The Kentucky football team missed one of its key players during Saturday’s blowout loss at Alabama due to a false positive COVID-19 test, the UK head coach confirmed during his call-in radio show Monday evening.
According to Mark Stoops, one of Kentucky’s top players practiced all week long last week, but was told Friday before getting on the plane to Tuscaloosa that he had returned a positive test. As a result, he was forced to miss the game.
“It was difficult last week. We may get one back that was a false positive, which completely sucks that we didn’t have him with us. At least we’ll have him back for this one,” Stoops said. “You practice him all week, he’s a key player, and then Friday we’re getting on the plane and it’s supposedly a positive, but now it’s not. It’s crazy.”
Leading up to kickoff Saturday afternoon, UK announced a list of ten absences due to “various reasons,” headlined by star running back Chris Rodriguez, linebacker Jamin Davis and punter Max Duffy.
The provided list was a mix of COVID-19 cases and injuries:
- Running Back Chris Rodriguez
- Linebacker Jamin Davis
- Linebacker D’Eryk Jackson
- Linebacker Torrance Davis
- Tight End Justin Rigg
- Tight End Brendan Bates
- Punter Max Duffy
- Offensive Guard Luke Fortner
- Defensive Back Taj Dodson
- Cornerback Jamari Brown
Despite missing ten scholarship players against the No. 1 team in college football, Stoops said the idea of postponing the game never crossed his mine.
That doesn’t make the 63-3 “ass kicking” any easier.
“We’re down a bunch of guys, but again, nobody gives a crap. It is what it is,” the UK head coach said. “They’re going to look at the score and that’s the bottom line. It didn’t enter my mind. I’m not going to go into the protocol, “Let’s shut it down, let’s shut down our building.” That’s not what I’m about.
“Going down there and taking an ass kicking is not exactly a lot of fun either. These are the circumstances we’re in. It’s a tough situation.”
Looking at the updated depth chart released on Monday, Luke Fortner, Brenden Bates, Max Duffy, Jamin Davis and Taj Dodson all returned to the two-deep rotation, meaning they are all expected to return when Kentucky heads to Gainesville, FL to take on the Gators on Saturday.
Chris Rodriguez, D’Eryk Jackson, Torrance Davis, Justin Rigg and Jamari Brown weren’t included and their statuses remain unclear for this weekend.
With Stoops confirming the false positive Monday evening – he didn’t address it at the time of his press conference earlier in the day – it could mean the updated tests results came back leading up to the call-in show and could include one of the aforementioned missing players on the depth chart.
Either way, we should learn more throughout the week who the Wildcats will have available when they take the field at Florida.