By LARRY VAUGHT
What impact, if any, did not starting senior linebacker Kash Daniel for disciplinary reasons have on Kentucky’s 28-13 loss at Mississippi State Saturday?
And when did Kentucky coach Mark Stoops know Daniel was not going to play since he said on Thursday he expected him to be out there with no mention of a suspension or not letting him be a game captain for this game?
Daniel was accused by Florida players of deliberately twisting the quarterback’s foot to try and hurt him, an allegation Daniel denied but video later confirmed he did indeed do what the Gators claimed.
“With Kash’s situation, after that second viewing came out and looking at that, obviously that was a little different view than early. We all felt like – I just talked to Kash,” Stoops said. “Myself and Kash, we have great respect for this game.
“We’re going to honor the game and do things as good as we possibly can. That was 100 percent my call to not have him a captain and not have him play to start the game.”
Stoops’ decision was no surprise. It’s not the first time he has disciplined players for actions taken during a game and likely won’t be the last. He’s not afraid to give players second chances, but he’s also shown he wants things done the right way.
“I know you’re going to open yourself up to more (criticism) or less or anything else, but believe me, I try to do things right. I’m not perfect.,” Stoops said. “We try to respect the game. Our players are going to respect the game and respect people and compete. It’s an emotional game. So, I’d like to just leave it at that.”
Stoops said Thursday he was still “mulling through everything” and had not made a decision as he worked through what to do.
Sophomore Chris Oats started in Daniel’s place and Stoops said he had “a lot of confidence” in Oats. That’s why he didn’t think Daniel’s absence at the start of the game contributed to UK’s slow start.