Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky football ranked 40 spots behind Southern Miss, plus more Big Blue Links

Jay Hopson is introduced as the new Southern Miss head football coach on Feb. 1, 2016. The Golden Eagles open the season Sept. 3 at Kentucky
Jay Hopson is introduced as the new Southern Miss head football coach on Feb. 1, 2016. The Golden Eagles open the season Sept. 3 at Kentucky Biloxi Sun-Herald

Big Blue Links for Thursday:

▪ CBS Sports ranks Southern Miss No. 34 in its pre-season college football rankings. CBS Sports ranks Ketnucky No. 74 in its pre-season college football rankings. Southern Miss opens the season at Kentucky on Sept. 3 at Commonwealth Stadium.

▪ Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader takes a look at some position switches on Kentucky football’s defensive side. The coaches are looking at different options with regards to plugging the hole created when Regie Meant left the team indefinitely for personal reasons.

▪ Here is my random notes column, which leads with ex-UK quarterback Patrick Towles saying he is dedicating his season to Harambe.

▪ Here are all the things said by UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot when he met with the media after Kentucky football’s Wednesday morning practice. The Cats hit the hot field Wednesday afternoon to complete their first day of two-a-days.

▪ Junior college transfer Kayaune Ross is trying to catch up at wide receiver for the Cats. Ross is a 6-6 target who certainly looks the part.

▪ Kentucky’s secondary is tired of the talk and ready for the season. Mark Stoops is an old defensive backs coach who believes he is building an SEC-worthy secondary. Will Kentucky get the pass rush to help out the pass defenders? That’s the big question.

▪ UK linebacker Courtney Love has been a big influence on true freshman Kash Daniel. Talking with inside linebackers coach Matt House on Wednesday, House said he loves that Daniel loves football.

▪ Shehan Jeyarajah of SEC Country sees another 5-7 season for Kentucky football. He goes down the list of games one-by-one.

▪ Josh Moore of the Herald-Leader makes some suggestions where UK women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell might look to end his in-state recruiting woes. Mykasa Robinson, a 5-foot-7 junior from Ashland Blazer, leads his list.

▪ UK freshman guard Malik Monk plays basketball to be the best, reports Metz Camfield of Monk averaged 28.6 points per game in high school. He can put the ball in the basket.

▪ Bobby Petrino says Louisville’s deep passing game is ahead of where it was this time last season. The Cardinals open their campaign Sept. 1 against Charlotte at Papa John’s.

▪ Alabama relents and allows defensive back Maurice Smith to transfer to Georgia.

▪ Was LSU running back Leonard Fournette just horsing around or did the Heisman Trophy contender really get into a full-fledged fight? You be the judge.

▪ Georgia linebacker Tim Kimbrough, the team’s leading returning tackler, has taken a leave of absence and could be done. That would be a big blow for the Bulldogs’ defense.

▪ Florida offensive lineman Antonio Riles, a projected starter, may have an ACL injury. If so, he’s done for the year.

▪ Here’s an interactive road map for the SEC 2016 football schedule.

▪ They have unveiled the trophy for the Battle of Bristol game between Tennessee and Virginia Tech at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The trophy does not include a stock car, however.

▪ Ought-oh, Tennessee has placed its football operations director on leave. That’s usually not a good sign.

▪ South Carolina’s defensive backs love the idea of playing more press coverage. Whether that’s a good idea, we’ll see.

▪ Auburn said it was not going to let uncertainty at quarterback linger. Guess what. Auburn is letting uncertainty at quarterback linger.

▪ Arkansas’ football freshmen are likely to make their mark quickly with the Razorbacks.

▪ Hugh Freeze thinks Ole Miss’ 2016 recruiting class could be the best the Rebels have had since Freeze came to Oxford. That would be saying something.

▪ Ole Miss players think Chad Kelly is the best quarterback in the nation.

▪ Former LSU center Darcy Malone transfers to Cal State Fullerton.

▪ The Reds’ Anthony DeSclafani suffered his first loss of the season on Wednesday. After a 12-6 start from the All-Star break, Cincinnati has now lost two straight series.

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