year ago as well. They want to be balanced. Any defensive guy will tell you that, the most difficult offenses to stop are the balanced ones.

Q. On UT-Martin quarterback being nephew of Brett Favre and if he reminds him of former QB:

COACH STOOPS: He does. He’s a good football player. Split time last year. They’re both good football players. So you could certainly see the talent there. Some of those throws and plays he makes are fun to watch. I just hope I don’t see those next week (laughter).

Q. One running back I haven’t heard about is Josh Clemons. Is he in a similar situation? Injury really set him back?

COACH STOOPS: It did set him back. Part of it, he’s worked extremely hard. Really appreciate Josh, the work he’s done. He’s had some tough luck. We’ve tried to be very smart with him and he can only handle so much throughout spring and through camp. We tried to just practice him every other practice to save his legs and save his knee. He did get into a live scrimmage, and honestly he got tweaked up there in that scrimmage. There’s that fine line of getting him game‑ready and not. With him being on the sidelines, I’m sure it gave reps to those young guys that are very talented and very good football players. He will have a role. We’ve got to continue to push for that and get him in there. He’s a big, strong guy that has some unique skill sets that can help us. We’ve got to try to use him. As at any position, we’ll see how things go. We’ll see who emerges and who really plays well.

Q. On if you use the whole playbook in opener or keep some plays back for future use:

COACH STOOPS: We’ve got to do everything necessary to play at a high level. With any game plan, you got to take whatever you’re going to emphasize that week and run with it on both sides of the ball. But we will try to play as best we can and do everything we can. We can’t take anything for granted, you know that. It’s just not where we’re at. The state of our program, we have to go out and play the very best we can each and every snap. Whatever we have to do to play well on both sides of the ball, special teams, we’ll do that.

Q. On upgrade of safety A.J. Stamps:

COACH STOOPS: Very comfortable with him. I love the way he plays. I love his instincts. He’s the type of guy, you correct him once, he generally never makes the same mistake twice. Really like the way he’s been playing. As I’ve said before, that’s a position where we drastically needed to improve, and I believe we did.

Q. What do you know about Coach Simpson?

COACH STOOPS: You know, I’m not very familiar with him, to be honest with him. I know he’s been here for some time, maybe eight, nine years. From Mississippi. I believe he played at Southern Miss. I don’t know him well.

Q. Darryl Long going to redshirt?

COACH STOOPS: That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what we plan on doing right now.

Q. On how did he took that news:

COACH STOOPS: He was good. A lot of the freshmen were good with it. They see it. Like I told you during some press conferences during camp, they get out here, you know, they’re very talented football players. It’s difficult. We’re getting better. As we get better, it gets harder to beat out some guys for playing time. That’s what you want in our program. Some positions we don’t have that luxury. At wide receiver, we have to (indiscernible) these guys with a firehose because we need players. It’s just where we’re at. It’s difficult. That’s two years in a row we’ve had to do that on the offensive side of the ball. Tell you this, if you had to do that on defense, I got very little hair left, but I think it would all be gone (laughter). It’s hard. So many things change. You got to keep on moving as a program. It’s good to have them, you know, supplement you and add some depth in certain spots. Some guys you can bring along. If you’re playing a whole mass group of them, you’re going to have a hard time.

Q. Is there a plan to give Reese Phillips a series here or there?

COACH STOOPS: That’s the plan right now. We’ll get into that honestly as we get through this week. I think I’d love to play him. Off the top of my head, I’d love to play him. But you know and I know Patrick needs the reps. We’ve got to get out there, get better, move this program forward. We’ll see how that goes. But to answer your question, I’d be very disappointed if he didn’t play in this game.

Q. On walk-on offensive lineman Cole Mosier:

COACH STOOPS: Really impressed with him. He’s really done a nice job. We liked him a year ago. He redshirted. We liked him in the spring. He’s a very big guy. He’s physical. He will play in this game. He’s battling for playing time on the inside. I’m anxious to see him play and see how he does.

Q. On defensive ends Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith:

COACH STOOPS: Well, it’s really important for those two to come back. As I said a lot through the off‑season, leadership is the first thing that jumps out at you. But also confidence. Our players see those guys out there, they make plays, are consistent, they’re always there. They’re great to have. You know I’m pretty tight with my compliments. You know that over the course of the year and a half. I’m really conservative when it comes to complimenting guys until they’ve proved it and earned it. I probably haven’t complimented those guys enough, to be honest with you. They are tremendous football players, great leaders. They’re going to be great pros.

