Mark Stoops just wrapped up his first weekly press conference of the season in the Wildcat Den, and had plenty to tell reporters about the team heading into Saturday’s opener. I already posted the unfortunate news about Kyle Meadows and CJ Johnson being suspended, but here are some quick notes before Kindsey has a full recap for you later.
— The biggest injury we’re keeping an eye on right now is starting weakside linebacker Ryan Flannigan. Stoops sounded hopeful Flannigan will be back soon. “We’ll see,” Stoops said. “He’s getting better, I think he’s very close. If he can practice Tuesday or Wednesday, he’ll play. If he can’t practice by Wednesday, he won’t play.”
— Freshmen, both true and redshirt, were all over this week’s depth chart, and Stoops said he expects nine true and ten redshirt freshman to play this year. Heading into year three, that’s a telling sign of the talent still coming into the program, and Stoops is clearly letting talent win some position battles even if means sacrificing experience. He singled out running back/kick returner Sihiem King and cornerback Chris Westry as two true freshmen that really turned heads in camp, calling King an explosive playmaker.
— Speaking of redshirt freshmen, Stoops said the depth at wide receiver is so good that the staff is hoping to redshirt Tavin Richardson and Jabari Greenwood. “If we stay healthy, we’ll protect them if we can. But if we need them to win football games, we’ll play them.”
— Alexander Montgomery not being on the depth chart raised some eyebrows this morning, and Stoops admitted the sophomore has had some setbacks with his injuries, but will play on Saturday.
— You’ve heard Freddie talk a lot about ULL’s star RB Elijah McGuire. Stoops called him a “very dynamic” and “fantastic player” that will create problems for the Cats. How is he feeling about his run defense? “It comes down to just getting more stops,” he said. “We need to get better in a lot of areas, and run defense is one of them. But I anticipate we will be improved.”
Forget Those 8-4 Predictions We Going 12-0 !! It's Game Week #BBN We Ready !!!
— Matt Elamâ„¢6âƒ£9âƒ£ (@FballIsLife69) August 31, 2015
— A reporter brought Matt Elam’s tweet about going undefeated to Stoops’ attention, to which Stoops joked, “I didn’t even know he said it. Well, he needs to lose a few pounds, so I’ll get him after practice.”
Similarly, Stoops said he likes the players’ confidence, but “if that’s what motivates you, then put your money where your mouth is.”
A replay, if you missed it: