LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky picked up a season-opening win Saturday at Southern Miss, but not everyone seemed pleased with the result.
Freshman wide receiver Lynn Bowden, Kentucky’s No. 1 signee in the 2017 class, only saw a few snaps in the game. Bowden took to Twitter on Saturday night in what appeared to be frustration with his lack of playing time.
Prized UK freshman Lynn Bowden's timeline since he played sparingly in the opener has been interesting. pic.twitter.com/bVJvFIMyRp
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) September 3, 2017
Bowden tweeted “Played me” followed by three emojis at 8:20 p.m. Saturday. The tweets have since been deleted, but Bowden favorited several replies that had to do with his lack of playing time.
“There’s no issue,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said at his Monday press conference. “We’ll continue to manage our players. That’s what they pay me to do. We’ll be fine. Lynn’s a good kid, work hard. It’s not uncommon in general. I’ve been a lot of places with some very, very talented young men and the competitive nature comes out in kids sometimes and we’ll be fine. There’s no issue at all. That’s the good thing about our football team now and where we’re at. We can manage things like that very easily.”
Stoops added more clarity to the situation on his weekly radio show Monday night when a caller asked about Bowden’s playing time.
Stoops, like the caller, said he was disappointed he didn’t play more.
“We had some plays designed for him later, couldn’t get to them,” Stoops said, citing the lack of snaps Kentucky had.
As for Bowden’s tweets, Stoops again dismissed the issue on his radio show.
“I talked to him for five minutes, it’s over,” Stoops said. “He’s a competitor. He’s not some pouty little kid. He’s a young man that’s gonna be a very good player that we have to bring on… Believe me, if you want to talk about some of the most talented players I’ve ever coached, man, there’s some high-maintenance dudes out there. You want to go back to my days at Miami or Florida State, I’ll give you high maintenance. They’re wired different.”
Bowden was a 4-star prospect coming out of Warren G. Harding High School in Youngstown, Ohio. He was Kentucky’s top-ranked commit and 247Sports ranked him the No. 4 athlete in the country.
Bowden is listed as Kentucky’s second-team “F” wide receiver behind senior starter Garrett Johnson.
Stoops said sophomore running back Benny Snell is a good example of a freshman who waited for his opportunity. Snell didn’t play in Kentucky’s first two games last season, but ended up rushing for more than 1,000 yards.
“It’s a great example and we’ll continue to preach that,” Stoops said. “We have a good team and they are unselfish. Guys — it’s OK to want more playing time — but like I always tell them: Make us play you by your preparation and what you do during the week and how you show up and practice. Don’t give us an opportunity to not play you.”
Bowden’s playing time will be something to monitor as the Wildcats take on Eastern Kentucky at noon ET Saturday at Kroger Field.