Josh Paschal has never used cancer as an excuse. In fact, Mark Stoops had to force him to leave the practice field earlier this week.
“He got done with his treatment on Wednesday, sat out Thursday and Friday came right back out there and it was hot. It was one of those days where it was very humid and hot. He got a little sick, but he doesn’t want to be out long,” Stoops said after Saturday’s scrimmage at Kroger Field.
“A few days prior to his treatment I had to pull him out and send him into the showers just to cool off because he just wasn’t feeling great. He doesn’t ever want to come out but we have to make sure we do a good job of managing him. Our staff does a great job. Our trainers do a great job and brought it to my attention. He argued with me for about five minutes and I said, ‘Get in and hit the showers.'”
Even though he got a little sick on a hot Friday afternoon, Paschal returned to the field for Kentucky’s first preseason scrimmage Saturday morning. Live reps have been few and far-between over the last year. Used in a limited capacity, he made the most of his time on the Kroger Field turf.
“He came back and looked good out there today,” Stoops said. “He wants to play. As you know, he’s missed a lot, so the live reps today were important to him. I’ll have to go get a pitch count to see how many reps he did get, but he looked good when he was out there.”
Playing Jack linebacker alongside Jordan Wright and Xavier Peters, Paschal is the most experienced player at Josh Allen’s former position, in spite of his absence through most of the 2018 season. He will play his way back into shape over the next month. In that time Paschal will have to earn a starting spot, but he does not need to earn respect from the people around the Kentucky football program.
“Josh, he’s remarkable,” said Stoops. “We’ve talked about it a lot, but it’s the truth. He’s a real inspiration to a lot of us.”