HOOVER, Ala. — SEC Network’s Greg McElroy went off on Kentucky defensive tackle Matt Elam on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. McElroy called Elam “lazy” and “underachieving.”
The Wildcats heard all of it.
“I came in the computer lab yesterday to work,” junior safety Mike Edwards said on Wednesday. “He was in there. I was like, ‘Did you hear it?’ He was like, ‘Yeah I did.’ … He knows what he has to do.”
Edwards, and the rest of Kentucky’s contingent at SEC Media Days — Mark Stoops, quarterback Stephen Johnson and linebacker Courtney Love — all weighed in on McElroy’s comments, and all defended their senior teammate.
“That’s a tough one,” quarterback Stephen Johnson said. “Me and Matt didn’t talk about it personally, but seeing his attitude this morning at practice, it’s definitely not what they said yesterday. I’m excited to see what Matt has in store this season cause he’s gonna be one helluva player.”
Senior linebacker Courtney Love took a direct approach. As soon as Love saw video of McElroy’s criticism, he sent it Elam’s way.
“That’s all we had to do,” Love said. “I think Matt’s gonna respond … Matt’s gonna be great this year. This spring he really busted his butt.”
Elam, a former 5-star prospect, lost his starting nose guard spot to Naquez Pringle last season. Now a senior, pressure is on Elam and the whole defensive line to improve.
Stoops said he would never condone throwing a guy under the bus, but he admitted there’s room for improvement for Kentucky up front.
“There’s no hiding that,” Stoops said. “Our players know that. We need to get better. Derrick LeBlanc here is working with our defensive line. I saw some signs in the spring and I think we’re working very hard in the summer. And we’re going to improve, but I have no response to that.”