By LARRY VAUGHT
For almost two weeks Kentucky football players have read and heard plenty of criticism about their play during a three-game Southeastern Conference losing skid.
That’s not what fans expected from a team that went 10-3 last year even if it did lose running back Benny Snell, linebacker Josh Allen and five defensive backs from last year and then had starting quarterback Terry Wilson go down with a season-ending knee injury in week two.
“It can be hard, keeping the good and the bad out. But people are always going to say what they want,” junior running back A.J. Rose said. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.
“You know, we had a slow start but we’ve still got a long stretch left so we’re going to try our best to finish strong. Our goal is still in front of us. So we’re going to come out here and compete, try to start this second half of the season 1-0.”
Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said his unit had a “lot of juice” in Tuesday’s practice — something it has lacked the last nine quarters of play. Maybe it was the boost that came Monday when coach Mark Stoops said quarterback Sawyer Smith seemed to be recovering well and is likely to start against Arkansas Saturday night.
Speculation has continued that junior receiver Lynn Bowden might be used a lot at quarterback. Bowden seems ready to just play anywhere.
“I’m just ready to play football. Just got to come out and see. See what these people have in store for us,” Bowden said.
Bowden also wasn’t afraid to rattle off some things he thinks the Cats must improve on, a realistic view since UK is 2-3.
“Playing faster. You know, on plays that I take off I just need to go harder on the back side of plays sometimes,” Bowden said.
He also said the time off let players recharge physically and mentally, something that should pay off for the Cats against Arkansas.
Although the open date served as a way for the team to rest their bodies and take some important time mentally, Bowden mentioned that they’re all anxious and ready to get back onto the field and put everything in the past behind them.