University of Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel will not face disciplinary action from the program in response to an apparent twist of Florida quarterback Kyle Trask’s ankle following a failed two-point conversion attempt during last weekend’s 29-21 UK loss to the Gators.
UK head coach Mark Stoops said Thursday during a regularly scheduled media availability that he spoke with the league office about the play this week.
“He’ll be out there Saturday,” Stoops said.
Stoops said he spoke with Daniel about the incident. “I’ll keep that between Kash and I,” Stoops said when asked about details of their conversation.
Daniel drew the ire of Florida fans on Twitter as video from the ESPN broadcast circulated online Sunday. Former Florida tight end Tate Casey was among the first to draw attention to the questionable play.
“He spent about 5 secs trying to turn Trasks ankle over on bottom of the pile, then Trask faced him up after,” Casey wrote on Twitter Sunday morning.
Twitter user @lib_gator, who operates a YouTube account where they post condensed game cuts from the broadcasts of Florida games, tweeted out a video of a pile-up behind the goal line on a failed two-point conversion run by Trask, the Gators’ backup quarterback. Daniel in the video is part of the scrum and has his arms involved in a pile of UK and Florida players, but it’s indeterminable what he is doing from the broadcast angle.
Until Thursday no angles of the play showed conclusive evidence of what Casey and Florida fans alleged. Hazard-based broadcaster WYMT, as part of a story on Daniel, released footage from its on-field camera Thursday morning that showed Daniel twisting the right ankle of Trask with both his hands for about three seconds, getting up and walking away, and then being confronted by Trask.
WYMT removed the video of its story but WKYT, a sister station based in Lexington, later Thursday posted its own story — with the video that shows Daniel apparently twisting Trask’s ankle — and it was still active as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
Daniel on Wednesday — his first media availability since the game — told reporters that he would never try to hurt another player.
“Do I talk a lot of crap? Absolutely,” Daniel said.. “Do I bump a dude here and there to get underneath his skin and talk while I’m doing it? Absolutely. That’s part of my game. It’s what I do. But am I out there to deliberately hurt somebody? Absolutely not.
“I’ve kept my mouth shut about it. I’ve been biting my tongue about it as long as I can, because that’s something that I actually hold close to me. ... I pull my hand out there last second. I just pulled it out. I got it stuck underneath a lineman’s leg with all that weight on it. Then I pulled it free from that, kept hitting stuff, kept moving stuff and finally it came through. Maybe he felt something weird, but I’m not out there to twist nobody’s ankle or hurt nobody. End of story.”
Florida head coach Dan Mullen was asked about the incident earlier this week.
“When that stuff happens, that’s something for the league office and the commissioner, you know? I’m sure, as around the media, that they have looked at it, I’m sure that’s something they would address,” Mullen said during his Monday news conference.
The SEC league office reviews game film each week. “Feedback on any issues discovered during this review are identified confidentially to the involved program and is appropriately addressed at that time,” SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent told Graham Hall of The Gainesville Sun.
Daniel has played in 42 straight games at Kentucky dating back to his freshman season in 2016. He is tied with long snapper Blake Best for the most consecutive games played of any current Wildcat.
Kentucky will be without defensive lineman T.J. Carter for the first half at Mississippi State due to his ejection for targeting in the second half against Florida. Yusuf Corker, who was ejected for targeting in the first half against Florida, will be available for the full game.
Kentucky at Mississippi State
When: 4 p.m. EDT Saturday
TV: SEC Network
Records: Kentucky 2-1 (0-1 SEC), Mississippi State 2-1 (0-0)