Mark Stoops is currently meeting with reporters on Zoom to preview fall camp, and we’ve got a couple of quick news notes to pass along. First, no Kentucky players have opted out of the fall season so far. Second, there is no update on quarterback Joey Gatewood’s waiver request.
“Our players have been told from myself and from Mitch Barnhart directly that they have every opportunity to opt out with no repercussions, no penalties and at this point I have not had one person come to me and talk to me about opting out,” Stoops said. “That’s not to say that it come not come here today or in the future, but at this point, I have not heard of anybody.”
In the SEC, multiple players are opting out of the season due to coronavirus concerns, including Auburn linebacker Chandler Wooten, LSU defensive back Kary Vincent, and four Vanderbilt Commodores, including leading tackler Dimitri Moore. Stoops said that he continually checks in with his guys and the message is clear: they want to play.
“Our team has been very consistent,” Stoops said. “In my conversations with them, they’ve been very matter of fact. They’re trying to do the things that we ask them to do for safety. They’re trying to take care of themselves. They’re preparing the best they can and as a consensus, they’re just basically like, ‘Coach, we’re ready to play. We’re ready to play some football. We want to play and that’s where we’re at.’ So, that’s what I have to go by. I’ve asked them as a group, I’ve asked them in leadership groups, I’ve asked them to come talk to me individually if they have any concern at all or if I need to address anything with them and to this point, it’s been very clear that they want to adhere to the measures and protocols in place and they want to play.”
As for Gatewood, UK is still waiting to hear whether or not the Auburn transfer be eligible this season. Stoops reiterated that the paperwork is in, but refused to speculate.
“I have not heard yet on that. We had turned in everything necessary and we expect an answer here relatively soon. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to speculate on what I expect at this point.”
As for testing, Stoops said Kentucky has been fortunate to have very few positive cases thus far, a testament to the medical staff and players for taking the virus seriously.
“I think our players have done an exceptional job of adhering to the advice that we’ve given them and stayed as safe as possible. That’s evident through the testing that we’ve done this year. We have very few positives. From the first go around of testing, we were 100%, we had zero positives. The next go around, we had three. Going back to the beginning, we started with six players that tested positive for the antibodies, so overall, we’ve done a very good job and I appreciate the efforts of staying as safe as we possible can.”
Nick Roush will have more from Stoops in just a bit.