Stoops hinted Monday that a player would sit out the first half against the Tigers due to a “selfish play,” but did not identify the player at the time. He noted later on his weekly radio call-in show that he was in communication with the SEC about additional action that could result from a league office review.
The play in question occurred in the second half of Kentucky’s 48-14 win over ULM in which Harmon crushed a would-be Warhawk tackler on a peel-back block during a UK special teams return. The play was not penalized on the field, but replays showed helmet-to-helmet contact, and the SEC was reportedly reviewing the incident.
“It was really about as close to being an illegal hit or being an illegal hit that wasn’t called,” Stoops said during Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference. “So after consulting with the league about the situation, we just felt like it was the right thing for me to do to suspend him for a half a game.”
Harmon has played a key role on the UK defense as a third corner this season. His 22 tackles are eighth best on the team, and he has also recorded three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two tackles for loss. He is a fixture on the Cats’ special teams.
Kentucky (5-1, 2-1 SEC) will feature Cody Quinn and Fred Tiller as the starting cornerbacks at LSU on Saturday. Nate Willis should be the third corner, but the Tigers are an opponent that will not tax the secondary as much as some teams. LSU is expected to run more pro-style sets and feature the power running game more than any other UK opponent to date.