By LARRY VAUGHT
Will linebacker Jordan Jones play in the Music City Bowl after getting three personal foul penalties in the loss to Louisville?
Immediately after the Louisville game, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops indicated that he would.
On Tuesday, Stoops was not quite as positive.
“I don’t necessarily want to make a final comment on any of that at this point. I really don’t. But yeah, I anticipate him participating in the bowl game. To what extent or how much and all that, I am not ready to make any decision on all that right now,” Stoops said.
Jones can be one of UK’s best defenders. He can also be one of the more emotional players who might miss an assignment because of that. He’s also had other run-ins on and off the field.
“He has to be consistent in it and it cannot be at the cost of the players and the people around him. He knows that. He works hard at it and he has improved in a lot of areas. We all know. We don’t need to go back there and I don’t want to go back there, but we all know that is unacceptable (what he did against Louisville) and that is not going to happen,” Stoops said.
The coach did explain why he will not dismiss Jones from the team.
“That is not a part of our program. We have tried exceptionally hard to do things right and act right but we are not perfect and Jordan is not. Believe me, there are parts of it with Jordan and any player, where the easy thing to do is to say, ‘Just get rid of the player.’ That is not what I am going to do. This is not about me and what people perceive me as,” Stoops said.
“Kicking kids to the curb or getting rid of them or dismissing them, that is the easy thing to do sometimes. The hard thing to do is to continue to work with them and develop them and make them a very constructive piece of our program and society. That is what I am trying to do.
“I know Jordan’s background and where he comes from and the difficulties and the struggles that he has had. That doesn’t make it an excuse, but it means something to me to not just kick him to the curb and help him grow and become the young man that I know he can be.”