Mark Stoops was back at the podium for more “Talkin’ Season” today at UK Football Media Day. Things are getting pretty repetitive after hearing from him several times throughout the summer, but we do have a little more now that he’s had four practice days with his team in fall camp.
Several freshmen will play next season.
Stoops estimates as many as 13 true freshmen will see action in 2014. Most of the contributing rookies will be on the offensive side of the ball; he mentioned the wide receivers as a group that will need help from first-year players. “I think we have to play the receivers,” he said. “Those guys have looked very good.”
The young running backs also got some love. That’d be Mikel Horton and Boom Williams.
There is still no timetable for the quarterback race.
The race is still “wide open” with Patrick Towles, Drew Barker and Reese Phillips are currently getting equal reps in practices. Maxwell Smith, the veteran of the group, is still the fourth option as he continues to climb his way back from injury. Stoops said Smith still isn’t back to 100 percent.
Quarterback play will be improved, no matter who starts.
Stoops expects the position to be much better this season, regardless of who earns the starting job. He’s excited for whoever becomes his QB1, but right now it would be reckless and unfair to the players to hurry into a decision.
Ryan Flannigan is already making his case for a starting role.
“I love the way he is playing,” Stoops said of his JUCO transfer linebacker, who arrived on campus last week. “He’s really going to help us at linebacker. He and Khalid (Henderson) will compete for that weakside linebacker spot.”
He loves his new defensive linemen.
“Middleton and Tubman, I absolutely love them,” Stoops said of two of his freshman defensive linemen. He said Middleton may need to redshirt but he has a ton of potential and he’s gained lots of weight, but it’s weight that needs to be restructured.
Regarding Tubman, Stoops said, physically, he looks a lot like Bud Dupree did one year ago. WOW.
And Matt Elam, he’ll probably see the field Week 1.
The 2014 recruiting class is exceeding expectations.
“They’re everything we thought they would be and more.”
“I really love the direction of the program.”
Stoops raved about the new bodies he has on the roster and how everyone, inside and outside of the locker room, is buying in to UK Fooball.