LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Wildcats are in the middle of their preparations for New Mexico State and offensive players and coaches were available to talk after Tuesday’s practice.
Kickoff against the Aggies is set for 4 p.m. ET Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus. Here’s what you need to know from the latest round of interviews.
What we learned
- Quarterback Drew Barker was as surprised as anybody after nearly being shut out against Florida: “We expected more out of ourselves than that,” he said. “It was definitely really tough on us to go through that game and watch the film after but I think we’ve come out here and had a great two days of practice. I mean, everybody’s had a great attitude, and, you know, I’m really looking forward to Saturday.”
- Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran is tired of the turnovers: “At the end of the day, we’ve got to protect the ball,” he said. “That’s our baby. It’s inexcusable. But that’s everybody involved. It’s our offensive line protecting. It’s our running backs protecting. It’s the receivers getting off the line of scrimmage. It’s everybody.”
- Gran said Saturday that he might have to simplify the game plan. He briefly expanded on the thought Tuesday: “If we have to cut, we’ll cut, if we don’t, then we’ll be good.”
- Freshman LT Landon Young made his debut Saturday when Cole Mosier went down with an ankle injury. He talked about getting his number called: “I looked up on the big screen, he was down, and I was like, well, this is my moment. I need to step in and fulfill the spot I’ve been working so hard for through camp, through summer and through the first part of the season.”
- Backup QB Stephen Johnson made his debut Saturday. The coaches told him throughout the week and before the game that he would see the field: “We had already planned out some plays for me to do, some planned run plays. I kinda knew I was going to get in the game at some point.”
- And as far as how the offense changes with Johnson at quarterback?: “Pretty much the same offense. Just a couple more designed runs I guess,” he said.
What he said … What we think he means
Drew Barker on if being sacked on the first play affected him for the rest of the game:
“Um, I mean I don’t know if it threw me off. I mean, I probably thought they were going to get to me quicker than they really were the rest of the game just cause I got blindsided like that and was maybe looking around a little too much. But, you definitely can’t let that happen. Again, it’s a great learning point.”
What we think he means: “Yes, I was thinking about that sack for the rest of the game.” The UK quarterback threw three interceptions, and was off his game from the get-go. Florida has one of the country’s top defenses and you can’t blame Barker for being uncomfortable in the pocket after getting crunched on his first play.
What we need to know
- Gran wondered after the Florida game if he needs to simplify the offense. The offensive coordinator was asked about it again and it’s still unclear what that will look like. Something to keep an eye on Saturday.
Watch: Drew Barker interview
Quote of the day
“I want to see us go down and have a 12-play drive and finish, keep our defense – let them drink some dang Gatorade. That’s what we need to do.” — Eddie Gran
- Junior LT Cole Mosier left the Florida game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. He was listed atop Monday’s depth chart, but coach Mark Stoops was unsure of Mosier’s status. Expect freshman LT Landon Young to see increased snaps if Mosier is unable to play.
- Sophomore G George Asafo-Adjei missed the Florida game but he’s back at practice and will play against New Mexico State.