CRAWFORD | UK's Stoops says he'll have 'no tolerance' for ill-wi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | UK's Stoops says he'll have 'no tolerance' for ill-will with EKU

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UK's Mark Stoops says he'll have no tolerance for any spillover of the off-the-field trouble between his team and EKU. (Photo special to WDRB by Adam Creech) UK's Mark Stoops says he'll have no tolerance for any spillover of the off-the-field trouble between his team and EKU. (Photo special to WDRB by Adam Creech)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — In one sense, it’s the usual paycheck game, a meeting of the state’s flagship land-grant university (The University of Kentucky) and its next-door-neighbor regional brother (Eastern Kentucky University).

But there’s a history with these programs, a history that took an unwelcome turn this past offseason during separate incidents, one the beating of EKU offensive lineman Colton Scurry by several UK players at a Richmond, Ky., bar in January, the other the sudden knockdown of UK backup QB Drew Barker (who was in Richmond with teammates Dorian Baker and Tymere Dubose) at an EKU dorm later that night.

All of the incidents were caught on surveillance video, and live forever on the web.

Which leaves the inevitable question, could those earlier hostilities spill over onto the Commonwealth Stadium field when the teams meet at 7:30 Saturday night?

UK coach Mark Stoops said he will bring the subject up with his team right away, and he will leave no question about what he expects from his players and his program.

“That will be addressed early in the week,” Stoops said when he met with reporters on Monday. “We will talk about it and then it’s done with. We have to move on. I have great respect for Coach Hood and his program and the program he is building and the history they have had and what they have done. We will welcome them to our stadium. I think this can be a very good situation and a good rivalry. I have seen it before at other programs where teams that are so close let that kind of stuff filter into the game and there is no place for it. I will have no tolerance all week on anything off the field or any talk and all of that BS. I don’t want anything to do with that. We want to play a good, clean, hard-fought football game and that is what I am going to tell them and I don’t want to hear any of it. I have respect for them. This could be a good thing for the state and a good thing for both programs and we want a good game. . . . Once the game starts I will have little tolerance. If I see any of that stuff, then they are not going to play. I am not going to deal with that stuff. That looks classless and looks sloppy and we will not play that way.”

As if that’s not emotional baggage to bring into a game, EKU also will be playing after the death of a team member this past weekend. Joseph Kraemer, a defensive lineman from Independence, Ky., native who lived in Kettering, Ohio, was killed early Sunday morning when he crashed on Tates Creek Road near Shallow Ford Road. Investigators say Kraemer hit a tree and then went over an embankment. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

UK will honor Kraemer before the playing of My Old Kentucky Home on Saturday.

“I would like to send my condolences to Coach Hood and Eastern Kentucky,” Stoops said. “Hearing about that tragedy, it is sad for all of us. Our hearts go out to him, his family and the entire program. That is the sad thing about leading into this game because we are very excited to play them. We welcome them and look forward to another hard fought game in bringing them to Commonwealth. So we look forward to a very good game with Eastern and I know they have some distractions this week in dealing with that tragedy. Again, I just feel for them and their program.”

UK is feeling good, having ended an 18-game losing streak against nationally-ranked teams with Saturday’s 21-13 win over Missouri. At 3-1, the Wildcats are receiving votes in the major national polls, but Stoops said he doesn’t think the team will become complacent.

The theme for this week, against an EKU team that will be a heavy underdog, is maturity.

“I think it’s a conversation that we have with our players daily in so many ways,” Stoops said. “. . . Last week, I felt like Florida beat us beat us because they were more mature and played harder and that is a compliment to teams that play hard and with great urgency. I thought we were certainly better this Saturday, but there are still plays that I am not happy with that we need to play with a greater sense of urgency. There are no plays off. You never know what one play changes a game.”

UK TO HOLD CONCERT BEFORE SATURDAY’S GAME: Saturday is homecoming at UK, and the school will continue its pregame concerts by welcoming the Bebo Baxter Band, DJ Warren Peace and Halfway to Hazard. The concert will be held next to the Green Lot adjacent to Gate 1 of Commonwealth Stadium. Halfway to Hazard will play starting at 4 p.m., DJ Warren Peace will follow at 5 p.m. and the Bebo Baxter Band will close the concert following the Cat Walk. Halfway to Hazard is an Academy of Country Music Award-nominated duo made up of southeastern Kentucky natives Chad Warrix and David Tolliver.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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