By LARRY VAUGHT
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown was talking to recruits when receivers coach Tommy Mainord came to find him before the Kentucky-Alabama State game.
“I could tell it was not going to be good,” said Brown.
However, he had no idea that Mainord was going to tell him UK’s top receiver and kick returner Javess Blue was not going to play because he injured his eye throwing football with teammates on the field before the Cats even started pregame warmups.
“Coach Mainord told me Javess got hit in the eye, it was swollen and did not look good,” said Brown after Saturday’s 48-14 win. “There were a lot of things we were going to try to do early to get him the ball, and we had to adjust at the last minute.”
Brown thinks Blue “will be fine” to play in UK’s next game against Missouri.
“You just have to be careful with eye injuries. I know because I had two when I played here,” Brown said.
However, that was not the only receiver Brown lost.
Freshman Alex Montgomery caught a 6-yard scoring pass on the first play of the second quarter. He was all alone in the end zone. After making the catch, he went to celebrate and jumped to chest bump teammate Demarco Robinson. Another Wildcat also joined the celebration and when Montgomery landed, he hurt his knee.
He had to be helped off the field and later returned to the sideline on crutches.
“I am just better off not commenting,” UK coach Mark Stoops said initially when asked about the two injuries. “It is frustrating. He was just out there throwing it around like the guys do, getting out there, getting loose, and just took a ball right in the eye. So that closed up and he couldn’t see out of it. Then I popped him in the other eye; he couldn’t see out of that one. So he had two black eyes.
“No, you guys (in the media) are going to put that in print and people are going to start arresting me. You know I’m joking. Then with Alex, that was really disappointing with Alex, and we’ll see. Hopefully, it’s not serious, but I’m afraid it may be because he’s been solid all year and getting better for a young guy. To get that touchdown, we’ve got to learn to celebrate better.”
Stoops said while it is a good problem “for sure” to talk about how to celebrate touchdowns, he will do that with his team.
“I think we need to talk about it certainly because we may have gotten somebody seriously injured doing that. And somebody was telling me today, I guess, a Georgia player or something did the same in the first game. So we definitely need to look at it,” he said.