Larry Vaught

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Eddie Gran: “It’s about winning”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coaches have already been watching what offensive coordinator Eddie Gran calls “tons” of film on Southern Mississippi to prepare for the Sept. 3 opener.

The Cats start actual game preparation when they return to practice Thursday after taking today off when classes resume on campus.

“Coach has allowed us with some great meeting time. We’ve already been walking through, doing what we need to do for them. Getting a start, and a nice introduction. So, we’re, I think, ahead that way. Which you should be. It’s your first game,” Gran said Tuesday.

Look for RB Benny Snell to play this year

By LARRY  VAUGHT

Kentucky has four returning running backs with game experience, but don’t be surprised if true freshman Benny Snell gets a chance to play in UK’s opening game against Southern Mississippi.

Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran has been impressed with Gran and was when he took a big hit in Saturday’s scrimmage and not only held on to the ball, but did not let the play impact him.

“Sometimes kids get hit, it’s football. We’re going to protect our players and all that, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, that happens. Two weeks ago, Benny would’ve reacted differently. Here he got up like a grown man, jogged, did his deal, came back to the huddle,” Gran said.

Jon Toth, JoJo Kemp on Senior Bowl watch list

JoJo Kemp (3) is on the Senior Bowl watch list. (Vicky Graff Photo)

JoJo Kemp (3) is on the Senior Bowl watch list. (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior running back Jojo Kemp and senior center Jon Toth were named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list it was announced Tuesday.

Kemp, a native of DeLand, Florida, has been a key offensive weapon in his three seasons as a Wildcat. He has amassed 1,360 rushing yards in his career which ranks 22nd on UK’s all-time list. Last season, Kemp was second on the team in carries (98) and rushing yards (555), tying Stanley “Boom” Williams for the team lead with six TD rushes.

Stoops expects Kash Daniel, T.J. Carter to play this year

Kash Daniel (56) and Landon Young (67) could both play as freshmen. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Kash Daniel (56) and Landon Young (67) could both play as freshmen. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Freshmen Kash Daniel, a linebacker, and T.J. Carter, a defensive lineman, apparently will both play this season.

“I think T.J. Carter is a guy that will play, that we’ll need to bring along and play. Kash, I think is a guy that we have to look at defensively,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said after Monday’s practice.

He did not mention any freshmen offensive players even though offensive coordinator Eddie Gran has indicated running back Benny Snell and tackle Landon Young have both impressed him.

UK players embrace Stoops’ expectations

By LARRY VAUGHT

It’s not a big thing, but during an interview with Kentucky defensive lineman Adrian Middleton Monday he said something that really jumped out to me.

I asked him a fairly simple question about head coach Mark Stoops being more involved in the defensive work daily than he had in previous years and what that meant.

“A lot more expectations. He wants us to be great and we have to play great so we don’t let him down,” Middleton said.

I thought that was a terrific answer, and not one I am sure I would have got from any player this time a year ago.

Talbott Todd Way Named in Honor of Former Cat, Current Supporter

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The alley between Commonwealth Stadium and Nutter Field House has been named Talbott Todd Way in honor of Talbott Todd, a Kentucky football letterman from 1963-65 and supporter of the program diagnosed with ALS last year. The announcement was made at a special unveiling Friday at the Woodford Reserve Club at Commonwealth Stadium.

“I am overwhelmed, humbled and extremely proud of this tremendous honor and very grateful to UK Athletics and to my special friends who made this possible,” Todd said. “At the same I would like to dedicate this to all former, current and future football players that so proudly wore, wear and will wear the Blue and White.”

Elam’s hand in cast and mouth closed to media this week

Matt Elam's play could be just what the UK defense needs next season. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Matt Elam’s play could be just what the UK defense needs this season. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s open football practice for media members today produced two surprises for me involving junior defensive lineman Matt Elam.

First, he had a cast on his hand.

“Nothing major. Just preventative. Just something with his thumb,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said after practice.

Second, Elam turned down an interview request. He’s always been a go-to guy for the media and I was a bit shocked he turned down a chance to talk (so did Denzil Ware). I wondered if he not liked something I wrote or said.

Eddie Gran: “Any coach that says they’re ready to play at this time is full of baloney”

Eddie Gran (Vicky Graff Photo)

Eddie Gran (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Don’t blame offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for sending mixed signals after Saturday’s scrimmage.

“I like where we’re at. I always tell them ‘if you think you’ve arrived, we’re in trouble.’ We are so far away. But you know what? Our expectations are very high for this offense. They can achieve everything,” Gran said.

Yet he emphasized that UK is nowhere near ready to play a game.

Stoops on Walker, Laster, Brown

By LARRY VAUGHT

After Saturday’s scrimmage, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops offered a few personnel updates.

— Injuries: “Blake Bone’s still nursing that hamstring. Dorian Baker’s got a little ham, hamstring as well. Other than that, we’re in pretty good shape. Of course Darius (West) is out. We’ll see.”

— Kobie Walker: “Kobie is very versatile. He makes good plays because he’s very active. He’s a guy that you need with some of the things we’re doing, he makes loose plays. Where he’s supposed to be outside and if they’re overreaching, then he comes under and makes a play. He’s active when he pressures and he can cover. We’re bringing him along. He’s definitely going to be an important piece of the package.”

Cousins has 13 points, 15 rebounds in gold medal win

-1RIO DE JANEIRO – Snatching up what seemed like every rebound, former Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins also hauled in the first Olympic gold medal of his career with a strong performance Sunday in the championship game of the 2016 Olympics.

With a gold medal on the line, Cousins saved his best for last for USA Basketball. Coming off the bench for a third straight game, Cousins set the tempo early by dominating the paint, sparking Team USA to a 40-15 first-half run, and ultimately to a 96-66 rout of Serbia.