Another media day is in the books for the Kentucky Wildcats football program, as Mark Stoops and Co. spoke with media Wednesday at Kroger Field.
Of course, the most important thing in the Bluegrass right now is supporting Eastern Kentucky after heavy flooding took many lives and destroyed many more homes in the area. Stoops delivered a message about the tragic event and called on the Big Blue Nation for help, which you can do here.
Now, here are our takeaways from Kentucky football’s media day.
Love For Chris Oats
It’s been a very challenging journey for Chris Oats after suffering a career-ending stroke in May of 2020. He’s been largely bound to a wheelchair since then, though he’s made a lot of progress in his rehab and has even begun walking with assistance.
Today presented another wonderful sight, as Oats was with his teammates posing for team pictures.
Brad White has a message to players when they break down on '22' for Chris Oats. "Don't ever get numb to it. This is what it's about."— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) August 3, 2022
No doubt that this is absolutely the best thing to come out of today’s media day.
Best Day (1 practice) Ever!
Mark Stoops has been leading the program for a decade now, so it’s quite eye-opening when he says today was the best Day 1 practice he’s had during his time in Lexington.
Stoops says today was best Day 1 practice in his 10 years at Kentucky.— Jon Hale (@JonHale_HL) August 3, 2022
"It should be. Our foundation is set in stone. We have a returning quarterback."
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given how much talent and experience Kentucky has, but it’s nonetheless still wonderful to hear as Stoops looks to keep taking this program to new heights.
Josh Jones Out For season
The Kentucky offensive line is big question mark heading into fall camp after losing three starters, including both tackles, while Eli Cox is moving from guard to center this season.
Now, there’s added concern as to how much depth there is, as backup tackle Josh Jones was lost for the season due to an unspecified injury that will require surgery. The redshirt sophomore wasn’t expected to start but instead compete for a backup role.
Stoops did acknowledge that redshirt freshman tackle David Wohlabaugh has been a “pleasant surprise” in camp thus far after appearing in two games last season.
However, Stoops did admit this unit doesn’t have much proven depth, so it will be up to unknowns like Wohlabaugh to step up and give Kentucky good snaps when called on.
While most of the 2022 signing class is on campus, including all the big-name guys like Barion Brown, Kiyaunta Goodwin and the Wade twins, Stoops did reveal that not all freshmen have made it to campus. He did not say who hasn’t made it to campus, but one of the missing players is believed to be Quentel Jones, who was arrested this offseason on a battery charge.
Backup QB Battle
With Beau Allen now off to Tarleton State, Kentucky has very little experience behind Will Levis at quarterback. The only guy with actual college experience is redshirt sophomore Deuce Hogan, who transferred in this offseason after leaving Iowa.
Stoops confirmed that Hogan will battle redshirt freshman Kaiya Sheron for the backup spot. The UK head coach also noted that both players have taken big steps forward since reporting for camp.
Stoops did not mention true freshman Destin Wade as a contender to be the backup. Wade was a 4-star class of 2022 signee as a highly-touted ‘athlete.’ He’ll be getting a chance to play quarterback at Kentucky, but for now, it does not appear he’s a viable contender for the backup role this year.
Chris Rodriguez Mystery Lingers
If you were hoping to finally get some closure on the Chris Rodriguez situation, I’ve got some bad news for you.
Early on in Stoops’ presser, he said there’s no update on his star running back’s status for the 2022 season. However, Stoops did say he’s confident in UK’s running back group if Rodriguez can’t go.
“We feel just fine. We feel like there’s some really solid players there that can breakout and do some great things,” said Stoops.
New offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello also likes this group while admitting that UK will need unproven guys to step up in fall camp.
“I like the group, but it’s unproven. That’ll be the biggest thing that comes out of camp.”
Tight End U?
Speaking of Scangarello, he went out of his way to praise what’s become a very deep and talented group of tight ends.
You probably know Scangarello is an NFL veteran who’s worked with some big-name tight ends like George Kittle, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Noah Fant, Zach Miller, and h-back Kyle Juszczyk.
So when Scangarello says Kentucky has as many as six future NFL tight ends on the roster, that carries a lot of weight.
Coach Scangarello says he is “very, very, very excited” Tight End room.— Dylan Ballard (@DylanBallard_UK) August 3, 2022
Says “he couldn’t imagine having a better one.”
Also states that there is “5 or 6 pros in the room” @ASeaOfBlue #BBN pic.twitter.com/IITS0MnkCU
Led by Keaton Upshaw, Brenden Bates and Izayah Cummings, this has the potential to be one of of the best position groups on the roster and perhaps even the best offensive group this season.
Now, here’s a recap of today’s pressers from Stoops, Scangarello, defensive coordinator Brad White, and quarterback Will Levis.