By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said Wednesday he was hopeful that several players who suffered injuries in last week’s loss at Tennessee would be able to play Saturday against Austin Peay.
However, he also said several younger players have continued to impress him in practice if they are needed on the field more.
“I’ve seen some good things this week from (cornerback) Jordan Griffin. I’ve seen some good things this week from (linebacker) Jordan Bonner. (Llineman) T.J. Carter continues to get better,” Eliiot said.
“Those are guys that have had talent, and we’ve been practicing quite a bit and been able to get them in a game when we can. But I think they’re continuing to grow, continuing to get better, and I think those guys are going to play well toward the end of this year. I’m looking forward to it.”
Redshirt freshman linebacker Eli Brown had to play a lot more than normal at Tennessee when leading tackler Jordan Jones went out with a first-half injury.
“It was a tough game for him in general without having that much experience playing that spot. He was put in a bad position. He had some tough things going on with him with a loss in his personal life. I love him and he’s a great young man and will be a great player but that was a tough situation for him to have to play significant snaps,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said.
Running back Sihiem King got a rare chance to play at Tennessee and scored a touchdown. His problem has been playing behind Boom Williams, Benny Snell and JoJo Kemp.
“I’ve told him, ‘You’ll get a chance, you’ll get a chance, you’ll get a chance. And when you do you have to be ready.’ And he was ready. I was proud of him. It was neat to see his teammates. It was neat to see the running backs congratulate him. They were the first three up there telling him what a great job. Everybody knows because the guy busts his tail every day at practice. That is something to look forward to in the future,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said.
Kentucky is a huge favorite Saturday and a win would make the Cats bowl eligible.
“Even though we’re coming off two losses, I think we did some very good things against some very good opponents the last two games. Since our bye we’ve played some good football. We know there’s always room for improvement,” Stoops said.
“We’re trying to peak at the right time, but I think our team is stronger. I think we’re more physical than we’ve been in the past, particularly running the football. You know, at this point in the season everyone’s banged up and I think that’s important. Every year’s a new year so I haven’t noticed any inward pressure. I’ve noticed our team really going out to prepare to continue to improve as a football team.”