Nov. 10, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky senior tailback Derrick Locke, who has missed the past four games with a shoulder injury, said that he will play this weekend when Kentucky takes on Vanderbilt at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. ET.
"I'm going to play this week," said Locke, who is the team’s leading rusher with 574 yards on 108 carries and seven touchdowns. "I feel pretty good. I felt good out there today. I felt good yesterday. The main thing was to see how I felt banging around a little bit. I banged on them pretty good today."
Locke said that injury didn’t really scare him but did worry him. He said that he was worried about not being able to play because no one knew when the feeling in his arm would come back.
"Two weeks into it I still couldn't feel my arm," Locke said. "I couldn't just raise my arm. I could only move my arm about 45 degrees. My nerve just kind of basically shut down in my deltoid (muscle), so I couldn't really function. Now I'm getting my strength back and I can move it."
First-year head coach Joker Phillips agreed that Locke looked good at practice Wednesday, saying that if they had to make a decision based on how he looked Wednesday that the explosive tailback would play.
“He looked good today,” Phillips said. “Two days in a row. He got a little contact today and said that he felt good. I am feeling better about his chances. From the looks of it today, yeah (he will play Saturday). We are feeling better. We won’t know till game day but I feel a lot better about him playing this week.”
Kentucky has been getting good performances from some underclassmen in place of Locke, with true freshman Raymond Sanders and sophomores Donald Russell and Coshik Williams all getting playing time. However, Phillips said Locke’s extraordinary speed (timed as fast as 4.21 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and multiple skills bring added versatility to the offense.
“The ability to make plays in space and that is one of the things that we have to do this week is make plays out on the perimeter and out in space,” Phillips said of Locke. “He gives that to us. He is a guy that you can throw the ball to out in space, too. You can line him up and get into some empty sets and at the wide receiver position. He gives us a lot of multiple formations that we can get in with our offense because of the things that he can do.”
On the injury front, Phillips said that Sanders, who has been dealing with an oblique muscle strain, is practicing well this week and is expected to get some reps Saturday against Vanderbilt, while junior linebacker Ronnie Sneed, who left the Charleston Southern game with a shoulder stinger, has been without contact this week.
Meisner Added to Senior List: Junior fullback Greg Meisner will graduate this year and has decided to participate in Senior Day ceremonies, bringing to 16 the number of players who will be honored on Saturday.
The complete list of seniors that will be honored in a pre-game ceremony Saturday includes:
#30, Moncell Allen, FB, New Orleans, La.
#77, Marcus Davis, OL, Union, Ky.
#57, Jacob Dufrene, LB, Cut Off, La.
#75, Brad Durham, OL, Mount Vernon, Ky.
#55, DeQuin Evans, DE, Long Beach Calif.
#5, Mike Hartline, QB, Canton, Ohio
#65, J.J. Helton, LS, Franklin, Tenn.
#13, E.J. Jones, WR, Miami, Fla.
Matt Lentz, student coach (former QB/DB), Simpsonville, S.C.
#20, Derrick Locke, TB, Hugo, Okla.
#53, Ricky Lumpkin, DT, Clarksville, Tenn.
#8, Chris Matthews, WR, Los Angeles, Calif.
#92, Shane McCord, DT, Hartwell, Ga.
#37, *Greg Meisner, FB, Greensburg, Pa.
#41, *Brian Murphy, FB, Big Stone Gap, Va.
#15, *Tyler Sargent, QB, Waynesville, Ohio
* Note: Meisner, Murphy and Sargent are juniors who are graduating and giving up their final year of eligibility.
Fans Should be in Stadium by 11:50 a.m.: Fans are advised to be in Commonwealth Stadium by 11:50 a.m. in order to see the Senior Day introductions.
“Cat Walk” Set for 10:15 a.m. ET: Fans wishing to participate in the “Cat Walk,” cheering the Wildcats when they enter the stadium Saturday should be near Gate One of Commonwealth Stadium by 10:15 a.m. ET.