BBL: Finally, UK football starts today

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Big Blue Links for Saturday:

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SEC: Georgia-Clemson promises entertainment

SEC links for Saturday:

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BBL: Jalen Whitlow is not a punter

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Big Blue Links for Friday:

Photo of Eastern Illinois quarterback Jalen Whitlow by AP.

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SEC: Aggies pull an opening-night ambush

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SEC links for Friday:

Photo of record-setting Kenny Hill by Associated Press.

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Video: Previewing the UK football season

Fellow Herald-Leader sports columnist Mark Story and myself sat down Thursday to make some predictions on the Kentucky football season.

We picked UK’s best chance for an upset, picked a game in which UK could be upset, picked the pivotal game of the season and the scariest game of the season.

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Video: Mark Stoops’ final say before Saturday

This is it, Mark Stoops final comments before Saturday’s 2014 opener against the Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin. After practice today, the UK head coach said the team is anxious to get going, and that he has tweaked the practice schedule.

Related link: John Clay’s columns

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Video: John Schlarman talks new starters

My column topic today had to do with the John Schlarman Shuffle.

Thanks to Darrian Miller’s suspension, the UK offensive line coach was forced to come up with a Plan B for Saturday’s opener. He moved Jordan Swindle from right tackle to left tackle. He inserted redshirt freshman Kyle Meadows as the starter at right tackle, alongside redshirt freshman starter Ramsey Meyers at right guard.

Here is John talking about his two new starters.

Related link: UK sortable football roster in Excel

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Mel Kiper ranks Bud Dupree 7th-best outside linebacker

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ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. is out with an updated Big Board of top 25 NFL draft prospects overall for 2015 on his NFL Insider page ($), plus the top 10 prospects at each position.

Kentucky’s Bud Dupree did not make the Kiper top 25 list, but he is ranked No. 7 on the list of top outside linebackers.

  • 1. Vic Beasley, Clemson
  • 2. Leonard Floyd, Georgia
  • 3. Shaq Thompson, Washington
  • 4. Noah Spence, Ohio St.
  • 5. Eric Striker, Oklahoma
  • 6. Kyler Fackrell, Utah St.
  • 7. Alvin Dupree, Kentucky
  • 8. Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
  • 9. Tony Washington, Oregon
  • 10. *C.J. Johnson, Mississippi

That Kiper sees Dupree as an outside backer considering that when UK released its first depth chart of the season on Monday, Dupree was listed not as a defensive end, as had been the case previously, but as a strong-side linebacker.

“It varies,” said Stoops at the Monday press luncheon. “We just listed it that way this year. Depends on the personnel they start with.”

Stoops also said Monday that he would be surprised if Dupree isn’t a first-round NFL pick.

“I’d be very shocked if Bud was not a first‑round draft pick,” Stoops said. “He’s got to play his way into it, have the opportunity to be a high pick. I truly believe that.

“You know I’ve been around a lot of great ones. A lot of linebackers recently at Florida State. Za’Darius (Smith) the same thing. He could have gone a year ago, a little lower, but has a chance to play himself up into a high draft pick. First couple rounds. They’re both very talented. But Bud is special. He has that ability to play standing up. Put his hand in the dirt. He’s a pass‑rusher. He’s got instincts. With everybody going to a lot of the 3‑4 things, outside backers, versatility, he’s a very good player.”

Related link: UK football news feed

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Video: D.J. Eliot on prep work for Saturday

Here is video of UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot talking to the media after Wednesday’s practice as the Cats prepare for Saturday’s opener.

Eliot said he will be interested to see just how fast his defensive players operate now that they are in the second year of UK’s system.

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College football on television: August 28

College football swings into gear with several appealing Thursday night matchups on the tube, including the SEC Network’s first foray into live game coverage.

The schedule:

  • 6:00 – Texas A&M at South Carolina (SEC)
  • 7:00 – Eastern Illinois at Minnesota (Big 10)
  • 7:00 – Wake Forest at UL-Monroe (ESPNU)
  • 7:30 – Idaho State at Utah (Pac-12)
  • 8:00 – Boise State vs. Ole Miss (ESPN)
  • 8:00 – Tulane at Tulsa (CBS Sports)
  • 9:15 – Temple at Vanderbilt (SEC)
  • 10:00 – Rutgers at Washington State (Fox Sports 1)
  • 10:30 – Weber State at Arizona State (Pac-12)

Related link: College football television schedule for weekend

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