BOZICH & CRAWFORD | Kentucky Football Media Day: By the Numbers
WDRB's Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford take a trip through Kentucky Football Media Day at Kroger Field by the numbers.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Kentucky held a rare Sunday media day, which means that the sermon was delivered by Rev. Mark Stoops in the newly christened Kroger Field.
Here’s a look at UK Football Media Day, by the numbers (chapter and verse):
0 - Amount of time that UK’s top recruit Lynn Bowden, a receiver/running back, has been with the team this summer. Bowden, from Harding High School in Youngstown, Ohio, has been delayed by the NCAA clearing-house because of academics, Stoops said.
Stoops and receivers coach Lamar Thomas said they expected Bowden to join the team this week.
1 – Number of scholarship players from Louisville on Kentucky’s roster. His name is Charles Walker, a slot receiver and punt returner from St. Xavier High School.
Walker, for the record, came to UK as a walk-on and earned his scholarship last season. He caught four passes for 34 yards and returned 15 punts for 117 yards and a touchdown.
The other Jefferson County player on the UK roster is linebacker Spencer Foy, another St. X product, who transferred from the University of Louisville before the 2015 season.
“That’s just the way it worked out,” said Thomas, who coached at U of L and Western Kentucky before coming to UK.
2 – Number of former starters vying for the position at quarterback, a competition that everyone from Stoops to offensive coordinator Eddie Gran says will be a legitimate competition in the preseason, even though Stephen Johnson won seven games as a starter before Drew Barker was hurt last season.
Asked if he was surprised, given what he accomplished as a starter last season, that he wasn’t declared the starter, period, Johnson said the right things.
“There should always be competition,” Johnson said. “Going into it, even into the season, you should always compete. So I’m with that 100 percent. Competition makes all of us better. I can’t let up at all.”
Barker said he’s confident he can make a run at it.
“Last year there was a competition and I won it,” he said. “So I definitely feel like if I’m capable and healthy, which I feel like I am right now, I can go out there and compete and try to win it back. So that’s my goal. I’m not going into camp thinking I’m going to be sitting on the sidelines all season. I’m going to go in like I’m a starter, with the same mentality I had last season.”
3 – Number of times UK linebacker Josh Allen traveled to Louisville last season to watch his sister, Myisha Hines-Allen, play for the Cardinals’ women’s basketball team.
Allen said his sister did wear a red T-shirt when she watched Josh play against the Cardinals at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium last November, but that she told him she cheered when he sacked U of L quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“I figure with her in Louisville and me in Lexington, we’ve got the whole state covered,” Allen said.
5 – Where the Wildcats were picked to finish in the East Division at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., earlier this month. “That’s for fans to talk about,” said tight end C.J. Conrad. “The only thing we need to worry about is getting ready for this season.”
7 – Assistant coaches returning from last season. The newcomers on Stoops’ staff are special teams coordinator Dean Hood and Derrick LeBlanc, who will coach the defensive line coach. Offensive line coach coach John Schlarman and Vince Marrow, who coaches tight ends and coordinates UK’s recruiting, have been with Stoops since he arrived from Florida State.
19 – Number of players who already have their college degrees in hand who will suit up for the Wildcats this season.
34 – Days until Kentucky’s season opener at Southern Miss, which is schedule for 4 p.m. in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles beat UK, 44-35, in the season opener last season but the Wildcats lead the series, 2-1.
40 – Years since the Wildcats celebrated a winning record in the Southeastern Conference.
45 (pounds) -- The weight of each plate Johnson carried around the weight room to help strengthen his hands and forearms to improve on his fumble habit from last season. He tied for third in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision in fumbles, with 10, and Gran made it clear: If he keeps fumbling, he won’t play.
“I agree,” he said. “I think that’s the perfect answer for that. I should not fumble the ball, at all. I did that way too much last year. . . . I couldn’t carry that (45-pound plate) when I first tried it. Now I carry it easily around the weight room. . . . I’ve got footballs in every room in my house, probably three in the car. I carry them everywhere with me.”
87 – Number Conrad has worn for three seasons with the Wildcats because of his admiration for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, his favorite NFL player. The screensaver on Conrad’s phone is a picture of Gronkowski. “I just love the way he plays the position,” he said.
350 (pounds) -- Weight of defensive lineman Matt Elam, who took some harsh criticism from ESPN’s Greg McElroy during SEC Media Days earlier this month. McElroy called Elam, “as lazy and as underachieving a player as I’ve seen in this league in some time.”
Elam, who chose UK over Alabama as a five-star recruit coming out of high school, talked to Stoops about the criticism. Neither would elaborate on that talk, but Stoops defended his player, and Elam said he’s been working hard in the offseason, and has dropped to 350. He was 370 when he signed with UK.
“I'll leave (the substance of the conversation) between he and I,” Stoops said. “But we had a conversation and so I was very blunt with him and told him what was going on and I knew I was going to get some questions about that prior to going (to media days). So we have had discussions all summer about what he wants people to talk about him.”
Reporters were told Elam would address McElroy’s criticism at the start of his availability on Sunday, then wouldn’t discuss it again.
“Everybody is entitled to their own opinion,” Elam said. “He’s a guy behind a desk, that’s what he’s paid to do. I feel like if you’re relevant, you’re going to have criticism. I’m just working hard to change that view. I have pride, so yeah, it bothered me. But I’m not going to sit there and cry about it. That’s not me. That’s not my personality. I’m just going to have to do something about it. . . . What’s on film is what he sees, so let’s change it that way. . . . That’s him. That’s fine. I would never say something like that. But I’m a different guy.”
5,000 – Calories a day. That’s how much Johnson ate this past summer to add to the 183 pounds he weighed at the end of last season.
“It’s put on a lot,” Johnson said. “I’ve put on a lot more weight than I had last year. I’m at about 190. If I can get a few more, about 10 more, that would be great. That would be a healthy weight to go out and play in the SEC.
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