A lot of things went wrong in Kentucky’s 24-7 loss to South Carolina, but Sawyer Smith’s injured shoulder didn’t help. Smith was 11-32 for 90 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception vs. the Gamecocks, numbers that don’t really do a poor performance justice. Late in the fourth quarter, Mark Stoops finally pulled Smith for Lynn Bowden, a move he admitted afterwards he should have made sooner.
“Rough day offensively. Sawyer is giving us everything he can. He’s banged up. He’s banged up. We don’t need to make excuses — there are no excuses. We all need to do a better job and we need to get some guys healthy. Maybe should have went to Lynn [Bowden] maybe earlier. I know everybody’s going to ask that. I don’t know if it was worth a shot because we certainly did struggle moving the football and Sawyer has to heal up and hopefully he will. Gotta get some things checked out on him during this bye week.”
Will the bye week be enough for Smith to heal up?
“I hope so. I hope so. I don’t know. He definitely will not throw for a solid week. But I’m no doctor, so I shouldn’t pretend to be. I do what they tell me to do.”
Interestingly, Stoops said Smith is battling not one, but two injuries, presumably his shoulder and the wrist he hurt vs. Florida.
“I don’t think there’s any question that our team has great respect for him and he’s fighting his way through two injuries,” Stoops said. “I know our team appreciates what he’s doing. I know our doctors will keep him safe. If he can play, he can play. If he can’t, he can’t. They make those decisions.”
Even though Kentucky went to Bowden instead of Walker Wood when Smith came out, Stoops said he still believes in his backup.
“We have confidence in Walker. Walker’s gone through a lot of injuries. It’s going to be tough on any option at that point. You start getting down into the three, the four — I love Walker, he gives it everything he has. He’s gone through two shoulder surgeries himself.”
Thank goodness for the bye week.