LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky junior defensive end/linebacker Ridge Wilson and junior defensive back Martavius Neloms will not play for the Wildcats this weekend against Tennessee because of injury, UK head coach Joker Phillips announced after practice on Wednesday.
This is the third consecutive week that the Wildcats will be without Wilson, who sustained a shoulder injury in Kentucky’s win over Ole Miss on Nov. 5. Neloms, who didn’t play last week at Georgia, will sit Saturday after sustaining an ankle injury late in the Vanderbilt game Nov. 12.
Kentucky and Phillips did receive good news on the injury front Wednesday as quarterback Maxwell Smith and Morgan Newton both practiced.
“Both of them got reps today,” Phillips said. “Yesterday, Morgan was the only one that got reps and today both of them got reps. We will see how it goes tomorrow … We think Max has a better chance than Morgan because of the type of injury.”
Coming off an impressive defensive performance last week at Georgia, Phillips is hoping for more of the same this week against Tennessee although the Volunteers have a different offensive attack. Phillips said overall the UK defense has played well against “downhill” offenses like LSU and Georgia, but Tennessee tries to run in space.
“Tennessee tries to get you in space and that has been one of our issues, when teams try to get us in space,” Phillips said. “If you have seen us play and the score probably doesn’t show it, but LSU is more of a downhill running team and we did fairly well against those guys. We have had our problems with teams out in space.”
Phillips said the key is to try to put pressure on the quarterback.
“We have to try to get pressure on him (Tyler Bray) and not let him get comfortable back there,” Phillips said. “Last year, we did that but he still made plays against us. He is a tough kid, there is no doubt about that and he is probably tougher now given what he went through with his thumb. He got knocked around last week and still got up and performed well. We have to try to get pressure on him and cover their receivers.”
Kentucky will return to practice Thursday morning to complete its preparation for the Volunteers.
Trevathan Nominated for Defensive Performance of the Year: University of Kentucky senior linebacker Danny Trevathan has been nominated for the defensive performance of the year for his 17-tackle, two forced-fumble performance last Saturday against Georgia, Intersport announced Monday.
The Defensive Performance of the Year is part of a four-month competition that lets fans determine which individual performances reign supreme during the 2011 college football season. The winners will be revealed during the two hour All-Star Football Challenge special airing at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 3 on ESPN2. In addition to recognizing the season's top performances, the All-Star Football Challenge will feature college football's biggest stars in a live skills challenge. In the 13 year history of the event, 41 first-round NFL draft picks have participated in the All-Star Football Challenge.
From now until the end of bowl season, the two top defensive players of the week will be featured on the All-Star Football Challenge Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AllStarFootball), along with two top individual performers among quarterbacks, receivers and running backs. The top weekly vote-getter will proceed to the finals, which run Jan. 16-22.
Trevathan tied a career high in tackles against Georgia with 17, while forcing two fumbles and earning three tackles for loss. Trevathan has had an incredible year and has proved to be simply too much for many offenses to handle. This was his third game of the season with 17 tackles and his eighth with at least 12.
Five Former Wildcats on NFL Pro Bowl Ballot: Five former University of Kentucky football players, including kickoff returner Randall Cobb, fullback John Conner, wide receiver Steve Johnson, punter Tim Masthay and defensive tackle Corey Peters, are on the National Football League Pro Bowl Ballot.
Fans are encouraged to go to www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot to vote for all five Wildcats and help them reach the Pro Bowl. The annual contest of the AFC and NFC's best will take place Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A total of 12 former Wildcats are currently playing in the NFL.