Josh Kendall

Is Kentucky coach setting a trap for Gamecocks?

USC-UK preview: Gamecocks prepare for third SEC road trip

The State's Josh Kendall and David Cloninger preview and predict the Gamecocks' game against Kentucky, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Lexington, Ky.
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The State's Josh Kendall and David Cloninger preview and predict the Gamecocks' game against Kentucky, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops would have you believe South Carolina is headed north for an easy win this weekend.

For starters, Stoops announced Wednesday night that Wildcats starting quarterback Drew Barker will not play against the Gamecocks. In fact, Barker won’t play for “a significant amount of time.”

“The bottom line is Drew will be out,” Stoops said.

But that wasn’t why Stoops wanted to talk to media members on Wednesday. It’s clear from the transcript of Stoops’ time that he wanted to make a point not about his quarterback but about his defense.

“I thought we absolutely regressed today, and that’s our problem. That’s our problem. Until we get it changed, we’re gonna have the same darn results that we have in that stadium which is bull crap,” Stoops said. “So until we grow up and get a mentality about us and have some guys step up and get tougher, then we’re gonna look like the same bunch of crap.”

Kentucky is last in the SEC and 122nd in the nation in scoring defense, allowing more than 43 points per game. The Wildcats’ head coach, who made his name as a defensive coordinator, apparently has seen enough.

“Some guys need to grow up in a hurry,” he said. “We have no idea what it takes to have concentration, from the beginning of the week through the end and through a whole game and so on. You get the picture? We’re not real tough, we’re not real smart and we’ve got a long way to go.”

As of Wednesday night, the Wildcats remained a 2.5-point favorite over the Gamecocks, but Stoops is making out his own team to be a mess.

Maybe it’s a trap, or maybe Stoops feels like he has to try a desperate motivational ploy to get anything out of his team even though the season is not a quarter finished yet. If that’s the case, it’s awfully early to be going to that well.

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