Mark Stoops finally revealed why there’s been an unusual absence on the offensive line.
No. 66 has been receiving regular reps with the Big Blue Wall since he earned his first career start as a redshirt freshman, filling in for the injured Landon Young against Central Michigan to start the 2018 season. Since making his debut, Naasir Watkins has appeared at both left and right tackle, registering reps before one day becoming the Cats’ full-time starter.
With all eyes on the impressive play from Young and Darian Kinnard, this season we forgot about the guy who used to regularly give them breaks. Today Jon Hale from the Courier-Journal finally asked, “Where’s Naasir?” It turns out he actually had knee surgery months ago.
“Naasir’s out for the year with his knee injury. He had surgery a while back. He’s getting better and going through his rehab,” Stoops said.
That wasn’t the only injury update of the day. Tight end Brenden Bates was starting to come into his own as a blocker and a pass-catcher, reeling in a 14-yard reception against Miss. State before taking a shot to the knee. Sidelined ever since, Stoops said Bates was running with the training staff on the practice field today. He won’t be ready Saturday, but we should see the Cincinnati Moeller product before the regular season concludes.
Stoops didn’t just talk injuries during his final media appearance ahead of the road trip to Alabama. Hear him talk Crimson Tide by watching all of the action below.