By LARRY VAUGHT
While Kentucky has played a lot of true freshmen this season, coach Mark Stoops says there are also players being redshirted who could have played this season and easily could start next season.
“Some of the linemen (could start). Ramsey’s a guy that jumps out, Ramsey Meyers, right away. He’s got good size to him. I want to say he’s in the 330 (pound) range right now. And again, he plays very hard. He’s nasty and athletic. He’s a guy that can help us inside definitely,” said Stoops. “Kyle Meadows. I like Kyle and all those guys, really.”
On the defensive side, he again mentioned lineman Regie Meant.
“He’s gained probably 20, 30 pounds. He’s probably 290 right now,” Stoops said. “Jacob Hyde has changed his body. He really works hard. I’m really proud of Jacob. I think he’s been a big, strong guy, but he’s actually leaned up a little bit and getting more flexibility and working hard.”
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown says redshirting certain linemen — even if they could have helped this season — was the right thing to do.
“Here’s the way I look at it: Let’s look at Jordan Swindle; Jordan Swindle is a sophomore right now. Now if he was a redshirt freshman doing what he’s doing, then you’re like, ‘Whoa.’ You know what I mean?” Brown said. “So I just believe that from a wear-and-tear standpoint up front, the right thing is to redshirt those guys.
“They’re going to be so much better as redshirt freshman and have four … they have a chance to have four great years, where this year it would’ve been up and down. Now by this time could they help us? No question. Would they have been a factor Week one, two or three? Probably not.”
Brown said those players being redshirted have taken advantage of the chance to lift more weights to get stronger.
“Like Kyle Meadows is a great example. He’s put on anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds just from preseason camp. And those guys, because those guys are lifting; they’re not traveling and those guys are able to spend more time in the weight room. Not worrying about conditioning right now, but just from a strength standpoint, they would not have gotten as strong as they are right now,” Brown said.
Brown also sees talent on the defensive scout team he faces daily.
“Regie Meant’s the first one who jumps out. Regie Meant, he’s going to be a big factor,” Brown said. “I don’t want to speak for (defensive coordinator) D.J. (Eliot) or Mark (Stoops), but he’s going to be a major factor in what they’re doing. And J.D. (Harmon) unfortunately is over there (because he’s academically ineligible) and he did it to himself, but I mean he’s over there and he’s athletically, and you know, he played a lot of football last year and he’s a guy from an athletic standpoint will definitely help.
“And Melvin Lewis is a kid, who if he continues to get in shape and continues to get stronger and takes coaching, he’s a guy in there who can be a factor, too.”