Jen Smith on UK Football

A few last-minute injury updates from Stoops before UK heads to Mississippi State

MARK STOOPS

“It’s been a good two weeks. It seems like it’s been a while. Obviously it has been. We’re anxious to get going, get on that plane tomorrow and head to Mississippi. It’s been a good two weeks of preparation. We feel like we’ve got some guys a bit healthier. We’re in good shape and looking forward to the challenge.”

On moving Boogie Watson outside with Jordan Jones returning: “We do because Jordan Bonner has been out. We’re going to move Boogie back.”

On if Bonner is out for a while: “He is.”

On the team health wise: “Yeah, some of those guys it helped quite a bit. We’re in pretty good shape. We had two pretty good practices this week. Tuesday and Wednesday and got a few guys banged up in that practice but overall, midseason, we’ll be fine.”

On Jordan Jones since his return: “Yeah, he’s close. We’ll see. He’s been back for a couple of weeks so that was good that we had the bye week where we could just get him in some reps without any contact at all. Get some looks and mentally get back into it a bit. I think that really helped him. Then this week stepping it up more, as far as a bit more contact and seeing things, seeing some run fits, pass drops and so on. So I think he’s pretty close.”

On if Jones’ energy changes the defense: “He does. Yeah, he definitely does. We were watching practice, or I was out at practice yesterday and I was standing behind Darius (West). Jordan was Jordan, flying around, and Darius turned around and said, ‘He’s back.’ You know what I mean? (Laughter) Making everybody’s tackles.”

On if agrees with reports Josh Allen could be a first rounder: “Well, I believe that was rat poison that Coach Saban was referring to. That kind of information is just reckless. So, lets him – He’s a true junior. Let’s let him play the game and mature and play the right way. That kind of information is very, very, like I said, reckless, and it’s hard for kids not to hear that. So, Josh and I have had a couple talks since then, and he’s focused and ready to play and doing some very good things.”

On if he has anyone who can simulate Nick Fitzgerald: “Well, Danny’s (Clark) is a big, physical guy and he’s done a heck of a job. Danny just goes all out. He’s given us good lucks, but of course he’s a lefty.”

On if any of the younger players made impression with extra work during bye week: “Yeah, we got some extra reps with a lot of the freshmen and they look good. They’re a good-looking group. Had an opportunity to bring them in and visit with them and get all the coaches around them coaching them up again.”

On if Charles Walker is back again: “He is. He is.”

On close games being hard on coaches but might help the players be steady in a close game: “I definitely think it helps. It has to. Our players have been in some close games — some closer than we’d like — and it does, it helps build character. If we can go out and win by more than that we would sure take it. But if it comes down to a one-possession game, we’ve been there before.”

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