Sidelines with John Clay

A bigger team means bigger links from Kentucky football media day

Links from UK football media day:

Kentucky plans on keeping Dorian Baker healthy, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “Kentucky coaches are eager to see what a fully healthy Dorian Baker looks like, but they’re going to continue to be cautious with the senior wide receiver. It was around this time a year ago that Baker suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a preseason scrimmage. A season before that, Baker was slowed by a hamstring injury that held him out of early games in 2016.”

Kentucky’s quarterback battle moves beyond talk, says my column. “In alphabetical order, Gunnar Hoak and Terry Wilson are the top two candidates to fill Johnson’s sizable shoes. Both are sophomores. Neither has taken a snap in a Division I college football game. While the quarterback mystery has dominated UK’s offseason, we had not heard from either contender this summer. Until Friday.”

Kentucky football is coming up bigger, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal. “The SEC’s average starting offensive lineman stood 6-foot-5 and weighed 312 pounds last year. Five years after UK’s offensive line averaged a comparatively light 291 pounds, all five of its projected starters for the 2018 season exceed 300 pounds, and the Cats have improved their size on the perimeter as well as in the trenches.”

[How Kentucky coaches have fared in season six]

Loss of Josh Paschal is a blow, says Eric Crawford of WDRB. “In the case of Paschal, Stoops praised the team’s training staff, which noticed the condition with the player’s foot and treated it aggressively, and sent it off for testing as a precaution. But his loss is a blow to the Wildcats, who expected Paschal to be a leader of the defensive unit after playing in all 13 games, including his first career start in the Music City Bowl.”

Ahmad Wagner could bring boost at wide receiver, reports Derek Terry of the Cats Pause. “I just didn’t want to live with any regret,” Wagner said on his decision to play football. “It’s something that’s been on my mind a while. I do love basketball but I also have a love for football. It’s something I wanted to pursue. After a while I just decided that’s what I’m gonna do. Just stuck to it and made the change.”

UK quarterbacks could split time, says Jeff Drummond of Cats Illustrated. “Although both played well at times, neither Gunnar Hoak nor Terry Wilson separated themselves during the spring, and the two talented but untested sophomores are reportedly in a dead heat on Day 1 of practice.”

More SEC links:

Johnny Manziel has a rough CFL debut

New Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead pleased with his team’s retention

Florida’s defense ants to be an elite unit again

Can Georgia run the table this season?

South Carolina hopes new coordinator reshapes its offense

A tougher Tennessee is a possibility

Vanderbilt administrators undercut funding for football stadium

Missouri making changes to avoid a slow start

Texas A&M defensive back taking a leadership role

Kentucky football coaching records

Bear Bryant1946-53602350.710
Blanton Collier1954-61413630.531
Charlie Bradshaw1962-68254140.386
John Ray1969-72103300.233
Fran Curci1973-81475120.480
Jerry Claiborne1982-89414630.472
Bill Curry1990-96265200.333
Hal Mumme1997-00202600.435
Guy Morriss2001-0291400.391
Rich Brooks2003-09394700.453
Joker Phillips2010-12132400.351
Mark Stoops2013-17263600.419

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