Rumors swirled about the status of sophomore running back Boom Williams all day Tuesday.
Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops met with the media on a day usually reserved for offensive coaches and players to try to clarify the situation with his starter and "end speculation."
"Boom's going through some personal things and we're going to keep that between Boom and I," Stoops said of his leading rusher, who has 47 carries for 343 yards and a touchdown this season.
The 5-foot-9, 196-pounder from Monroe, Ga., did not practice Tuesday, and it's not clear whether he'll play against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium, with Stoops saying only, "We'll see."
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"I'm just here to tell you that, again, Boom's going through a personal issue," Stoops said. "We're here to help him any way we can and when he gets some things resolved and situated, he'll be back out there. Until then, we'll support him any way we can, and the other guys will step up and compete."
Running backs coach Chad Scott said later that the starter's absence was not a distraction for his group. He said repeatedly that Williams would be back.
"He'll be back," Scott said. "We'll be fine."
Stoops also said it has not been a distraction for Kentucky as it prepares for the Colonels: "No, not at all. No, I really don't.
"I think that's another great improvement by this team. I think that what the outside world would perceive as a distraction, I think in here things move on. So no, I don't think it'll be a distraction."
Williams had seven carries for 21 yards against Missouri on Sunday as well as four catches for seven yards, but he did not play most of the second half, going out midway through the third quarter after dropping a pass.
■ During Stoops' impromptu meeting with the media, he also discussed the injury situation for the Cats, including wideout Dorian Baker being in a "preventative" cast for an injured thumb. "He should be fine and that'll be off." ... Tight end C.J. Conrad and defensive tackle Melvin Lewis are dinged up and in boots, but should be full go on Wednesday. ... Left tackle Jordan Swindle is questionable with a groin strain. "More than likely won't be available," Stoops said, adding that the same was true for defensive tackle Regie Meant (shoulder). ... Injured offensive linemen George Asafo-Adjei and Zach West (both ankles) were able to practice on Tuesday.