Kentucky linebacker Jordan Jones will not be suspended from playing in Kentucky’s bowl game, coach Mark Stoops said Monday night on his radio show. Jones will be disciplined and Stoops said Jones has to do some things to get back in good standing with him.
Jones was at the center of a first quarter fight that broke out in Kentucky’s blowout loss to Louisville on Saturday. Jones tackled Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and Kentucky teammates had to pull Jones away from the skirmish. The linebacker was assessed a personal foul, and he was flagged twice more for back-to-back personal fouls in the third quarter.
“There’s really no excuse for the way some of that game played out,” Stoops said on his radio show. “I was not very proud of it. Our team has represented this university by and large very good. We have some guys doing some great things. The negative stuff, and the way we played and the way we represented the university at times Saturday I was not very proud of.”
Stoops reinserted Jones back into the game even after the first quarter fight and back-to-back personal fouls in the third quarter. He explained his reasoning, saying that backup Eli Brown was injured and that it wouldn’t be fair to pull a redshirt off an inexperienced freshman.
“To (Jones), it’s actually more painful for him to go back in after he’s been disciplined like that and talked to and embarrassed, to go back and play than to sit on the bench,” Stoops said. “I told the team once, I told them a hundred times, in this business and in sport, and that’s why I’m here tonight. There’s nowhere to run, and there’s nowhere to hide. You’re accountable for your actions, the good things you do and the bad things. They’re all gonna be visible and you own them.”
There was a precedent for Jones’ antics against Louisville. He was suspended from the Blue-White spring game for missing a meeting. Then after Kentucky’s Week 1 game at Southern Miss, a video showed Jones spitting in the direction of Southern Miss fans. He wasn’t suspended for the incident.
“The easy thing to do sometimes is to just kick kids to the curb,” Stoops said. “But that’s not what we’re in this business for. I do appreciate the growth that he has made. The bad thing is sometimes we spend 90 percent of our time talking about 5 or 10 percent of the people and issues.”
Jones led Kentucky’s defense and was third in the SEC with 109 tackles last season. He missed four games this year due to a shoulder injury, but still managed to record 55 tackles.
Stoops decided to hold his radio show Monday rather than make a recruiting trip. He had to answer for Jones’ actions, along with Denzil Ware’s. Ware was seen shoving a trash can at a Louisville player. Stoops also addressed Nick Haynes’ tweets that came before the game. Stoops said he had individual meetings with several players and doesn’t anticipate any lingering effects. Kentucky also had a team meeting Monday.