Q. On what is the single hardest thing for a true freshman thrown out there for the first time:

COACH STOOPS: Just how fast the game moves. Even in practice, we have so many reps. If they make a mistake, they certainly hear about it, but it’s on to the next play. You get in the game, things happen even faster. That’s where the experience comes in. With experience, the game slows down for them. I think that’s what you see. Like I said earlier, I think you’ll see some guys respond to it very well, and you’ll see some guys make some silly mistakes.

Q. On if first plays are already scripted for offense:

COACH STOOPS: Not yet. We’re working on it. Pressing him on that this morning (laughter). We’re working through that. We’ll see what package we want to feature, where we want to go right out of the gate.

Q. On how important will it be to get Towles comfortable early:

COACH STOOPS: It’s certainly important for Patrick to get off to a fast start, and for our team to get off to a fast start. No hiding from that. It’s important for him to play well. He will. He’s going to make a lot of good plays and I’m sure he’ll make a few bad ones as well.

Q. You and Neal and D.J. said last year, people focus on the great plays, but you need to have good plays stacked on top of each other. How close are you to getting that now compared to last year?

COACH STOOPS: Much closer. Then it comes to the big plays, and that’s where we still need to grow. I think if you watch college football, you see these great teams, great teams in this league, very well‑coached, then it comes down to some guys making some plays a lot of times as well. You need play‑makers to emerge.

Q. You talked about UT-Martin’s Tony Bell briefly. What does he do especially?

COACH STOOPS: He’s a great linebacker, but he’s a great pass‑rusher as well. Like Bud in that area. Bud is an outside backer, obviously much bigger. But he’s like Bud in that he’s comfortable on his feet, got great instincts, he’s an extremely good pass‑rusher. He’s a mismatch for some people on the edge.

Q. On if Patrick Towles will have time to make mistakes:

COACH STOOPS: Don’t go there (laughter). I’m going to cut you off. I know where you’re going. He has the keys. You heard me say that before. He’s going to go through some ups and downs. That’s anybody at any position. We never guarantee anything except an opportunity, so… He’s not on a short leash. He won the job. He is the starting quarterback.

Q. You’ve been around a lot of NFL players. Where could you possibly see Bud and Za’Darius going in the draft? I know you’re not focused on that, but…

COACH STOOPS: I’d be very shocked if Bud was not a first‑round draft pick. He’s got to play his way into it, have the opportunity to be a high pick. I truly believe that. You know I’ve been around a lot of great ones. A lot of linebackers recently at Florida State. Za’Darius the same thing. He could have gone a year ago, a little lower, but has a chance to play himself up into a high draft pick. First couple rounds. They’re both very talented. But Bud is special. He has that ability to play standing up. Put his hand in the dirt. He’s a pass‑rusher. He’s got instincts. With everybody going to a lot of the 3‑4 things, outside backers, versatility, he’s a very good player.

Q. On if he’s pleased with Dupree:

COACH STOOPS: I am. Yeah, I was. That’s one of the reasons I think I’m conservative with my praising of guys. I don’t need to be with him. He comes to work every day. He loves being here. If he was worried about that, he would have left a year ago. He wanted to come back, play himself up into a high pick. He wanted to lead this team. He had unfinished business. I love everything about him, the way he goes about his business. He’s not worried about anything except getting better this year.

Q. On his plan to name captains or do it game by game like he did last season:

COACH STOOPS: Last year I was unsure. We changed them up throughout the year. As you saw a year ago, Avery (Williamson) was a staple out there. We’ll see how that goes in the next couple weeks.

Q. On defensive tackle Matt Elam:

COACH STOOPS: He’s made it through camp. He’s getting better every day. He’s about where I thought he would be. He’s a talented football player that the sky’s the limit. We need to continue to develop him fundamentally, not just shape, but fundamentally he’s got to play better. He’s got to be lower, play more consistent. What I love about him, it’s not easy, it’s not been easy, he has a good attitude about it. He’s got his ups and downs like all freshmen. But he’s really trying to fight through it, wants to be a good player. He needs to stay extremely dedicated if he wants to be everything we know he can be, which is a great football player.

