LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky is in the middle of preparing for Georgia and offensive players and coaches were available to talk after Tuesday evening’s practice.
Kickoff against the Bulldogs is set for 7:30 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
- Benny Snell rushed for 192 yards and Boom Williams added 182 last Saturday against Missouri, but the game ball went to Kentucky’s offensive line. Senior center Jon Toth has been in the middle of it on almost every play. Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said guard Bunchy Stallings rotated with Toth at center on Tuesday just to give him a break: “He’s the quarterback,” Gran said of Toth. “He’s the one who gets it done and he’s done a fantastic job for us.”
- Coach Mark Stoops said it several times after the win against Missouri: “Don’t be satisfied.” Gran said coaches are sticking to the same message this week ahead of the Georgia game: “If they think they’ve arrived then we’re in trouble,” Gran said. “And we got to keep that edge. But yes, I am proud of them and their success. But we’ve got a long way to go.”
- Senior running back Jojo Kemp will only be used in an emergency situation Saturday which could bump sophomore Sihiem King into the running back rotation with Snell and Williams: “He’s been unbelievable,” Gran said of King. “The one guy who hasn’t gotten any reps. He’s making a huge impact on special teams and he’s come out and worked his tail off. Like I tell him, you’ve got to be ready every week.”
- Gran has been around a while but Stephen Johnson has impressed him for a player that’s been thrown into a situation. Johnson’s passing stats have improved during the last two games and Gran is pleased in his quarterback’s progression: “I think in all my years of coaching, for a guy that really wasn’t planning on coming in and having this much, being our starter, he has really improved a lot.”
- One visible strength of Johnson’s has been the deep ball. He found Jeff Badet on a big score against Missouri and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said that’s a big part of the offense: “We’ve been working on deep balls from camp and we’ve gotten better and better and better at them,” Hinshaw said. “Throw them at the right time and we always have deep balls in a lot of our routes and they’re not always there, but when the defense gives them to you, you’ve got to take advantage of them.”
- Johnson and Badet have been synced up in back-to-back games: “Our relationship is getting a lot better, me and Jeff,” Johnson said. “Just being able to click on the field, knowing where he’s going to be, recognizing his speed and, like you said, just be able to throw the ball up basically like I did in the last game and let him run underneath it. His speed is just phenomenal, so I need to utilize that.”
Watch: Eddie Gran interview
Watch: Stephen Johnson interview
Quote of the day
Stephen Johnson on the flight home from Missouri:
“Usually, I just go to sleep on the plane, but it was pretty loud on the plane so I definitely couldn’t sleep. But yeah, we was just all excited to get that win and be able to celebrate on the plane. And then to be able to get off the plane and have all the fans right there was pretty cool, too.”
Other news you need to know
- Kentucky running back Jojo Kemp has a broken left hand and will only be used in an emergency situation.
- Mark Stoops called on fans to fill Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
- Five questions for Kentucky leading into the Georgia game.
- Full highlights from Stoops’ Monday press conference.
- Stoops and Kentucky don’t want to talk about the Wildcats chances to win the SEC East.