Jen Smith on UK Football

Practice report: UK will face wounded Missouri team, but expects a ‘dogfight’

Injuries pile up for Missouri: This is usually about Kentucky players after practice, but the announcement of two key Tigers defenders seemed important, too, so … Coach Barry Odom announced on Tuesday that Missouri will be without its leading tackler and top defensive leader in Michael Scherer. The linebacker, who has played in 47 career games with 53 tackles this season, tore two ligaments in his knee on Saturday. Sophomore defensive tackle Terry Beckner, who had 24 tackles, including two for loss, also is done for the year with a knee injury. At his Monday news conference, Odom said Missouri will have to replace Scherer by a relatively inexperienced group of players. “There’s not going to be anyone person who will stand in and play every snap of the game,” Odom said. “We’ll get the right fit. It will probably be a combination of a bunch of guys.” ... As for the UK injury situation, there were no new updates on Tuesday.

Sound familiar? Much like head coach Mark Stoops did at UK after the Florida loss, Odom also announced on Monday that he will do as much as he can to help out on defense. “I’ve got an opportunity to go help that side out and I’m going to do it,” the first-year head coach said. “I’ve been balancing both sides along with some other things and I need to spend my focus there.” For his part, UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said he expects a hungry Mizzou defense. “Coach Odom does a great job over there. They’ll be ready to go, and it will be a dog fight. There’s no question: That team will be ready to roll.”

Turnover issues: There has been much discussion about UK’s league-high in turnovers this season with 18. Gran said he can’t recall being part of a team with such a poor turnover ratio. “It says a little bit about our team in terms of how we’ve been able to overcome that,” he said.” It’s like I told them the other day, how good we actually could be in putting people away. That’s got to get fixed if we want to meet our goals and do what we have to do and finish. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

A hurdle to overcome: Coaches and quarterback Stephen Johnson was asked about his attempt to hurdle a Mississippi State defender on Saturday. Quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said he saw Johnson approaching the defender and start to speed up. He immediately worried. Johnson said he thought he might clear him. But he ended up getting my foot and I just started to go on my back,” Johnson recalled. “I was like, ‘Ah man, this might not end too good,’ but I guess I was able to roll a little bit and not hurt myself too bad.”