LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior wide receiver Gene McCaskill will miss the 2010 football season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips announced Sunday.
McCaskill, a native of Chester, S.C., provides a veteran presence in the UK receiving corps. The junior, who has played in 25 games with 10 starts in his two years at Kentucky, sustained the injury during Saturday's scrimmage. McCaskill has made 32 receptions for 344 yards in his UK career, posting his best game of his career at the 2009 AutoZone Liberty Bowl in which he caught three passes for 64 yards.
McCaskill will rest the knee for approximately two weeks, allowing the swelling to subside, before undergoing reconstructive surgery. Having played in both of his first two seasons at UK, McCaskill will be able to use the 2010 season as a redshirt year. If the surgery goes well, he is expected to return in time for the 2011 season.
“He (McCaskill) gave you a different element,” Phillips said. “He was a little bit quicker than those big guys because he was a little smaller. He has been very dependable around here and started in the Liberty Bowl as a true freshman. He knows what to do. That is the thing he is able to do is play faster than some of those other guys. He knows what is going on (all the time) because he has so many reps around here.”
Phillips said that he still feels good about the depth at wide receiver behind returning starters Chris Matthews and Randall Cobb, but other players will have to step up, mentioning that sophomores Aaron Boyd and E.J. Fields and senior Michael Harper are getting more reps.
The Wildcats, who were forced into the Nutter Field House for the first time in fall camp because of Sunday's rain, went in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts. Phillips said the rains delayed a shortened yet upbeat practice Sunday, leaving UK to do mostly 11-on-11 drills.
“We did a lot of team and 11-on-11 drills, which is what our quarterbacks, receivers, defensive backs and everybody needs,” Phillips said.
Phillips was pleased with the Wildcats’ first scrimmage Saturday, saying there were some good and some bad elements, but they got a lot accomplished.
“It is never as bad as it looks on the film, but it is also never as good as you think,” Phillips said. “There were a lot of good things that we were able to accomplish. We have a lot of good tape that we are able to teach from and that is what you want to do. You want to get as many things on film as you possible can so you can teach from it.”
The UK coaching staff used the film to start trimming down the depth chart.
“Yes (we did narrow down the depth chart), that is what you grade the film for,” the first-year head coach said. “We did narrow it some but we have to give some guys another week to see if they can help us. They played good enough for us to give them another week but then we have to narrow it down even more next week.”
Phillips also announced that freshman tailback Miles Simpson incurred a sprained ankle during Saturday's scrimmage and is expected to miss a few days of practice. The Wildcats will return to the practice field Monday and then hold their second two-a-day of fall camp Tuesday.