UK notes

UK football notes: Cats will get Mark Crawford back for LSU

D-linemanwas suspended first 4 games

jclay@herald-leader.comSeptember 27, 2011 

When the Cats play No.1 Louisiana State on Saturday, Kentucky will have defensive tackle Mark Crawford available for the first time this season.

Coach Joker Phillips said Monday that the senior, who was suspended the first four games, would be allowed to play.

"I'm really proud of the way he's handled the suspension, the time he's been off," Phillips said. "He's done a lot of stuff on his own, extra work and conditioning, which you always worry about, especially a big guy that's not getting a lot of reps in practice with the 'ones.' "

Crawford played in 10 games last season with five starts. He had 41/2 tackles for loss and two sacks.

■ Safety Martavius Neloms will practice but will be held out of contact Tuesday and Wednesday. Wide receiver Gene McCaskill is questionable with a back injury. Running back Raymond Sanders and defensive end Collins Ukwu are out for the LSU game with knee injuries.

■ Phillips said that while running back Josh Clemons is questionable for practice because of a hamstring strain, he hopes the freshman will be ready to play by Saturday.

■ Saturday's game has an 11:21 a.m. kickoff time in Baton Rouge, which usually means the Tigers fans are not as loud as when they've had all day to get — um — ready for the traditional LSU home night games.

"They won't be as lubricated, but they'll be lubricated," Phillips joked.

Phillips won at LSU as a player in 1983 when the Cats beat the Tigers 21-13.

"I can remember Coach (Jerry) Claiborne taking us to walk the field, walk the stadium prior to the '83 game when we did play there and won," Phillips said Monday. "And Jerry Eisaman, who was the offensive coordinator, brought the offense in the middle of the field, and he had won as a player, from Kentucky. And just explaining to us the atmosphere, how the atmosphere would be, how it's going to be loud, it's going to be hostile, you're going to be called every name under the sun except for your God– given name."

■ With the team's struggles sparking a debate about administrative commitment to football, Phillips was asked about facilities and needs.

He said players' needs were addressed first with new meeting rooms and practice fields. He said fans' needs are now being addressed with video boards, etc. He said the facilities can always be upgraded, but the program has good facilities now.

"We have had a great week in recruiting this week, and recruits (who) come to our campus, you never hear them saying we don't have good facilities," the coach said. "You never hear that. Usually, they are saying they like the facilities.

"... We have adjusted some things. We have created a room up in the field house where I get a chance to visit with recruits, and it's plush, and I went in there and was like, wow, these guys have done a great job in less than a week, week and a half. We have been creative in the way that we have had to spruce up our indoor facilities where the meals are served. We have done some things to try to put the 'wow' factor in this thing."

■ Game time for the UK-South Carolina matchup on Oct. 8 in Columbia has been set for 12:21 p.m. It will be televised by the SEC Network.

Reach John Clay at 859-231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com.

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