Kentucky suddenly lean at running back
Posted at 12:37 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez is still missing from the team’s depth chart and backup Ramon Jefferson won’t be available when the Wildcats open Saturday’s Southeastern Conference game in Florida.
In a press conference on Monday, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops gave no update on the status of Rodriguez, who was suspended and missed the season opener, a 37-13 win over Miami (Ohio). ) Saturday at Kroger Field. He added that the situation continued to be “out of my hands”.
“I would love to (have an update),” Stoops said. “Being on a public holiday (Labour Day) I have nothing to report. I have always been transparent with you and tried to do the best I can. I have been informed there are things going on. things, there are layers to this, I’ve been informed (that) I really can’t comment on it, it’s not that I’m trying to hide things from you, players have their own rights and things of that nature with this situation.
In addition to Rodriguez, Sam Houston State transfer Ramon Jefferson, who rushed for 10 yards on two carries in his debut, will be out for “several weeks (and) for an extended future.” JuTahn McClain is “week to week,” leaving the Wildcats more exhausted in the backfield.
“We got screwed,” Stoops said. “We’ll have to see from there, where things go.”
Rodriguez’s absence was evident against the Redhawks. The Wildcats finished with just 50 yards rushing, led by starter Kavosiey Smoke, who rushed for 32 yards on seven carries.
“We need to be able to run the ball more efficiently,” Stoops said. “It wasn’t terrible. When you add the yardages of the bag, it removes the net (earnings). …we could improve on that.
Smoke remains listed first on the depth chart, followed by La’Vell Wright, who drew praise from Stoops.
“He was really solid (in camp),” Stoops said of Wright. “He got a bleed late at camp and now he’s back healthy. … It’s good to have Lavell back, because he’s a tough, physical runner. At one point he was running with the (first team) and midfield last spring. We have great confidence in him. »
As depth in the backfield took a hit two weeks into the season, Stoops and his team tweaked the offensive line, moving Kenneth Horsey from left guard to left tackle. The Wildcats allowed four sacks for a 26-yard loss in Game 1.
“What we’re looking for is to have our top five offensive linemen on the field,” Stoops said. “We think we have to experiment with this and we have already done so. It’s not unusual for him. »
Kentucky freshman Barion Brown was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after his college debut in the season opener on Saturday. Brown had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half and became the first Kentucky player to return a kickoff return for a score in 13 years.
He added a 21-yard kickoff return that triggered the team’s first touchdown and caught three passes for 45 yards.