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Stoops confident in E.J. Price, Nassir Watkins but knows Landon Young’s experience will be missed

Landon Young (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Replacing Landon Young’s experience at tackle is not going to be an easy task for Kentucky.

Young, who has started 15 games and played in all 26 games the last two years, went down with a non-contact knee injury at Friday’s practice. He was scheduled to have surgery today and is out for the season.

Either sophomore transfer E.J. Price and redshirt freshman Nassir Watkins will start in Young’s spot Saturday against Central Michigan.

Price missed practice last Tuesday with what Stoops described as a hand injury.

“He, at camp, like a lot of players, have had a few nagging injuries here and there, but he should be full go this week,” Stoops said Monday.

“It’s hard to replace experience, you know that. Landon’s got a bunch of snaps, but I’m confident in their ability and I’m confident in the work that they’ve done, and also it’s nice that we have a solid, experienced group around them. We’ll move on.”

Stoops said Young was in a routine drill with other offensive linemen when he either put his foot in a divot or got hit awkwardly. All Stoops know is that the injury was a blow for Young and the team, which lost starting left tackle Cole Mosier to a preseason injury in 2017.

“Two years in a row, to lose you starting left tackle, disappointing. We talk about depth and I’m pleased that we have some guys to step up and replace him, but it’s hard to take away that experience and, again, for the young man and how hard he’s worked and what a great leader he is. He’s going to be missed and, again, just like last year, it just hurts your overall depth,” Stoops said.

“You go from feeling pretty darn good about nine, 10 guys, to just taking that one spot away and having to move some of the tackles around and Darian (Kinnard) was looking so great at guard and we’ll put him back at tackle.

“But the first options at left will be with Naasir and with E.J. So we’ll take a look at those two guys to replace Landon at left tackle.”

 

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