Q. He’s a funny guy?

COACH STOOPS: He’s a funny guy. A lot less jokes through camp because he’s been really tired (laughter). He’s got a good attitude. He’s been fun.

Q. On how he feels about UK’s defensive tackle options:

COACH STOOPS: I feel good about our D tackles. I feel like we’re getting closer to playing better fundamentally. If you know anything about myself, we take great pride in that. That’s our job, to develop them into good fundamental football players. I feel like Jimmy has done a good job with them. We’re getting closer to where we want to be.

Q. On if Elam is at a better playing size now:

COACH STOOPS: Well, he’s getting better. He’s working hard. Just like any young guy, any freshman, it takes time. You just got to keep on working. But I like his attitude. He knows that he’s got to work hard. He knows he’s got areas he needs to improve. He’s addressing them.

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Quick hits from Stoops news conference

Quick hits from Mark Stoops’ chat with the media:

  • Left tackle Darrian Miller and wide receiver Rashad Cunningham both have been suspended for the season opener for violations of team rules, Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops announced on Monday at his news conference to preview the season opener on Saturday against Tennessee-Martin. Stoops said Miller’s issue happened “a while back” and this is just his suspension for that.
  • Stoops said he doesn’t pass out compliments often, but he probably should pass them out more often about defensive ends Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith. The coach said he expects both of them will be good pros one day and said he believed Dupree could work himself into a first-round NFL Draft spot.
  • There have been some questions wondering if Patrick Towles is just a mistake or two from being yanked as the starting quarterback. Stoops squashed any of that talk, saying: “He has the keys. He’s going to go through some ups and downs.” Coaches will do everything they can to help Towles be successful early in the opener, let him get comfortable.
  • Running back Josh Clemons suffered a minor tweak in one of the most recent scrimmages and has missed more practice time. He’s sat out each of the last two seasons, first with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and then with an Achilles’ tendon tear.
  • Freshman tight end Darryl Long is likely headed for a red shirt this season, Stoops said.
  • Wide receiver Demarco Robinson, who was suspended the last two games of the season and was still a question mark as of last week for the opener, will play, his head coach said. Robinson is listed as a starter at one receiver spot and as one of two punt returners along with Ryan Timmons.
  • Braylon Heard and Stanley “Boom” Williams are listed as kick returners. Stoops said he’s excited to see Williams with the ball in his hands.

 

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Updates on Miller, Cunningham suspensions

Senior Darrian Miller, a two-year starter at left tackle, has been suspended for a game for a violation of team rules, Mark Stoops announced on Monday.

Miller, a former standout at Bryan Station, has played in every game since he arrived on campus.

Event happened some time ago, the coach said, but Miller be back in good standing by the Ohio game.

Jordan Swindle will be moved back into Miller’s spot and Kyle Meadows will take over Swindle’s spot on the other side.

  • Kentucky wide receiver Rashad Cunningham also will sit the season opener for a violation of team rules, Stoops added. Cunningham missed all of last season with academic issues. He had eight catches for 80 yards and a touchdown in the Blue-White Spring Game.

 

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Official: UK season ticket sales at 40,600

As of Monday morning, Kentucky has sold 40,600 season tickets for the season, UK officials said.

Before the season opener last season, Kentucky reported UK had 47,426 season tickets out, which included student tickets as well as comps.

The current 40,600 number does not include students or comps, just season tickets sold. Before 2012, the previous low for season ticket sales numbers this decade was 42,974 in 2006.

Last week Louisville announced it had sold a record 46,149 season tickets for the Cardinals, which eclipses their previous record of 45,627.

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Lowery case will not go to court in 2014

Kentucky’s Ashely Lowery likely will make it through this season without his driving under the influence charge ever making it to court.

The senior safety, who was charged with DUI from an accident on May 4, 2013 in his hometown of Cleveland, Ga., does not have a court date set and one won’t be scheduled until early 2015.

The judge in the case does not have anything on his trial calendar until next year, a clerk in the county prosecutor’s office said.

Lowery, who was hospitalized and in the intensive care unit for several days following the crash, was arraigned on the charges in June.

