After a crushing, three-overtime loss at Florida, Kentucky coaches and players talked about wanting to get back on the field right away.
"We wish we could play next week, just come back and get a win," senior defensive end Bud Dupree said.
But this bye week, leading up to Vanderbilt next Saturday, gave UK a chance to rest some injured players and re-assess some who could be headed for redshirts, Coach Mark Stoops said after practice on Tuesday.
A few might even make a more immediate impression.
"I'm not sitting here telling you that because somebody's gonna jump out at us and play next week," Stoops said. "But yeah, we talk about it and look at (potential red-shirts) and we certainly work with those guys a lot right now. It's good to get around them again and get some reps with them."
Quarterback Drew Barker, wideout Thaddeus Snodgrass and even T.V. Williams, who has seen limited action this season, got a lot of work on Tuesday, offensive coordinator Neal Brown said.
The bye week also will give the Cats a chance to get some ailing stars back in the mix — most notably Javess Blue, Kentucky's leading wide receiver last season, who has been slowed by an ankle injury after sitting out much of fall camp recovering from shoulder surgery.
"He needs to get out there and get back in shape," wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord said of Blue, who played sparingly in the loss at Florida.
"He took so much time off in trying to get him healthy. A lot of that's just his body getting in shape. We all know Javess has got the ability to help us immediately, so we've got to get him to do it all the time so he can get in there and do it play after play."
Despite the slow return time, Brown said he's expecting big things from the junior, who had 43 catches for 586 yards and four touchdowns last season.
"This two weeks, this week off, this week of practicing during the bye week and then next week leading into Vanderbilt I think you'll see a lot more production from him," Brown said.
Stoops said he expects UK will go into next weekend's game "close to 100 percent" health wise, but clarified later that didn't include wide out Jeff Badet, sitting out with an eye injury.
West 'coming around'
Zach West, who had a nerve issue in his neck and missed the past two games, is slowly coming back, his position coach said.
"I know he's coming around; he's coming around," offensive line coach John Schlarman said of his starting left guard. "I know he's doing better this week than he was last week."
There's still no true timetable for West's return just because of the type of injury it is. Coaches aren't going to push the junior standout from Lexington Christian.
Until then UK will just keep an eye on him and take care of him.
"We really don't know exactly when it's going to heal up and just be completely fine when he gets all his feeling back," Schlarman said.