In what was probably his last opportunity to play in the Swamp, Kentucky junior left guard Stuart Hines instead was sitting at home in Lexington watching his teammates suffer a 48-14 beatdown while nursing a sprained ankle.
"It was really hard," Hines said. "You're sitting at home watching the team, and it's especially tough when you're down. I was like, Man I wish I could have helped. You feel helpless. It was such a big game, against Florida at the Swamp. It was a tough game to sit out of."
Hines will most likely return to the starting lineup against Ole Miss but said he's probably only about 75 percent. He practiced Tuesday and then rested on Wednesday and Thursday to alleviate the soreness.
"I don't want to go out there if I'm not going to be any good," Hines said. "I don't want to go out there, miss a block, and then Hartline's out for the year. It's not worth it. Hopefully by Saturday it'll feel good enough that I can go out there and help my team."
But if Hines can't go or is unable to finish the game, UK offensive line coach Mike Summers is confident after Billy Joe Murphy's performance in Hines' absence. Murphy has played mostly tackle but slid over to guard and helped the Cats post a decent 352-yard performance while giving up just one sack.
"It was amazing," Summers said of Murphy's effort. "He did a great job. He allowed us to go down there and execute our offense. I was really proud of how they played as a whole. We went down there short-handed, and I thought the speed of the game early was an issue. We caught up the middle of first quarter and I was proud of how they battled the whole game. They showed me they have the ability to compete and do some good things."
UK has allowed just two sacks in four games (which is tied for the SEC lead), with the line responsible for just one of those. The line was a question mark coming into the season as they had to replace four starters from last year's solid group.
"Certainly there's room for improvement, but I've been pleased with their development," Summers said.
Nutt's UK connections
Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt's father, Houston Sr., played basketball at Kentucky under Adolph Rupp briefly during the 1952 season. He scored two points before transferring to Oklahoma A&M to play for Henry Iba. Nutt Sr. is the only player in college basketball history to have played for the two legendary coaches. Thanks to Ron Bailey of the Maysville Ledger Independent for sending that tidbit my way.
Kentucky got its 19th commitment earlier this week from Harriman (Tenn.) defensive tackle Shaquille Love, a 6-foot-5, 280-pounder who had offers from Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Love's commitment helps make up for the loss of East St. Louis defensive tackle Clint Tucker, who backed out of his commitment to UK and is now headed for Illinois.