WKU football blog: UK week

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Injury updates:

The official status of Western Kentucky freshman wide receiver Derrius Brooks is still unknown, but it certainly doesn’t look good.

Brooks was in street clothes at practice Tuesday, using crutches to get around and still wearing a boot on his foot. Brooks injured the foot in the opening play of last week’s win over Murray State, and didn’t return to the game.

WKU coach David Elson said on Monday that he didn’t know the exact extent of Brooks’ situation, but did say he’d know later in the week.

As for WKU’s other injured wideout, junior Jake Gaebler was in full pads on Tuesday but didn’t fully participate in contact drills. This has to be a good sign, as Gaebler never once dressed last week and is still trying to overcome back pain that has caused him to miss the past two games.

Other notables not in pads Tuesday were junior offensive lineman Cody Hughes, senior linebacker Alonzo Higgins, junior quarterback Brandon Smith, sophomore offensive lineman Preston King and senior defensive back Brad Cloud.

As far as the quarterback situation is concerned, as expected, sophomore K.J. Black took the majority of the reps Tuesday while senior David Wolke ran plenty with the second unit. Black is still wearing a protective brace around his left shoulder. Elson said after Saturday’s game that Black would return as the team’s starter this week, and so far, it appears that is the case.

On the Kentucky side of things, the Wildcats will be without linebacker Micah Johnson, quarterback Randall Cobb and defensive lineman Ricky Lumpkin on Saturday.

Lexington homecoming:

While virtually all the players on the WKU roster will see Saturday’s first-ever meeting with UK as a special game, junior running back Tyrell Hayden will be making a bit of a homecoming as well.

Hayden played his high school ball at Lexington Christian Academy and still calls Lexington his home to this day.

While in high school, Hayden was contacted about playing at Kentucky, but the progression of the recruitment never really went any further than that.

“It’ll be a good feeling, I live about 10 minutes away from the stadium and grew up about 35 minutes outside of Lexington,” Hayden said. “It’s a good feeling knowing that I can go home and see more of my family member and have them get the chance to see me play.”

Hayden said he’s already received several calls from close friends and family in Lexington, and said he plans on taking care of all that early in the week to avoid distraction.

“If I had to pick a day, I’d say probably by Thursday (I’ll tune it out),” he said. “That’s when I’ll shut down and get rid of all the things that could distract me from the game and executing the plan the coaches have set for us.”

Hayden, like so many others on the WKU roster, said that Saturday will no doubt be a chance to show the Kentucky program what exactly they missed by not offering him a scholarship.

“Going into my senior year I got phone calls (from Kentucky),” Hayden said. “They invited me to some games but when it came right down to it they never offered me.

“Whenever somebody goes home and plays a team around where they live and a team that offered them, they’re going to feel like it’s a great opportunity to show them and their fans about what they could have had … Where I’m from, everybody’s a UK fan whether it’s basketball or football, and I think this is a great opportunity to showcase where I came from for my family and friends and to show them that I’m playing for them and want to give them a good game to watch.”

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