Injuries spell trouble for the Cats before season opener


Dorian Baker

Chase Campbell

The defining characteristic of this year’s UK football team is the level of experience across all positions. Now, this veteran Cats squad is suffering injuries in scrimmages that are taking senior leadership away from key position groups.

The most devastating of the injuries was to senior tackle Cole Mosier, who suffered a career-ending ACL tear in the Cats’ first scrimmage game Aug. 12. Mosier played in 32 games over his career at UK and started in 13 of them. He was a core piece to the team which was nominated for the Joe Moore Award for the nation’s most outstanding offensive line, as well as being a great blocker for Boom Williams and Benny Snell Jr., who both had explosive 1,000-yard seasons out of the backfield.

Head coach Mark Stoops said in a press release after Mosier’s injury that he was “very disappointed” about was thought initially to be a minor injury. “He has been with us all five seasons we’ve been at Kentucky,” Stoops said. “He helped set the example of hard work that is the theme of this program, as he came in as a walk-on and earned a scholarship.”

With Mosier out, capable sophomore tackle Landon Young will most likely step into his spot, albeit with less experience.

At the very next scrimmage after Mosier went down, senior wide receiver Dorian Baker suffered a “substantial” ankle injury, according to Stoops. If Baker misses games, it will mean even more experienced players taken out of the lineup on gamedays.

Baker has been constantly hounded by injury for the last year, after suffering a preseason hamstring injury that kept him on the sideline for three games and holding him without a catch for seven.

When healthy, Baker is an explosive receiver for the Cats. During his sophomore season, which was the only one he’s started every game in, he led UK in catches and receiving touchdowns, as well as earning 608 of his 1015 career receiving yards. The Cats need that explosiveness from him back, or they may find themselves struggling as the season progresses.

When asked on UK Football’s Media Day what he thought about his bounce back from injury, Baker said, “It has to be [my year], there’s no other option. It’s like you said, it’s my senior year. I don’t have any more years left to be ‘my year’.” Hopefully for the Cats, Baker’s ankle injury isn’t nearly as substantial as the somber faces after the Aug.19 scrimmage made it seem.

With two seniors out, UK now has to focus on what it can do to both push the players they must rotate into their lineup while also keeping them safe to prevent further injuries from plaguing the Cats. The team has a handful of reliable talented players, so the Cats can’t afford to lose many more, if any at all by the time their season opener at Southern Miss comes on Sept. 2.