UK football practice report: Sept. 28


Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Derrick Baity was held out of the open practice  at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility on Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff

Thursday, UK football head coach Mark Stoops took to the podium to discuss this week’s preparation for Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Staying the course was his main objective, as he said that he wants the team to “continue to play the way we’ve been playing, that’s very hard and very passionate.”

With staying the course comes the need to adapt to achieve their goals, and the Cats have had to do a lot of adapting this week. Cornerback Derrick Baity practiced for the first time this week, according to Stoops. He’s been cleared to play after getting banged up against Florida last week.

The Cats have also been trying different options at the center position, but Stoops remains confident in his two main options of Bunchy Stallings and Nick Haynes. Against Florida, there was an unforced fumble due to a high snap and Haynes committed the holding penalty that moved UK out of field goal range in the fourth quarter.

Stoops said that he’s been giving Drake Jackson reps in practice, and that the Cats were looking to put him in the rotation at center. He seemed to imply that Jackson’s presence in the rotation was because of his achievement, not because of the current struggle at the center position. He said that Jackson has been practicing very well the last few weeks.

Stoops also had extremely high praise for Eastern Michigan quarterback Brogan Roback, who threw for 273 yards, a touchdown and an interception in EMU’s loss to Ohio last week.

“He’s really good,” Stoops said. “He trusts his arm, he can make all the throws, I was very impressed.”

Stoops also said that it’ll be interesting to see if Roback will be able to play full capacity, because “It looked like he got banged up late in the week last week, last game. You can tell how tough he is,” Stoops said. 

While Eastern Michigan isn’t exactly the Florida Gators, Stoops’ message on passion is clear. He never mentioned the loss to Florida when he spoke Thursday, only talked about individual plays that some of his players said they needed to work on. He set the precedent that all of the members of the football team have moved on from the heartbreaking loss last week.