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UK football notebook: Clemons named co-freshman of week

University of Kentucky freshman tailback Josh Clemons placed his named in the school record book with an 87-yard touchdown run Saturday, and on Monday his performance was recognized as one of the best by any freshman in the Southeastern Conference.


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The league announced Clemons — along with Georgia freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell — was named the SEC Co-Freshman of the Week. Clemons finished UK’s 27-13 win over Central Michigan with 14 carries for 126 yards and one touchdown. He was the first UK freshman running back to record a 100-yard rushing game since 2002.


“There’s a lot of good running backs out there, and a lot that came in our class,” Clemons said at the weekly UK football luncheon Monday. “I was just happy to be honored.”


The 87-yard run was longest rush by any UK player since Bernie Scruggs tallied an 88-yard run in 1970 and was the fourth longest rush in program history. The 87-yard touchdown was a record for any UK freshman.


While Clemons has both of UK’s rushing touchdowns this season, he is still listed as the second-team tailback behind sophomore Raymond Sanders.


The timeshare between himself and Sanders helps the UK offense, Clemons said.


“We bring two different things to the table. We both run hard, we’re two different sizes. Defenses have to adjust when either of us is in the game.”


Four new starters listed on UK two-deep depth chart


Sophomore tight end Tyler Robinson, senior center Jake Lanefski, freshman right tackle Darrian Miller and sophomore wide receiver Brian Adams were each listed as starters for the first time on the UK two-deep depth chart released Monday.


Lanefski and Miller both started in Saturday’s game due to injuries to normal starters Matt Smith and Billy Joe Murphy. UK head coach Joker Phillips said Smith and Murphy would not practice Tuesday and remain questionable for UK’s matchup with Louisville this weekend.


“I thought (Miller) played outstanding for us,” Phillips said. “He was a guy that got a cat paw for playing good enough to win.”


Robinson replaces sophomore Jordan Aumiller as the starter at tight end. Through two games, no UK tight end has tallied a reception, though Phillips said that was largely because they had relied on the group to block during the first two games.


Following Saturday’s win, Phillips credited Robinson with a key block on junior quarterback Morgan Newton‘s touchdown run in the fourth quarter.


Adams did not play in Saturday’s game after suffering an ankle injury in the season-opener versus Western Kentucky. He replaces senior Matt Roark, who dropped what would have been a touchdown pass on UK’s first series Saturday, as the starter at one of the three wide receiver positions. Roark was listed with junior Aaron Boyd at second string at the position.


Offensive line shows improvement after Western Kentucky performance


After receiving much of the blame for UK’s poor offensive play in the season opener, the offensive line showed some improvement in week two, said senior left guard Stuart Hines.


“We got a lot of stuff cleaned up, blocked a lot better offensively,” he said. “We had a rough start in the first half…We couldn’t convert on third down, so we never really got anything go. Second half we were able to show we’ve got some big play ability. Hopefully we keep improving from that point.”


Hines said there was still room for improvement.


“We graded better, but we’ve got a lot of improvements to make,” he said. “It was better than Western, but it really couldn’t have got a lot worse.”


Other notes


In addition to Smith and Murphy, junior wide receiver Gene McCaskill and senior free safety Taiedo Smith will not practice Tuesday. UK is holding McCaskill out of Tuesday practices during the early part of the season to assist in his return from a 2010 knee injury that cause him to miss the entire season…UK has not lost to UofL since 2006 and has won a school-record 21 consecutive regular-season non-conference games…Ten freshmen — Clemons, Miller, wide receiver Demarco Robinson, fullback D. J. Warren, defensive tackle Christian Coleman, safety Eric Dixon, linebacker Alvin Dupree, safety Glenn Faulkner, cornerback Daylen Hall and safety Ashely Lowery — have appeared in the first two UK games…The SEC announced UK’s Sept. 24 game versus Florida had been picked up for television broadcast by ESPN or ESPN2 and will kickoff at 7 p.m.


Photo of Josh Clemons by Jon Hale.

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