Brooks says Woodson will play

September 28, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Redshirt freshman quarterback Andre Woodson will make his collegiate debut when Kentucky hosts Ohio University Saturday.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said Monday that Woodson "will play at least one series, though it could be more" against Ohio as the Wildcats try to bounce back from last week's 20-3 loss at Florida.

Brooks kept starter Shane Boyd in for every snap in lopsided games against Louisville and Indiana. At Florida, Brooks did not want to take out Boyd while the Cats still had a chance to win.

However, with Boyd nursing a sore left shoulder (an MRI Monday revealed no damage) and UK's offense searching for answers, Brooks will give Woodson a chance to play some Saturday.


"I've been looking for that opportunity," Brooks said. "I had figured this might be a game we could do it. I would rather do this than put him in late in the Indiana game. I want to see him play with the game in the balance and on the line rather than take his first action cleaning up (in a big win) or getting blown out (in a big loss)."

Brooks said Woodson has been throwing well in practice, but that he still needs to be a "better student of the game in studying and learning the nuances of the game."

The coach acknowledged that Woodson has played well in scrimmages.

"I expect him to do pretty good. He could do better than good, or worse," Brooks said.

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm excited to know I am going to have this chance," Woodson said Monday.

Boyd seventh in SEC in passing

Boyd is seventh in passing in the Southeastern Conference at 170 yards per game. He's completed 52 percent of his passes and has more interceptions (3) than touchdown passes (2).

"In normal situations, you need to complete 60 percent of your passes," Brooks said. "I would like it to be higher than that. We have had our share of drops. We need more sticky fingers out of everybody. Some balls have not always been perfect, but they have been catchable.

"We just need a little more accuracy in our throwing and a little better catching. The problem is we had fewer opportunities at Florida and we need to catch those balls."

Brooks said Boyd had adequate protection at Florida, where he was 17-for-35 passing for 134 yards. He also said while he would like to see Boyd have a better touch on some passes, he also wants receivers to catch balls no matter how hard they are thrown.

"Everybody has to do better, including the coach, this week," Brooks said. "When adversity strikes, we need to raise our competitiveness."

Brooks said he'll likely make several lineup changes just as he did after UK lost 28-0 to Louisville to open the season. He announced Monday that redshirt freshman Eric Scott would replace Jeremiah Drobney as UK's starting tight end in hopes of improving blocking at that position and that there would be a "couple" more changes at least. He would not indicate whether they would come on defense or offense.

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