The big news is the starting middle linebacker, as Kash Daniel will miss the first half of this week’s game due to a targeting foul incurred in the second half of last Saturday’s win over South Carolina.
By rule, a second-half ejection for targeting means said player must sit for two quarters of their next game. That means true freshman Chris Oats will start in place of Daniel this week.
Oats was arguably the biggest get in Kentucky’s 2018 recruiting class, as the four-star linebacker picked Kentucky over Ohio State and other big-time programs. Oats had a good showing in fall camp, so much that Mark Stoops made it clear the freshman would play early and often in his first college season.
Stoops expressed confidence on Monday that Oats can get the job done. Fellow true freshman DeAndre Square will also get some run there. Square has also done well in his first season, and he actually got a head start as an early enrollee who shined in spring football.
The other big news was left tackle Naasir Watkins, who is no longer on the depth chart. Stoops said Watkins will miss “several weeks” with a knee injury. The good news is Kentucky has a bye next week, so it’s possible Watkins only misses this week vs. the Aggies.
Former USC Trojans transfer EJ Price is now alone atop the depth chart at left tackle. Price was in a heated competition with Watkins for that spot, so now is the chance for Price to lock it down for good.
True freshman Darian Kinnard will be the backup to Price.