Kentucky’s first five football games have taken a toll on the team. Each game for the 4-1 Wildcats has been decided by an average of 6.6 points. The hard-fought battles have strained the health of many important players.
Jordan Jones is out another week. Charles Walker is banged up, C.J. Conrad was limited to between 30 and 40 snaps and Stephen Johnson has taken a ton of hits.
“He’s been hit a bunch,” Mark Stoops said of his quarterback. “He’s banged up a little bit. We have to limit some reps today, but you expect Stephen being Stephen, he’ll be back out there I’m sure tomorrow full go.”
It’s an issue that affects every team around the country during this part of the year. Stoops said, “it can’t be” a factor this Saturday against Missouri. He used an automobile analogy to describe the team’s current situation.
“You drive your car to run it empty and the you refuel it, right? So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to run it empty this week, and then we’ll refuel.”
The problem is that the car isn’t a three series BMW. Right now the team is more like my 1996 Ford Escort. It has a crack in the fuel pump. It still runs fine, but it can only take three quarters of a tank or it will leak gas. I could fix it with some money that I don’t have. Just like Kentucky can fix their problem with a Bye Week, something they do not have for another week.
“Somehow, you gotta get back to par on Monday. I think we’re in a good spot here this week. I think we’re in a good spot to go lay it on the line this week to have a really good week of preparation and to run the tank dry this week — and play exceptionally hard and practice exceptionally hard — to then hit the reset button in the middle of the season. We won’t look any farther than that.”
Until UK can afford to hit the reset button, they will look deep into the depth chart. Drake Jackson gives UK eight offensive linemen to rotate, more reps for Lynn Bowden will alleviate the stress on Walker, just like Greg Hart and Justin Rigg did for Conrad last Saturday.
Mark Stoops’ team has strained to start the season 4-1. They’ll have to do the same this week to be 5-1 entering the Bye Week.