4 important things Mark Stoops said ahead of Kentucky's opener against Auburn
Kentucky football is heading down to The Plains to open up the 2020 season to face Auburn for the first time since 2015.
Mark Stoops met with the media for a virtual press conference Monday as the Wildcats opened up game week, here are 4 important topics highlighted by Stoops.
1. No update on Joey Gatewood
The former 4-star prospect is still waiting for an update from the NCAA in regards to his waiver wire after transferring from Auburn in the offseason, and Stoops confirmed there has been no change in the dual-threat quarterback’s status yet for the 2020 season.
Also, following a report about a “gentleman’s agreement” that would prevent Kentucky from playing Gatewood in the opener if he was eligible, Stoops denied that any such agreement was in place with Auburn.
2. Honoring Chris Oats
Kentucky linebacker Chris Oats was hospitalized in May due to an undisclosed medical issue not relating to COVID-19, and will not be available to the Wildcats this season. Stoops confirmed his team will honor Oats this season, by having a different player wear No. 22 – Oats’ jersey number – every week.
Mark Stoops says that each week a player will wear Chris Oats' No. 22 number to honor player who will miss season. De'Andre Square will wear 22 at Auburn on Saturday. Oats' roommate Keaton Upshaw will wear 22 for first home game. #bbn #ukfootball
— John Clay (@johnclayiv) September 21, 2020
3. The plan if Stoops were to miss a game due to COVID-19
This is a scenario every head coach in college football must be prepared for, in case a positive test leads to unavailability on gameday. Stoops confirmed Kentucky does have a plan in place if he is unable to join his team on the sideline at any point this season.
“Should something happen to me I am very fortunate I have some experienced coaches here” said Stoops. “Eddie Gran and Vince Marrow have the titles (assistant head coach), we have some plans in place to ensure we operate and stay as smooth as we can.”
Although he did not highlight exactly who would take over if Stoops were to miss a game, he implied either Gran or Marrow would step in.
4. Facing a Chad Morris/Gus Malzahn-coached offense
“Certainly that’s a good tandem there with Chad and Gus” said Stoops.
“I’m sure that’s very comfortable for Gus and for Chad to have each other. That’s two very good coaches working together. You look at Chad, you may see a coach that throws it slightly more. The passing game is different. We’ll analyze the passing game from Arkansas and even SMU.”
Kentucky and Auburn will kick off at 12pm ET at Jordan-Hare Stadium, with the game being televised on SEC Network,