Kentucky’s defensive unit took a hit ahead of its second straight postseason appearance set for Friday in Nashville.
Junior linebacker Denzil Ware was suspended by coach Mark Stoops for violation of team rules and will not play against Northwestern in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Friday in Nashville.
Ware finished sixth on the team with 47 tackles this season, including nine for a loss and recorded 6.5 sacks. Stoops didn’t give a specific reason for Ware’s suspension.
“Denzil will not participate in the bowl game (for) violation of team rules and I cannot elaborate anymore on that,” Stoops said Tuesday following practice at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Stoops added that he had “no further comment” on Ware’s future with the team.
Kentucky, which lost to Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Tampa last year, will practice at Vandy Wednesday in its final bowl practice before taking on Northwestern.
Stoops has been taking a different approach going into the postseason this year and is taking a relaxed approach.
“I think last year I was definitely a little gung ho at making sure we were really pushing the program,” he said last week. “That’s still the case but there has to be some balance there. They have to enjoy what they’re doing. Camaraderie still counts and I think I had to be conscious of that, of how many practices and how long they were and I think that we have a really good balance this year. The guys have been very energetic and focused while they’re out there.”
Grads to wear patches
The Southeastern Conference will have 116 players who will wear special graduate patches on their jerseys during the postseason.
A total of 15 Kentucky players — Drew Barker, David Bauymer, Dylan Greenberg, Greg Hart, Jacob Hyde, Garrett Johnson, Stephen Johnson, Courtney Love, Austin MacGinnis, William Mahone, Kyle Meadows, Alex Montgomery, Cole Mosier, Matt Panton and Naquez Pringle — will wear graduate patches during the Music City Bowl Friday in Nashville.
Gametracker: Kentucky vs. Northwestern, Music City Bowl, Friday, 4:30 p.m. TV/Radio: ESPN, 98.1 FM WBUL, Lexington.