Lowery was driving a silver, 2011 Nissan Altima southbound on Town Creek Road in Cleveland, when the vehicle crossed the center line, traveled off the east shoulder and went down an embankment.

The car “continued overturning as it traveled along the tree line before coming to rest on its top along the east shoulder of the road,” the initial report said.

Tire marks were evident on the road and the report estimated that the Altima traveled 265 feet after it left the road.

A secondary crash report said the senior had a blood-alcohol level of .139 more than two hours after the crash. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

Lowery, who started all 12 games for the Cats last season, finished ninth on the team in tackles with 46 and one of UK’s three interceptions on the season.

In July, Mark Stoops was asked about Lowery’s status with the team pending trial and the head coach said there had been “no change.”

“We’re working through a few things,” Stoops said. “Ashely is in good standing right now.”

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Cats settling in on offensive line rotation

Kentucky is “getting pretty close” to settling into a rotation for the offensive line, which returns all but one starter off last year’s team, offensive coordinator Neal Brown said on Friday.

Red-shirt freshman Ramsey Meyers has secured that one open spot at right guard, where Kevin Mitchell started every game last season. Zach West, who seemed to struggle at times last season, will keep his left guard position, where he started the final seven games last season. Darrian Miller and Jordan Swindle will anchor the line at their starting spots last season at left and right tackle.

There were some questions at some backup spots and it appears those are starting to have answers. “Kyle Meadows, we’re going to play him a lot,” Brown said. “Kyle Meadows will play a lot.”

Look for Cole Mosier and Nick Haynes to get into the game early in the season and Teven Eatmon-Nared will have an opportunity, too.

“So we’ve settled on a rotation,” Brown said. “Exactly who’s going to start or when everybody is going to go in, that’s to-be-determined.”

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Stoops, Brown discuss planned redshirts

UK Coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown said Friday that quarterback Drew Barker is among the freshmen most likely to redshirt this fall.

Both coaches said all five of the new wide receivers — Dorian Baker, Blake Bone, Garrett Johnson, Thaddeus Snodgrass and T.V. Williams — will play as true freshmen.

“Well, obviously, we’ve had some wideouts that are beat up a little bit and we recruited those guys to play,” Brown said. “That was a position of need, so we are. A couple of them may be in a position to start. We’ll see.”

Other freshmen that will definitely see the field this fall are running backs Stanley “Boom” Williams and Mikel Horton, defensive tackle Matt Elam and defensive back Kendall Randolph.

Both Stoops and Brown said the plan is to redshirt Barker, who will continue to practice as a backup to starter Patrick Towles.

“I think that would be in his best interest and our best interest,” Stoops said. “We’ll see how that goes. He will prepare to play in a backup role, and if we can save him through the season that’s what we’d like to do.”

“We’re not going to put him in in any junk minutes by any means,” Brown added.

The other freshmen on UK’s roster, including Lloyd Tubman, are likely to redshirt this season.

“We’ll redshirt them if we can,” Stoops said. “We’ll see how they progress.”

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Badet will miss first two games with eye injury

Kentucky will be without sophomore wide receiver Jeff Badet for at least the first two games of the season, Mark Stoops said on Friday.

Badet, who took a tennis ball to the eye last week doing drills, is improving, but will not play in the opener against Tennessee-Martin or in game two against Ohio University.

Stoops said he was hopeful that Badet would return quickly.

“It is getting better,” the coach said. “It’s not as bad as it could have been, and it’s getting better. From what I understand, these injuries take some time, and we have to be very careful with that, that that type of injury.”

Badet, the Cats’ third-leading receiver last season with 22 catches for 285 yards and touchdown, has missed all but the first part of fall camp while trying to heal the leg injury he sustained at the end of the spring.

“He has not practiced since I want to say the fourth or fifth day in camp, so we’ve been preparing without him,” offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “He was never out there making a whole bunch of plays, so it’s not a let down from a team standpoint.

“I’m disappointed for him because he put in a lot of work to come back from the ankle injury he suffered in the spring, but he’ll be ready. Game two or game three, I expect him to be out there with us.”

  • Other than wide receiver Alexander Montgomery, who missed all of fall camp while still rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, Stoops said the team will be relatively healthy going into the opener.
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