By LARRY VAUGHT
Knowing he’s expected to be Kentucky’s best playmaker on offense, junior receiver Lynn Bowden admits he might be trying to hard to make big plays and hurting his production.
He has 13 catches for 131 yards — 10 yards per catch — and one touchdown in two games. He has returned two punts for 28 yards and three kickoffs for 79 yards. He’s gained 17 yards on two runs and completed his only pass for 32 yards.
Certainly not bad numbers, but Bowden wants to be a much more dynamic playmaker and probably will need to be against No. 9 Florida on Saturday night with starting quarterback Terry Wilson out for the season with a knee injury. The flip side, though, is that new starter Sawyer Smith might be a better passer than Wilson.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Monday it was “common” for top players to sometimes try and do too much.
“We talk about that. I talk about it till I’m blue in the face and relying on our preparation and your technique and all those things and doing the little things right and big plays will happen. But that’s easier said than done,” Stoops said. “When they get out there and they get under the lights and they get playing, and it comes from a good place that guys really want to do well.
“Lynn is not alone. There’s a lot of guys, and even defensively, and guys that have played good football for us that are not doing the little things, and we gotta keep on coaching and get them to understand to play within the team. So he’s not alone.
“But he’s trying to do right, and he’s trying to make a lot of plays; and he’s worked hard, and he’ll get those opportunities. And we went to him quite a bit this past Saturday and targeted him a lot, and we’ll continue to work the ball in his hands, and he’ll continue to make plays for us.”
Stoops pointed out that Bowden is on for a lot of plays every game because of his versatility.
“He’s back to kick return, punt return and played quarterback and fly motions,” the UK coach said. “So getting reverses, and he’s running around out there a lot, and it’s getting in shape, working himself in shape as well.”
Could this be a game for Bowden to play even more Wildcat to help ease the burden on Sawyer Smith making his first start at quarterback
“I don’t know. You want me to tell you what plays he’s going to be in next week?” Stoops laughed and said. “I don’t know. It’s only Monday. I’ll get back to you on Thursday. Okay?”
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Bowden has been selected to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for his impressive play against Eastern Michigan. He caught seven passes for 54 yards and one touchdown in UK’s 38-17 win. He became the first UK player with at least six receptions in each of the first two games since Randall Cobb in 2009. He now has 1,086 career receiving yards which ranks 27th on the UK career receiving yardage list.
He also threw a 32-yard completion to Terry Wilson that set up Kavosiey Smoke’s first-quarter touchdown run. Bowden has completed 4-of-6 passes for 124 yards during his career.