UK football practice report: Oct. 19


Kentucky wide receiver Charles Walker returns a punt a long distance during the game against the Florida Gators on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was defeated 28-27. Photo by Carter Gossett | Staff

Coming out of their bye week, UK football head coach Mark Stoops is “anxious” to get to the game on Saturday at Mississippi State, he told reporters Thursday.

The main change after the bye week is the return of All-SEC linebacker Jordan Jones into the rotation. Jones was injured in Week 2 against Eastern Kentucky, where he suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a month.

“I was standing behind Darius [West], and Jordan [Jones] was Jordan, flying around and Darius just turned around and said ‘He’s back’, he’s making everybody’s tackles,” Stoops said.

Stoops also said that the team used the bye week to put Jones through non-contact practices, getting him ready for the upcoming week of contact practice.

“He’s been back for a couple weeks, so that was good, that we had the bye week, so we could just get him in some reps without any contact at all and just getting some looks and mentally getting back into it,” Stoops said.

Further changing the defensive personnel, Jamar “Boogie” Watson will be moved to outside linebacker in place of Jordan Bonner, due to an injury, Stoops said. He said he expects Bonner to be out for a while.

Stoops took the time to also comment on the rumors that elite pass-rusher Josh Allen could go as a first or second round pick in the NFL draft.

“I believe that was the rat poison that coach [Nick] Saban was referring to,” Stoops said. “That kind of information is just reckless. So let’s let him, he’s a true junior, let’s let him play the game and mature and play the right way.”

Allen and Stoops have had ‘talks’ after the information of his possible draft stock was released.

Stoops also seemed unsure about control of the Mississippi State tempo going into the game.

“[Mississippi State] can go at whatever pace they feel like going at,” Stoops said. “They’re a physical group, and so I’m not sure about tempo.”

With the return of some more “banged up” players like Charles Walker, and more practice from freshman over the bye week, the Cats seem all geared up and ready to take on the Bulldogs.