By LARRY VAUGHT
Freshman JJ Weaver thought he might play a significant role for Kentucky this year. Or at least the linebacker from Louisville was hopeful.
Instead, he had to wait for a chance to play as Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and his staff want to limit him to four games so he can be redshirted.
In last week’s win at Vanderbilt, Weaver had five tackles and was extremely impressive. Stoops likes the way he had embraced getting better in limited playing time during a redshirt season and not just relying on his “athleticism” to get by this year.
“We’ve been planning that and talking about that with several of the guys (playing at Vanderbilt). Even with Jared (Casey), we talked about playing Jared the way the game went Saturday. The way we got ahead so much and we were able to get quality snaps, we talked about playing Jared last week when the plan was not to,” Stoops said.
“We’re mapping it out. The plan is to possibly play JJ this week but I need to have a conversation with him and to be honest with you I’m going to keep that between him and I. He doesn’t know about this yet.”
Weaver has played in two games. UK has a game this Saturday against Tennessee-Martin and then concludes regular season play against Louisville before playing in a bowl if it gets one more win.
Stoops said UK won’t blow his redshirt year now by playing him all three games but looking back maybe should have reconsidered not playing him more.
“We won’t at this point in time, but we probably could have played him some more when you look at the way he’s progressed the past three or four weeks,” Stoops said. “So, we’re trying to be strategic in that and not be selfish or wasteful as well with the young man’s year.”