Josh Paschal has “lot of twitch”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Lynn Bowden has received a lot of hype about what a terrific addition he could be a a freshman playmaker for Kentucky’s offense this season.

But don’t rule out true freshman linebacker Josh Paschal doing the same for the UK defense even though he’s playing behind Denzil Ware, one of the top returning playmakers in the SEC last year.

“I always stand right behind there during the scrimmage. He made a play or two that really stood out to me. Wowed me a little bit,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said after Saturday’s scrimmage.

“I noticed that on the field. He showed three, four plays during the scrimmage that he just stood out. I don’t want to get everybody all excited. He’s a freshman. He’s got a lot of work to do, but he’s very, very talented and does stand out out there. He’s a physical guy. He’s got a lot of twitch. He has good instincts. He’s smart.

“We can move him around, do some different things with him. He’s one of those versatile guys for how big he is. He did some really good things.”

UK Football’s Dorian Baker Out ‘Significant Time’ with Ankle Injury

Dorian Baker (Photo By Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky senior wide receiver Dorian Baker suffered a fracture-dislocation in his left ankle during Saturday’s scrimmage and will miss significant time and possibly the entire 2017 season, head coach Mark Stoops announced today. Baker is scheduled for surgery Tuesday, Aug. 22 to be performed by Dr. Darren Johnson at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center.

Baker, a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, has started in 23 of 32 games in his three seasons as a Wildcat. In 2016, he missed the first three games due to a preseason hamstring injury but returned to become a key cog in UK’s offense, catching 14 passes for 208 yards and two scores. By season’s end, Baker became just the 27th player in school history to compile 1,000 career receiving yards with 1,015.

“We’re very disappointed for Dorian, as he had a good offseason and was helping lead our receivers during preseason camp,” Stoops said. “However, we are hopeful for a full recovery and look forward to his eventual return to the field.”

Baker has a redshirt year available and could return in 2018 if he does not play this season.

As a sophomore in 2015, Baker led the team in catches (55) and touchdowns (three), collecting 608 yards, including a team season-long 53 yard catch vs. Louisville.

As a freshman, he played in 10 games with three starts, totaling 19 receptions for 199 yards and one touchdown.

Drive to Springdale Elementary School in Mt. Juliet to watch eclipse with grandchildren was great experience

My granddaughter, Savana Hudson, took care of me today. (Berry Hudson Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mt. JULIET, Tenn. — Was driving about 3 1/2 hours today from Danville to Mt. Juliet to watch the solar eclipse with my two grandchildren, ages 6 and 8, worth the trouble?

ABSOLUTELY.

We watched the total eclipse at Springdale Elementary with my granddaughter, Savana, 9, and grandson, Wynston, 6. It was a blast to see the students outside waiting for the eclipse and then reacting to it. It might have been even more fun watching the teachers, administrators and parents who also came reacting to a once in a lifetime experience.

It has been 148 years since the last total solar eclipse in Kentucky on 8/7/1869. The next one — based on information I saw — will be in 136 years on 10/17/2153. I don’t think I will make that one, so I am really glad I got to see my one and only total eclipse with two of my grandkids.There is another one anticipated over the United States in 2024, but not in Kentucky or Tennessee.

Their teachers, Megan Ford and Carly Melchiors, were great with all the students and I loved the paper plate/sunglass eye protector each student wore.

Fortunately, we got to see it all. In nearby Nashville, a cloud covered the eclipse just as it reached totality in several locations.

What might have been even more impressive was driving from Glasgow to Mt. Juliet on Highway 31 and seeing the makeshift viewing sites. Some were just friends gathering for a fun afternoon. Others were business ventures.

Bledsoe State Park near Gallatin, Tenn., was at capacity several hours before the eclipse. Gallatin Airport was full of more small planes than I had seen in my combined trips here in the last 15 years. It was costing between $15 and $30 just to park in Gallatin.

The 8-mile drive from Mt. Juliet to Gallatin was bumper to bumper three hours before the total eclipse.

Watching the eclipse at Springdale Elementary. (Larry Vaught Photo)

I asked a security officer at Springdale Elementary why so many people were going to Gallantin. He laughed and told me the eclipse was schedule to lat FOUR MORE SECONDS there. Instead of 2 minutes, 36 seconds like we got in Mt. Juliet for no parking charge, it was good for 2 minutes, 40 seconds in Gallatin.

Once I get home tonight, I will watch the 60-minute special that WLEX-TV had from Hopkinsville to see what it was like there. I also want to hear some stories from Kentucky Sports Radio’s Ryan Lemond about his time in Hopkinsville today.

Reality sets back in for us all Tuesday. But for one day, it was unreal to experience this — and find out those $1 eclipse glasses we ordered from China really did work.

Rosters for 2017 UK Legends Game Announced

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rosters for the 2017 UK Legends Game, which will be held Aug. 25 in Rupp Arena in conjunction with the UK Alumni Charity Game, were announced Monday. Twenty players are expected to suit up for the Legends Game at 7 p.m., with others, including current NBA players, playing in the UK Alumni Charity Game at 8 p.m.

