Football looks forward to welcoming Missouri Tigers


Kentucky football open practice on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Braden Ramsey

Kentucky Football dealt with bad weather and field conditions last week in Athens. The team combined with the Georgia Bulldogs to put a paltry 52 passing yards on the stat sheet.

But that experience may shape up to be more valuable in the near future.  

Forecasts give a 70-80 percent chance of rain with a temperature in the mid-fifties during game time in Lexington this weekend as the Cats will host the Missouri Tigers. If the weather meets expectation, the Cats’ defense will relish another opportunity to flex its muscles in the sloppy conditions.

“Guys up front are all big, strong, physical guys, and we’re all pretty fresh and healthy,” outside linebacker Jamar “Boogie” Watson said. “I think we’re hoping for a slugfest honestly.”

Defensive coordinator Brad White agreed poor conditions can have an effect on offenses, but pointed to something other than rain as the main obstacle.

“I think more than the rain, you know, wind is a big factor, especially in the throw game,” he said. “But I would anticipate from here on out everybody’s gonna try to run the football, and we’ve gotta do a good job at trying to stop that.”

As for how Kentucky’s offense will handle the weather, wide receiver turned quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. is confident in its ability.

“We ain’t had no practices in it yet, but I think we’re prepared for it,” he told reporters.

The defense will not only be tested by the Missouri offense and the weather Saturday evening, but by injuries – specifically at linebacker – that have begun to pile up. Inside linebacker Kash Daniel left the Georgia game and did not return, while outside linebackers Josh Paschal and Jordan Wright are dealing with undisclosed ailments.

“You get to this point in an SEC grind, you’re gonna have bumps and bruises and nicks,” White said. “We’re just gonna have to keep rolling, gonna have to try to stay fresh. Some of those redshirt freshman and sophomores who have played limited reps may get some more substantial reps this week.”  

Because of the injuries, freshman outside linebackers J.J. Weaver and Jared Casey may see their first-ever game action as Wildcats. Watson says thinks they’ve both been improving behind the scenes, and he has been expressing a certain virtue to them throughout the season.

“They’ve been coming along well. I kind of talked to them early in the season with staying the course,” he said. “I just try to tell them, ‘be patient’.”