Junior Jason Hatcher will be suspended the first two games of the season, Mark Stoops announced on Saturday after the team's Fan Day and open practice.
"He will be suspended for two games, violation of team rules, and really don't want to comment too much more about that," Stoops said.
Hatcher missed Media Day on Friday morning while working to complete some academic work, but he did practice later in the day and on Saturday.
Stoops said Hatcher has taken care of business on the field.
"Jason has worked extremely hard," he said. "He's put himself in a position to help this team."
Stoops said in a phone call later that it was a university sanctioned suspension and he was waiting to find out if one was coming and for how long it would be. "I wish I could have clarified it on Friday, gotten it out there, but we didn't know for sure."
On the post-spring depth chart, Hatcher was listed as the No. 1 strongside linebacker with still injured red-shirt freshman Kobie Walker as his backup. Best case scenario for Walker's return from a surgically repaired ankle would be a couple of games into the season, Stoops said Saturday.
Hatcher had 28 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks last season for Kentucky.
The defensive end/linebacker hybrid player has played in 21 games including six starts. He's totaled 47 tackles, including 8.5 for loss.
As for who will take over at that spot, Stoops suggested there will be schematic and personnel options.
"We have a lot of options that we can move some guys around, depending on the scheme, depending on how big we want to get, what we're getting from the offense. We have some big DBs ... that we can put a little closer to the line of scrimmage in the personnel groups and how big the offense is."
Alvonte Bell, Jabari Johnson, Kengera Daniel and Denzil Ware were names Stoops mentioned as potential players to help the Cats make up for Hatcher's loss early in the season.