Kentucky Prepares for Road Trip to Starkville with More Cowbell at Practice

by:Nick Roush09/17/19


Butch Dill | Getty Images

Ahead of Saturday’s road trip to Mississippi State, Kentucky’s football practice was a little louder than normal. During team periods, cowbells rang through the speakers at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility.

“It’s great,” said Gran. “It’s louder than it would ever be anywhere. It really forces them to concentrate and lock in. I thought they did a heck of a job. I was really excited what I saw today.”

The high-pitched din of cowbells at Davis Wade Stadium create a sound unlike any other venue in the SEC. Even though it will rattle the brains of Kentucky fans through their televisions this weekend, it’s no different than the level of sound the BBN made at Kroger Field Saturday night. .

“Our stadium was loud. It’s gonna be that times two on Saturday. That’s what you’re going to see down there because it’s a smaller stadium and them bells…it drives me nuts,” said Vince Marrow. “I think because they played in this environment, that was a real big-time environment. Our young guys, they don’t know no better. They played well in this last game. They just don’t know no better. I’m very encouraged what they’re going to do when we go down there.”

Right tackle Darian Kinnard will be playing his first game in Starkville this Saturday. Drake Jackson doesn’t feel the need to give him any pointers prior to the matchup.

“We practice it out here with all the noise. He gets it. We hear all the noise when our defense is on the field at home game. He knows what to expect and he played last year,” said Jackson.

The Kentucky center is just anxious to return to the field after letting a win slip through their fingertips against Florida.

“Going on the road at Mississippi State’s going to be a challenge, but it’s something we’re looking forward to going out there and proving ourselves.”

Other Notes From Practice

Wagner isn’t Reliving his Amazing Catch — You may have watched Ahmad Wagner’s unbelievable touchdown catch a dozen times, but the Kentucky wide receiver only needed to see it once before moving on to Miss. State.

“I haven’t really watched it. My teammates are saying it was pretty cool and everything. I watched it after the game to make sure I caught it, which I did, and after that I just kind of left it alone, put that game behind me and focused on Mississippi State.”

A Big Wrinkle — Kentucky’s tight ends are giving Eddie Gran more options. Against Florida UK lined up in 13 personnel (one running back, three tight ends), using the power run game for a few plays before going five-wide for a completion to Drew Schlegel.

“I think it’s huge. I think you can build on those packages,” Gran said. “Those tight ends, they’re getting better. They’re big targets and that showed in the game.”

A Catchable Fade — In a game and a half, Sawyer Smith has shown that he knows how to throw a fade. All four of his touchdowns have come on the route, whether it’s over the top or a back-shoulder pass. Wagner got plenty of reps with Smith in training camps on the second string offense, so the two know where the other is going to be when the play is called.

“He throws a great ball. If I don’t catch it, it’s my fault. It’s nothing to do with him. If I don’t catch it, it’s on me,” Wagner said.

Wagner has caught two of them. Last Saturday tight end Keaton Upshaw caught his first touchdown as Wildcat from a fade. Another large target, Upshaw knows it’s his job to go get Smith’s soft pass.

“Just him being confident in his throwing, putting it on the money and knowing where we’re gonna be. On back-shoulder throws, he knows I’m a big guy. If he gets it in my area, I’m going to go get it.”


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