It wasn’t even Eastern Kentucky game week and Kentucky assistant coach Dean Hood already was being asked about his potential emotions leading up to the game against his former team on Saturday at Kroger Field.
“I’m sure I’ll get on the sideline and see those kids I recruited, see the kids I sat in their parents’ home and said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna take care of your son’ and wasn’t able to see it to graduation for a lot of those kids,” said Hood, who was head coach of the Colonels for eight seasons before he was let go in 2015 and is now the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Kentucky.
“I’m sure it’ll hit me then and be emotional. But that’s all it will be. I care about those kids,” he continued. “It won’t be anything about anything to do with how things were handled at Eastern. I went to Charlotte and got healed from all that. That’s all water under the bridge.”
Hood likely will come in handy this week if Stoops needs to help Kentucky’s players remember just how close Hood’s EKU team came to upsetting the Cats in 2015.
Kentucky needed overtime to limp away with the 34-27 victory.
“We were very fortunate as y’all know, just to go into overtime and win the game the last time we played them,” Stoops reminded. “EKU’s going to be very fired up to come in and play.”
The UK coach said he might have Hood talk to the team about just how ready the Colonels will be to play Kentucky again this time, too.
“He probably feels robbed because they outplayed us and outcoached us,” Stoops said of Hood and the 2015 game.
A few former Cats still dot the Colonels’ roster as well, including wide receiver Cameron Fogle, a former UK walk-on, and Jared Tucker, a defensive back from Stone Mountain, Ga.
Fogle was fourth on the team in receptions and receiving yards with 22 catches for 246 yards, including two touchdown catches.
Last season, Tucker played in eight games and made six starts before being sidelined by an injury. He had 32 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups in those eight games. He recorded one tackle in a 31-17 loss at Western Kentucky last week.