It was supposed to be an upbeat week for Kentucky's football players.
On Saturday, the Cats had just put an end to a seemingly never-ending losing streak to Southeastern Conference opponents by knocking off Vanderbilt.
Things were on the upswing with a big game looming against South Carolina.
All of that excitement hit a monumental speed bump on Monday as news trickled out that four teammates had been involved in an incident with airsoft guns that shut down UK's south campus for much of Sunday night.
"It did take away from the energy a little bit," Coach Mark Stoops admitted on Tuesday. "Guys were bummed out because they know we're growing, they know we're doing a lot of good things. And these are good kids. They made a mistake."
Those players — Dorian Baker, Drew Barker, Tymere Dubose and Stanley Williams — have been suspended for at least this game after being accused of firing the airsoft guns on campus Sunday night.
The quartet also could face additional legal and school punishments as well as internal discipline for their actions.
The head coach, who normally doesn't do a media session on Tuesdays but opted to address the situation, said the team is dealing with it the way they try to deal with everything.
"Whether it's a win, a loss, a mistake, anything good or bad, we hit it right on, you know, right in the face," he said. "We tell them what's going on and what their accountability is going to be both publicly and to their team."
The team will continue to discuss it and learn from the mistakes made. All four players have remained with the team this week and are helping with preparation on the scout team.
"We'll talk to them about it, spell it out and keep on trying to improve in all areas," he said. "We've got a good team, and they're good guys. They know they made a mistake, and they feel it now. They're going to pay the consequences for it."
But as the players work their way through the legal and university consequences, Stoops said the rest of the team has refocused to get ready for South Carolina.
"We feel good about where we're at," Stoops said. "We feel like we have some closure within the team now."
The head coach said the incident will not be a distraction from Saturday's game at Commonwealth Stadium.
"It took away a little bit, but it's no excuse for any of our preparation or how we play or anything like that," he said. "So we'll go play well."
Kentucky will have to play well without two players who have been important cogs in the offensive game plan, including Williams, who had been assuming a much bigger role.
"We've been trying to get him the ball a little bit lately," Stoops said of Williams, who ran for 27 yards, caught a pass for eight yards and had two kick returns for 56 yards against Vanderbilt last week. "So we've got to take that out, but we have some other guys that will step up."
The freshman had just said on Saturday after the win over Vanderbilt that he was enjoying the added work load.
"Coach (Neal) Brown sent me a text message saying that I'm getting it a lot more," Williams said. "He was going to get me the ball a lot more and put me in some blocking situations. I just took that challenge."
The offensive coordinator said the incident occurred early enough in the preparation process that it didn't mean upheaval on his side of the ball with Williams and Baker, a wide receiver, suspended.
"I really start settling on things Monday afternoon and then on into Tuesday morning," he said.
The suspensions will mean opportunities for different players to make big plays.
"What I tell the kids, and I'll say it here too: It's next man up," Brown said on Tuesday. "Things happen, and you've gotta be able to adjust. I kind of roll with it, whether it's an injury, suspension, whatever, you kind of roll with it, play the guys you got and let's go win."
Senior wide receiver Demarco Robinson, who has had his share of tribulations while at Kentucky, said he has and will continue to reach out to the four players.
"Coming from being in trouble a couple of times, I definitely have a lot to say to them behind closed doors," Robinson said. "Just loving them, telling them accidents happen and mistakes happen, just not to do it again."
Robinson, who admitted previously that he was inches away from being thrown off the team, said the head coach has been fair in dealing with off-the-field issues.
"He's real good on the team being a family," Robinson said of Stoops. "He tries to embrace everybody through their mistakes. You know accidents are going to happen; mistakes are going to happen, so we're all just working on moving forward."
As one of the team leaders, junior offensive lineman Jordan Swindle said he's doing what he can to make sure the team remains focused on what's about to happen on the field instead of what it can't control off of it.
"I try and make sure everybody's on the same page and knows what the deal is and knows that we don't need to be worried about distractions like that," he said.
Swindle said the leadership program put in place by Stoops already has helped refocus things.
"Everybody has to worry about distractions, but it's how well you manage them," Swindle said. "I think we're going to be OK."