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  • Why were Kentucky defensive starters in the game late in Starkville?

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Did you wonder why Kentucky had so many defensive starters still in the game at Mississippi State late Saturday with the Bulldogs leading 38-7?

    Coach Mark Stoops had gone to reserves on offense, including quarterback Drew Barker and running back A.J. Rose. But on defense, he left his best players on the field.

    Why risk injury? Why not let younger players get some playing time? Why not make it clear to the starters that their defensive play had not been acceptable?

    Former Kentucky running back Anthony White said there probably was a method to what Stoops was doing and he thought of that as he watched linebackers Courtney Love and Jordan Jones chasing the State quarterback on a touchdown run with the Cats already down 31 points.

    “It was like Stoops was saying, ‘Okay, you made this bed. Lay in it. I am not pulling you out because you played terrible. I am leaving you in because you played terrible,’” White said.

    “They don’t have to get hurt if they stay in the game. With the way those guys were playing for the most part, they were not going to get hurt because they were not hitting anybody.”

    Ouch. Facts can hurt.

    White said he hoped Stoops sent a signal to players during film study Sunday and/or Monday by putting starters in the back of meeting rooms and putting younger guys in the front.

    White also had no problem with the postgame tirade from assistant coach Vince Marrow that was overheard during Mark Stoops’ press conference.

    “I think these guys egos are so fragile,” White said. “Maybe what Marrow did is exactly what they needed. It’s bigger for a coach to send the right message than it is to worry about a happy locker room.”
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