By GUY RAMSEY, UK Athletics
The Kentucky football team reported for fall camp only four days ago, but the Wildcats aren’t wasting any time getting their feet under them.
“It’s been good,” head coach Mark Stoops said. “Been good work. Things are moving fast. We have a lot in on both sides of the ball. It just goes to show you that we did a lot of work in the summer. Not as many mental mistakes, the ball is not on the ground as much, we’re learning how to practice. Still being super competitive and physical, but practicing very smart.”
That continued into Monday, when UK turned in yet another solid morning practice.
“I liked the practice,” Stoops said. “It was a good, competitive practice. Both sides did some good things. Both sides were sloppy at times. In general we’re competing. Guys are flying around. Good physical day.”
Early returns in fall camp are good, but Stoops isn’t about to stop challenging his team. With the season opener now less than four weeks away, there’s too much still to do for the Cats to let up.
“We got a lot of work in the past couple of days and I’m pleased with where we’re at,” Stoops said. “Have a lot more to go. Have to continue to build some depth in certain areas. There’s no getting around that. We need certain groups to step up, in particular the defensive line.”
It was no accident that Stoops named the defensive line, as the unit has taken a hit with news announced Monday. Senior defensive tackle Regie Meant will be out indefinitely for personal reasons. Stoops was unsure whether Meant – who had 31 tackles and a sack last season – will return to the team, leaving it to those previously behind him on the depth chart to step up.
“Alvonte (Bell) is a big guy, Courtney Miggins as we talked about,” Stoops said. “We’ll bring some guys along. Kengera (Daniel) needs to really develop. He’s a guy that needs to step up and improve.”
UK also has a talented group of first-year defensive linemen – Ja’Quize Cross, Kordell Looney and T.J. Carter – who will be called on to contribute.
“They’re going to have to,” Stoops said. “They’re good players. They’re a long ways off right now but they’re good players. They’re what you want and what you look for. We needed a good solid d-line class. We have one in this group. We have to bring them along a little bit. How much they can help us — I don’t know yet.”
Long to transfer
Stoops announced on Monday that tight end Darryl Long will transfer. With developing depth at his position, Long is leaving to pursue more playing time. Stoops announced on Saturday that cornerback Jared Tucker was doing the same.