Football back on top after series of bad practices

By Derek Terry

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After a lull in camp performance last week, UK head coach Mark Stoops was pleased with Monday’s practice. Here are some notes from the day.

Transfer waiver claims denied

Linebacker Courtney Love and tight end Greg Hart had hoped to avoid sitting out this season after transferring from Nebraska, but the NCAA denied a waiver claim for the players to be eligible immediately, Stoops said.

“Right now it was denied,” Stoops said. “So we have one more appeal going with Courtney, but I feel like Greg’s will be denied.”

Love, an inside linebacker who would provide quality depth to the position, and Hart transferred to UK in December. Love made six total tackles in 12 games as a freshman with the Cornhuskers.

Levon Livingston, a member of the 2015 recruiting class, is still not enrolled on campus, Stoops said. The head coach said at media day that he hoped Livingston would be able to enroll prior to classes starting.

Stoops expecting big things from freshman safeties

Mike Edwards and Darius West were two prized recruits from UK’s 2014 recruiting class, but injuries forced the pair to redshirt during their freshman season.

With their health back at 100 percent, Stoops expects the two to make their presence known this season.

“I believe they’re going to have an impact,” Stoops said. “They’re very good football players. You put on the film and you see them showing up. They need some game experience and they need to play, but I’m excited about seeing them play.”

With returning interceptions leader A.J. Stamps back at safety along with junior Marcus McWilson, the first action the two will see will likely be on kick-off and punt teams.

“The first impact that they’ll have will be on special teams, and I know they’ll show up. I can just tell by the way they play. Again, you put them on a scrimmage tape and you see them making the plays, just doing something a little extra. I mean, getting off blocks and just having the instincts and playing physical. So I anticipate they’ll have an impact. How soon and to what extent, we’ll see.”

Key linebackers return to practice

Josh Forrest, the leading tackler from a season ago, and Ryan Flannigan both practiced on Monday after being out for a few practices.

Forrest was “sick as a dog” for the past few days, Stoops said. Flannigan has a shoulder injury and practiced in a no-contact role.

The linebackers have had a rough go of it in fall camp. Along with Forrest and Flannigan, freshman Jordan Jones is out an extended amount of time with illness and Jason Hatcher is suspended for the first two games of the season after violation of team rules.

The lack of linebackers ready for the opener less than two weeks away has Stoops worried.

“There’s certainly a little bit of concern,” Stoops said. “If we can get Flannigan and Josh back completely healthy, that’ll obviously help with the experience inside. And Jabari (Johnson) outside played a lot of football last year. So hopefully we’ll keep it to one position in the starting four with not too much experience, game experience.”