LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Wildcats had their last full practice Wednesday before South Carolina and Mark Stoops, along with defensive players and coaches were available, to talk afterward.
Kickoff against the Gamecocks 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
- Sophomore QB Drew Barker will miss “significant time” and coach Mark Stoops was as mad as ever at his defense after practice. Those were the two takeaways Wednesday. Barker first.
- Stoops called Barker’s back injury “chronic” on Monday which signaled he was out for Saturday, but it’ll be longer than that: “I have no idea how long that’ll be,” Stoop said. “When I say significant, he’s out for the foreseeable future, the next two, three, four weeks. After that we’ll re-evaluate him and see where he’s at.”
- Barker’s injury is non-operative at this point, but he’ll be reevaluated in the coming weeks.
- Freshman Gunnar Hoak will be Stephen Johnson’s primary backup. Cincinnati transfer Luke Wright is next in line.
- Now to the defense. Again, Stoops wasn’t happy. See for yourself: “I thought we practiced the way we should practice yesterday, and I thought we absolutely regressed today, and that’s our problem. That’s our problem. Until we get it changed, we’re gonna have the same darn results that we have in that stadium which is bull crap. So until we grow up and get a mentality about us and have some guys step up and get tougher, then we’re gonna look like the same bunch of crap.”
- His mood didn’t turn cheery after that: “We try to teach, try to coach, try to educate, and sometimes all that don’t work. The truth is the truth. If we’re so fragile we can’t handle the truth, we’re not going to win many games. I told them the truth.”
- Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot shared in the frustration: “We’re just immature. I don’t know why we just can’t lock in and go to work every day. We just can’t take it seriously every day and that’s disappointing.”
- Stoops assumed a bigger duty in defensive scheming last week, and that will continue, Eliot said: “It was a communication between he and I on what we thought we should do. It was good to have another mind in that aspect of it. Then it also allowed me to free up and look for some other things.”
What we need to know
- It’s the middle of the week before a crucial game and the takeaways from today’s practice were a lack of concentration and maturity on defense. Who’s to blame?
Watch: CB Derrick Baity interview
Quote of the day
“We have no idea what it takes to have concentration, from the beginning of the week through the end and through a whole game and so on. You get the picture? We’re not real tough, we’re not real smart and we’ve got a long way to go.” — Coach Mark Stoops
Other news you need to know
- Five keys for UK on Saturday.
- Mark Stoops talks team’s turnover problems.
- Quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw steered Stephen Johnson’s path to Lexington.
- C.J. Conrad earns national tight end of the week award.
- South Carolina player calls Commonwealth Stadium “a weird place to play.”
- Stephen Johnson likes to scramble, but taking big hits is a concern.