Mark Stoops hopes to expand the rotation for the Kentucky football team this Saturday against Ole Miss, giving the underclassmen more opportunities to make plays in the first game at Kroger Field of the 2020 season.
In the opening game of the season at Auburn, D’Eryk Jackson was the only true freshman to receive significant reps, spelling Jamin Davis at Mike linebacker. Another inside linebacker, Louisville native and former four-star Jared Casey, should be in the rotation this Saturday against Ole Miss.
“We gotta continue to work some guys in the mix,” Stoops said Thursday evening. “I think you’ll see Jared Casey get some reps. He’s a redshirt freshman, but still a freshman. You get him and Vito (Tisdale) will probably get some reps this week. He was doing good all camp, but then he got an injury that kind of set him back a touch before the opener.”
Vito was one of just two true freshman on the first two-deep of the season, backing up Davonte Robinson at nickel. Lane Kiffin’s spread offense typically uses three and four receivers, which will force the Cats to use the nickel and other subpackages more often. True freshman wide receiver Izayah Cummings made his first appearance on the depth chart this week as well.
In preparation of Ole Miss’ uptempo offense, running backs Travis Tisdale and JuTahn McClain have played significant roles in providing adequate looks on scout team. Stoops would like to see them play on Saturday, but as we all know, finding carries to share is difficult in that talented running back room.
“Travis is a guy that I’d love to see get some touches. He’s an explosive player. He can really go. He can be a difference maker. You might possibly see him on some kick returns once or twice as well, see if we can get him a few touches because I’d like to see him with the ball in his hands, he can go,” Stoops said.
“The same with JuTahn. He practiced well but it’s a crowded backfield. It seems like it’s one of the first couple questions after each game about one of the three backs, and again, you guys already know how it’s gonna go. One of them is going to have the big day and it all depends on who has the explosive run because our O-line does a really good job and we’re going to continue to pound the football. Sooner or later one of those guys is going to rip off a big run, but they’re all capable of it. We’ll continue to rotate as many guys as we can.”