UK FOOTBALL | Jason Hatcher ready for Florida after serving suspension
09/17/2015 04:56 PM
LEXINGTON — The Kentucky Wildcats will deploy a veteran reinforcement against the Florida Gators on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
Junior linebacker Jason Hatcher has finished his two-game suspension for a violation of team rules and will take the field for the first time this season against the Gators.
“Jason gives us some experience at the outside linebacker [position],” Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said after Wednesday night’s practice. “Going into the season without him, Jabari Johnson was the only player who had player in a game at that position. So now, we’ve got two guys there with game experience and have the reps. Repetitions are critical for defensive players … who have seen it and react faster, and Jason gives us that.”
Before his suspension, Hatcher was listed as the starting outside linebacker on the fall depth chart. His backup, redshirt freshman Kobie Walker, also missed the first two games of the season while recovering from offseason ankle surgery, and Kentucky expects him to remain out for at least another 1-2 games.
“We continued to practice [Hatcher],” Eliot said, “and he got reps all through training camp. He’s just going to have to sharper up and get the rust off.”
Hatcher suited up for every game for Kentucky in 2014, totaling 27 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 12 contests.
Kentucky and Florida kickoff on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET at Commonwealth Stadium. Both teams are playing to improve to 3-0 on the season while UK will also attempt to end a 28-game losing streak to the Gators.