LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Wildcats are in the middle of preparing for Vanderbilt and offensive players and coaches were available to talk after Tuesday night’s practice.
Kickoff against the Commodores is set for 4 p.m. ET Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network. Here’s what you need to know from the latest round of interviews.
What we learned
- Practice was over, but QB Stephen Johnson was throwing one-on-one balls to WR Dorian Baker in the far end zone from where interviews were taking place. Baker has only played in one game due to a hamstring injury after leading the team in catches a season ago. He and Johnson haven’t had game reps together so it’s been a crash course to get synced: “We connected a lot during practice today and obviously getting reps after practice helps a lot too,” Johnson said. “Definitely a really good thing to have him back.”
- Now the question is how many reps Baker will receive. There’s surely some rust and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said his playing time is still to be determined: “We’ll know that at the end of the week,” Gran said. “Excited to have him back. Helps with our receivers and their depth, too.”
- Gran talked about it, so did quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw and so did Johnson himself: ball security. It was the most often used phrase after practice following Johnson’s three fumbles against the Crimson Tide: “I’m not gonna beat a dead horse,” Gran said. “He knows the deal. He can’t do it anymore. It’s unacceptable.”
- Here’s Hinshaw’s take: “We can go through a blaster, and I can strip it from him, all that stuff, but when you go and you’ve got Alabama stripping it from you it’s a little bit different,” he said.
- Johnson thinks seeing the speed and physicality from Alabama will help him to fix the problem in the future: “Going through that game, you know, Alabama No. 1, they’re obviously a great team,” Johnson said. “I mean they had some phenomenal guys on the field flying around on all side. So definitely going into this next game I think it’ll be a little bit slower which will help us on offense I think.”
Watch: Stephen Johnson interview
- Along with Baker, LT Cole Mosier was back at practice Tuesday. Mosier was injured at Florida and missed the last three games. Freshman Landon Young was filling in for Mosier, and now the two will be able to take pressure off each other moving forward: “Now, you got a fresher Landon, you got a fresher Cole, and so it just helps us in terms of the depth and then the plays that they’re gonna get,” Gran said. “Now you don’t have to play Landon 60 plays, you don’t have to play Cole 60 plays.”
Quote of the day
“He reverted back to some of his JC days where he could take off and run and make people miss and stiff-arm, and that’s great in junior college, not at Alabama.” — quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw on Johnson’s fumbles.
Other news you need to know
- Five things to watch in Saturday’s matchup with Vanderbilt.
- Updates on the offensive depth chart for Saturday’s game.
- Last year’s loss to Vanderbilt is still bothering Mark Stoops.
- The Wildcats should have last year’s leader in receptions back at full strength.
- What did Stoops say at his Monday press conference?