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Kentucky Football

Mark Stoops meets with media ahead of Week 1 trip to Auburn

September 21, 2020

The Kentucky Wildcats are just five days away from kicking off the long-awaited 2020 season.  


UK will start the season by traveling to take on an Auburn Tigers team fresh off a 9-4 2019 campaign and looking to compete for an SEC West title.

Monday, Mark Stoops met with the media to preview the matchup and had high praise for the Tigers.


“We’ve got a challenging schedule with a great opportunity from the start going to Auburn,” Stoops said. “It’s going to be a real challenge. Obviously, a different climate and situation and I’ve never played there before but I know it’s one of the great SEC venues that is usually packed. Obviously, it will be a different circumstance this year with only a percentage (of fans) but nonetheless we know the challenge we have ahead of us. I’m excited about our team and the work they’ve done.”


Stoops talked highly of Auburn quarterback Bo Nix who was named the SEC Freshman of the Year last season after throwing for 2,542 yards, 16 touchdowns, and just six interceptions while leading the Tigers to victories over ranked Alabama, Oregon, and Texas A&M teams’ and even coming within three points of upsetting the eventual national champion LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge. 


“He has all the talent you’re looking for, that’s for sure,” Stoops said. “He’s really talented on the move. He did a really nice job for a freshman with a feel for the pocket, buying time, and then delivering the ball down the field with some accuracy while on the move. He has a very good presence about him and all the arm strength to make any throw. Very talented young man.”

Other Notes: 

Joey Gatewood: Stoops told the media he has still yet to receive word on whether Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood would be eligible for the 2020 season as the SEC still has yet to decide to give him an instant eligibility waiver. He also denied the rumors of a gentlemen’s agreement with Auburn that would keep Gatewood out of the lineup against his former team.

Honoring Chris Oats: The Kentucky Wildcats will honor linebacker Chris Oats who is expected to miss the 2020 season with a non-COVID-19 related medical condition throughout the season. Stoops says the team plans to have different players rotate wearing his No. 22 jersey starting with fellow inside linebacker DeAndre Square this week and Oats’ roommate Keaton Upshaw in Kentucky’s home opener against Ole Miss on Oct. 3. 

COVID-19 protocols: Before traveling to Auburn Friday, Stops said the entire UK team and coaching staff would undergo rapid COVID-19 testing to assure the health of every member of the traveling party before hitting the road. Stoops also noted if he were to have to miss a game due to testing positive for the virus or through contract tracing concerns, coordinator Eddie Gran and associate head coach Vince Marrow would handle the coaching duties. 


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Mark Stoops meets with media ahead of Week 1 trip to Auburn

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