LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky football team completed on-field preparations for Saturday’s season opener with a one-hour, 45-minute practice Thursday morning on the Tim Couch Practice Fields.
Following the workout, Coach Rich Brooks fielded questions about his expectations for the team’s performance.
“We’ll see how I feel about it after the game on Saturday,” Brooks said. “I just need to see them against somebody else. … I think I’m nervous about everything right now. It’s just that time of year.”
Brooks announced that sophomore Chandler Burden would make his first collegiate start at defensive end. Burden has been battling redshirt freshman Collins Ukwu for the starting nod. Both players are expected to see extensive action, as Ukwu also has been training to back up DeQuin Evans at the other end slot.
Another question this week has been the availability of fullback John Conner (sprained ankle) and linebacker Micah Johnson (sprained foot) for the Miami contest. Both had some participation in practice on Thursday, with Brooks terming Johnson “between questionable and probable” and Conner “questionable” to play in the game.
Kentucky fans are quite familiar with the contributions of Johnson, who made 93 tackles and was a first-team Coaches All-Southeastern Conference selection last season. But Conner, named the “best blocking back in the SEC” by the Birmingham News, is a major contributor as well.
“He’s a starting fullback and not only that, he’s on several special teams that he’s been on for four years,” Brooks said. “The guy has great experience and will bring a lot to the table for us.”
The Wildcats take on the RedHawks Saturday at noon at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Cat Walk Back in Business for Saturday: A rearrangement of arrival logistics at Paul Brown Stadium will enable the fans and team to have the “Cat Walk” on Saturday morning.
Fans wishing to cheer the Wildcats upon their arrival should line up along Central Avenue on the west side of the stadium by 9:45 a.m. The team will unload at the bus cutouts on the avenue.