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.

Eddie Gran likes where TE Justin Rigg is

By LARRY VAUGHT

Sophomore C.J. Conrad has received most of the preseason attention at tight end, but the Kentucky coaches also like what Nebraska transfer Greg Hart and true freshman Justin Rigg are doing.

“Justin did some good things again,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “He caught a few balls and he looks very comfortable out there. He’s a very natural guy.

“Greg has played well in camp really. He gives us a good maturity out there and has some experience and has done some very good things.”

Happy Birthday Ryan Lemond

Ryan Lemond was all smiles at his 50th birthday party.

Ryan Lemond was all smiles at his 50th birthday party.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Sometimes you know immediately you are going to remember a certain event for a long, long time.

For me, that happened again Saturday night at my buddy Ryan Lemond’s 50th birthday party.

I cannot exactly remember the first time I met Ryan when he came to Lexington to work for WLEX-TV. However, I can remember that we have always hit it off well and over the years he’s done many, many things for me.

Boom Williams gets “whacked” in scrimmage

Boom Williams (Vicky Graff Photo)

Boom Williams (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For the first time during preseason camp, Kentucky running back Boom Williams got some contact work in Saturday’s scrimmage.

He has been held out of contact because of an injury but Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said he had some carries Saturday and also made blitz pick-ups.

“Put him in some stressful situations. He didn’t get a ton of reps, but he probably got 10 live reps or so, or more. Carries the ball, and it was good to see him go to the ground and take good, physical tackles,” Stoops said.

Stoops wants backup players performing at higher level

Mark Stoops had this opening statement to the media Saturday after his team’s second scrimmage this month:

“Another good day. I have some mixed feelings. I think always as you move into the second big scrimmage of the year and you’re really trying to be detailed and have the fine strokes on things when it doesn’t happen it kind of frustrates you a little bit, but I think overall we got a lot accomplished again. I’ve talked all summer about having the capacity to handle more and do more. There’s no doubt we’ve done that,” Stoops said.

Dual-threat QB Johnson could be helping UK defense, too

Stephen Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

Stephen Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky quarterbacks get no slack from coach Darin Hinshaw if they fail to complete a pass and backup Stephen Johnson feels the heat just like starter Drew Barker.

“Stephen, I’m really hard on him and the fact that I don’t accept any missed throws ever, so in that process, they know I’m coming down on them if they miss a throw. But also, I want them to be on themselves, too. There’s a fine line between where you get down on yourself and you actually can’t play anymore?” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw wants offense to control football

By LARRY VAUGHT

Darrin Hinshaw isn’t going to put any pressure on Kentucky’s offense in today’s scrimmage, the final scrimmage for the Cats before they play Southern Mississippi Sept. 3.

“I just want to take one play at a time and execute that play. I know that sounds so ‘Oh, that’s coach talk, blah, blah, blah,’ but the bottom line is that’s the truth,” said Kentucky’s quarterbacks coach Friday. “We don’t focus on — I don’t tell them they have to throw for so many yards or they have to do — we’re going to take what the defense gives us.”