Stoops wants to play in front of fans, but only if it's safe

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is anxious for a return to football and sports in general, but wants to do so only if it's safe for everyone.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops celebrates after winning an NCAA college football game against Louisville, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

"I know everybody's going a little stir-crazy right now, everybody's starving for some live sports," Stoops said, via a Monday videoconference. "We want to provide that, we want to be out there and provide an outlet for people, a way to escape some of this. Obviously we have to do it in a safe manner."

Stoops again said he's preparing his team to be ready for the season opener on Sept. 5. and he wants fans in attendance. But he also admits there are still more questions than answers.

"The first thing that comes to mind is there's going to be a lot of critics out there," Stoops said. "The optics of it, to say you're going to have college kids allowed to play, line up six inches apart from each other, breathe on each other, sweat on each other, get in big piles and do all that but you're not allowed to have fans in the stadium? That's going to be the first thing you hear, right?"

The UK coach said he was pleased that Lynn Bowden, Jr. will be starting his pro career with the Las Vegas Raiders. Bowden, Jr. was selected in the third round of this past weekend's draft.

"I think Coach (Jon) Gruden is a really good fit for Lynn. I know Coach, and I think the way he can relate to Lynn and get things out of him, and continue to help Lynn grow, I think that's really important."

UK guard Logan Stenberg was taken by the Lions in the fourth round.