When Kentucky's players look over at the Louisiana State sideline this weekend, they'll see at least one friendly and familiar face.
Former Cats special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto is now in the same position for the Tigers.
Coach Mark Stoops, who said he has been close friends with Peveto for many years, is still in regular contact with him.
"He always sends texts, and we communicate back and forth throughout the year," Stoops said. "Bradley Dale has been a close friend of mine for a long time, and we'll continue to be."
Never miss a local story.
Before adding: "I don't think we'll talk much this week. Maybe he'll send me over some crawfish to the hotel or something."
In a recent story on the LSU athletics web site, Peveto said he enjoyed his season at Kentucky under first-year coach Stoops.
"I had a great year with him and enjoyed it," Peveto said.
He also discussed his decision to leave UK after one season and go back to LSU, where he coached from 2005-08.
The former Cats coach said he had just gotten back from a recruiting trip and was leaving the Lexington airport when he got a call from Tigers Coach Les Miles.
"It was really an emotional call for me, because of my love and passion for coach Miles, LSU, this program, the state, the people, Baton Rouge," Peveto told the athletics web site.
Assistant coaches do not meet with the media at LSU, so he was not available for comment.
"It's just a special place to me. ... I pulled off the side of the road and bawled my eyes out."
Kentucky has since hired Craig Naivar, who is helping the UK special teams have a special season.
"We've been solid across the board on special teams and our return game," Stoops said on Monday.
"I've gotten some comments and some compliments of the way our teams are playing, and special teams is a big indicator, because you have to be unselfish to play special teams, and they don't get a lot of credit all the time," the coach said.
Stoops credited Naivar for the special teams unit, which leads the league and is fourth in the nation in opponent punt returns (just three for 3 yards) and is fifth nationally in kickoff returns (11 for 50.7 yards a game).
Stanley "Boom" Williams helped that average with his 75-yard kickoff return to open the Cats' win over Louisiana-Monroe last week.
"Our guys are playing very hard, and I think that's a credit to Coach Naivar, and he's very passionate about what he does, and our players really love playing for him and they played very hard and they've been unselfish," Stoops said.
UK-Miss. St. picked by CBS
Kentucky's game versus top-ranked Mississippi State was picked up by CBS as the marquee game on Oct. 25 at 3:30 p.m.
It's the first time since 2007 versus Tennessee that the top CBS game has come to Commonwealth Stadium. UK last had that game in 2008 at Alabama.
The news came out as Coach Mark Stoops was wrapping up his weekly Monday news conference.
"That's great, obviously," Stoops said, before noting the Cats have an important game at Louisiana State this weekend long before they can think about a game against the top-ranked Bulldogs.
Getting the spotlight game on CBS is important, though.
"But every time you win in this league, you're gonna put yourself in position for a bigger game," he said. "So I think it's a compliment to our team, what we've done to this point, and I know every game gets bigger, and we have a huge one at LSU this week, and that's what's on our mind."
For the four Kentucky players caught up in the air-gun incident that shut down south campus for a few hours, it wasn't an easy road back, Stoops said.
And it wasn't necessarily anything he did to freshmen Dorian Baker, Drew Barker, Tymere Dubose and Stanley "Boom" Williams either.
"We did some things amongst the team that holds that accountability at a pretty high level where they had to address the team and talk to the team and not just, 'Hey, I'm sorry or any of that,'" Stoops said. "They came into a team meeting and sat and addressed it with their teammates."
Being dealt with by their teammates is as strong as anything, he continued.
"We're trying to teach them some lessons," Stoops said. "They're good kids that made a mistake and I'm glad we've put it behind us now and hopefully we'll learn from it."
For their part, both Williams and Baker said they were sorry after the Cats' win over ULM. Stoops said he was happy to hear that.
"Again, we're far from perfect, but we're going to hold guys accountable," he said.
UK player to sit out 1st half
One unnamed Kentucky football player will sit out the first half of the Cats game against the Tigers on Saturday, per his coach's decision.
Declining to name the player, Stoops said he was going to "self impose a penalty" on the player. The revelation came in the middle of a question about wanting players to play with emotion, but also to control their emotions in the heat of battle.
"Well, we just need to constantly preach being unselfish, and you know, I want aggressiveness," Stoops said. "I want them enjoying it. We're always toting that fine line of letting the guys be who they are. I want them excited at practice. I want them excited in the games. But we can't be selfish. We're not good enough to overcome foolish penalties and all those things."
Kentucky is in the middle of the nation in penalties per game, averaging 6.2 a contest for nearly 60 yards. That number makes them among the most penalized teams in the conference.
"When you have an aggressive team, there's going to be some penalties, too," Stoops said. "So we will work on that and continue to work on discipline, but we do want an aggressive team."