There are certain players on Kentucky coach Mark Stoops’ team that he can always count on to deliver — and sophomore running back Stanley “Boom” Williams is undoubtedly one of them.
Williams is a spark plug in the Kentucky offense and the Wildcats’ leading rusher, averaging more than 80 yards per game on the ground. He gives Kentucky a reason to feel confident about its offense. But Stoops isn’t sure if he’ll have Williams on Saturday when the Wildcats travel to UGA. It’s been a seesaw of emotions since Williams was injured against Tennessee four days ago — first he was week-to-week, then maybe day-to-day, and now it’s still uncertain.
Stoops said in Wednesday’s SEC teleconference that Kentucky will prepare as if Williams is unavailable against the Bulldogs, but that the team will see how he progresses. For now, Williams is “still listed as doubtful.”
“That’s the issue when you’re playing a lot of these talented SEC teams — they still have some guys that can hit the home run all the time. Boom was certainly one of the few guys that we have that we feel are complete game-changers and can hit the big play,” Stoops said. “Boom was a big-play guy for us. We’re going to have to have somebody else step up.”
On Monday, the Wildcats’ depth chart listed Mikel Horton as the top running back in Williams’ absence. Horton is averaging just 26.8 rushing yards per game but is tied with Williams with three rushing touchdowns. Despite Kentucky’s 52-21 thumping at the hands of Tennessee, the sophomore rose to the occasion with 109 rushing yards. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry and, more importantly, gained a renewed sense of confidence.
Stoops hopes Horton carries that with him to Athens this weekend.
“I would hope that he’s back at full strength and feeling good. He did struggle a little bit. You could tell mentally and physically he was a little lost, but he seems back at full strength right now,” Stoops said. “I’m anxious to see how he does this weekend because I thought he really filled in well last week when Boom went down. I’m anxious to see him be the guy this week and get the bulk of the carries.”