By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky had to play 95 defensive snaps last week in its 44-35 loss to Southern Mississippi. That included linebacker Courtney Love playing every snap, linebacker Jordan Jones — who had 19 tackles — playing over 80 and nose guard Matt Elam almost 80 plays.
“We played our starters too many snaps,” Stoops said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. “We’re going down in The Swamp, different talents, probably very hot and humid. Hopefully we won’t have 95 snaps again but you never know”
So will he trust backups more this week to play against Florida, a top 25 team?
“We’ll get them ready and that just comes from hard work in practice and the trust to get them in there and get them some game reps,” Stoops said. “We’ll run some guys along this week, play some different guys up front, try to get our backup nose in there a little bit, Naquez Pringle. We’ll get him some reps.
“We feel like we have another pass rusher in De’Niro Laster that we can get in the game some out on the edges to play. Tymere Dubose is coming off a knee injury, played some for us a year ago. He’s been coming off a knee surgery that was some time ago but he’s getting closer and closer to game ready so we hope to bring him along as well.
“We have a freshman in T.J. Carter who we feel like is going to be a very good player but we’ve got to get him settled in and be able to execute.”
So not exactly a vote of confidence for the backups. Or at least that is the way I take it, especially combined with what he had to say after Saturday’s game when he was asked if he thought the depth would improve.
“Depth is about bringing guys along to where you trust them to put them in a game. That game there was a lot on the line, as you know, and as the momentum got going against us, you sometimes are a little hesitant to put in some guys that haven’t had a lot of experience,” Stoops said after the loss. “So that, we have to get more confident in the guys that we have before them to develop that depth in game situations.”