Jen Smith on UK Football

Practice report: Kentucky gets in quick work before Naval Station tour

Before shipping out for a scheduled tour of the U.S.S. New York on the Mayport Naval Station on Wednesday, Kentucky got in a quick practice that includes a lot of third down and red zone work to prepare for Saturday’s TaxSlayer Bowl against Georgia Tech.

UK utilized two of the three nearby fields on North Florida’s campus and did a lot of special teams work on the far field. Obviously there are portions of practice that media is allowed to watch, but not to report on.

So let’s just say there are a few fun wrinkles that I hope they break out for the bowl game.

Other random practice notes: During one of the quarterback drills, there are four staff members there to try and knock the hands of the players. It almost looks like a bunch of guys playing patty cake.

On another drill, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was throwing short passes to the running backs. He threw a perfectly placed ball to all of them except Jojo Kemp.

Gran threw it way over the senior’s head almost as if on purpose. Kemp tossed his hands in the air resigned afterward.

When talking about having two 1,000-yard rushers at Tuesday’s practice, Coach Mark Stoops joked (maybe?) that UK could have had three if Kemp hadn’t gotten hurt a couple of times during the season.

Gran was complimentary of the UK running backs as well, discussing the way that they all play off of each other during the course of a game.

“Boom’s a slasher and Benny’s a hard-nosed, get after it type of guy,” Gran said. “Jojo is a hard-nosed, downhill kind of guy. But Jojo has shown some speed, too this year, on the run against Tennessee and a couple where he got around the corner.”

Some of the fastest times in games this season according to the team’s tracking devices have come from Kemp, Gran said.

▪  There are too many Florida players and not enough complimentary tickets to go around for the bowl on Saturday. Senior defensive back Blake McClain lamented that he couldn’t fill the 20-plus ticket requests he got from family and friends.

“I’m telling people they can’t come, so they’ll have to watch it on TV, I guess,” he laughed.

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