Per NBA rules, the University of Kentucky cannot confirm any current NBA players participating in the exhibition games.

The Legends Game will be split into the following two teams. Chip Rupp, grandson of legendary UK coach Adolph Rupp, will coach the Blue Team and former UK coach Joe B. Hall will head up the White Team.

 

Blue Team White Team
Coach: Chip Rupp Coach: Joe B. Hall
Heshimu Evans Julius Mays
Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Shagari Alleyne Bobby Perry
Andre Riddick Perry Stevenson
Jon Hood Ravi Moss
Jeff Sheppard Marquis Estill
Dale Brown Lukasz Obrzut
Kyle Macy Jared Prickett
Kenny Walker Jared Carter
Goose Givens Kevin Grevey

 

Tickets for the both UK Alumni Charity Game and the Legends Game are currently on sale. All seats are reserved and priced at the following rates:

  • Courtside: $500
  • Premium lower level: $100
  • Lower level sideline: $50
  • Lower level: $25
  • Premium upper level: $10
  • Upper level: $5

Tickets can be purchased at the Rupp Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster Outlet or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. There is an eight-ticket limit per person. All orders will have additional fees attached plus a $1 facility fee. All proceeds from the game will go to charity. 

 

You must be 16 or older to purchase tickets and children under the age of 2 get in for free with a paying adult (the child will not have a seat and must sit on the lap of the paying adult). 

 

Doors to Rupp Arena will open at 6 p.m. ET.

Freshmen Wide Receivers To The Rescue?

Clevan Thomas Jr., right (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

The start of the college football season is less than two weeks away. Unfortunately for the University of Kentucky football team preseason preparation has not gone according to plan. So far UK has lost two key players in two weeks due to injury. Not a great start to what many are hoping will be a memorable season.

The good news is that had this same injury bug hit UK in years one through four of the Mark Stoops era it would have been tough to overcome. It will still be tough to overcome but now the coaching staff has been able to build some depth on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

In fact it appears that four freshman wide receivers will most likely find their way on to the playing field this season. That piece of information from the coaches made me wonder how productive freshmen wide receivers had been in the past at Kentucky.

Here’s what I found out. Of the top 20 best career yardage receivers at UK only three had freshmen seasons where they provided significant impact to the team through passes caught and yardage gained.

Those three receivers – Derek Abney, Craig Yeast and Ryan Timmons –  all had freshmen seasons that produced over 300 yards receiving. Derek Abney – an SEC All-Freshman selection in 2000 had 40 receptions for 413 yards and 3 touchdowns. Craig Yeast – with no SEC Freshman team selected in 1995 – caught 24 passes for 337 yards and two TDs. Ryan Timmons also performed well as a freshman with 32 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns.

All three receivers were below six feet tall, slightly built but extremely quick with exceptional 40-yard dash times. All had the ability to work out of the slot, catch balls in traffic and find a seam down the field that would allow them to go for long gains with each reception.

So how do the four freshmen wide receivers that have been selected to play this year  — Lynn Bowden, Josh Ali, Clevan Thomas and Isaiah Epps — compare to the top performing freshmen of the previous years?

Physically they are similar in size and stature — three of the four are around six feet tall and 185 pounds — and have the speed and quickness to play in the slot. Based on their performances in high school they also have the ability to find an open seam down the field and take the ball in for a touchdown on any given throw.

Knowing that UK is looking to fill the voids left by Jeff Badet’s departure to Oklahoma and Dorian Baker’s serious ankle injury these four freshmen might be just what the doctor ordered to help take the sting out of the early season injuries.

Mitchell Scores First-Career Goal in Defeat at Marquette

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Freshman Eva Mitchell scored her first-career goal, and the first Kentucky goal of the 2017 season on Sunday afternoon at Valley Fields in Milwaukee in a 2-1 loss to the Marquette Golden Eagles.

Kentucky will open the home season on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington against Eastern Kentucky. The first 250 fans in the door will get a free set of UK Thunderstick as part of the first Thunderstick Thursday.

The game will be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app with Dave Baker (pxp) and former Kentucky All-American Stuart Pope (color) on the call from The Bell.

Mitchell’s goal midway into the second half leveled the match at 1-1 before the Golden Eagles’ Abby Hess scored the game-winning goal off a long-range set in the 77th minute to win the match despite UK having the better of the chances, and corner kicks on the afternoon.

Kentucky had the better of the first half, and nearly went ahead on a corner kick 14 minutes into the match as Yuuka Kurosaki served in a floated ball to the top of the area that was hammered eye-level by  Gina Crosetti. The ball was destined for the net, but MU keeper Maddy Henry came up huge and tipped it over the crossbar to prevent UK from going ahead.

After MU had went ahead in the 64th minute. Freshman Eva Mitchell scored her first collegiate goal on a rebound from just inside the six to the far post and leveled Kentucky up.

The game-winning goal was in the 77th minute as the Golden Eagles took advantage of a smart defensive tactical foul by the Wildcats at midfield and scored after a flick-on just from the top of the box off the long-range set.

