LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Wildcats are in the middle of preparing for Alabama and offensive players and coaches were available to talk after Tuesday night’s practice.
Kickoff against the Crimson Tide is set for 7 p.m. ET Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium and the game will be broadcast on ESPN. Here’s what you need to know from the latest round of interviews.
What we learned
- Kentucky traveled to the Swamp in its second game and was beat 45-7. Starting QB Drew Barker had more interceptions than completions and now-starter Stephen Johnson got his first taste of playing time. There was no way of knowing Johnson would start heading into Alabama, but he drew something from the Florida game: “Definitely, this team as well,” Johnson said. “I mean, Alabama is no joke. They’re No. 1 for a reason. They’re going to probably have the same speed, if not faster, than Florida. That atmosphere in Tuscaloosa is going to be off the charts, so it definitely prepared us as an offense and as a team going to Florida, and we’ll see if we’re ready or not.”
- Barker was entrenched atop the depth chart when Johnson transferred to Kentucky, and even though Barker’s injury has catapulted him to the No. 1 gig, starting was always his expectation: “I envisioned myself playing every game when I first came to Kentucky,” Johnson said. “So definitely going to and seeing Alabama on the schedule is really big.”
- Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and the players know what awaits them this weekend: “That’s why these guys came here, to play in this kind of atmosphere,” Gran said. “We’re going to have to go out and play our best football. Anytime you play the No. 1 team in the country you’ve got to play your best football.”
- With as strong as freshman RB Benny Snell has played the last two weeks, he doesn’t provide the big-play capability as junior RB Boom Williams. Gran said Williams’ biggest step is taking the yards in front of him: “We can’t go side to side on any of these SEC teams,” Gran said. “I will say this, he can sometimes, but you’ve got to pick and choose when you do that. I think he’s still gotta learn that when it’s not there, stick your foot in the ground and get us three yards.”
What we need to know
- Johnson only attempted 19 passes last Saturday against South Carolina, completing 11 with no touchdowns and one interception. His line didn’t stand out, but he was able to manage the game effectively without putting the Wildcats in too many tough spots. Kentucky’s success on the ground minimized the need for a passing game, but if Alabama keys on stopping the run, how much will Gran turn Johnson and the offense loose?
Watch: Stephen Johnson interview
- Starting LT Cole Mosier is day-to-day, Gran said. Freshman Landon Young has been starting in his spot.