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UK Freshman LB J.J. Weaver To See Increased Playing Time

(Photo by Vicky Graff)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Could Mark Stoops find a way to play outside linebackers Jordan Wright and J.J. Weaver together more starting with Saturday’s game at Missouri?

The Kentucky coach said he “definitely will” do more of that even if it means not having Boogie Watson, one of UK’s best playmakers on the field. That should tell you what he thinks of Wright, a junior, and Weaver, a redshirt freshman.

“I thought all three of those outside linebackers that played, really played well (at Tennessee last week). I thought Boogie’s sack early in the game was a major play in the game for momentum and got them out of field goal position. Jamar (Watson) really played a good game,” Stoops said.

But what about Wright and Weaver?

“With J-Dub (Jordan) playing with J.J. it gives us some length and an opportunity to rotate the three of them. They both did some really good things. I thought J.J. lost contain on one play early in the game and I kind of got after him on the sidelines,” Stoops said.  “I love him, he responded in such a good way and played outstanding really, played some really good football the rest of the game.

“And J.J., a play with him, very similar to J-Dubs, where they tried to reach him and get outside and get out on the perimeter and he is so long and a big, strong guy, and made a tackle for loss. I think all three of those outside linebackers are playing really well.”

Saturday they will be trying to stop a Missouri offense led by quarterback Connor Bazelak, a one-time UK recruit.

“Connor, he has stepped in and gave them the spark that they needed and has the ability to run the offense that (offensive coordinator) Eli (Drinkwitz) wants to run and definitely looked very good,” Stoops said. “It does not surprise me that he is playing well.

“We knew him out of high school and he is a great player and great person and he did a very good job.”

Stoops said the Missouri offense is “creative” and will give UK’s defense a lot of different looks to put pressure on the Wildcats, who have had nine interceptions in the last two games.

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