Stoops knows Bowden will make plays

Lynn Bowden, left (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Receiver Dorian Baker’s ankle injury in Saturday’s scrimmage was a potential big blow to Kentucky’s offense. However, coach Mark Stoops did say that freshman receiver Lynn Bowden just completed a “solid week” of practice and could be a playmaker to help offset Baker’s potential loss.

“You could see how easy the game looks to him at times. I think, I know he’s going to be one of those guys where if you get the ball in his hands enough, he’s going to make plays,” Stoops said Satuday. “He makes things look easy.

“Today, I felt like he had an opportunity to make some really special plays and that didn’t happen. But I anticipate he’ll do that — the ‘wow’ plays. He had some balls that were slightly overthrown or in traffic. I expect him to come up with those, and he’s been consistent all week.

“He loves football. It comes fairly easy to him. His instincts, his intelligence — it’s there. It’s just a matter of getting him comfortable, getting him some reps and getting him out there.”

Stoops: Kentucky coping without Mosier

Mark Stoops (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky has had a week to cope with the season-ending injury to senior offensive tackle Cole Mosier.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Saturday his team has taken Mosier’s loss “right in stride” as it prepares to open the season Sept. 2 at Southern Mississippi.

“We know what a loss it is for Cole, because it does weaken you in certain ways. You’ve got to start moving George (Asafo-Adjei) more outside (to tackle), and he gives us a big physical presence inside. He gives us the depth inside and the versatility for him to play either way,” Stoops said.

“So, Cole’s a big loss, but we can absorb that. But now you just want to keep working depth for the future. One of the things that helped us a year ago was playing nine guys on the offensive line. With losing him, it weakens us to a certain extent.”

Stoops said there’s no denying a player with Mosier’s experience will be missed but it does give other players a chance to show what they can do.

One of them might be true freshman Nassir Watkins. He could play as a true freshman like Landon Young did last season as Mosier’s backup.

“Naasir has been really impressive. Again I don’t want to get everybody too jacked up on him, but we really like him and we feel like he’s further ahead right now than Landon was last year at this time. That tells you what we think of him,” Stoops said.

Dorian Baker suffers ‘substantial’ ankle injury

Dorian Baker (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For the second straight scrimmage, Kentucky has suffered a significant injury that could potentially cost it another player.

A week ago it was left offensive tackle Cole Mosier that went down with a season-ending knee injury.Today it was senior receiver Dorian Baker that suffered what coach Mark Stoops said was a “substantial” ankle injury.

“It’ll probably leak out there, and I don’t want everyone poking around or anything, but we did get an injury today that was fairly substantial. I’ll give you the details later when I know, so please respect the kid and his family and everything, but Dorian Baker did get hurt today,” Stoops said.

“I’ll let us clean that up with the doctors and give you an update on that next week. I appreciate it. I just wanted to tell you so you don’t start hearing things and seeing him with a boot on. He has an ankle injury. I’ll update you on that next week.”

In 35 games, Baker has 89 catches for 1,019 yards and six touchdowns. He’s played in more games than any UK receiver other than senior Charles Walker.

Baker was expected to be a starter this year and coach Lamar Thomas has praised his maturity and improvement.

Stoops said Saturday he expects to use four true freshmen receivers this season. Before coaches had talked about using three, so that makes it seem as though Baker’s injury is indeed substantial.

UK Men’s Soccer’s Alex Bumpus Named to C-USA Preseason Team

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s soccer senior captain Alex Bumpus was named to the Conference USA Preseason Team and the Wildcats were picked to finish fourth in the results of polling of the league coaches.

Bumpus was Third Team All-C-USA and All-Southeast Region a year ago.

The Wildcats go into the season looking to build on three straight NCAA Tournament appearances and four in Head Coach Johan Cedergren’s previous five seasons at UK.

Kentucky will play its final preseason friendly at St. Louis on Saturday evening.

Kentucky will open the regular season at home on Aug. 25 against Marquette in what remains one of the nation’s nicest grounds – the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex, home to the UK soccer program for the fourth year.

The conference season begins Sept. 8 at home v UAB.

The top seven teams at the conclusion of the regular season earn a spot in the 2017 Conference USA Championship, hosted by Old Dominion Nov. 8-12. The league’s 23rd season kicks off Friday, Aug. 25.

2017 C-USA Men’s Soccer Preseason Team

^Elliot Panicco, Charlotte, R-So., GK

*Santiago Patino, FIU, Jr., F

Paul Marie, FIU, Sr., D

Bjorn, Gudjonsson, South Carolina, Jr., F

David Valverde, UAB, Sr., MF

Julian Veen Uldal, South Carolina, So., MF

Alex Bumpus, Kentucky, Sr., D

Peyton Ericson, South Carolina, Jr., MF/D

Joris Ahlinvi, FIU, So., MF

Niko Klosterhalfen, ODU, Jr., MF

Tom Smart, New Mexico, R-So., D

Matthew Constant, New Mexico, So., D

*Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

^Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

 

2017 C-USA Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll

(First-Place Votes)

  1. Charlotte (4)
  2. New Mexico (2)
  3. FIU (2)
  4. Kentucky
  5. South Carolina
  6. UAB (1)
  7. Old Dominion
  8. Marshall
  9. Florida Atlantic