Before kickoff, Kentucky announced it would be without ten players vs. Alabama, including running back Chris Rodriguez and linebacker Jamin Davis. After the Cats’ 63-3 loss to the Crimson Tide, Mark Stoops admitted COVID-19 was impacting his squad and he wasn’t sure when they’d be at full strength again.
“I really don’t. I have no idea what that looks like until we do some more tests and see how they come back. It’s difficult to practice and game plan guys all week and find out on Friday morning before you get on a plane you’re not going to have some but it is what it is. I think everyone in the country is dealing with it and this is not the team or place that you want to come to down some guys.”
Stoops said there was never a point in which today’s game was in jeopardy because of low roster numbers; with two games left, he hopes it stays that way.
“We’re going to continue to try and tighten it up and adhere to the protocols that we have in place and do the very best that we can. We want to play. It is what it is. I’m going to do my best to keep myself and our team safe. We will not put our players at risk and I hope [the numbers] don’t jump up on us more than they already have.”
With Chris Rodriguez out, AJ Rose was the main running back, rushing for 68 yards on 10 carries. A senior, Rose was not willing to use COVID as an excuse for today’s performance.
“We can’t control who catches the disease or gets traced,” Rose said. “It would have been great to have our full team here and have the players we were missing here, but we’ll control what we can control and that’s to go out there next week get a game plan and execute it and play to best of our abilities. I just feel like it’s been a rough year in football, the COVID disease and all around, but we’re doing the best to make the most of it.”
Ditto for defensive end Josh Paschal.
“Of course, we were a little shorthanded this week but that can happen this season with COVID. It’s a different season than usual. The next guy just has to stand up and I’m proud of the guys who did step up who were thrown in those situations and whatnot but we have to get better. This is not acceptable.”